DEPTH DOWN THE MIDDLE

Jason Gregor
July 23 2013 12:42PM

Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins be ready to start the season?

Now that Craig MacTavish has re-signed Sam Gagner, traded for David Perron and added some depth on the blueline, the health of Nugent-Hopkins is the biggest concern in Oilersnation.

Yesterday, during an interview with MacTavish on my radio show (we will have the entire interview up later this afternoon), I asked him about RNH's health. 

Well, we’re hearing that everything is optimistic, but you don’t want to count on him being ready to start the season. The optimistic forecast would be that he could be potentially ready to start the season, but the pessimistic forecast would be that he would be ready November 1st, the end of October. We’ll leave it at that and let the medical staff decide. We’re certainly not going to rush him and hurry him into the lineup, that’s for sure.  

MacTavish's last comment is the key. The Oilers will wisely not rush Nugent-Hopkins back, but if they realize he isn't going to be ready what is the back up plan? I asked MacTavish if he's looking to add a veteran centre? 

No, I think we’re good there. We’ve got some depth with Arcobello, we’ve got Will Acton. Andrew Miller is a guy who I’m expecting will have a very good training camp as well, until Nuge is ready to play. I mean, injuries are a part of it. You look at any other team’s depth chart; there are always gaps in their depth chart. Sometimes these gaps allow players and opportunity to step in and really establish themselves as NHL players. You need a chance if you’re a young guy on the outside looking in. This could potentially be that chance if Nuge isn’t ready to go October 1st, but I don’t anticipate doing much more. 

DEPTH CHART

If Nugent-Hopkins can't start the season then Sam Gagner is the #1 centre. Boyd Gordon doesn't have the offensive capabilities to play on the second line, so that means Mark Arcobello, Andrew Miller and Anton Lander will be battling for the opportunity to play in the top-six.

It would be a great opportunity for them, but it also is a risk by the Oilers.

Lander, 6', 190 pounds, has the most NHL experience. He's played 67 games and has 2 goals and 7 points. He was very good for OKC in the playoffs last year scoring 5 goals and 8 points in 8 games.

Arcobello, 5'9, 170, spent the past three seasons in OKC, and last season was his best tallying 22 goals and 68 points in 74 games. He centred Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle for almost a month in OKC last year, and both the wingers told me he's a very smart player. He had 12 goals and 20 points in 17 playoff games, and he's likely the best pure offensive centre of the three.

Andrew Miller, 5'10, 180, was signed as a free agent this summer after playing four years at Yale University. He scored 42 goals and 156 points in 141 ECAC games. This is how MacTavish described Miller.   

Andrew Miller is a lot like Mark Arcobello. He’s actually come out of the same program, they’re both Yale University. Andrew Miller is a strong guy on the puck. He’s a smaller guy, but he’s highly skilled with a real keen intellect to play the game. He scores big goals, he knows where to go, he knows when the opportunity is presenting itself, and he goes to the right positions. He’s going to look really good at camp, I can tell you that. It’s whether he can overcome the exhibition game hurdle. Then the later exhibition games present another hurdle as well as teams pair their roster down and the competition gets a little bet steeper. Then, of course, the ultimate hurdle of playing in a regular season game. We’ll see if he’s ready for that, but he’ll sure look good early.

MacTavish is clearly very high on Miller, and he expects him to play well early on.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN...

If Nugent-Hopkins is ready to go, it means little, but I'd be surprised if he is on the ice October 1st  vs. the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers will not rush him, and Hall told me last year that the extra month rest (he didn't play in the AHL until November 1st) allowed him to be much stronger and more confident.

It is definitely a risk going with Arcobello, Miller or Lander as your 2nd line centre, but MacTavish wants smart players who can move the puck, and he seems confident that these guys can fill the gap until Nugent-Hopkins returns.

I didn't think the Oilers would get smaller down the middle, but it is very possible that their opening night roster will have Gagner, Gordon,  and one ofLander/Miller/Arcobello as the 2nd line centre and possibly Wil Acton as the 4th line centre.

If Nugent-Hopkins was going to be out long term, I'd bet MacTavish would have signed a veteran centre, and it is possible, albeit it slim, that he still does. The Oilers need to uncover a diamond in the rough at some point, and it seems like MacTavish is going to give Lander, Arcobello and Miller an opportunity of a lifetime.

When an opportunity arises it is up to the player to take advantage of it. Players, like most of us in everyday life, just want an opportunity to prove ourselves.

These three have two months to ensure they are in the best shape of their life and mentally ready to take advantage of a wonderful break.

While Landre, Arcobello and Miller prepare for training camp and the preseason, I suspect most Oilers fans will be extremely nervous when they compare the  Oilers C depth chart to the rest of the Pacific division.

YALE ALUMNI... 


Arcobello and Miller both attended Yale so you might want to listen to their fight song to get amped up for the season. Yale hasn't produced many NHL players, but these four all played over 400 games.

Bob Kudelski: 1987-1996 with the Kings, Senators and Panthers.
Played 442 games and tallied 139 goals and 241 points.

Bob Brooke: 1983-1990 with Rangers, North Stars and Devils.
He played 447 games and scored 69 goals and 166 points.

Chris Higgins: He's is still active. He broke in 2005 with the Canadiens then moved to the Rangers, Flames, Panthers and now he's with the Canucks.
He's played 523 games and scored 133 goals and 254 points.

Randy Wood: 1986-1997 with Islanders, Sabres, Leafs and Stars.
Played 741 games and scored 175 goals and 334 points.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#2 Rob...
July 23 2013, 12:55PM
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This could just be MacT learning through experience not to telegraph that he's desperately trying to sign/trade-for another center.

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#3 Professor
July 23 2013, 01:24PM
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If it were me I would put Hall at centre for the first month.

Yak Hall Eberle Perron Gagner Hemsky Smyth Gordon Jones

That's still a good top 9. Thoughts?

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#4 Oil Can
July 23 2013, 02:43PM
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Man almost all of you have a very poor outlook, before the preseason puck is even dropped. One centre does not a team make. Nuge could very easily not miss any games or only miss the first two weeks of the season. Personally I like how the Oilers look and the depth at all positions. Dubbie is a better than average goalie, and Labarbera is a very decent back up. The defence is looking pretty good, and the Oilers have possibly the best top two line wingers in the league, or close to it. To pick apart the team by one position here or another there, before the puck is even dropped is crazy. ALL TEAMS have positions that could be better. I think that this team is going to make the playoffs this year, and that they are going to wake a lot of people up.(Including a lot of their so called fans)

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#5 Spydyr
July 23 2013, 12:23PM
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To win you need a complete 2C Fist!

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#6 Dodd
July 23 2013, 12:35PM
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I don't like this one bit. Why make such decent moves (Ference, Perron, re-sign Gagner) and then leave a lack of veteran NHL presence down the middle.

This is particularly disturbing as we've learned this lesson recently (Stoll, even Reasoner). If this is our lineup going into the season, I'll bet we hear a lot of the Horcoff haters professing how badly he's missed.

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#7 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 23 2013, 12:37PM
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This is terrible, terrible news.

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#8 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 23 2013, 12:56PM
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@Rob...

That's kinda what I thought too, I really hope this is some slight of hand.

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#9 Ducey
July 23 2013, 01:02PM
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There are quite a few "Smithson" types still out there. Given that many teams don't need another center, have capped out, or have reached their internal budgets, there are going to be a bunch of options come training camp. The waiver wire is also going to be busy.

MacT is smart not to use up the little cap space he has now. He needs it in case a deal comes up over the summer.

If its late September and Nuge isn't ready and the other options are not working out (they would need 2 of Lander, Miller, Acton, and Arcobello to make it) they can always add someone cheap.

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#10 Rambelaya
July 23 2013, 02:08PM
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Symbology wrote:

From an asset management perspective, this is a wise and important decision for the Oilers. It signals to all the young guys working their asses off down in OKC that yes, there is a chance that they will be able to move up the depth chart and have a shot at the big team. Thanks to all the MacT moves there is no room on Defense and there is certainly no openings on the wings, so that leaves the Center position.

Imagine all the young defensemen reacting to signing after signing of experienced players and watching their name slide further down the depth chart each time. It must seem that the climb to get to the top is impossible because each time they get close someone else is slotted in ahead of them. I suspect that for the players in OKC, the chance to play for the big club is the biggest motivator that there is.

Every team needs to have young players fighting for a spot, and you can't have that if all the holes are plugged with veterans.

Now, of course, all of this goes out the freakin' window if Nuge isn't going to be back in a reasonable amount of time.

While I actually with most of what you say in principle, I disagree with part of the philosophy.

A player shouldn't be trying to prove himself to get an "open" spot, they should be trying to prove that they're better than the NHL-level player who's already in that spot.

Not just "equivalent skill but younger" or "equivalent but I'm healthy and he's not". They should be thinking "I need to be better than him even when he's healthy because that's MY spot"

The Oilers (and most teams, to be honest) rarely have the depth to do that, but we're getting to the point with the D. I wish we were there with fwds and goaltending, but at least with our D, we know that if someone like Klefbom makes it, it's because he's TAKEN the spot from someone else including a few current NHLers, not just done good enough to fill up a hole.

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#11 Walter Sobchak
July 23 2013, 03:28PM
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Professor wrote:

Are you seriously comparing Hall with Smyth? Hall has played centre before until being asked to play wing in Junior. What I am saying is that I would rather start the year with Hall at centre then having Lander, Arcobello or Miller as your 1st line centre to start the year, that as you have stated is the most promising since 2006. Do you want to throw away the first month of the season which could be the difference from making the playoffs and missing them?

If you've listen to Gregor, the Oilers, plus Hall, you would know that Hall at centre is a non starter! It ain't happening!!

MacTavish interview on Gregors show the other day made me realize that MacTavish reminds me of Tambellini.

If MacTavish starts the season with the centre depth he has now, by the time RNH comes back the Oilers could be dead last and already out of the playoffs........for the year!

Those that think MacTavish is doing some kind of Kansas City shuffle, listen to the interview, MacTavish is dead serious about the centre depth.

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#12 Will
July 23 2013, 03:29PM
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With all the signings and turnover and upgrades, to then look at the division we have a head of us and not feel confident is indicative of just how bad our team has been these last few years.

Having said that, even bad our team was capable of beating any team on any given night. Our defence and goal tending has been upgraded, and I think we got a bit more gritty and physical with some of the forward additions this year.

If there's such thing as rose coloured glasses, then a bunch of Oilers fans are trying to see the team through Oil stained glasses. It's not very clear what we have until we see it on the ice.

What really jumps out at me is that we look like an NHL team instead of a collection of young talent. Ya Anaheim has depth up the middle, but now their top line is only Getzlaf and Perry, without Ryan anymore. After that, all they really have for offence is Selanee.

LA is always tough, but they're not unbeatable. When quick has an off night, that team is very exposed.

Phoenix, please. They have one thing: Tippet. Get past their trap and it's game over with all our offence.

Calgary isn't worth mentioning,

Vancouver might not have a goal tender. Not to mention, they are not the team they used to be. I would put our top line up against their top line any day.

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#13 toprightcorner
July 23 2013, 03:35PM
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I think it would be in the best interest for Lander and his development if he spends another year in the AHL and by having him start in the NHL will likely stunt his growth.

With only $1.3 mill in cap space, MacT can't do anything unless he is able to trade Hemsky and if/when that happens, they will probably retain $2.5 mill in cap space giving 4.3 mill in cap space available.

There is no way MacT can say he will add a center or depth in the bottom six until he trades Hemsky, it is just that simple.

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#14 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 03:55PM
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yawto wrote:

So Jason, Do you think the schedule has given MacT reason to be a little more comfortable with waiting for Nuge. With a outlier date of Nov 1 for his return and a first month dominated by eastern conference teams do you think that he isn't worried as much about his centers? I mean, like you mention, center depth in our division is solid but we only play our division 3 times in the first month. If Nuge comes back even a week early, he would be there for two of those games. Not to knock other teams but the worst teams we face for Center depth in that first month would be the Canucks and Pittsburgh, but 80% of the league can't match those four centers. Has the schedule dealt MacT a bit of a break with the opponents the first month?

Haha, what!?!?

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#15 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 04:45PM
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madjam wrote:

Someone...please talk to me or respond to my opinions. I just want to talk about hockey and yank the chain with thought provoking questions or statements.

Lol, this gave me a good laugh madjam

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#16 madjam
July 23 2013, 05:29PM
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JASON GREGOR : My last posting was #39 and the rest beyond that is some one else . Please take appropriate action and remove this person from ON site as it's becoming a daily a occurrence .

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#17 Reg Dunlop
July 23 2013, 08:37PM
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@DSF

So, do you really think that RNH, a 1st overall with 76 pts in 102 NHL games is better than Monohan(0 pts), Granlund(0 pts), Reinhart(3 pts), Knight(0 pts), Jones(15 pts)? You oiler fanatic you!

That flame centre depth is AWESOME

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#18 kdunbar
July 23 2013, 12:34PM
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I would really like to see Brule offered a PTO in order to encourage a little more depth/competition with the centre position. It may not amount to anything other than pushing the other centres at camp, but it may be the 2C position if Nuge is not ready to go and Brule blows the doors off at camp.

almost no risk and a lot of reward.

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#19 oilbaron
July 23 2013, 12:39PM
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I'm more excited than nervous. I think they'll have a luke-warm season start but (barring injury) believe they'll finish strong. The key will be learning to consistently win against the other pacific teams down the stretch

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#20 Muji
July 23 2013, 12:49PM
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I'm okay with Arcobello, Miller and Lander fighting for 1 spot (either 2C or 4C). I don't think it's a good bet for those 3 to be fighting for 2 spots (2C AND 4C).

Our center depth has arguably regressed since last year. Tambellini's biggest mistake last year was probably not addressing center depth (especially when Horc and Belanger went down) and it's worrying that MacT may be doing the same thing.

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#21 Souby
July 23 2013, 12:54PM
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I think a Hemsky for Zack Smith (Ottawa)trade might be in order???? With Ottawa's internal cap set at around 50MM though, I doubt this would happen. Maybe send a 3rd rounder to Philly for Talbot? Another option is Johansen in Columbus but I think his price tag would be too high....thoughts?

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#22 Jon
July 23 2013, 12:56PM
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kdunbar wrote:

I would really like to see Brule offered a PTO in order to encourage a little more depth/competition with the centre position. It may not amount to anything other than pushing the other centres at camp, but it may be the 2C position if Nuge is not ready to go and Brule blows the doors off at camp.

almost no risk and a lot of reward.

Completely agree with this. A PTO to Brule or any other center with a bit of Offensive experience in the NHL would provide no risk whatsoever and a lot of assurance in case no one is able to jump the hurdles MacT provides. Basically they're banking on 4 guys with almost zilch NHL experience to take on 2 NHL roles (2 and 4 C). There's no guarantee any of these guys will even be able to be a good 4C, so I think a PTO would be very prudent if they don't want someone signed.

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#23 Oilcruzer
July 23 2013, 01:02PM
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Roll 3 Lines.

When the fourth line plays, Smyth can start there. So can Hall.

Also.... Pitlick.

Also... Boyes.

.

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#24 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 01:02PM
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Rob... wrote:

This could just be MacT learning through experience not to telegraph that he's desperately trying to sign/trade-for another center.

Before Mac T can do anything else he has to trade Hemsky to clear up more cap space. Might be that he's not able to trade him, so he can't make anymore moves.

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#25 madjam
July 23 2013, 01:15PM
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Loss of Horcoff early will be a major concern , and will not adequately be filled by other three . It was the one decision I felt MacT. did prematurely .

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#26 Ron Burgundy
July 23 2013, 01:17PM
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I'd like to see one last signing, of a guy who you can move around the lineup for situations just like these. Nik Antropov seems like the right guy for that - a decent 2C fill-in option who is far enough along in his career that he could also play the wing on the 3rd line. He would also continue our Russian Summer. A 1- or 2-year deal at around 3MM sounds about right.

Pre-Nuge return that would give you: Hall-Gags-Eberle Perron-Antropov-Yakupov Jones-Gordon-Hemsky Smyth/Joensuu-Lander-Brown Joensuu/Smyth

Post-Nuge return: Hall-Nuge-Eberle Perron-Gagner-Yakupov Antropov-Gordon-Hemsky Jones-Lander-Brown Smyth/Joensuu

The beauty of these lines is the complete lack of rookies. When is the last time we've been able to say that?

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#27 Spydyr
July 23 2013, 01:26PM
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Professor wrote:

If it were me I would put Hall at centre for the first month.

Yak Hall Eberle Perron Gagner Hemsky Smyth Gordon Jones

That's still a good top 9. Thoughts?

Hall has stated he wants to stay on the wing.

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#28 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 01:27PM
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Professor wrote:

If it were me I would put Hall at centre for the first month.

Yak Hall Eberle Perron Gagner Hemsky Smyth Gordon Jones

That's still a good top 9. Thoughts?

That's a nice looking line up.

I'd put Smyth on the 4th line though, and put Joensuu on the third line. I love Smyth but the younger bigger faster Joensuu should be more effective.

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#29 Clarko
July 23 2013, 01:30PM
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Dodd wrote:

I don't like this one bit. Why make such decent moves (Ference, Perron, re-sign Gagner) and then leave a lack of veteran NHL presence down the middle.

This is particularly disturbing as we've learned this lesson recently (Stoll, even Reasoner). If this is our lineup going into the season, I'll bet we hear a lot of the Horcoff haters professing how badly he's missed.

How much worse can we be without Horcoff? I'm not blaming him for all this team's woes, but we have been an embarrassment the last few seasons. I'm sure we can replace the 7 goals he produced last season and last time I looked, he has had 4 consecutive seasons under 50% in the faceoff department.

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#30 Professor
July 23 2013, 01:30PM
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@Spydyr

I'm not saying you put him there for the whole year just for the first month and then move him back to the wing once Nuge is back. Then you know if Hall is able to play centre if he's needed.

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#31 LinkfromHyrule
July 23 2013, 01:30PM
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hey so isn't our longest road trip of the season in October and the plan is to ice 2 unproven AHL centers? It's gonna be the 9-game road trip without horcoff all over again....

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#32 Spydyr
July 23 2013, 01:37PM
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Professor wrote:

I'm not saying you put him there for the whole year just for the first month and then move him back to the wing once Nuge is back. Then you know if Hall is able to play centre if he's needed.

How did Smyth do at the center last year?

So you want to start the year with your best player and probable captain playing out of position in a spot he does not want to be in.

You might want to rethink that.

If they wanted to try Hall at the center it should have been done last year in the AHL.

Not at the start of the most promising season since 2006.

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#33 Symbology
July 23 2013, 01:38PM
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From an asset management perspective, this is a wise and important decision for the Oilers. It signals to all the young guys working their asses off down in OKC that yes, there is a chance that they will be able to move up the depth chart and have a shot at the big team. Thanks to all the MacT moves there is no room on Defense and there is certainly no openings on the wings, so that leaves the Center position.

Imagine all the young defensemen reacting to signing after signing of experienced players and watching their name slide further down the depth chart each time. It must seem that the climb to get to the top is impossible because each time they get close someone else is slotted in ahead of them. I suspect that for the players in OKC, the chance to play for the big club is the biggest motivator that there is.

Every team needs to have young players fighting for a spot, and you can't have that if all the holes are plugged with veterans.

Now, of course, all of this goes out the freakin' window if Nuge isn't going to be back in a reasonable amount of time.

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#34 Yakman
July 23 2013, 01:39PM
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The reality is that if MacT isn't happy with what Arcobello, Lander, and Miller bring to training camp/exhibition he will go out and get someone.

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#35 Denny
July 23 2013, 01:41PM
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Here is the Pacific Division Center Depth Charts according to Cap Geek.

Flames: Stajan Backlund Jones Knight Monahan

San Jose: Thornton Pavelski Couture Burish Hertl

LA: Kopitar Richards Carter Stoll Lewis Tofolli

Anaheim: Getzlaf Koivu Cogliano Holland Bonino

Vancouver: Sedin Kesler Santorelli Gaunce Lain

Phoenix: Riberio Vermette Hanzel Chipchura Klinkhammer Domi

The only teams that's not going to hand our ass to us (Nuge or no Nuge) is the flames!!! Get ready for another top 10 draft pick and no playoffs!!!

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#36 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 01:43PM
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Spydyr wrote:

How did Smyth do at the center last year?

So you want to start the year with your best player and probable captain playing out of position in a spot he does not want to be in.

You might want to rethink that.

If they wanted to try Hall at the center it should have been done last year in the AHL.

Not at the start of the most promising season since 2006.

Haha man, he's just saying hypothetically. Don't have to take his idea and completely kill it.

Most promising season hey? Just like 2010, 2011, 2012/2013?

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#37 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 23 2013, 01:45PM
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@Symbology

I should hope all the d-signings motivate the farm kids to elevate their game to the next level

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#38 Spydyr
July 23 2013, 01:46PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

Haha man, he's just saying hypothetically. Don't have to take his idea and completely kill it.

Most promising season hey? Just like 2010, 2011, 2012/2013?

When your team has been out of the playoffs for seven long years. You have to do anything to stay as positive as possible. So yeah most promising season since 2006.

As for completely killing his idea sorry if the truth hurts.

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#39 Professor
July 23 2013, 01:51PM
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@Spydyr

Are you seriously comparing Hall with Smyth? Hall has played centre before until being asked to play wing in Junior. What I am saying is that I would rather start the year with Hall at centre then having Lander, Arcobello or Miller as your 1st line centre to start the year, that as you have stated is the most promising since 2006. Do you want to throw away the first month of the season which could be the difference from making the playoffs and missing them?

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#40 OilersBrass
July 23 2013, 01:51PM
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Professor wrote:

I'm not saying you put him there for the whole year just for the first month and then move him back to the wing once Nuge is back. Then you know if Hall is able to play centre if he's needed.

I think they should definitely try Hall at centre for a couple pre season games at least, just to see how he fits. I mean what's the worst that could happen? He doesn't play the position well so he just goes back on the wing, no big deal

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#41 Will
July 23 2013, 01:53PM
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Meh, I mean, it's not like either the Nuge nor Gags used their size or face off prowess to their advantage. Replacing one small skilled centre who is bad at faceoffs and isn't defensively responsible, with another small skilled centre who is bad at face offs and isn't defensively responsible, really isn't the worst thing in the world.

Nuge is obviously a better 2 way guy than Gags, but if Gags is on a line with Hall, it might not matter since the puck is usually going one direction anyway.

Thus, if Gagner is replaced by a guy like Arcabello, that is nearly a one for one in my mind. If he's replaced by Lander, that might be best case scenario as Lander seems to excel when playing with skill guys, and he can win faceoffs and is listed as a two way guy. Pure offence, go Arcabello. A bit more balance, go Lander.

I have a feeling one of those two guys is going to come up and make a huge case for staying.

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#42 mr common sense
July 23 2013, 01:54PM
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Denny wrote:

Here is the Pacific Division Center Depth Charts according to Cap Geek.

Flames: Stajan Backlund Jones Knight Monahan

San Jose: Thornton Pavelski Couture Burish Hertl

LA: Kopitar Richards Carter Stoll Lewis Tofolli

Anaheim: Getzlaf Koivu Cogliano Holland Bonino

Vancouver: Sedin Kesler Santorelli Gaunce Lain

Phoenix: Riberio Vermette Hanzel Chipchura Klinkhammer Domi

The only teams that's not going to hand our ass to us (Nuge or no Nuge) is the flames!!! Get ready for another top 10 draft pick and no playoffs!!!

JESUS!! Even when Nuge is back, Edm's C SUCK in comparison....omg

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#43 Spydyr
July 23 2013, 01:56PM
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Professor wrote:

Are you seriously comparing Hall with Smyth? Hall has played centre before until being asked to play wing in Junior. What I am saying is that I would rather start the year with Hall at centre then having Lander, Arcobello or Miller as your 1st line centre to start the year, that as you have stated is the most promising since 2006. Do you want to throw away the first month of the season which could be the difference from making the playoffs and missing them?

No I'm comparing a winger playing out of position in a spot he does not want to be.

Mac-T has made all the right moves with what he has had to work with. I'm confident he is aware of the lack of center depth. I'm guessing there will be more moves in late August when the GM'S get back from their cottages.

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#44 15w40
July 23 2013, 01:59PM
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Phoenix nor Calgary is going to put the fear of god in anybody.

Phoenix is OK but other then Hanzal, (who I really wish the Oilers had) who is that heavy of a player?

I agree on Brule if he would come to the Oilers' camp; sign him to a PTO and see what he can do this time around. He should have better hands then Lander and I can't comment on the rest of the cast. Arcobello sounds like he has some promise but again is not very big.

Not that Brule is a giant but he plays with a bit of an edge at least. There will be injuries and having Brule on your roster is not a bad idea.

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#45 madjam
July 23 2013, 02:00PM
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Denny wrote:

Here is the Pacific Division Center Depth Charts according to Cap Geek.

Flames: Stajan Backlund Jones Knight Monahan

San Jose: Thornton Pavelski Couture Burish Hertl

LA: Kopitar Richards Carter Stoll Lewis Tofolli

Anaheim: Getzlaf Koivu Cogliano Holland Bonino

Vancouver: Sedin Kesler Santorelli Gaunce Lain

Phoenix: Riberio Vermette Hanzel Chipchura Klinkhammer Domi

The only teams that's not going to hand our ass to us (Nuge or no Nuge) is the flames!!! Get ready for another top 10 draft pick and no playoffs!!!

L.A. and S.Jose 4 strong are tough to match . Rest are only 2 or less strong . We have possibly 3 in Gagner , Gordon and Hopkins .Oilers also have D.Perron who used to be a natural center they could possibly use early on and for injuries . Even Smyth has filled in occasionally . We could be better still , but we could also be weaker than we are currently . I would think they might look to Perron early on .

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#46 Will
July 23 2013, 02:16PM
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mr common sense wrote:

JESUS!! Even when Nuge is back, Edm's C SUCK in comparison....omg

Meh, Winger depth?

Flames: Camellari-Stempniak, Tanguay-Jackman, Glencross-Bertchi

SanJose: Havlat-Burns, Marleu-Burish, Torres-Galiardi? (I don't even know who their wingers really are, but they need a bunch of guys to play wing who normally play things like defence and centre).

LA: Wiliams-Brown, Richardson-Penner, Clifford (probably won't be there)

Anaheim: Perry, Selanee and then... nobody.

Van: Sedin, Hansen, Kassian, Raymond, Higgins (this is probably the best winger depth of any team)

Yotes: Verbatta, Doan, Bodecker, Moss,

Edmonton: Hall, Eberle, Yak, Perron, Hemsky, Smyth.

Point being our team is not built down the middle, it's built on the wings. Maybe the only team in the NHL built like this, other than maybe Minnesota or Washington.

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#47 Lochenzo
July 23 2013, 02:16PM
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Assuming that the Oil are unable to move Hemsky, the remaining cap room should be dedicated to adding a depth centre. That means the Oil should be out of the Clifford sweepstakes (the Kings just signed Lewis today).

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#48 madjam
July 23 2013, 02:19PM
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Love to see Perron early on centering Hall and Eberle ,or even Yakupov . Hall and Perron both have the ability and drive to dominate a game . Hopkins out early could mean a blessing in disguise . Could be a very surprising dynamic thrilling dominating threesome on first line .

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#49 RJ
July 23 2013, 02:33PM
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Rob... wrote:

This could just be MacT learning through experience not to telegraph that he's desperately trying to sign/trade-for another center.

It's good to see he's not making the same mistake twice.

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#50 steve
July 23 2013, 02:34PM
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I don't understand how MacT can sit there and be fine with this roster? This is going to be another year of a top 10 pick! You cannot go with Gagner Arcobello, Gordon and Lander as your centers to start the year!!! We are doomed from the get go. And again where is the beef and nastiness that MacT promised this offseason? Looks like we will be pushed around again. In the new division we are screwed, we wont be in the playoffs until MacT really addresses those issues.

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