3LW

Lowetide
July 27 2013 03:08PM

After years of pondering where the #1 overall pick will play in the fall, Oiler fans are forced to discuss other issues this summer. One of the main items--assuming the Oilers are finished shopping--is 3line LW. My belief is that Ryan Smyth has the inside track based on experience and ability. Agree?

In April, I wrote a Ryan Smyth profile (here) suggesting "these days, Ryan Smyth patrols the 3rd and 4th lines, mentoring the youth and passing the torch. The young men who hope to bring glory to Edmonton would do well to learn about heart, soul and dedication from Ryan Smyth."

In fact, Smyth was 6th among wingers in EV time on ice (11:35), 2nd among wingers in SH TOI (2:31) and played an hour with the man advantage. By any stretch, he was a 3rd line winger in 2012-13 for the Edmonton Oilers.

THE CANDIDATES!

 

Ryan Jones played about as much as Ryan Smyth at evens this year and posted a slightly better 5x5 points per 60 number. If he's fully recovered from his eye injury (and the after effects, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to suffer that injury and THEN return to a game that goes as fast as NHL hockey uncertain of visual range) I expect he'll give Smyth the toughest battle.

One area Jones will be counted on is the penalty kill, something he's done in the past and enjoys. In the article "A Chat with Ryan Jones" back in November Jones said this to Jason Strudwick:

  • Ryan Jones: "I really like the role the coaches have given me the last couple of years as well as the opportunity to kill penalties I have been given. I always loved killing penalties. It is not a glamorous role but I take a lot of pride in it. I shoot the puck down the ice a lot so they might as well let me do it without it being icing!"

Jesse Joensuu is the great unknown in this group--he's an interesting guy who does have NHL experience but we don't really know what he is; the closest I've seen to a reliable scouting report comes from the Hockey News

He has not been a penalty killer for any extended time in the NHL, but did kill penalties during his time in Europe over the last two seasons. He can be a physical player--he's 6.04, 210--and I think that element will get him into the lineup and help him sustain playing time this winter.

WILDCARD

The Oilers also signed veteran AHL winger Ryan Hamilton, and his agent (Tom Lynn) feels Edmonton is an outstanding landing place for his player. Why? Well, Hamilton has size (6.02, 230), knows the new head coach very well and his Hockey News bio is a nice fit for team needs:

If Hamilton impresses early, gets a couple of pre-season games and shows well, he could be here awhile. The opportunity is there.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Entering summer (and after free agency ran its early course) we've settled (uneasily) in to the idea of Gordon-Hemsky as 2/3s of that very important third line. The third member of the group could be Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Jesse Joensuu or Ryan Hamilton. It's possible Ben Eager may be part of the solution, and the club could add a veteran before or during the season.

As it stands now, I think it's a safe bet we'll see all of Smyth, Jones, Joensuu and Hamilton a lot this coming season. If true, I suspect Ryan Smyth will win the early battle for 3 LW--the question is can he keep it?

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Czar
July 28 2013, 12:19AM
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@Bucknuck

I'm quite sure Dallas Eakins is comfortable with the attention his actress wife receives and I don't think it would be an issue with regards to an interview. A tasteful picture of her might even add to an article on our new coach.

With regards to DSF,I'm sure there's lots of things to be concerned about in his closet, the least of which is a Sharp jersey.I was replying to Oilclogs link to a very sexy Mila Kunis,whom DSF previously had stated he wouldn't let wear his Sharp jersey.

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#52 2004Z06
July 28 2013, 01:00AM
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I wish we could all stop with the Shea Webber talk. Why the hell is Nashville going to trade a guy that they just spent 27 million on for 48 games? If and it is a big if he gets traded, it won't be until next year at the earliest and only if Jones is ready to fill the void. And Edmonton would not even be in the ball park unless it is one of RNH, Hall, Yakupov, Eberle ++ going back.

Put down the bong!

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#53 Serious Gord
July 28 2013, 01:08AM
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It is long past due that we were subject to a tearful retirement press conference where mr. Smyth announces his retirement.

Hopefully the new virgin NHL coach mr Eakins lives up to his Toronto media hype and implements a fitness routine in spring training that convinces the blockheaded mr. Smyth that he is hopelessly too slow with atrophied skills to be in the NHL and forthwith calls the abovementioned presser of his own accord. (Clearly the nostalgia- ridden management won't take the lead)

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#54 bazmagoo
July 28 2013, 02:23AM
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If I was putting money on it, I'd put money on Smitty playing 3rd line LW this year. Super smart player, technically proficient, and no lockout to discourage him from being motivated and fit this time around.

Only other player I see usurping him from that role currently is Hamilton, based on his size & progression. Jonesy will play RW because he's decent on either side, and Joeensuu is a complete unknown.

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#55 bazmagoo
July 28 2013, 02:29AM
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I keep hoping Selanne retires, so the Oilers can trade Hemsky to the Ducks for Winnick. He would be (imo) the perfect 3rd line right winger for us. Come on Teemu, you're 43, it's time to hang them up!

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#56 David S
July 28 2013, 02:33AM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Hall Hopkins Eberle

Perron Grabovski Yakupov

Smyth Gagner Jones

Lander Gordan Eager

One center will be injured throughout the year, by the time Hopkins comes back someone else will most likely get hurt..

The top six are incredible and the bottom six centers are strong as any in the league.

You just sewered Sam Gagner's career.

Nice going.

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#57 Sincethewhadays
July 28 2013, 06:58AM
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Eakins doesn't do line combos like this. He'll play all these guys depending on the situation. 3rd & 4th lines will look pretty much the same with all the mixing and matching.

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#58 madjam
July 28 2013, 07:12AM
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Not much on Nashville at a decent price for a 4th line center . Our top 3 are set in Hopkins , Gagner and Gordon . Mike Fisher might have been nice , but that would drop Gordon down to fourth line , and that's an awful lot to be paying a 4th line center . Options on farm not great , but beats a vast overpayment . Most problems we had last year are still in place and most still not possibly adequately resolved . To be honest , we have not adequately filled the new holes left by Horcoff leaving .

You get the feeling if we get off to a bad start , fans are going to be getting after MacT. in short order .

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#59 SincetgeWHADays
July 28 2013, 07:31AM
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madjam wrote:

Not much on Nashville at a decent price for a 4th line center . Our top 3 are set in Hopkins , Gagner and Gordon . Mike Fisher might have been nice , but that would drop Gordon down to fourth line , and that's an awful lot to be paying a 4th line center . Options on farm not great , but beats a vast overpayment . Most problems we had last year are still in place and most still not possibly adequately resolved . To be honest , we have not adequately filled the new holes left by Horcoff leaving .

You get the feeling if we get off to a bad start , fans are going to be getting after MacT. in short order .

Yes, but unlike Tambo; MacT will do something before it too little too late. And just because Lander hasn't proven himself yet doesn't mean he's not the best option at 4C. All players are unproven until they get a chance and make good to prove themselves. Wether Lander proves himself thus season remains to be seen, but he's just the type of player that can turn out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

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#60 The Soup Fascist
July 28 2013, 07:39AM
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Darrell wrote:

Spent the week in Smashville - weak hockey market but great boozing before and after on Broadway. I can't imagine the parties when the new rink opens in the chuck !.

Matheson mentioned this a week ago and initially I liked the deal. The only red flags for me are the 3 yr deal, which could be an albatross. Gaustad has been a shadow of himself - offensively anyway - since leaving the Sabres.

Have to wonder if the whole "failure to engage" Lucic thing after he steamrolled Miller (PG basically stood around after the incident despite being on the ice at the time) undermined his confidence? If not getting pummelled by Lucic the next game when he tried to "right the wrong" may have done some damage.

Like I said I liked the guy's game in Buffalo and he brings size and FO ability to a lineup that could use both. Just worried about him being "damaged goods". A single digit scorer with 3 years left on a 3.25 million per deal - needs to be thought about, especially with some expensive 2nd contracts for kids in the wings.

If we know we are getting the super effective Paul Gaustad from a couple of years ago - great deal. If he cannot re-discover his game - well that is one big anchor around the neck.

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#61 The Soup Fascist
July 28 2013, 07:42AM
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Oops sorry. Comment above was obviously about Hemmer for Gaustad. The comments concerning party atmosphere in Nashville from Darrell stand on their own merits. Can't wait for the new rink either.

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#62 Bucknuck
July 28 2013, 09:14AM
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Czar wrote:

I'm quite sure Dallas Eakins is comfortable with the attention his actress wife receives and I don't think it would be an issue with regards to an interview. A tasteful picture of her might even add to an article on our new coach.

With regards to DSF,I'm sure there's lots of things to be concerned about in his closet, the least of which is a Sharp jersey.I was replying to Oilclogs link to a very sexy Mila Kunis,whom DSF previously had stated he wouldn't let wear his Sharp jersey.

I remember the Kunis comment and it made me laugh then and now. When it was originally posted I remember thinking (but didn't post) the obvious question (SHARP Jersey? Who cares about a Blackhawks Jersey), and if he was turning his nose up at Mila, then I can only shake my head.

As for the coach and his lovely wife. I imagine you are correct, but figured it was at least worth considering.

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#63 Racki
July 28 2013, 09:27AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Matheson mentioned this a week ago and initially I liked the deal. The only red flags for me are the 3 yr deal, which could be an albatross. Gaustad has been a shadow of himself - offensively anyway - since leaving the Sabres.

Have to wonder if the whole "failure to engage" Lucic thing after he steamrolled Miller (PG basically stood around after the incident despite being on the ice at the time) undermined his confidence? If not getting pummelled by Lucic the next game when he tried to "right the wrong" may have done some damage.

Like I said I liked the guy's game in Buffalo and he brings size and FO ability to a lineup that could use both. Just worried about him being "damaged goods". A single digit scorer with 3 years left on a 3.25 million per deal - needs to be thought about, especially with some expensive 2nd contracts for kids in the wings.

If we know we are getting the super effective Paul Gaustad from a couple of years ago - great deal. If he cannot re-discover his game - well that is one big anchor around the neck.

Everyone on the ice went at Lucic after the hit, including Gaustad (who was cut off by Horton). Gaustad was trailing the play by quite a bit and there were already two Sabres on Lucic immediately.. so Gaustad handled damage control, engaging Horton, the way I saw it. I don't have a problem with it at all.

As far as the actual fight, Lucic definitely won it, but he didn't really connect with anything major. Lucic is a pretty strong guy and an animal. So I'd say just hanging in there is a feat. But was a message sent by that? Not likely.

Anyways, re: Gaustad's demise in Nashville.. no argument there.. hopefully that is just Nashville that dragged him down.

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#64 PerryK
July 28 2013, 10:14AM
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It seems to me (just from the highlights package) that Hamilton was playing RW. I wonder if that is where he played last year?

Maybe he is well suited for 4RW with Joensuu as the 4LW?

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#65 PerryK
July 28 2013, 10:33AM
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DSF wrote:

Paul Gaustad.

6'5" 220 pound centre who wins 58% of his faceoffs and is signed for another 3 seasons at $3.25M.

Nashville has David Legwand, Mike Fischer, Matt Cullen, Gaustad, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg at C and almost nothing at RW.

A marriage made in heaven.

If Nashville needs to make that trade, I would much prefer Colin Wilson to Gaustad. He is a significantly better player than Gaustad and costs less.

It isn't clear to me that Paul Gaustad can take / make a pass!

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#66 nuge2nail
July 28 2013, 12:08PM
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David S wrote:

You just sewered Sam Gagner's career.

Nice going.

Oiler Domination To Follow

You really think all three centers will be healthy at the same time all year?

Theirs a reason teams need center depth, there's a reason Canucks are not happy going into the season with Sedin an Keslar as their #1-#2.

They are aware injuries happen and they have no depth to support them.

Our case is much worse because our number 1 will be injured for the first 20% of the season and we have Arcobella playing in.

There goes Hall and Eberles chances of making team Canada.

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#67 Oiler Al
July 28 2013, 12:33PM
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PerryK wrote:

If Nashville needs to make that trade, I would much prefer Colin Wilson to Gaustad. He is a significantly better player than Gaustad and costs less.

It isn't clear to me that Paul Gaustad can take / make a pass!

Colin Wilson has taken only 100 F/O in the last two years.. so not sure if he even plays center that much. Spalling is listed as LW and took 500 ish F/o last year.

They certainly have a boat load of Centers . Not sure why they picked up Cullen this off season. Some one will play wing from this line up of centers.

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#68 Hammers
July 28 2013, 01:01PM
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I think your forgetting one thing and that's Eakins rep for picking pairs of players and if Hemsky stays we may see Hemmer/Perron ; Gags/Yak ; RNH /Ebs . I also see Hall getting massive minutes maybe on 2 lines .Joensuu could slide in with Gags or RNH and we can't forget McT gave him a 2 year contract so he must see something there . Still waiting for the last signing (Reasoner for 750 ) So RNH Ebs Hall / Gags Yak Joensuu/ Gordon Hemmer Perron / Reasoner Smyth Jones / Brown Lander

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#69 andrewmk20
July 28 2013, 01:35PM
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@adams

Not bold and not realistic. Any Oiler fan who thinks Weber is available without giving up one of Ebs, Hall, RNH, or Yak City is dreaming. Weber is different than other recent trades for big names. R Nash isn't a franchise player and neither is Gaborik. Weber is a franchise player as Nashville plays worse without him and just are not the same team. For a club to give up a franchise player they need a future cornerstone player back and that's one of the four kids. If it was Ebs, Petry, Hemsky, and Marincin along with a 1st rounder for Weber and I would prefer Legwand, than maybe a deal is there.

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#70 EHH Team
July 28 2013, 02:00PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

Not bold and not realistic. Any Oiler fan who thinks Weber is available without giving up one of Ebs, Hall, RNH, or Yak City is dreaming. Weber is different than other recent trades for big names. R Nash isn't a franchise player and neither is Gaborik. Weber is a franchise player as Nashville plays worse without him and just are not the same team. For a club to give up a franchise player they need a future cornerstone player back and that's one of the four kids. If it was Ebs, Petry, Hemsky, and Marincin along with a 1st rounder for Weber and I would prefer Legwand, than maybe a deal is there.

Forget it.

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#71 toprightcorner
July 28 2013, 02:10PM
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DSF wrote:

Paul Gaustad.

6'5" 220 pound centre who wins 58% of his faceoffs and is signed for another 3 seasons at $3.25M.

Nashville has David Legwand, Mike Fischer, Matt Cullen, Gaustad, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg at C and almost nothing at RW.

A marriage made in heaven.

Craig Wilson has never played centre in the NHL, he has played RW his entire career. Craig Smith also mostly played wing and only played centre do to injuries. I don't see Forsberg playing centre ahead of Legwand, Fisher or Cullen so expect him to play on the wing if he makes the team.

You can't just look at nhl.com and get all the positions?? You probably one of those guys who though Ovechkin still plays left wing!

Foiled by lack of research again!!

$3.25M a year for 4th line centre, thats more than many 4th lines make. Steckel same player third the price and available.

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#72 Zarny
July 28 2013, 04:24PM
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I don't disagree that Smyth might be the front runner for 3LW.

I think that probably sums up the Oiler's problems. Smyth should probably retire. He looked like Iginla did in the playoffs...during the regular season. Old, slow and like the game had passed him by.

To maximize Gordon's effectiveness you need a 3LW that can skate and keep up to top lines. That's not Smyth. Not anymore.

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#73 The Soup Fascist
July 29 2013, 01:48AM
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Racki wrote:

Everyone on the ice went at Lucic after the hit, including Gaustad (who was cut off by Horton). Gaustad was trailing the play by quite a bit and there were already two Sabres on Lucic immediately.. so Gaustad handled damage control, engaging Horton, the way I saw it. I don't have a problem with it at all.

As far as the actual fight, Lucic definitely won it, but he didn't really connect with anything major. Lucic is a pretty strong guy and an animal. So I'd say just hanging in there is a feat. But was a message sent by that? Not likely.

Anyways, re: Gaustad's demise in Nashville.. no argument there.. hopefully that is just Nashville that dragged him down.

I remember a mea culpa from Gaustad after the original game that was something like his lack of a response embarrassed himself and the organization .... or something to that effect.

Good he took ownership .... others should have as well. But I remember thinking that he was pretty upset about his own lack of response.

However, you could be right - I could be reading too much into a couple of incidents.

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#74 Lochenzo
July 29 2013, 09:09AM
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A centre is the backbone of any line. Maybe Boyd Gordon and Ryan Smyth will have good chemistry together. Boyd Gordon plays a straight-forward game. Get pucks out of danger and move it straight up the ice with pucks to the net. Ryan Smyth just might be the perfect complement to that type of centre.

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