BUY, BUY BELANGER

Jason Gregor
July 04 2013 12:06PM

The Oilers have placed centre Eric Belanger on waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.
When the Oilers signed Belanger two years ago, many felt he was a good addition. He'd help win faceoffs and he could chip in around 30 points. He was great in the dots, winning 55% of his draws his first year and 53% this past season, but he only had 4 goals in 104 games over two seasons. His offence was non-existent.

When he was signed I mentioned the one concern former teammates and organizations said was that he wasn't considered a great dressing room guy. That turned out be accurate. He wasn't a distraction, he didn't yell at this teammates or cause friction, he just had a negative auru about him. You know the type.

That wasn't the reason he was let go, four goals in 104 games was the main one, but the Oilers are trying to "cleanse" their dressing room and they decided they'd be better off without him.

This was an easy decision for the Oilers. I know they don't have a faceoff specialist to replace him, but winning faceoffs didn't result in more scoring chances. Belanger's advanced stats were horrendous despite winning faceoffs.

I don't believe in ripping a player when he leaves town, but I've mentioned for over a year that Belanger was a detriment to this team and this is one decision that I 100% agree with for the Oilers.

QUICK HITS

  • Ray Emery could be a good fit with the Oilers. He's matured the past few seasons, and last year he was outstanding with the Blackhawks. He could push Devan Dubnyk, but he'd be supportive in the back up role as well.
     
  • Interesting situation with the Leafs. They buyout Grabovski ($14.4 mIllion) and the analytics guys hate the decision. Grabovski was overpaid, but not to the point you just give up on him. If they replace him with Bozak and Clarkson I suspect our pals at www.theleafsnation.com might need counseling. The best part is that the Leafs are buying out a guy because he is overpaid, but they will replace him with two players who will also be overpaid. Awesome.
     
  •  Darren Dreger tweeted the Stars and Bruins have a huge trade in the works involving Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson. Jim Nill and Joe Sakic have made some significant moves right away since grabbing the reigns in Dallas and Colorado. The next week should be highly entertaining for hockey fans.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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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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#151 TV6
July 04 2013, 05:01PM
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MKE wrote:

Who else would you have them buy out? And clearly there wasn't a market for Belanger. If they had been, he would have been moved.

They don't need to buy-out anyone...

The compliance buy-outs are good for another season still.

The Oil just should have bought out the Belanger Triangle via the regular buy-out process & simply saved the asset of 1 of their 2 amnesty buy-outs.

It's crappy asset management to waste 1 on such a minimal $$$ buy-out cost/Cap hit.

x6

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#152 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 04 2013, 05:03PM
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Off topic but what did Nuge's faceoff numbers look like by the end of last season? If he can win draws more consistently, I think the kid line will benefit greatly from the extra 30 seconds or so they don't have to spend regaining possession.

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#153 oiler_head
July 04 2013, 05:03PM
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I think that it is becoming apparent that not only do we not have a team to win, we also don't have a team with valuable assets outside of fab five. MacT is not trading any of the young guns and it seems that he wants to hang onto our most tradeable asset in Gagner.

He doesn't have much to bring to the table and is likely realizing that he'll likely have to go into the season with most of the team intact. I believe that this is less about inaction than trying to fix the mistakes made (Belanger, 1 yr contract for Gagner, Smithson, etc). Too bad for him and for us the fans, but at least I hope that KLowe is apologizing to MacT daily for the mistake that was Tambellini and his poor excuse for management.

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#154 Bucknuck
July 04 2013, 05:04PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I tend to agree for the most part, I have to think Seguin ceiling is higher though.

I also think Seguin away from the puck might be a better then Gagner.

As for the untouchables, I would love for them to all stay, however I think at some point to cross that threshold of being a good team to a great team someone might have to go.

Hemsky contract right now is what's limiting his movement IMO, both salary and term.

Who wants a 5 per for one season? Buy that down and you might have a case to trade for Hemmer.

I never said trade Paajarvi for Erikson at all?

I know you didn't mention Pajaarvi, but that was a name that was mentioned in a few tweets on Draft day which is why I did.

Most moves happen after free agency when teams know what holes they managed to fill for free. I am curious what trades get done in the next week. Should be something about the Oilers there.

I figure Hemsky's contract is probably making some teams shy and Horcoff wanting to go to a contender is a non-starter. They could only pitch his contract to a team that needs to get to the cap floor and that doesn't include the contenders. He'd have to be part of a package at this point and that will happen after free agent day.

It's all very exciting.

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#155 Tom
July 04 2013, 05:04PM
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Getting pissed off now. I want to believe in MacT but I am fairly sure one of two things has to be happening. Either MacT is really bad at this job or nobody wants to come here. Either way, I have had enough of this sh?$. I would even accept MacT overpaying for someone. Come on, do something, the same old is not good enough anymore.

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#156 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:06PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Correct me if I am wrong ,Mac t was the one who said Bold moves were coming,that Hemsky and Horcoff were better off finding new team's to play on last time I checked Mac t fired his coach ,drafted the BPA and little else , I am just tried of the Oilers treating its fan base like this and watching this brutal display of hockey for the past 7 years with no play offs and on and on it goes.....I can also do without the arrogance of K Lowe he won those cups playing on a TEAM not as a coach or GM

I don't like watching a team suck year after year either. But I like the pieces they got as a result of sucking.

And yes MacT did say that. And he did say that about Horcoff and Hemsky. But Im not ready to complain. Free agency hasn't even started for crying out loud..

Im saying lets see what happens in the off season. If Sept comes and nothing has happened then I'll be upset.

I don't see anything to be upset over at this moment because I trust MacT

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#157 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:08PM
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TV6 wrote:

They don't need to buy-out anyone...

The compliance buy-outs are good for another season still.

The Oil just should have bought out the Belanger Triangle via the regular buy-out process & simply saved the asset of 1 of their 2 amnesty buy-outs.

It's crappy asset management to waste 1 on such a minimal $$$ buy-out cost/Cap hit.

x6

So who would they buy out next year? I don't see anyone signed beyond this next year that you would need to even consider buying out. Plus if MacT is thinking about keeping some of Hemsky's salary in a trade, then the extra cap space might come in handy

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#158 The Oilers Shot Clock
July 04 2013, 05:10PM
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So when MacT trades one of the kids, is everyone going to get off his back about being inactive or turn a 180 and complain he shouldn't of done it? Either Eberle or Yakupov needs to go, and as long as the return is a core player that fills one of our many voids - win. @smokey , if we could get that for Eberle plus a d prospect I'd say yes. MDZ plus Boyle and Kreider for Yakupov and MPS. Carlson for Eberle straight up.

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#159 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:13PM
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Tom wrote:

Getting pissed off now. I want to believe in MacT but I am fairly sure one of two things has to be happening. Either MacT is really bad at this job or nobody wants to come here. Either way, I have had enough of this sh?$. I would even accept MacT overpaying for someone. Come on, do something, the same old is not good enough anymore.

So you would be happy if MacT made a dumb move, just for the sake of making a move?

Doesn't this seem counterproductive to you?

PS. Free agency starts tomorrow, not today.

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#160 TV6
July 04 2013, 05:15PM
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MKE wrote:

So who would they buy out next year? I don't see anyone signed beyond this next year that you would need to even consider buying out. Plus if MacT is thinking about keeping some of Hemsky's salary in a trade, then the extra cap space might come in handy

They may have to use 1 on Horcoff...

They may have to use 1 on a player they sign over the next few days if he doesn't pan out.

They could use them BOTH to secure a trade & then buy-out the players that they traded for & received further compensation for by taking a large salary/Cap hit from the team they traded with.

How hard is this to under apprehend & grasp..?

It's a complete no-brainer.

To have them in your back pocket to use in the future is worth FAR MORE than $400K in Cap space when you are no-where to being a UCL Club.

x6

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#161 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:17PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

So you would be happy if MacT made a dumb move, just for the sake of making a move?

Doesn't this seem counterproductive to you?

PS. Free agency starts tomorrow, not today.

Maybe you and I are the only ones today to have a GM who wants to make the right move. At the right time

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#162 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:17PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

After Yakupov lights it up next year, can we all stop talking about trading him? Why do people want to trade a future star for 3rd line grinders and 3-4 defensemen? Bizarre.

Agreed!

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#163 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:21PM
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TV6 wrote:

They may have to use 1 on Horcoff...

They may have to use 1 on a player they sign over the next few days if he doesn't pan out.

They could use them BOTH to secure a trade & then buy-out the players that they traded for & received further compensation for by taking a large salary/Cap hit from the team they traded with.

How hard is this to under apprehend & grasp..?

It's a complete no-brainer.

To have them in your back pocket to use in the future is worth FAR MORE than $400K in Cap space when you are no-where to being a UCL Club.

x6

Your idea works well in theory, but has no real application, unfortunately. Most, if not all the players whose teams want to buy them out will do so this season. There is not a big demand for this kind of trade and buyout transaction.

The compliance buyout is only valid for one more season so it is highly unlikely that the Oilers will sign a player and buy him out next season.

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#164 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:21PM
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TV6 wrote:

They may have to use 1 on Horcoff...

They may have to use 1 on a player they sign over the next few days if he doesn't pan out.

They could use them BOTH to secure a trade & then buy-out the players that they traded for & received further compensation for by taking a large salary/Cap hit from the team they traded with.

How hard is this to under apprehend & grasp..?

It's a complete no-brainer.

To have them in your back pocket to use in the future is worth FAR MORE than $400K in Cap space when you are no-where to being a UCL Club.

x6

Horcoff maybe. But I think he gets traded before the season starts. If not, you have one buyout left.

If you sign someone that you need to buy out a year later, then you should be fired. Period.

And actually you can't trade someone and have another team buy them out.

That's circumventing the cap and would never be aloud to happen. The trade would never be approved. The NHL already addressed this very thing in a memo to the teams.

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#165 DrunkGuyTy
July 04 2013, 05:22PM
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Stupid Mac-T!!! Going and and opening his mouth and giving the fans a sense that he's committed to turning this franchise into a contender!!! Who does he think he is answering questions at a press conference!!!

I want Tambellini back!!! At least he didn't mislead us into thinking he was going to try and accomplish something to improve the team!!!

B!tch.... Moan.... B!tch..... Moan Repeat as necessary.

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#166 dougtheslug
July 04 2013, 05:24PM
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For Sale sign appeared on Hemsky's house yesterday. Wonder what that means?

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#167 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:26PM
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MKE wrote:

Maybe you and I are the only ones today to have a GM who wants to make the right move. At the right time

I understand the fans' frustration. All this losing is BS, but making an irrational trade will only hurt the team moving forward.

MacT has already identified the problem areas and would like to address them. That is a huge improvement over Tambellini who could not identify the problems or just chose to ignore them.

The guy has spent the last two months cleaning up the mess that was left for him and he is not done yet.

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#168 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:27PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

Stupid Mac-T!!! Going and and opening his mouth and giving the fans a sense that he's committed to turning this franchise into a contender!!! Who does he think he is answering questions at a press conference!!!

I want Tambellini back!!! At least he didn't mislead us into thinking he was going to try and accomplish something to improve the team!!!

B!tch.... Moan.... B!tch..... Moan Repeat as necessary.

Ya you are totally right. Since MacT has missed out on a whopping 4 players it's clear he's not trying at all to improve the team...*rolls eyes*

And one of those players was another small winger! Why don't we actually see what this team looks like in 3 weeks?

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#169 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:29PM
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MKE wrote:

Horcoff maybe. But I think he gets traded before the season starts. If not, you have one buyout left.

If you sign someone that you need to buy out a year later, then you should be fired. Period.

And actually you can't trade someone and have another team buy them out.

That's circumventing the cap and would never be aloud to happen. The trade would never be approved. The NHL already addressed this very thing in a memo to the teams.

You are correct about the cap circumvention. Bill Daly explicitly stated that teams could not engage in this activity. Good call.

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#170 Smokey
July 04 2013, 05:31PM
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MKE wrote:

Agreed!

SC hardly no grinder. Coburn well ya got me. Theirs a huge whole at 2nd line center. The west got better. Colorado is a scary team with Mckinnon, Duchene, O' Reilly down the gut. Dallas has Benn and Seguin. I'd be tickled pink to have elite offensive center with an elite shutdown center. Perfect balance. A small 2nd line that gets eaten for lunch is what we got. Totally outta balance.

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#171 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:37PM
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Smokey wrote:

SC hardly no grinder. Coburn well ya got me. Theirs a huge whole at 2nd line center. The west got better. Colorado is a scary team with Mckinnon, Duchene, O' Reilly down the gut. Dallas has Benn and Seguin. I'd be tickled pink to have elite offensive center with an elite shutdown center. Perfect balance. A small 2nd line that gets eaten for lunch is what we got. Totally outta balance.

You are right about Couturier -- he is not a grinder. But he is not proven 2C either, and his offense is mediocre at this point (will likely get better).

The biggest problem in trying to get SC is Philly's cap issue. SC is on an ELC right now and gives them great value. The only way the Oilers might get him next year is if the cap does not go up by much. It's a long-shot at best.

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#172 MKE
July 04 2013, 05:38PM
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Smokey wrote:

SC hardly no grinder. Coburn well ya got me. Theirs a huge whole at 2nd line center. The west got better. Colorado is a scary team with Mckinnon, Duchene, O' Reilly down the gut. Dallas has Benn and Seguin. I'd be tickled pink to have elite offensive center with an elite shutdown center. Perfect balance. A small 2nd line that gets eaten for lunch is what we got. Totally outta balance.

So you want a second line center who has 42 points in 123 games, and had 4 goals and 15 points in 46 games last year?

You can't have a second line center who scores 0.34 points a game.

Couturier is not a second line center at this point and has yet to prove otherwise.

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#173 Gritty Waldo
July 04 2013, 05:39PM
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I know hind sight is 20/20, but I would love to see the scouting reports by the Oiler pro scouts on Belanger the season before they signed him as a free agent...Could they not tell that he has zero compete to his game not to mention he one of the softest and easiest players to play against. His skating is weak as well average at best offensive skill. Not to mention did anyone in the organization look into his character as mentioned he is not well liked by former teammates and considered negative in the room. Yes his face offs are decent and PK abilities as well but not to the level that makes him in the top in the NHL and defending his negatives...I am not sure who the pro scouts are but I hope MacTavish cleans them out.

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#174 michael
July 04 2013, 05:39PM
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Clarke Mcaurther from the Leafs Gregor Tweeted out is a possibility for the Oilers. Take out a flyer on Grabovski too at a discount. He would be a good option on wing or 3rd line center. His skill set would compliment Gagner and Yakupov if he came in at the right price. Hemsky's house for sale. Horcoff's also. You think MacT is actually going to do something. I see Pheonix in Hemsky's future. They need his skill set and his salary just to make the floor. Horcoff to Detroit. Especially if Filpulla signs elsewhere. Or Ranger Blue. I would think MacT would take back some salary when he trades Horcoff.

Paul Ranger, Clarke Mac, and Grabo. The Eakins connection will play into signing one of these guys.Who?

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#175 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 05:44PM
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Gritty Waldo wrote:

I know hind sight is 20/20, but I would love to see the scouting reports by the Oiler pro scouts on Belanger the season before they signed him as a free agent...Could they not tell that he has zero compete to his game not to mention he one of the softest and easiest players to play against. His skating is weak as well average at best offensive skill. Not to mention did anyone in the organization look into his character as mentioned he is not well liked by former teammates and considered negative in the room. Yes his face offs are decent and PK abilities as well but not to the level that makes him in the top in the NHL and defending his negatives...I am not sure who the pro scouts are but I hope MacTavish cleans them out.

Maybe Tambellini deferred to Yzerman's opinion on Belanger?

All kidding aside, I think most fans and pundits believed that Belanger would be more effective than he turned out to be....which is a trainwreck.

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#176 OilersBrass
July 04 2013, 05:46PM
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Smokey wrote:

SC hardly no grinder. Coburn well ya got me. Theirs a huge whole at 2nd line center. The west got better. Colorado is a scary team with Mckinnon, Duchene, O' Reilly down the gut. Dallas has Benn and Seguin. I'd be tickled pink to have elite offensive center with an elite shutdown center. Perfect balance. A small 2nd line that gets eaten for lunch is what we got. Totally outta balance.

Sakic said they're putting O'Reilly on the wing this year

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#177 Johe
July 04 2013, 05:50PM
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I'm thinking the Oil sign MacArthur, Hendricks, Gordon, and Khudobin. The Coburn deal will also happen soon. And if Alfie chooses Boston tomorrow(unlikely), the Hemsky to Ottawa could happen as well. Moves are coming people. Just a little more patience.

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#178 Bucknuck
July 04 2013, 05:51PM
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MKE wrote:

Maybe you and I are the only ones today to have a GM who wants to make the right move. At the right time

Me TOO, Me Too. I get the sense that MacT is working hard and trying to do something, and the pieces just haven't fallen into place yet. Getting mad before the start of the season seems silly to me. There will be changes, it's just taking longer than the impatient fans want. Too bad.

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#179 madjam
July 04 2013, 05:52PM
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What part of MacT."s plan do you not care for . Evidently he does not want to enter UFA , RFA or Buy out markets . Having also failed at draft trade scenario he looks to fill holes from within as stated by STU.They seem comfortable from filling within as Stu pointed out as per interview . Does not sound as though any more are coming now does it . Now to make amends to Horcoff and Hemsky appears to be all that left except for contracts for Gagner and Paajarvi . So should we expect any more outside additions ? I'd like to say yes , but I wouldn't suspect they will , and if they do , it'll be a surprise .

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#180 Smokey
July 04 2013, 05:55PM
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MKE wrote:

So you want a second line center who has 42 points in 123 games, and had 4 goals and 15 points in 46 games last year?

You can't have a second line center who scores 0.34 points a game.

Couturier is not a second line center at this point and has yet to prove otherwise.

Yep I do. Cause Yak may be a perenial 80 point player. SC may be a 60 point 2nd line center with a good goal differential who helps battle the McKinnon and Duchene, Benn and Seguin, Zetterberg Datsyk, Kopitar Richards, Sharp Toews,Thornton Couture, Sedin Kesler. Maybe you guys are sold of Gagner I'm not. We're small and the west will be won with center depth. We are unbalanced. Saying SC put up little offense is accurate, why is that? Comparing Yak who got pp time to a guy playing third lind, killing penalties is what you see. Opportunity is the difference. I don't expect the same amount of points, but a quality center here is needed. We got to make bold trades, and they cost. We got to improve our balance.

People wanf to win but no one wants to make a bold move to increase our size, change our balance.

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#181 allen
July 04 2013, 05:57PM
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@MKE

agree.

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#182 MKE
July 04 2013, 06:01PM
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@madjam

Forget glass half empty. You don't even have the glass anymore...

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#183 Bucknuck
July 04 2013, 06:02PM
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sniff sniff I smell a troll around here.

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#184 MKE
July 04 2013, 06:05PM
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@Smokey

If Couturier was good enough he would have gotten the chance on the PP. Yet in three years, he never proved to be good enough.

We can agree to disagree. Couturier might be a decent second line center in the future . But to date, he hasn't even come close to showing he's a 60 point guy.

I never said I was sold on Ganger as a second line center. But I'd take him over Couturier for a second line role.

A change is needed. I'm just not sold that Couturier is that guy. Especially if it means including Yak in any deal for him

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#185 dougtheslug
July 04 2013, 06:06PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

your restraining order has expired?

No, he lives in my neighbourhood and the sign appeared yesterday. Ticks me off that MacT telegraphed his intentions, meaning every GM in the league is going to lowball him for Hemmer knowing that he isn't in the Oiler's plans. Poker face, MacT, poker face.

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#186 Clyde Frog
July 04 2013, 06:08PM
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@Smokey

It boggles my mind that size is such a topic with Oiler fans.

It's almost as if you just need to field the tallest team to be competitive and guys argue about 2-3 inches in height...

Last I checked goals are what counts...

If you want to tell me Couterier would get 75% of his offence from the power play and sky rocket to 12 goals last year by getting slightly more power play time... Good on you, but I'll politely disagree.

Wanting him because he is a good young prospect, sure.

Telling us he is an upgrade because he is taller, then predicting his offender to triple because... Well he is taller...

Yeah, can't see a whole in that.

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#187 Spartacus
July 04 2013, 06:11PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

For Sale sign appeared on Hemsky's house yesterday. Wonder what that means?

Hemsky forgot to renew your restraining order?

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#188 MKE
July 04 2013, 06:12PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Mackenzie has Horcoff to DAL for draft picks. MUCH better than buying him out, no?

Sure is! Sadly you know people will still find something to whine about... ‏@DarrenDreger Waiting for final details. @TSNBobMcKenzie, but told Horcoff to Dallas involves a few pieces.

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#189 Spartacus
July 04 2013, 06:15PM
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D'oh! Should have read on before posting.

Too quick for me, Rom.

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#190 Rocket
July 04 2013, 06:17PM
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Couterier getting lots of love around here which is cool except Philly's never gonna trade him on his ELC to The Oilers for magic beans (Gagner, Hemsky, etc.)

I remember arguing quite forcefully back in 2011 that Tambo should try to draft RNH & Couterier. That way strength up the middle would really help in a couple of years. now it would be very dificult to pry Couterier out of Philly.

Just one more reason Tambo royally screwed The Oilers up.

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#191 Shifty
July 04 2013, 06:21PM
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Holy crap! MacT must have finally dislodged his phone from klowes rectum!

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#192 MKE
July 04 2013, 06:21PM
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Rocket wrote:

Couterier getting lots of love around here which is cool except Philly's never gonna trade him on his ELC to The Oilers for magic beans (Gagner, Hemsky, etc.)

I remember arguing quite forcefully back in 2011 that Tambo should try to draft RNH & Couterier. That way strength up the middle would really help in a couple of years. now it would be very dificult to pry Couterier out of Philly.

Just one more reason Tambo royally screwed The Oilers up.

He has potential. But what has he done on a consistent basis to be all that excited about and make you think it was a royal screw up not to get him?

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#193 jonny94
July 04 2013, 06:23PM
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For all u belly aching about MacT .... According to the fourth period Shawn Horcoff has been traded to the Dallas Stars.... Details to be announced shortly

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#194 washed up
July 04 2013, 06:24PM
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Be pretty sweet if peverly was coming to Edmonton somehow in this trade.

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#195 Rocket
July 04 2013, 06:26PM
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@MKE

I guess My bitterness at Tambo is coming through. Your right in that not getting Couterier didn't screw The Oilers up. I guess Tambo's overall performance grinds my gears a bit & not drafting Couterier, who has potential, just adds fuel to the fire.

What's up with Horcoff? Did he really just get traded?

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#196 MKE
July 04 2013, 06:28PM
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@Rocket

the TSN boys are reporting that on twitter.

still waiting to hear who all is involved but horcoff has been hold he's going to dallas

I do get it. I want to win too. I guess I am just the guy that always looks on the bright side.

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#197 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 04 2013, 06:33PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

No, he lives in my neighbourhood and the sign appeared yesterday. Ticks me off that MacT telegraphed his intentions, meaning every GM in the league is going to lowball him for Hemmer knowing that he isn't in the Oiler's plans. Poker face, MacT, poker face.

just joshing ya.

Whenever i hear about a player's house or family or girlfriend and their decisions I shudder a little bit

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#198 fig pucker
July 04 2013, 06:37PM
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mact, didn't your mother teach you not to make promises you can't keep. in the future, reduce expectations " we'll see what we can do to impove the team", now with a statement like that, if you actually make a bold move everyone is impressed. underpromise then overdeliver, jesus even the pr people are incompetent.

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#199 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 06:44PM
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Spartacus wrote:

D'oh! Should have read on before posting.

Too quick for me, Rom.

Ha ha. Poor Doug.

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#200 GVBlackhawk
July 04 2013, 06:57PM
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Smokey wrote:

I essentially said SC and Coburn. More or less at meant SC and and second pairing defenseman. Philly has little to offer to terms of defense hense hes who I picked. Maybe SC and Coburn and whatever. Your homemade prodnostications on SC are your opinion. I won't waste my time. Joe Thornton was not always ppg player. How many goals did he have as an 18 year old? Kinda remember him playing 3rd line too. (Not saying SC=JT)

Size is important. So is skill. You need both. Why have both? Have we not seen last few seasons where we lack. We don't hit, we can't score, we are soft. Our second line outscored, but was outshot, outchanced, outplayed. They got destroyed at evens, and their possession was an abomination and Gagner wins what 42 percent of his faceoffs. Maybe swapping Hemsky for overpriced grinder may change this, I dunno.

I never said Yak = SC. I'm saying lets sacrifice a bit of skill, for defence and awareness. BALANCE. I Love Yak, but maybe the right question which of the untouchables are you going to give up. I hope MacT pulls out some trucalent players outta FA. However to me it looks like more and more to me we may have to trade an untouchable to get better. I hope I am dead wrong.

It is possible that one of the young forwards might need to be traded, but it could be argued that the best return would be a 1D or 2D for this type of asset.

Imo, Yakupov is probably the last player that they should trade. He scores, hits, and is anything but soft. He has great work ethic, is a good teammate, and has incredible desire to win.

The Oilers are loaded with special talent and he is right up there with the best.

Balance can be improved by getting better defensemen and some motivated depth at forward. The talent will give the Oilers an edge and should make them competitive this year.

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