The Edmonton Oilers: Today & Tomorrow

Jonathan Willis
July 08 2013 11:31AM

 

Craig MacTavish has been busy in free agency, substantially altering the makeup of his team. It's a sign of where he started from that there's still substantial work to do to improve the Oilers' roster.

Forward Depth Chart

The chart above is my interpretation of the current Oilers' North American roster. I have included only players with an NHL component to their deal, and omitted players expected to be overseas. How does it look?

One thing that comes to mind is that there should be no shortage of competition for depth roles, something the team lacked a year ago. Anton Lander is pencilled in as fourth line centre, but players like Andrew Miller, Mark Arcobello and Will Acton will all be in the mix. Ryan Hamilton, Toni Rajala and Ben Eager should all also compete for playing time as things currently stand. Depth, particularly on the wings, is better than it was a year ago.

Additionally, in Boyd Gordon, Craig MacTavish located the best UFA replacement available for Shawn Horcoff.

But it isn't good enough. The top line is fine - it was fine last year, and it's fine now. Magnus Paajarvi is a stretch as a second-line winger at this point in his career, particularly on a line featuring Nail Yakupov, whose overall game is still rounding into NHL form. Jesse Joensuu, an occasional New York Islander in the past, is a long way from a sure thing on the third line. There's likely still an Ales Hemsky trade coming, at which point the team needs someone to fill his spot - Ryan Jones can in a pinch, but asking Jones to play that role for 82 games is asking for trouble. Anton Lander's riding an end-of-season hot streak but likely should start 2013-14 in the minors.

Ideally, the team should add three more bodies to the mix:

Second-line left wing - a guy who in a perfect world adds size, aggressiveness, and a two-way game is going to be difficult to find and almost certainly needs to come via trade. My guess is that the Oilers can probably land a player with two out of three for not too much - as examples, R.J. Umberger would add a responsible two-way presence and a 6'2", 220 pound frame while a winger like Ryan Malone (if willing to accept a trade West) would bring all three but comes with a significant injury tag. Finding a perfect fit will be very hard to do, especially without paying a fortune.

Third-line right wing shouldn't be too hard to acquire - he's likely the player that comes back when Hemsky gets shipped out of town. This is another position that probably needs to be filled via trade, as the UFA crop is thin on players who can kill penalties and handle a ton of defensive responsibility in this role.

Fourth-line centre is a spot the team should be able to fill. Players like David Steckel, Tim Brent, and Manny Malhotra are still unsigned, and would significantly shore up the Oilers depth, allowing them to continue developing Lander in the AHL for the beginning of 2013-14.

Defensive Depth Chart

As before, my interpretation of where the Oilers are, this time on the blue line and in net. Players with an asterisk are left-shooting defencement slotted in at the right-hand side for the purposes of this exercise.

Goaltending is relatively solid. Dubnyk is a respectable number one, LaBarbera a cheap and effective backup, and Bachman a number three with relatively extensive NHL experience. LaBarbera is seen as a pure backup in some quarters, but that likely isn't totally fair - Ilya Bryzgalov and Mike Smith have been fairly difficult to supplant in recent years, and LaBarbera's NHL numbers over that span indicate a guy who could play more without hurting his team. He is a real option should Dubnyk struggle or get hurt.

Defensively, depth is good, particularly on the left side. A quick note about Lee Moffie - he isn't signed, but given that the Oilers traded for him it's a reasonable expectation that he will be. There are eight defenders on my NHL roster at the moment, but I fully expect Edmonton to go with fourteen forwards and seven defenders - it's a reasonable bet that the acquisition of Philip Larsen makes Corey Potter the odd man out. The AHL team should be bursting at the seams with recall options - Fedun (and possibly Potter, should he clear waivers and be assigned to Oklahoma) on the right side, Klefbom and Marincin for sure on the left. The problem is the top pairing: Petry and Smid struggled in the role last season. That means the Oilers have one slot to fill.

I have subtracted Nick Schultz from this equation, but Ladislav Smid is a player with significant trade value and could be out instead if the Oilers add a top-pairing player. Also worth noting: that player does not necessarily need to be a left-side defenceman - I have it set up that way because the pairing of Ference (or Nick Schultz) and Philip Larsen is one I would be more comfortable with than an Anton Belov/Justin Schultz pairing.

My guess is that this is why the Oilers were looking at Braydon Coburn. If they believe that Coburn is a similar player to Smid in many areas (especially as a physical presence in front of the net) but an upgrade in his ability to move the puck, than a Coburn/Petry top pairing makes some sense. That would leave Smid (or Andrew Ference) on a pairing with Justin Schultz, and Andrew Ference (or Nick Schultz) on third pairing duty with Philip Larsen. It still wouldn't be an ideal defence core because of the lack of a clear number one defenceman, but as a by-committee approach it really isn't bad.

The big, physical winger position is the one that has received most of the attention; the need for a new top-pairing defender might be the team's greatest actual weakness, as currently constructed.

Recently around the Nation Network

There is still much to do in Edmonton, but it appears things are done in Calgary:

It appears the Flames are finished window shopping for UFA's. Word is the club hasn't even bothered contacting Mason Raymond and probably the only other worthwhile player on the market given Calgary's needs is Mikhail Grabovski. Naturally, there hasn't been even a whisper that Calgary has any interest at all. So, absent any left field trades, what you see is likely what you get when it comes to the roster.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 LinkfromHyrule
July 08 2013, 11:36AM
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well, we have more depth I guess. The small moves have been made, but now it's time for bold! Bold but not stupid.... one would hope.

cue the crazy trade proposals

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#2 Supernova
July 08 2013, 11:40AM
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good article Jon.

whats your thoughts on

Hemsky (retain 50%) and Nick Schultz for T. Ruuttu

you retain 50% because carolina is pinched and they acquire to roster players for 1.

Edmonton gets its big body that can play top 6 minutes.

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#3 Rocket
July 08 2013, 11:42AM
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Well the defence is looking a little better at least. The forward bottom 6 still worries me though. any update on Sam Gagner?

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#4 The Real Scuba Steve
July 08 2013, 11:44AM
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If this is all he is going to do, and no more trades till training camp we are going to be the same or slightly better.

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#6 dunk7
July 08 2013, 11:54AM
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Supernova wrote:

good article Jon.

whats your thoughts on

Hemsky (retain 50%) and Nick Schultz for T. Ruuttu

you retain 50% because carolina is pinched and they acquire to roster players for 1.

Edmonton gets its big body that can play top 6 minutes.

Seriously? Don't think we need to give up Hemsky and Schultz to get Ruutu...but I'd also question why we'd want him (fragile, not a really a big body and not exactly a huge goal producer).

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#7 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 11:54AM
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What happened to bold? I get it's early but I thought something crazy would've happened by now

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#8 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 11:56AM
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JW, because Seguin was traded do you think that Boston would be willing to trade any other forwards? Lucic is at a hefty 6 million dollar price tag now, perhaps they're looking to shed cap in order to keep flexibility?

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#10 Will
July 08 2013, 12:00PM
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It was nice to see that in short work, Mac T brought back the grinder style guys that defined the Oilers he coached. As everyone says, The team we need is a combination of the old team and the new one, and this looks to be a huge step. At the very least the guy has secured a bunch of needed pieces and now whittled his needs down substantially.

I hope that second line left wing can come back via a Hemsky trade, and we can still nab a few free agents for the remaining needed pieces.

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#11 dunk7
July 08 2013, 12:01PM
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I'm more with what was suggested on the radio this morning. Make an offer to Alex Pietrangelo

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#12 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 12:03PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I very much doubt Boston has any interest in moving Lucic.

That was more of an example rather than a trade proposal, I'm just spit balling here. My idea of bold involves one of the kids being moved, maybe that's too bold for MacT

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#13 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 12:05PM
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dunk7 wrote:

I'm more with what was suggested on the radio this morning. Make an offer to Alex Pietrangelo

Any offer sheet that St. Louis wouldn't match would be an overpayment. Expect Pietrangelo to be resigned within the month. Chris Stewart meanwhile...

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#14 horndog77
July 08 2013, 12:09PM
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How about trading Hemsky and a forward prospect and a draft pick to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek. Both key players are entering there final years. That would solve the 2nd line LW and replacing Hemsky on the third side RW would not be that hard to do.

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#15 dunk7
July 08 2013, 12:09PM
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@Taylor Gang

Force their hand with Pietrangelo and then Chris Stewart is ripe for the picking ;-) They are pretty tight up against the cap as is.

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#16 Toro
July 08 2013, 12:12PM
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I think this team is no better then last years team at all, for this to be a playoff team alot more moves have to take place, and the idea of getting rid of Smid doesn't appeal to me at all especially if its only barely an upgrade, I could understand dealing him for a legit number 1 guy but for Coburn not worth it.

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#17 A-Mc
July 08 2013, 12:16PM
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I don't understand how a few of these writers (Willis and Lowtide, specifically) can be so high on Jeff Petry. He doesn't play nearly good enough to warrant a #2 position. I may even go so far as to say that, all things being equal at the start of this season, Justin Schultz will likely surpass Petry entirely. Hell i think Justin had a better year on the whole than Petry did last year, and Justin is a 1st year rookie.

My Top 2 would be Ference/Jschultz with Smid/Petry being #3/4. And under no circumstances would Ference drop down to #5 if we acquired a #1-2 defenseman. Ference can play both sides and has said so several times publicly. Petry would drop to my #5.

Coburn/Ference
Smid/JSchultz
NSchultz/Petry
?TBD?

As far as i gather from Twitter, TV and articles, The Coburn option is there because of salary cap issues. We wouldnt be acquiring him in a trade for something that sends similar salary back the other way (NSchultz 3.5m, Coburn 4.5m). Actually, Petry + Picks might be the asking price.

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#18 Sanaa Montana
July 08 2013, 12:16PM
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Gagner still a 2LC.

Since he has joined the Oilers and the Oilers invested in him, the team has sucked. As long as Gagner gets the opportunity he gets, the opposition will keep taking advantage of that opportunity as well.

Slot Boyd in at 2, he's pound for pound better then Gagner-silver spoon him the linemates Gagner would get and see how quick he makes that 3M look like an underpayment.

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#19 dawgtoy
July 08 2013, 12:17PM
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JW, do you think the Oilers would look at a Dustin Penner return?

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#20 Supernova
July 08 2013, 12:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It's not a bad thought - particularly since Carolina could use a veteran left-side D - but there are some issues with Ruutu. He isn't actually that big (6', 200 pounds) - he just plays a power forward style. He's also 30, has three years left in his deal and plays a style that always runs an injury risk.

I have a lot of time for the player, but I think I'm not sold he's an optimal fit.

I keep scouring the lists on best (could be) available power forward type that can play Top 6 to Top 9 minutes.

my list is;

Evander Kane- He & Seguin seem to have off ice issues Hartnell- ideal fit, cap crunch team Chris Stewart- Cap crunch Tuomo Ruuttu

Maybe one of the young guys in LA

but this list isnt long, maybe someone else can suggest or find something.

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#21 Smokey
July 08 2013, 12:17PM
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I like the Ference signing, gives us a legitimate NHL 3-5 defender according to how he was used in Boston, but the length is bad. I like rolling the dice on Belov, however the forwards are a concern.

Gordon is great addition, he gives us what we are severely lacking. Gritty two way shut down defender. People say we signed him for too much, but I see it as you pay your top 6 and your number 3 center. He`s a premier number 3 center that I assume had a lot of suitors. The price is palatable because your saving on Horcoff and he better defensively, and he`s not on the tale end of his career, he should be effective at the age he is. He knows how to get the puck out of the zone and send it the other way, and that is huge.

The Jonesuu is our Finnish component replacement. Big and faster the Harti and Petrell, the guys a beast. After that we got 3-4 holes. We still need a top 6 forward, a third line checking forward, and two fourth liners. If MacT passed on Pouliot, or Lapierre or some of the other value contracts in favor of resigning Jones for more money then he failed and badly. I like Jones but I like bigger bodies like Pouliot better, cause he produces more.

We are moderately better on defence, but not good enough to make the playoffs, and when you subtract Hemsky for the bad return we are rumoured to get, we are weaker in our entire forward group. Frankly I would bandaid the forward group with Jagr for 5 to 5.5 mil, and keep Hemsky. Who cares if its a one year overpay. At least we might have a chance at the playoffs. I know there are those who say well look at his playoff production. I thought Jagr looked ok, still drove possession (got no advanced stats to share) and was just a bit snakebit, but so were a lot of Bruins. Track record will show he should be at least a 50-55 point player if not more, and frankly whats the risk of one year`. People are suggesting Grabbo, but you gotta assume he wants 4 years at 3.5-4. I rather have a temporary fix that doesn`t hamstring you. Lets make the playoffs. Other then that what is left to augment our line-up.

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#22 Will
July 08 2013, 12:17PM
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Toro wrote:

I think this team is no better then last years team at all, for this to be a playoff team alot more moves have to take place, and the idea of getting rid of Smid doesn't appeal to me at all especially if its only barely an upgrade, I could understand dealing him for a legit number 1 guy but for Coburn not worth it.

This team is better than last year's team simply by virtue of Whitney and Belangier no longer being on it. Just as we got better with the simple subtraction of Habby as our number one, so to will we get better with the simple subtraction of those two players.

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#23 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 12:18PM
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Sign Grabovski in free agency, then trade Gagner in a package for a #1D. Grabovski is one of the hardest workers on the Maple Leafs so he would help with the identity change.

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#24 David
July 08 2013, 12:19PM
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How about Edmonton adding Mikhail Grabovski, into the 2/3 centre position? Either push Gagner to RW to fill the Hemsky hole (if someone will take him) OR Grabovski can push Gordon down to 4C which is really a better fit for him (replacing Belanger not Horc). 3 puck possession lines and a checking line might look pretty good.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
July 08 2013, 12:20PM
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Don't trust atoms. They make up everything.

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#26 Sanaa Montana
July 08 2013, 12:21PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Don't trust atoms. They make up everything.

I made up my mind, it doesn't matter.

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#27 Smokey
July 08 2013, 12:24PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Any offer sheet that St. Louis wouldn't match would be an overpayment. Expect Pietrangelo to be resigned within the month. Chris Stewart meanwhile...

What do you offer-sheet him to a 7 year x 9 million dollar contract. St. Louis might even match that. Offer sheets are stupid, they never work, and karma will bite you in the ars, cause someone will drive the price on RNH or Yak. Big N O.

And St. Louis have players and good contracts that other teams would want. I expect they will trade a Oshie, or Sobotka, or Berglund and retain Stewart and Pieterangelo.

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#28 Dulock
July 08 2013, 12:25PM
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JW,

What do you think of Antropov? 6'6" 240lbs and plays physical, 35-40 point player and can play any forward position (mostly C/RW though) on a 1 or 2 year deal?

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#29 PandaBearJelly
July 08 2013, 12:25PM
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my question is how do we fill 3 spots (two wings and a d) throught trade without creating more holes that we cant fill?

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#30 Matt
July 08 2013, 12:28PM
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If the Oilers started the season today, am I right in thinking that the only two players in the entire forward group who aren't Oilers-drafted-and-developed are Boyd Gordon and Mike Brown? Is that totally nuts? I can't think of any other team that has even *close* to that in home-grown talent.

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#31 WhattaMike
July 08 2013, 12:28PM
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As always JW, I like reading your stuff... That being said, I am with the idea of there being four such players needed...a top LW, a top 2nd line centre, a 4th line center and a tough/enforcer winger also for the 4th line...

The Oilers now have 21 guys signed and about $11 plus mil cap space so deals can be made and still there would be reasonable cap-space left. Of course this type cap-space now is while Hemsky is here then N. Schultz and Smid too...

Unless there is a great top defenceman deal in the works, I believe the Oilers are set in the 7 to 8 guys they got...even more so if Klefbom wows everyone at both camps (Sept Prospect Tournament/Training Camp.

The Oilers have many assets now to package for deals...such as future draft picks, Gagner (no good term contract worked out), MPS, Hemsky, Omark, Rajala, Hartikainen, Pitlick, Lander, Martindale, Musil, Gernat, Davidson,etc.

I agree with you JW that on defence it will be done by committee.

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#32 A-Mc
July 08 2013, 12:29PM
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PandaBearJelly wrote:

my question is how do we fill 3 spots (two wings and a d) throught trade without creating more holes that we cant fill?

If you're trading with a team that is bouncing off the salary cap, they dont necessarily want a player/salary back in return. In this instance, picks are your currency.

If you can snag 1 guy with picks + maybe a prospect that isnt in the NHL yet. And you snag a 4th line Center via UFA market (there are lots of options available), then the only real trade you need to make is for the 2nd line addition, and you likely have 2 players to send the other way instead of 1.

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#33 Quicksilver ballet
July 08 2013, 12:29PM
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Welcome back Ben Eager.

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#34 2004Z06
July 08 2013, 12:33PM
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I think the biggest issue is to get a big, puck posession #2 C that can win draws and go to the net. Hemsky can and will be traded, Gagner moves out to the wing. Burmistrov just signed in the KHL and Grabovski wouldn't be a bad option for 3-4 years at 3.5 mil. He isnt the biggest, but he plays hard, is fast and heavy on the forecheck.

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#35 K_Mart
July 08 2013, 12:34PM
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I definitely have Belov ahead of Larsen

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#36 Smokey
July 08 2013, 12:36PM
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Will wrote:

This team is better than last year's team simply by virtue of Whitney and Belangier no longer being on it. Just as we got better with the simple subtraction of Habby as our number one, so to will we get better with the simple subtraction of those two players.

Belanger has been brutal overall. However the first part of the year when when the team won and he played less, he was good in the faceoffs and good at penalty killing. The other half of the season he was injured. So for me when calculating is this team better by subtraction of Whitney and Belanger, Whitney I agree on, Belanger was hardly here last year and wasn`t hurting us when he wasn`t playing.

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#37 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 12:44PM
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PandaBearJelly wrote:

my question is how do we fill 3 spots (two wings and a d) throught trade without creating more holes that we cant fill?

Remember the Gaborik and Nash deals? Remember how the return was a bundle of inferior yet useful second and third line players?

My point is: maybe too many of the Oilers eggs are in not enough baskets. Maybe one of the kids should be traded to gain more balance in the lineup. That, my friend, that is a bold move.

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#38 The Soup Fascist
July 08 2013, 12:45PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Gagner still a 2LC.

Since he has joined the Oilers and the Oilers invested in him, the team has sucked. As long as Gagner gets the opportunity he gets, the opposition will keep taking advantage of that opportunity as well.

Slot Boyd in at 2, he's pound for pound better then Gagner-silver spoon him the linemates Gagner would get and see how quick he makes that 3M look like an underpayment.

Oh ... So Gagner is the reason the Oilers have sucked. Thanks for clearing that up. All along thought it was Horcoff's fault.

Scapegoat much?

The problems have been far reaching and pinning it on one guy is delusional. Boyd Gordon is not an offensive guy. Never has been / never will be.

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#39 Quicksilver ballet
July 08 2013, 12:56PM
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Every bottom feeder team should be in running for the Raymonds,Grobovskis etc.

What more could you ask for in a player that costs you no assets to aquire. There's certainly no use for Brad Boyes on this squad, since we're already so stacked at center.

Carry on doing nothing Craig.

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#40 YEGFan
July 08 2013, 01:01PM
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I'd offer Petry, Marincin, 2014 1st Round for Pietrangelo.

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#41 WhattaMike
July 08 2013, 01:07PM
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I still believe the Oilers are aggressively looking to trade for a top LW type healthy guy but he is like a Horton. I think too that the Oilers do want a Braydon Schenn or Couturier type 2nd line future centre other than Gagner and this is because Gagner still has lots to improve on as a 2nd line guy and because the ter/salary contract deal is being dragged out... (he wants too much money????)

I would also believe that the Oilers want a enforcer tough centre like Konopka or a Maxime Talbot type guy for the 4th line...although I think Ryan Hamilton or Will Acton are gonna get trials there too before Lander gets the job. Hey...Zack Smith may be looked at still with a trade being done.

A tough enforcer 4th line winger guy will likely be the easiest deal to find this summer out of the holes needed to still be filled.

I can't see both Smid or N. Schultz both being here come Fall...especially cause Klefbom may be very well ready and or much better than people have thought...just as J. Brodin was in Minny. He has wowed a lot of people at Development Camp already with his size, skating, defensive and puck possession skills.

Finally, the biggest advantage the Oilers have now is that Eakins is a hard driving and strong systematic/audible calling coach for all the players...unlike Quinn, Renney, and Krueger. The other three coaches had/used too open flawed and questionable systems that were picked off by opposing teams and/or they favored too many wrong players above others.

The last thing is to not discount a possible best year from Eager (4th line winger for now)who should have top motivation for of the last yr of his contract and from of that he played excellent in OKC playoff run.

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#42 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 01:07PM
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YEGFan wrote:

I'd offer Petry, Marincin, 2014 1st Round for Pietrangelo.

Overpayment by Edmonton, clearly

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#43 Supernova
July 08 2013, 01:10PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Overpayment by Edmonton, clearly

disagree.

no way St.Louis does this need much more than that

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#44 Oilfan
July 08 2013, 01:10PM
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This is why it's sometimes hilarious to see how much effort some will put into into trying to convince another of their opinions.

One commenter says Boyd Gordon is better than Gagner and should be the 2LC while another mentions only Gagner's name (assuming he be the primary piece) to be included in a package to obtain a No. 1 D.

That's quite a gap to bridge.

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#45 toprightcorner
July 08 2013, 01:11PM
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Matt wrote:

If the Oilers started the season today, am I right in thinking that the only two players in the entire forward group who aren't Oilers-drafted-and-developed are Boyd Gordon and Mike Brown? Is that totally nuts? I can't think of any other team that has even *close* to that in home-grown talent.

That's because no other team has had 3 straight #1 picks and a #6. A total of seven first round picks in our starting forward group.

Petry is our only starting dman the Oil have drafted.

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#46 OilersBrass
July 08 2013, 01:13PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

I still believe the Oilers are aggressively looking to trade for a top LW type healthy guy but he is like a Horton. I think too that the Oilers do want a Braydon Schenn or Couturier type 2nd line future centre other than Gagner and this is because Gagner still has lots to improve on as a 2nd line guy and because the ter/salary contract deal is being dragged out... (he wants too much money????)

I would also believe that the Oilers want a enforcer tough centre like Konopka or a Maxime Talbot type guy for the 4th line...although I think Ryan Hamilton or Will Acton are gonna get trials there too before Lander gets the job. Hey...Zack Smith may be looked at still with a trade being done.

A tough enforcer 4th line winger guy will likely be the easiest deal to find this summer out of the holes needed to still be filled.

I can't see both Smid or N. Schultz both being here come Fall...especially cause Klefbom may be very well ready and or much better than people have thought...just as J. Brodin was in Minny. He has wowed a lot of people at Development Camp already with his size, skating, defensive and puck possession skills.

Finally, the biggest advantage the Oilers have now is that Eakins is a hard driving and strong systematic/audible calling coach for all the players...unlike Quinn, Renney, and Krueger. The other three coaches had/used too open flawed and questionable systems that were picked off by opposing teams and/or they favored too many wrong players above others.

The last thing is to not discount a possible best year from Eager (4th line winger for now)who should have top motivation for of the last yr of his contract and from of that he played excellent in OKC playoff run.

There is no way they trade Smid, defenseman like him are hard to find.

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#47 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 01:17PM
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Supernova wrote:

disagree.

no way St.Louis does this need much more than that

SMH... Clearly your sarcasm senses weren't tingling

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#48 Taylor Gang
July 08 2013, 01:19PM
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Oilfan wrote:

This is why it's sometimes hilarious to see how much effort some will put into into trying to convince another of their opinions.

One commenter says Boyd Gordon is better than Gagner and should be the 2LC while another mentions only Gagner's name (assuming he be the primary piece) to be included in a package to obtain a No. 1 D.

That's quite a gap to bridge.

If we're talking about Pietrangelo, then Gagner, Marincin, Petry and a draft pick?

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#49 westcoastoil
July 08 2013, 01:22PM
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K_Mart wrote:

I definitely have Belov ahead of Larsen

me too - I don't understand why JW, LT, etc. keep putting Larsen ahead of Belov. I question whether he's better than Potter frankly. He's numbers last year suggest he was in way over his head and the weakest link on Dallas' D.

He seems like a young guy who could/should start in in OKC. Play him with Klefbom on the first pairing so he gets tons of minutes, and let Potter fill the 7D role. Potter is used to moving in and out of the line up.

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#50 Mitch
July 08 2013, 01:24PM
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JW, since you mentioned RJ Umberger as a possible trade target, what would you think of Hemsky + N. Schultz + 2014 2nd rounder (or prospect) for Umberger + Nikitin? I know it might sound like kind of a homer trade proposal, but it gives CBJ more scoring in their top six and gives EDM a much-needed big two-way guy for their second line.

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