UPDATED: OILERS SIGN SIX...

Jason Gregor
July 05 2013 11:25AM

Andrew Ference (@FerKnuckle) tweeted this picture of himself at 10:15 a.m, officially announcing he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Safe to say he grew up an Oilers fan, and easily the best way to announce you've signed with a team.

The Oilers have also signed centre Boyd Gordon and goalie Jason LaBarbera.

I mentioned all three of them as leading candidates to fill some of the Oilers holes.

Ference signed a four-year deal at $3.25 mill/season. That is one year longer than most expected, but that is usually the case in free agency. Teams either overpay in price or in term.

Gordon signed a three year deal, terms **edit** just announced at $3 million/season. Gordon is very good in the faceoff dot. He isn't flashy, but he's solid defensively and a huge upgrade over Eric Belanger.

LaBarbera got a one-year deal and he trains with Dubnyk, so they will get along well and push one another. LaBarbera is 33 years of age and his last four seasons he's had SV% of .923, .912, .909 and .928 in Phoenix. He's mainly a backup.

None of these are huge signings, but they are upgrades over the guys they replaced.

Gordon> Belanger
LaBarbera> Khabibulin, mainly because he stays healthy.
Ference>Peckham,Fistric.

You need to improve every element of your team if you hope to become successful, so I'd say so far MacTavish has done a decent job. He still needs to find another centre, some size in this top-six and likely a big, strong physical D-man.

I received this text from an eastern conference player when I asked about Ference, "He will help them. He isn't naturally skilled, but has tremendous work ethic. Harder to play against than people think."

I suspect the Oilers next big moves will come via trade. With Ottawa losing Alfredsson to Detroit, they have a void at RW. The Ales Hemsky rumours to Ottawa will heat up. Also, Phoenix needs a RW with skill.

UPDATE...

The Oilers just signed free agent winger Jesse Joensuu. He is 6'4 and 225 pounds. He's played 67 NHL games with the Islanders and was the 60th pick in 2006 draft.

(3:00) The Oilers have signed Ryan Hamilton and Wil Acton to two-year contracts. Both played for Eakins with the Toronto Marlies last year. Team stats are here...

Andrew Ference will become the 10th player (I think)  to play for the Oilers after suiting up for the Flames.

Mark Lamb played 235 games, including playoffs, while Dwayne Roloson (211) Frank Musil (77), Jim Vandermeer (62), Kent Nilsson (44) Aaron Johnson (19), Len Esau (14) German Titov (12) and Nick Fotiu (1) were the others.

Are there others?

Also Lamb only played one game for Calgary before playing in Detroit for 22 and then in Edmonton, but he still did play for both teams.

**UPDATE...Michel Petit played 18 for the Oilers after playing for Flames. Jim Dowd played 75 games with Oilers after being in Calgary. Brian Glynn played 105 games.*** Keep them coming.

QUICK THOUGHTS ON OTHER DEALS...

  • Columbus gives Horton a 7-year deal, but he won't be able to play until December. Wow.
     
  • Typical Flames. They could have picked up Kris Russell on waivers, elected not to, and then traded a 5th round pick to St.Louis today to get him. That is a head scratcher.
     
  • Haven't heard much from the Kings or Blues. Both are interested in Iginla.
     
  • Doesn't sound like Ryan Jones will be coming back to Edmonton.
     
  • Shawn Horcoff will be on my show today at 4 p.m. to talk about his time in Edmonton.
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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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#51 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 05 2013, 12:22PM
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If I were MacT, I'd be licking my chops looking at Philly's books.

EDIT: I think I'd look at trying to snatch Brayden Schenn from Philly. He holds scoring records in the world juniors and he's got some balls on him - I remember him crosschecking Sid in the back after he came back from his concussion problems. Not really a classy move, but the Oilers need to get nastier, and Schenn could be groomed for a 3/4 center role. I really doubt Philly lets him go with his contract though, they'll be looking to unload bigger numbers.

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#52 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 12:24PM
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vetinari wrote:

Gordon may have got an extra 20-25% on a contract but the term isn't too bad considering we needed to replace Belanger/Horcoff... Ference is a good price with probably a bonus year in term (would have loved to see a three year deal with him)... LaBarbera is a decent addition and Joensuu adds some beef in the bottom six... I suspect Joensuu was added as a result of input from Eakins since Joensuu's been an AHL regular for years... none of these contracts are boat anchors, and none of them have NTC's if we ever have to move someone... still need an AHL/NHL#3 goalie, another depth centre, and perhaps a defensive forward... suspect trades within the next 48 hours to fill holes... and Philly is over the cap-- go trade us a defenceman, MacT!

I would like to see a physical top six player perhaps a second line centre.Another top four d-man.Some goalie prospects to fill the cupboards.

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#53 TeeVee
July 05 2013, 12:25PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

If I were MacT, I'd be licking my chops looking at Philly's books.

EDIT: I think I'd look at trying to snatch Brayden Schenn from Philly. He holds scoring records in the world juniors and he's got some balls on him - I remember him crosschecking Sid in the back after he came back from his concussion problems. Not really a classy move, but the Oilers need to get nastier, and Schenn could be groomed for a 3/4 center role. I really doubt Philly lets him go with his contract though, they'll be looking to unload bigger numbers.

San Jose is also over their cap.

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#54 TonyT
July 05 2013, 12:25PM
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I too would like a Filpulla, I would even take Jagr for a year, as I believe he'd have a lot to teach the kids.

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#55 Smokey
July 05 2013, 12:25PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Horcoff is making 5.5 Gordon at 3 is cheaper and better.

Gordon is better in faceoff's and what else. I don't watch the caps enough. 3 mil for 0 offence.

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#56 Old Soldier
July 05 2013, 12:29PM
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I dont understand the criticism of the signings so far. The reality of Free Agent Frenzy is that every single signing is an overpayment to some degree. You have 30 teams all fighting for the same small group of players, and no individual team has a foot up on everyone else anymore.

The Oilers had holes to fill, and there is little argument that each signing is an improvement to some degree over the previous player. Gordon is an overpayment, but a big strong solid 2 way center isnt going to come cheap today, same with Ferrence. I really like the Ferrence signing, as much for his presence in the dressing room than for his on ice skills, and that is no slight to him either. Watching the playoffs this year, it can be argued that he and his partner ended up taking over top pairing from Chara.

Perhaps the best move so far, has to be the Horcoff trade, not so much for the return, but the fact is that they got that contract off the books without having to use a compliance buyout, which is still good for another year.

I think one of the big issues for teams moving forward to the next CBA negotiations, is how many and how frequently teams are using buyouts. When you have teams signing Clarkson for 7 years, Horton for 7 years and Giroux for 8 years, these teams will be regretting some of these contracts in 3 or 4 years, and will undoubtably use buyouts in some cases. As easy as that seems to fix the problem, those buyouts add up, if you buyout 1 player every summer, considering each buyout takes twice the term and does count against the cap (not the compliance ones), you could in a few years, have 4 or 5 buyouts taking up a big chunk of cap space. And there is no fix for that.

I would rather teams like the Oilers overpay in Cap hit, than in Term. A 4 year contract is easier to deal with than a 7 or 8 year, and especially when talking about players entering their 30's.

There hasnt been a single contract signed in the last 4 years that had a term greater than 5 years, that hasnt come back to haunt the team ....

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#57 Mikey
July 05 2013, 12:30PM
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Smokey wrote:

Gordon is better in faceoff's and what else. I don't watch the caps enough. 3 mil for 0 offence.

Must not watch much hockey. He was in Phoenix.

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#58 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 12:32PM
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Smokey wrote:

Gordon is better in faceoff's and what else. I don't watch the caps enough. 3 mil for 0 offence.

Boyd Gordon had a 52% Corsi% with a 32.6% ZoneStart.

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#59 Ducey
July 05 2013, 12:33PM
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Smokey wrote:

Gordon is better in faceoff's and what else. I don't watch the caps enough. 3 mil for 0 offence.

Go read Willis' analysis in the thread below.

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#60 Walter Sobchak
July 05 2013, 12:33PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

If I were MacT, I'd be licking my chops looking at Philly's books.

EDIT: I think I'd look at trying to snatch Brayden Schenn from Philly. He holds scoring records in the world juniors and he's got some balls on him - I remember him crosschecking Sid in the back after he came back from his concussion problems. Not really a classy move, but the Oilers need to get nastier, and Schenn could be groomed for a 3/4 center role. I really doubt Philly lets him go with his contract though, they'll be looking to unload bigger numbers.

I think Philly is primed for a big trade with the Oilers. I would prefer Couturier but wouldn't mind Scheen at all.

They might make a huge multiple player deal for Colburn and Couturier.

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#61 Smokey
July 05 2013, 12:36PM
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Mikey wrote:

Must not watch much hockey. He was in Phoenix.

I pretty much don't watch Pheonix, lol, do you? I got a choice between paint drying and yotes. Easy choice, go paint.

These days I watch Oil, Flamers, and eastern contenders. I just don't get into Pheonix games. That entire division was brutal.

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#62 Smokey
July 05 2013, 12:38PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Boyd Gordon had a 52% Corsi% with a 32.6% ZoneStart.

Impressive. Me likey. But 3 mil? I guess we still have to overpay

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#63 John Chambers
July 05 2013, 12:39PM
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@Old Soldier

Truly.

I mean if any of these guys fall off a cliff two years from now the buyout is only a $1M burden on the books.

We just bought depth ... Can anyone argue we don't need to invest in depth at C and on D?

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#64 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 12:40PM
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Smokey wrote:

Impressive. Me likey. But 3 mil? I guess we still have to overpay

Free agent sure pay a bit more.You are not giving up anything.Don't forget out last 3C was making 5.5

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#65 Bucknuck
July 05 2013, 12:42PM
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I would be SHOCKED if Couturier ended up traded anywhere. He's a value contract on a cap team. They need to shed salary, so I would suspect he's close to untouchable at his price point for this season. I could see him getting traded at the deadline... maybe... not now.

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#66 2004Z06
July 05 2013, 12:46PM
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Ducey wrote:

We don't have third and fourth lines yet!

Right now they have:

Hall - Nuge - Eberle

Yak - Gags - ?

MPS - Gordon - ?

Smyth - ? - ?.

There is Brown, who would be best as a part timer, Hemsky is tradebait, and Lander needs another year in the AHL. That's it.

Relax. Season doesn't start til September. Mac T will get it done!

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#67 OilersBrass
July 05 2013, 12:48PM
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Oil sign Will Acton, centre from the Marlies

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#68 jonny94
July 05 2013, 12:51PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

Oil sign Will Acton, centre from the Marlies

Says Will Acton is a left winger?

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#69 jonny94
July 05 2013, 12:52PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

Oil sign Will Acton, centre from the Marlies

Never mind you're correct.

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#70 fonzi
July 05 2013, 12:53PM
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Steve Smith played for both.

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#71 BingBong
July 05 2013, 12:55PM
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Can someone explain the B. Gordon signing for me? $3 Million per year, for 3 years, for a 4th line center? Great intangibles it seems, but little to no offense. Didn't MacT just stress that the bottom 6 need to be a threat on offense once in a while? So maybe he'll play more minutes here on the 3rd line, but still...

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#72 Eddie Shore
July 05 2013, 12:57PM
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RNH, Gagner, Gordon, Lander/Acton. That is not going to be good enough, not to mention Gagner hasn't even signed yet.

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#73 John Chambers
July 05 2013, 12:57PM
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fonzi wrote:

Steve Smith played for both.

So did Grant Fuhr.

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#74 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 12:58PM
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OILERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH C WILL ACTON

The Oilers have agreed to terms with centre Will Acton on a two-year deal.

Acton, a native of Stouffville, Ontario, is 25 years old and is listed at 6'2" 190 lbs. Last season, in 67 games with the Torto Marlies of the AHL he had eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points and 60 penalty minutes.

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#75 bazmagoo
July 05 2013, 12:58PM
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@Bucknuck

Ya very unlikely Couturier or Schenn get moved in my opinion. I could see Philly needing to move Coburn if they decide to land a big free agent like Iginla or someone else.

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#76 Bucknuck
July 05 2013, 12:58PM
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@John Chambers

Yes but both Smith and Fuhr (and Staios) played for the flames AFTER the Oilers. The question was who played for Flames before coming to Edmonton.

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#77 Oilfan
July 05 2013, 12:59PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

RNH, Gagner, Gordon, Lander/Acton. That is not going to be good enough, not to mention Gagner hasn't even signed yet.

The even bigger concern is that the first game of the season is tonight and the current roster is final with no options to adjust. No, wait...

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#78 OilersBrass
July 05 2013, 12:59PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

RNH, Gagner, Gordon, Lander/Acton. That is not going to be good enough, not to mention Gagner hasn't even signed yet.

I'm assuming Acton is just depth for the farm team.

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#79 Lochenzo
July 05 2013, 01:01PM
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As per MacT's previous discussion of moving Sam Gagner to the wing, there are still a couple of guys out there that would be great in the #2 hole that offer a more complete game than Sam.

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#80 Walter Sobchak
July 05 2013, 01:04PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I would be SHOCKED if Couturier ended up traded anywhere. He's a value contract on a cap team. They need to shed salary, so I would suspect he's close to untouchable at his price point for this season. I could see him getting traded at the deadline... maybe... not now.

Maybe not Philly, but the Oilers centre depth is Gordon and Gagner.

If the Oilers go into the season without a legit #2 centre the Oilers will be a lottery team by the middle of December.

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#81 bazmagoo
July 05 2013, 01:06PM
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Would like to see the Oil pick up Frazer McLaren and Ryan Hamilton from the Toronto system, both big boys on the upswing in their careers, familiar with Eakins and could potentially fit a need on the team. McLaren would give us a legit 4th line winger with bungalows with bad intentions (could alternate with Brown in and out of the lineup), Hamilton is a big boy putting up some solid numbers in the minors and not looking out of place in the big leagues.

Both could be had for around a million per year, so not a lot of risk involved.

*edit* Frazer McLaren resigned with the Leafs - boo

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#82 Shifty203
July 05 2013, 01:06PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Maybe not Philly, but the Oilers centre depth is Gordon and Gagner.

If the Oilers go into the season without a legit #2 centre the Oilers will be a lottery team by the middle of December.

I see them picking up another #2 center through trade, and moving Gag's to the wing. Gives them depth at center incase of injury's, especially if RNH isn't ready to start the season.

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#83 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 05 2013, 01:07PM
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@bazmagoo

Mclaren signed somewhere already, can't remember where though

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#84 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:09PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

I'm assuming Acton is just depth for the farm team.

I'm pretty sure his last coach saw something he liked in him.Perhaps 4C here or a call up.

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#85 Bucknuck
July 05 2013, 01:10PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Maybe not Philly, but the Oilers centre depth is Gordon and Gagner.

If the Oilers go into the season without a legit #2 centre the Oilers will be a lottery team by the middle of December.

Well obviously the oilers need more centre depth (hence the overpay to land Gordon). Couturier would be a great fit, but the Flyers aren't trading him to the Oilers without a significant overpay (like Yak or Eberle). I wouldn't make that trade.

Gagner is a legitimate #2 Centre.

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#86 Eddie Shore
July 05 2013, 01:10PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

I'm assuming Acton is just depth for the farm team.

Stauffer implying he and Lander will battle for the 4C role.. Hopefully not.

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#87 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:12PM
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NHL on TSN ‏@NHLonTSN 38s Valteri Filppula signs with Tampa Bay – 5 years, $5 million per year. #TSN #NHL

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#88 Mikey
July 05 2013, 01:12PM
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Smokey wrote:

I pretty much don't watch Pheonix, lol, do you? I got a choice between paint drying and yotes. Easy choice, go paint.

These days I watch Oil, Flamers, and eastern contenders. I just don't get into Pheonix games. That entire division was brutal.

Brutal is right. But flame games?

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#89 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:13PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Well obviously the oilers need more centre depth (hence the overpay to land Gordon). Couturier would be a great fit, but the Flyers aren't trading him to the Oilers without a significant overpay (like Yak or Eberle). I wouldn't make that trade.

Gagner is a legitimate #2 Centre.

I agree Gagner is a legitimate #2 Centre.On a non-playoff team.

On a contender not so much.

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#90 Walter Sobchak
July 05 2013, 01:15PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

I see them picking up another #2 center through trade, and moving Gag's to the wing. Gives them depth at center incase of injury's, especially if RNH isn't ready to start the season.

I agree, RNH out till December at the longest. I think the Oilers want Gagner on the wing, but will play him at centre till RNH comes back.

The Oilers need a big, good two way centre who can win draws PK and get you around 40 points.

Two teams jump out and that's Philly and CBJ.

The cost will be high as bucknuck mentions Phillys cap hit is an issue but I think taking back Salary from Philly will get it done.

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#91 OilersBrass
July 05 2013, 01:16PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm pretty sure his last coach saw something he liked in him.Perhaps 4C here or a call up.

I've been happy with all Mac Ts signings so far, but this is the kind of crap I don't like. They should be bringing in the BPA, not some AHL player that the Eakins coached before.

This is like when Renney brought in Potter, sure Potter is a cheap fix but he isn't really that much help to the team. Once again the coach brings in a player isn't that great.

Also everyone go watch Actons fights with Cormier, and Foligno.

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#92 Dog Train
July 05 2013, 01:17PM
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Smart and calculated so far by Mactavish: -Labarbera makes sense because of the price and his relationship with Dubnyk. I prefer him to Emery because he doesn't bring the expectation of being a starter but he can still push Dubnyk -Ference is a tremendous fit. The term is a bit long but the price is reasonable and his contributions to the team will go far beyond the ice. The Oilers acquired a true winner. -We overpaid for Gordon but we needed at least one centre. The contract is far from a boat anchor and he brings a lot of what we need in the bottom six. Gordon is better than Belanger and likely a bit behind Horcoff when you consider Horcoff is the superior offensive player. Still, Gordon is much cheaper so it was a good move. It would be ideal if we can trade for a third line centre and bump Gordon down the 4th line but we at least need another bottom six centre. -Joenssu is big, young and Finnish so he can fill Teemu's spot for now.

All in all, a solid start for Mactavish. Still lots of work to do if this team is compete for a playoff spot but perhaps the best news of the day is that we didn't do anything stupid that will hurt us down the line. Like paying over 5 million dollars in cap hit over 7 years to a player who has never scored 50 points before or signing an injury prone player to a 7 year deal.

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#93 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:19PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

I've been happy with all Mac Ts signings so far, but this is the kind of crap I don't like. They should be bringing in the BPA, not some AHL player that the Eakins coached before.

This is like when Renney brought in Potter, sure Potter is a cheap fix but he isn't really that much help to the team. Once again the coach brings in a player isn't that great.

Also everyone go watch Actons fights with Cormier, and Foligno.

The team lacks centre depth.Mac-T brought in centre depth.What is wrong with that?

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#94 OilersBrass
July 05 2013, 01:21PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The team lacks centre depth.Mac-T brought in centre depth.What is wrong with that?

Depth for AHL is fine, Grocery Stick said he's going to be competing with Lander for a spot on the NHL team, there's easily a better player out there suited for that spot.

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#95 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 05 2013, 01:21PM
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@Spydyr

This, we're paper thin on centermen now. Another bottom 6 center and an AHL/#3 goalie would make me happy, center and goal are our thinnest positions right now.

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#96 Gretzlover
July 05 2013, 01:24PM
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Oilers close on two year 6 mill contract on JAROME!!!! Suck that flames!

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#97 Eddie Shore
July 05 2013, 01:27PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The team lacks centre depth.Mac-T brought in centre depth.What is wrong with that?

There's no depth yet. Horcoff and Belanger gone and Gordon and Acton in. Is our "depth at centre" any better today than it was yesterday? I don't think it is. Not yet anyway.

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#98 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:27PM
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Gretzlover wrote:

Oilers close on two year 6 mill contract on JAROME!!!! Suck that flames!

Please no just no

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#99 OilersBrass
July 05 2013, 01:29PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

There's no depth yet. Horcoff and Belanger gone and Gordon and Acton in. Is our "depth at centre" any better today than it was yesterday? I don't think it is. Not yet anyway.

EXACTLY! And there are more players available other than Acton who would add more depth.

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#100 Spydyr
July 05 2013, 01:29PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

There's no depth yet. Horcoff and Belanger gone and Gordon and Acton in. Is our "depth at centre" any better today than it was yesterday? I don't think it is. Not yet anyway.

IMO there will be trades to bring in a 2C and a top 4 D. After everything dies down and teams trade to fill needs.There are some teams pushing the cap after today.Nothing wrong with having some depth at C on the farm.

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