Not "Bold," but solid

Jason Strudwick
July 05 2013 03:48PM

Edmonton Oilers fans have been waiting for rookie general manager Craig MacTavish to make some moves. He started yesterday by trading Captain Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas stars for Philip Larsen and an offensive zone faceoff win next season in Dallas.

Horcoff

It was time for Horcoff to move on. No one could ever question his professionalism and dedication to the Oilers. He is the consummate pro. After so many years of struggle for the Oilers he will get new energy in Dallas next season.

After being with the same team for so long Horcoff will be very uncomfortable with the move. Everything is new. New city, teammates, arena and travel. It will make him uncomfortable but that will provide him with jump. A change isn't always good but in this case it is.

I expect Horcoff to have a strong season next year, but I am not talking about more points. He will be the strong center that Dallas needs. No longer will he be the lightning rod of attention for many unhappy Oiler fans. The difference between playing in the States and Canada is like night and day for attention from fans. I think Horcoff will enjoy the break.

Horcoff did many things in the community that were unknown. Having played with him though, I know of many. I wish him luck in the big D!

In the trade the Oilers pick up young Danish blue-liner Philip Larsen. His is only twenty-three years old. He is a slight young man that can move the puck. Is he a long term NHL’er? He should get a chance here to prove he is. He is a player that will move the puck up to the young group of Oilers forwards. That is what MacT said he wanted more of when he took over at GM.

This Morning

This morning once free agency got going MacTavish quickly moved to fill some holes in the line-up. He signed Andrew Ference, a d-man, who played last year with the Bruins. He got both Boyd Gordon, a centreman and Jason LaBarbera, a back-up goalie, out of Phoenix. These are not big, bold moves but there are a very solid start.

I felt the biggest issue for the Oilers was their overall ability to compete every night. They needed more players that give predictable effort and results from game to game. There were too many question marks in the lineup.

Andrew Ference brings experience, steadiness and a compete level to the Oilers. He will be the oldest dman on the team and will be able to mentor everyone in the group. He is a player that is not afraid to speak his mind in the dressing room. When he stands up and addresses the team he will have instant respect from the team because of his career so far.

I do not think he is a top pairing defencemen. He can easily slide into the Oilers second pairing. He is a western guy who played in the WHL. I think the Oilers need more of that. He is also very environmentally informed. Expect the Oilers to start recycling.

Boyd Gordon is also a WHL alum. I cannot tell you how important having more WHL’ers and western players is to a team that is in need of more competitiveness. He is a player with very little offensive upside but he will guide and teach some of the young developing players how to play the game the right way at the crucial times of the games. I would expect rookie head coach Dallas Eakins to use him first in PK situations and important defensive zone draws; think end of the game while protecting a lead.

Lastly the Oilers have brought in Jason LaBarbera to back up Devan Dubnyk. Labarbera has been a back-up all is career so he understands how to stay ready between infrequent starts. I have been told he is a very good guy in the dressing room which I think is very important. In my opinion a back-up goalie needs to be able to play the game but must also be part social director and comedian to entertain and relax the guys.

This signing sends a huge message of support to Dubnyk. There is no doubt whose net this is now. There is no one else for the team, or Dubnyk, to fall back on. This is a huge year for him. He must continue to prove that he is a starter in the NHL and the Oilers goalie moving forward. I will be very interested to watch how he steps up this year. I believe he is the goalie for the future but it isn't me he needs to convince. He must convince the management and more importantly his teammates.

MacTavish still has a way to go to get his team set for the season. This is a good start today.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#1 tileguy
July 05 2013, 03:53PM
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Nobody out there worth giving a fist full of money to, uo tp trader Mac now.

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#2 Archaeologuy
July 05 2013, 03:57PM
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The Oilers dont recycle?

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#3 RJ
July 05 2013, 03:58PM
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Are they looking at any more free agents for their bottom six, or are they expecting to fill that internally?

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#4 Jay
July 05 2013, 03:59PM
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I wish we got a better goalie to push aand challenge dubnyk. I'm not a fan of the situation were gonna have in net going into next year

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#5 RJ
July 05 2013, 04:00PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

The Oilers dont recycle?

That is kind of bizarre nowadays.

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#6 IfBruceLeeWasAnOiler
July 05 2013, 04:03PM
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Im happy Oilers drop out on Clarkson we would have overpaid terribly, Also Clarkson going to get eaten up in Toronto, if he's a flop we will never here the end of it from the rather leaf biased media (cough cough tsn)

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#7 Bonvie
July 05 2013, 04:09PM
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IfBruceLeeWasAnOiler wrote:

Im happy Oilers drop out on Clarkson we would have overpaid terribly, Also Clarkson going to get eaten up in Toronto, if he's a flop we will never here the end of it from the rather leaf biased media (cough cough tsn)

Lots of Depth added Avoided paying big dollars for top tier free agents Top 6 forward and top pairing D man needed to be made via a trade or offer sheet. Clarckson overpaid good player but its a Horcoff like contract

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#8 Ron Burgundy
July 05 2013, 04:11PM
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Liked all the signings today - a good start. Would have preferred Khudobin instead of Labarbera but there's always next year.

I'm even happier though at what MacT didn't do. Clarkson, clowe, Horton, Bozak, etc., etc. Sure we paid a little more than some of the new guys are probably worth, but it wasn't a Leaf-style overpay and none of the terms are outlandish. I only see one deal I'm jealous of - Stalberg - but you can't win them all.

Some work to do still, but this is encouraging. Not hating the MacT era.

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#9 rob
July 05 2013, 04:22PM
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Mact did good today,very happy with signings and although a tad high on pay did not go overboard,ferrence and gordon will help,but can only hope he has a trade or 2 up his sleeve or this season will not be much better than last.

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#10 ubermiguel
July 05 2013, 04:23PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

The Oilers dont recycle?

They are great at recycling former players and coaches.'

I think MacT is starting to regret his "bold moves" comment. It takes two sides to make a deal. "Bold offers" would have been more accurate.

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#11 Stack Pad Save
July 05 2013, 04:33PM
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Very interesting day.

I wish Mac T could have got the Bobby Ryan deal. I would trade Paajarvi, a first overall pick and a D prospect for Bobby Ryan

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#12 cam
July 05 2013, 04:35PM
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Not impressed today, I think we missed out on a few "tough" players that could of been had. There is zero confidence in our goalies and it just got worst. MacT has little confidence in Dubnyk, exactly why he has tried to trade for Schnieder. This team looks like it has been patched together. So far MacT has done nothing to impress.. If the teams structure hasn't changed drastically come September the fans will be all over MacT.

Plus Struds, no one actually expects you to say anything bad about other players

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#13 Stack Pad Save
July 05 2013, 04:39PM
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@cam

Goaltending is not the biggest issue for the Oilers. Also there was no chance the Oilers had at upgrading the net.

The 2 biggest holes remain a big 2nd line center and a top pairing d-man...After today and the draft I was hoping one of those holes would be filled.

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#14 Rocket
July 05 2013, 04:39PM
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Jason I think you nailed it with "compete level".

The players they brought in seem to have lots of it. Hopefully it rubs off on some other Oilers.

MacT made some pretty good signings today. Just a little bit of TCB cleaning up Tambo's mess.

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#15 Smokey
July 05 2013, 04:40PM
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Im being realistic. The defence is better, we can go into the season knowing we got depth there, but right now we have 4 holes up front. I'll give MacT time to get er done. We still need a top six forward if Hemsky is out. A third line 2 way forward since it might appear they are walking away possibly from Jones. And the 4rth line needs a center and and winger. Smytty will be doing his farewell tour. Brown is your 13th. The other two guys we picked up are tweeners.

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#16 DigDeepNBleedBlue
July 05 2013, 04:40PM
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The day, so far, is a good day. It all helps.

IMO, they still need a second and a third liner.

D can always be more upgraded. Like Ference,though. A lot.

Goalie situation looks good for the year. If Dubbie falters we're pucked. But, I have faith the two can pull out a good season.

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#17 Rocket
July 05 2013, 04:41PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Very interesting day.

I wish Mac T could have got the Bobby Ryan deal. I would trade Paajarvi, a first overall pick and a D prospect for Bobby Ryan

Ha! Hilarious. That's exactly the same trade proposal I made earlier in the day on another post. Great minds think alike? Or fools seldom differ?

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#18 Smokey
July 05 2013, 04:44PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Very interesting day.

I wish Mac T could have got the Bobby Ryan deal. I would trade Paajarvi, a first overall pick and a D prospect for Bobby Ryan

Yak and Ebs are slotted in his position.

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#19 Stack Pad Save
July 05 2013, 04:46PM
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@Rocket

It's almost identical to Ottawa's and if the pot needed to be sweetened to get the deal done in conference I would have added a second pick or a better prospect ... It worked for me on NHL 12 when I tried it there like 8 months ago as well ....

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#20 Smokey
July 05 2013, 04:49PM
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Ron Burgundy wrote:

Liked all the signings today - a good start. Would have preferred Khudobin instead of Labarbera but there's always next year.

I'm even happier though at what MacT didn't do. Clarkson, clowe, Horton, Bozak, etc., etc. Sure we paid a little more than some of the new guys are probably worth, but it wasn't a Leaf-style overpay and none of the terms are outlandish. I only see one deal I'm jealous of - Stalberg - but you can't win them all.

Some work to do still, but this is encouraging. Not hating the MacT era.

I woulda like Kubodin too, but hes a vet of 21 NHL games. I think Labarbera is better. I rated off season goalies at Emery, Bryz, LB, Kubby. We got a darn good tender.

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#21 russ99
July 05 2013, 04:50PM
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Good start for MacT today, we need to realize that all the FA's don't sign the first day.

I'd love to see either Cooke or Grabovski come in to center the third line, and a few more lower cost big players to compete for a bottom six spot.

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#22 Stack Pad Save
July 05 2013, 04:50PM
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@Smokey

I think LaBarbra is hugely underrated as a back-up. Plus I think this keeps stability in the net behind Dubnyk ... Which IMO will make him a better goalie.

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#23 bazmagoo
July 05 2013, 04:57PM
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Ference and Gordon are great pick ups. Ference is a solid piece to add to our top 4 and Gordon is the 3rd line centre I wanted them to add. Can't really see many others moves happening on d, unless it's Nick Schultz moving out for some one bigger.

Smid - Petry, Ference - J Schultz, Klefbom/Marincin/Belov - N Schultz looks like an improved top 6 to me. Ideally I'd like N Schultz to be more of a banger/bigger body but that's just my opinion.

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#24 Ambassador humantorch
July 05 2013, 04:57PM
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That Ference contract is Tambellini-esque.

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#25 cam
July 05 2013, 04:58PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Goaltending is not the biggest issue for the Oilers. Also there was no chance the Oilers had at upgrading the net.

The 2 biggest holes remain a big 2nd line center and a top pairing d-man...After today and the draft I was hoping one of those holes would be filled.

I like Ference, but no confidence in Dubnyk $ Labarbra. Maybe it just because Dube has only really shown much in this past shortened season. We have now gone through Free agency and draft and NO BOLD moves.. MacT did it to himself. Also NO confidence in Sam as second line center. This team has a long way to go and many, many holes to fill. Trading Horcoff was good, but not bold and if he can trade Hemmer that would also be good, but not BOLD. Just my arm chair thoughts

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#26 Smokey
July 05 2013, 05:08PM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

That Ference contract is Tambellini-esque.

Top 4 dman on a SCF's team. Tambo would of signed Ballard. Ference may eventual be a number 6 in 4 years. Numbers are reasonable, term is a bit long.

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#27 madjam
July 05 2013, 05:16PM
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Were any of these acquisitions our A or B options to begin with ? From that aspect I feel we did subpar . Will they as a group make us better than last year ? Once again debateable . So far I feel we are still not as good as last season with these replacements, and we are going into a tougher division next season and will have too be much better not just a tad better . They are lower talents than I was expecting and they did not come cheaply either , and I don't think any was our first try option .

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#28 Stephen Craig
July 05 2013, 05:22PM
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I have been reading these blogs for a while now and it seems as though most of you don't understand a few things. Getting rid of Horcoff without having to pay any of his salary would have been BOLD enough, not to mention the fact that he got a young D and a Draft pick. for about a month now most of these people on blogs didn't even think it was possible for us to trade Horcoff for a bag of pucks, not to mention not retaining ANY of his salary.

Missing out on all these trades?? You think its all mac t's fault that we don't pick up bobby Ryan or Clarkson because he F'd up? Did you ever think that maybe they just didn't want to play here? a team that has been in last place for years now, doesn't sound to appealing to me.

I think Mac T is doing great as GM and thank god he isnt listening to most of this crap that people are writing. Who are you to define what is Bold and Good. Nothing will ever be good enough.

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#29 Rocket
July 05 2013, 05:25PM
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@Stephen Craig

Thanks for checking in Stephen. Your optimism is always appreciated.

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#30 Smokey
July 05 2013, 05:30PM
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Beniot Pouliot signed for a one year 1.3mil. Not the greatest competor, but a 6'3 215 3rd line forward who can chip in 30 points woulda been nice. Could we not have done better?

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#31 Manfly
July 05 2013, 05:35PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Very interesting day.

I wish Mac T could have got the Bobby Ryan deal. I would trade Paajarvi, a first overall pick and a D prospect for Bobby Ryan

not me...way too much for Bobby Ryan!

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#32 Manfly
July 05 2013, 05:35PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Very interesting day.

I wish Mac T could have got the Bobby Ryan deal. I would trade Paajarvi, a first overall pick and a D prospect for Bobby Ryan

not me...way too much for Bobby Ryan!

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#33 Rama Lama
July 05 2013, 05:36PM
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I'm still stumped by all the signings, only Ference seems somewhat understandable, and even that one is a little confunding?

OK we need defense, I get that. Ference is small, not overly fast, not described as a puck mover, so I guess he falls into the good defender category at the young age of 34. If we wanted that kind of player why not just go our and get Tom Gilbert? He is younger, cheaper, and bigger.

The rest of them are nobodys and will never amount to much of anything. I do like Boyd Gordon seems like a good third line guy..........but since when are third line guys worth 3 Million a year.

I like that Mac T is trying to please some of critics by doing something, but I do not hope that he is doing this because he thinks these players will change our fortunes.

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#34 Rocket
July 05 2013, 05:37PM
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Iginla to Boston? Is this true?

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#35 OilClog
July 05 2013, 05:37PM
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Bold would be bringing in Iginla, if any of the rumors are true.

The drama that would ensue.. amazing!

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#36 Harlem struggle
July 05 2013, 05:45PM
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Another long season for us oiler fans no playoffs again

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#37 Johe
July 05 2013, 05:48PM
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If not Coburn out of Philly, why not Hartnell? Seems to be exactly what MacTavish is looking for in a 2LW. Philly has good young forwards that could take some of his minutes, and the cap relief has to be attractive. What's a reasonable trade?

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#38 Smokey
July 05 2013, 05:53PM
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Could we have not gotten Lapierre or Pouliot or even Matt Cooke. Either we are striking out again, or theres a bigger fish on a hook via trade. Lappy and Pou went for peanuts, ones the ass we've always wanted. The other can produce in bottom six role.

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#39 Manfly
July 05 2013, 05:54PM
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Harlem struggle wrote:

Another long season for us oiler fans no playoffs again

care to tell us a little more as to why you feel this way?

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#40 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 05 2013, 05:57PM
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Manfly wrote:

care to tell us a little more as to why you feel this way?

its july 5, time to panic. obviously

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#41 Virtual_Xi
July 05 2013, 05:57PM
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I'm not going to complain about adding 3/4/5 dman like ferrence, but unfortunately it doesn't fix the problem of having a 1/2 dman to eat big minutes....when every defender on the oilers keeps playing up a spot, dubnyk isn't going to do any better. you can only stop so many quality scoring chances when our back 6 is giving them up like a sieve.

on the flip side, j. schultz will have realized what it's like to play a full season of pro hockey, and I expect him to come into camp stronger and more focused.

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#42 admiralmark
July 05 2013, 05:58PM
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@Rama Lama

You do realize Ference was a 2nd pairing D man on a very good team in Boston? You have to think he is good enough for the Oilers D? Only problem is its probably 1 year too long... but in 3 years from now the cap will have likely gone up $10 Mill+ and he will make a fine 3rd pairing D.

Now hopefully MacT can pull off a trade of some signifigance to get tougher in our top 6.. If he does this then I will consider his job admirable all things considered...

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#43 Harlem struggle
July 05 2013, 05:59PM
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Should trade for Ryan miller a proven #1 goalie Dubnyk is not the answer let labarbra push him and see what Happens. Want to know what is going to happen 8 years without Any playoff action! Go Oilers!

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#44 westcoastoil
July 05 2013, 06:02PM
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Johe wrote:

If not Coburn out of Philly, why not Hartnell? Seems to be exactly what MacTavish is looking for in a 2LW. Philly has good young forwards that could take some of his minutes, and the cap relief has to be attractive. What's a reasonable trade?

With the signing of Ference, I don't see the need for Coburn unless there is a D going back the other way (Schultz Sr.?).

Hartnell would have to waive his NTC, but i agree he would slot in perfectly for the 2LW spot

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#45 Harlem struggle
July 05 2013, 06:05PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

its july 5, time to panic. obviously

Just saying we need to sign some proven winners to teach These kids How to win! It's getting old we have so much talent with no results.

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#46 wigswag
July 05 2013, 06:06PM
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@Rama Lama

From all accounts Ference is a hard to play agains Dman. That is what the oilers need.

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#47 fig pucker
July 05 2013, 06:08PM
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ferrence is a solid blue liner, he has leadership which will be usefull with horc gone, and he's been to the dance before and can teach some of our young players how to win, pleased with this signing. in terms of blaming mact for seguin or ryan not showing up, these players would have filled big holes on our roster, so not to hear any rumblings that we were even interested in them makes me scratch my head. there are a few teams with cap issues we can only hope mact is working hard to "help them with their problem" and how about an offer sheat to peterangelo, if he can swing it major problem solved. at the very least i want to hear that the oilers are aggressively pursuing some of these options.

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#48 smokey
July 05 2013, 06:14PM
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Lebrun said Clarkson left money on the table. Did MacT offer 6 mil x 7 years? Scary....I wonder what was the backup plan? I don't see Ottawa overpaying like that.

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#49 Rama Lama
July 05 2013, 06:41PM
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wigswag wrote:

From all accounts Ference is a hard to play agains Dman. That is what the oilers need.

If that is all he has going for him.........god help us. What I want to hear is that he is a great puck mover, PP specialist, and mean on top.

I will cut him some slack, but there had to be better options out there?

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#50 madjam
July 05 2013, 06:42PM
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Changing Perspective : Is there anything there in todays acquisitions that excite you ? Appears on the surface to be only a small sample of a new base , certainly not enough to get very excited about yet . I suspect MacT. will now turn his attention to adding more quality personnel to that still unfinished base, the kind that will create excitement .I certainly hope so . We need a more successful stage two to create a contender and some excitement .

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