MEN IN THE MIDDLE

Robin Brownlee
August 19 2013 07:37PM

It's obvious it doesn't take a vast intellect to see that the Edmonton Oilers remain alarmingly thin up the middle as training camp approaches because just about everybody who follows the team, be they fans or paid observers, has mentioned it or written about it this off-season.

The exception, at least in terms of public proclamation, seems to be GM Craig MacTavish, who, having played in 1,093 regular season games and another 193 in the playoffs as an NHL centre, should be the first person to recognize the merits of strength and depth down the middle. Yet, the Oilers, as of now, have neither.

While MacTavish has made moves to bolster his wing, adding David Perron, and his blue line, signing UFA Andrew Ference, and goal, jettisoning Nikolai Khabibulin and bringing in Jason LaBarbera, it looks to me and a lot of people like he hasn't done enough down the middle.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, MacTavish's best offensive centre, likely to miss the start of the season after shoulder surgery, Edmonton's middlemen look short on offensive chops. It's an undersized bunch with RNH, Sam Gagner, acquisition Boyd Gordon and Anton Lander in the first four spots. Even with Gordon, this isn't exactly Murderer's Row on the face-off dot, either.

And there's more, or should I say, less . . .

GAMESMANSHIP, PLEASE

Their individual attributes and shortcomings aside, the group MacTavish has penciled in right now for camp collectively is woefully thin on experience as actual NHL players. Gamesmanship, if you will.

In terms of NHL experience, Gordon leads the way with 486 games. The much-maligned Gagner, inked to a new deal, has also been around the block with 414 games on his resume. That drops off to 102 games for RNH, which isn't a big deal because he's easily the best of the bunch, and is getting better.

After that? Hmm. After RNH, you can add up the games of NHL experience for every other centre with an invite to camp and you won’t come up with 102 games combined. Lander could start the season here with 67 games in the NHL. Little Mark Arcobello has one game. Add up NHL games for Will Acton, Andrew Miller, Ryan Martindale and Travis Ewanyk – long shots each and every one -- and you get, well, zero games. Zip. None.

Problem? Is there anybody out there who thinks it isn't?

WHAT'S THE PLAN?

Without the addition of at least one more bonafide NHL pivot, heaven help the Oilers if Nugent-Hopkins misses more than a handful of games to start the season or if he struggles out of the gate because of limited playing time in the pre-season. Can Gagner carry the offensive load by himself? No.

Even if RNH gets back in a hurry and knocks off the rust, an injury to anybody in that top three puts the Oilers in a pickle, especially if Gagner goes down. Even with RNH, Gagner and Gordon in the fold, who pushes that trio for ice time? Lander? Not likely? Arcobello?

Isn't there anybody out there – Jason Gregor mentioned Brad Boyes and Manny Malhotra today – worth a phone call? Nobody who'd rather take a one-year deal than a PTO or sit at home waiting for their agent to call? You’d think so, and maybe MacTavish has already made those calls and continues to – even if he's indicated publicly, for now at least, what we see is what we get.

I hope so, because while the Oilers are hardly set from top to bottom at any position, they don’t look nearly good enough or deep enough down the middle. I can see it. You can see it. And you, MacT? What say you?

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
Avatar
#1 DSF
August 19 2013, 08:05PM
Trash it!
138
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

If MacT doesn't address the need for a bonafide #2C by the start of the season, he will be equally as incompetent as his predecessor.

Avatar
#2 DSF
August 19 2013, 08:52PM
Trash it!
81
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
John Chambers wrote:

You should head over to the Copper and Blue and tell Zona what you think of Sam Gagner.

I would literally pay to watch that unfold.

What Derek Zona knows about hockey could fit in your earhole and still leave room for your elbow.

Gagner is about to enter into his 7th NHL season and is getting slaughtered by weak competition.

Despite getting favourable zone starts against the stiffs his Corsi ON was -14.4.

That's really, really bad.

Put the kid up against top competition and he'll fold like a Taiwanese lawn chair.

Avatar
#3 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 19 2013, 11:21PM
Trash it!
36
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Up against the cap, and still plenty of areas of weakness still to be addressed, we can all see the writing on the wall this coming season.

Looks to be another top 10 selection coming again next fall. With holes in the top and bottom 6, combined with the fact there isn't a legitimate top pairing blueliner anywhere in sight, and even still a question mark in goal. With no cap space to address any of these issues, this season is pooched. None of us will be able to say we're surprised when another difficult season unfolds. I could have said this, but I won't.

With Hemsky off the books next summer, and trading our faux 2nd line center in Gags, if the cap goes up to nearly 70 million again next season, it would leave the Oilers with 15-18 million to help address the glaring areas of weakness next summer. I had higher hopes going into last season, than I do this coming season.

One more year atleast of this suckage to go i'm certain. The lack of depth throughout this lineup is a major concern.........ah, the perils of a B market. Have to wonder how much more of this ship Taylor Hall will put up with.

Avatar
#4 bwar
August 19 2013, 08:13PM
Trash it!
33
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I'd like to point out that you were complaining about losing RNH (aka lack of center depth) and suggested that we pick up Manny Malhotra. Just think about that for a second. Hall - Malhotra - Eberle the new dream line in Edmonton.

Avatar
#5 Serious Gord
August 19 2013, 10:00PM
Trash it!
28
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Gagner plus hemsky and cash would very likely have gotten what the oil needs down the middle. Not sure if that's doable now.

It's a classic case of over-valuing inventory - redundant inventory in this case. Having hemsky and gagner on the roster at the start of the season and NOT having filled the gap up the middle is inexcusable and likely will cost the team a playoff berth - especially likely if RNHs return is later and weaker than hoped.

MacT was very vocal about his plans at the outset of his assuming the title of GM. He's been very quiet lately. Perhaps the rookie - zero games under his belt as GM - haslearned his first lesson...

Avatar
#6 Woogie63
August 19 2013, 11:00PM
Trash it!
28
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Ryan Johansen is reasonable gamble.

I am still nervous on if RNH can be the number 1 centre on an elite team. He missed some games, but he finished 141 in the league scoring. In a lot of ways he did not progress from his rookie year.

Avatar
#7 Hayek
August 19 2013, 08:29PM
Trash it!
22
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Kudos for writing a good article with some substance behind it. I typically don't enjoy Brownlee articles, but if they continue of this quality, you may gain a fan.

Avatar
#8 They're $hittie
August 20 2013, 08:18AM
Trash it!
21
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
BaconWrapped wrote:

Interesting article RB. But what I really want to know is: how do we get Couturier out of Philly and/or Weber from Nash using only two of Omark, Gagner, Paajarvi (sigh), Lander, and Potter plus one player from OKC? I await your answer under the bridge.

I hope your not serious. The only thing you would get is laughed at.

Gagner for Couturier is not happening either. They have offensive centers. Couturier does not bring enough offense at the moment and while he looks to be great defensively he took it on the chin last year. He is not fully established yet and we dont know yet what he will be.

I would love him on the oilers but not at the cost of Gagner.

Avatar
#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 19 2013, 11:51PM
Trash it!
18
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
yup wrote:

i think the oil should pick up boyes for the 3rd line and move the gordon who fans will be surprised how bad he is to the 4th line

I'm sure that ship has sailed. He's probably expressed an interest to stay out east. It's really too bad they overpaid for Gordon, having Boyes and Gordon at 2 per each, is what Edmonton needed.

Gordon could be bought out next summer though if he flops as expected.

Avatar
#10 BaconWrapped
August 20 2013, 08:01AM
Trash it!
17
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Interesting article RB. But what I really want to know is: how do we get Couturier out of Philly and/or Weber from Nash using only two of Omark, Gagner, Paajarvi (sigh), Lander, and Potter plus one player from OKC? I await your answer under the bridge.

Avatar
#11 andrewmk20
August 20 2013, 01:28AM
Trash it!
16
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

@DSF

Hey I'm Asian and I find that offensive. Not only are you incompetent but a bigoted incompetent. Probably shouldn't have expected less.

Dou#@@bag Sh*th*ad Fu*#tard

Avatar
#12 Geoff
August 19 2013, 07:48PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Hall ftw baby!

Avatar
#13 Taylor Gang
August 20 2013, 06:58AM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Devolution wrote:

Are you the quality inspector at a Taiwanese lawn chair factory? If not, relax would ya? It is a hockey blog, not the UN.

There's no excuse for racial prejudice. It's called being a human.

Avatar
#14 Spydyr
August 19 2013, 08:05PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

I said it before and I'm going to say it again.Trade for a complete 2C then when the Nuge gets back move Sam to the wing where he belongs.

Avatar
#15 Oil Can
August 19 2013, 10:26PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Why don't quit with all of the doom and glume. Mac T. Has put together a very respectable team. He tried to get a better option for the second line centre, and there just weren't any takers. RNH will be back for the start of the season or soon after. You might not realize this, but the NHL works on a cap payroll. A person would think that with your incredible knowledge of the game that some team would offer you the GM job. Give me a break and just let this team start the season and see what they can do. They are not nearly as bad you you make them out to be.

Avatar
#16 Young Oil
August 19 2013, 10:32PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

I'm sorry, but no matter how hard I try, I can't see Gagner as a #2C on a Stanley Cup winning team. I can see Hall, Ebs, RNH, Yak, and Perron as 5 members of a great top 6, but there needs to be a #2C who can fill a two way role to compliment these players known for their offense. Somebody along the lines of a Brandon Dubinski.

For those who make the argument of Gagner being able to develop a two way game because he's only 24, they need to keep in mind that he has already played 6 seasons in the NHL. That is ample time to get used to the defensive side of the game, and has he really shown enough progress in the past 6 years to demonstrate that he can be a solid two way player? I personally don't think so. Most forwards are in their prime after playing 6 seasons in the NHL.

Don't get me wrong, I like Gagner as a player, but I just don't see him as a fit as a #2C on this team given who they already have in the top 6. He could be a winger, but he'd likely be on the right side, and if I had to choose one of Ebs, Yak, or Gags to be traded, it would definitely be Gagner.

Avatar
#17 gongshow
August 19 2013, 08:24PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

Marty Reasoner. He likes Edmonton, he wins draws, he kills penalties, he's a good personality to have in the room AND he's probably filling his drawers right now as he is still unsigned (ie: cheap).

Avatar
#18 Darrell
August 19 2013, 08:36PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
41
cheers
DSF wrote:

If MacT doesn't address the need for a bonafide #2C by the start of the season, he will be equally as incompetent as his predecessor.

Do you consider yourself competent ? Anyone up throws enough sh!t against the wall is bound to have something stick .... Get over yourself dude.

Avatar
#19 Reg Dunlop
August 19 2013, 10:59PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Jerod wrote:

People think Malhotra is secret answer. He cannot play hockey he is virtually blind in one eye. The Insurance issues and the moral issues are to much for anyone one to sign him.

Give your heads a shake.

And you know this how?

MM at 33 and with injury concerns would be our 3c until RNH is back to normal(December?) and 4c after that. Any team willing to gamble on Barker or Grebeshkov should have no trouble taking a flyer on MM.

Avatar
#20 yup
August 19 2013, 11:45PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

i think the oil should pick up boyes for the 3rd line and move the gordon who fans will be surprised how bad he is to the 4th line

Avatar
#21 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 20 2013, 12:08AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Who the puck is Derek Zona?

Does he have to pay to get into the HHOF like the rest of us, or have I missed something the last 35 years?

Avatar
#22 Fresh Mess
August 20 2013, 07:51AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
andrewmk20 wrote:

Hey I'm Asian and I find that offensive. Not only are you incompetent but a bigoted incompetent. Probably shouldn't have expected less.

Dou#@@bag Sh*th*ad Fu*#tard

If you are that easily offended then you should cut yourself off from society and all media. Or are you just one of these types who goes through life manipulating political correctness for personal gain?

Avatar
#23 Fresh Mess
August 20 2013, 07:59AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Taylor Gang wrote:

There's no excuse for racial prejudice. It's called being a human.

Thank you Gandhi. Your piety is a shining example for us all. Let me guess, under 30 and a product of the public school system. I'm sure teacher would give you a happy face sticker for being a good boy. Racism baaaad.

Avatar
#24 jake
August 20 2013, 10:50AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The Islanders are building around Tavares so it would have never happened but I was imagining last year pre-draft (2012) trading Gagner + 1OV for Tavares whose 6 year deal had not yet kicked in at 5.5M. Would have given you Tavares, Hall, Eberle, RNH (and now Perron) in your top 6...I'll take that any day of week.

Avatar
#25 JBfuzz
August 19 2013, 09:24PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Agree with the comment that Mark Spector's dismissal of Grabovski is incentive to sign him. Spector is the worst of our local media - lazy, dishonest and only interested in advancing the same narratives - lazy/selfish Russians, soft Euros, etc. The same guy who said on Gregor's show he thought Tambellini's contract should be renewed because he did a good job. Bush. League.

Back to the C spot - there is still a Hemsky or N. Schulz move likely coming. With the shrinking cap, a salary for salary trade could be coming.

Avatar
#26 Chris.
August 19 2013, 10:01PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

I wonder how long Gagner's second honeymoon will last with the fans...

Avatar
#27 Hammers
August 19 2013, 11:21PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I'm not worried . This is Aug 19th so there is still 6 weeks for another center . I am more concerned with RNH . Hardly here any medical updates .Don't forget one more thing , Hall to center . Pairs maybe Hall (C) & Yak ; RNH & Ebs ; Gags & Perron . Fill in 3 of Hemsky ; Joensuu ; Jones & Smyth . Still gives you Gordon & Lander . This maybe the year Hall makes a permanent switch or they at least try him at center .Would everyone feel better if your 4 centers are RNH , Hall , Gags & Gordon . You loose a powerfull LW but gain more depth down the middle meaning we would need another LW (try Rajalla) . Start thinking outside the box and we may have all the options you want .

Avatar
#28 Woogie63
August 19 2013, 11:38PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Young Oil wrote:

Wait...you're concerned about RNH, but think Johansen is a 'reasonable gamble'?

RNH was injured basically all of last year, after a phenomenal rookie year (in which he was injured as well). He had shoulder surgery, and will likely follow the same recovery path as Hall.

Ryan Johansen has 33 points in 107 games, and was a healthy scratch in the AHL playoffs this past year.

RNH has 76 points in 102 games before he even turned 20. The only thing keeping him from being an elite player is injuries.

Don't get me wrong, Johansen could turn out to be a great player, but right now he is tracking more similarily to Gilbert Brule. Furthermore, he has a big draft pedigree, being drafted 4th overall, and would take a LOT to acquire. That is a bit more than a 'reasonable gamble' IMO.

I am not saying Johansan for RNH, I am saying;

1) You have to look deep into advanced stats to see progress from RNH. When Horcoff got hurt RNH struggled to carry the team at center. Finishing 141 in league scoring is a troubling stat for me.

2) We can't seem to find a legit number 2/3 center, for all the reasons you pointed out, could we make a hockey trade to get Ryan a new lease on life... And maybe re-discover some of that elite player so many of us saw in him. (Aka Cam Barker with a better out come).

Ryan would be higher on the depth chart than Lander, so that could improve our team.

Avatar
#29 The Oilers Shot Clock
August 20 2013, 03:43AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Not buying out Either Hemsky or Schultz is costing us a chance to sign a center. I don't fault MacT for keeping Hemsky. But not buying Schultz out after adding Ference,Belov and Grebs was a mistake. Dumping him at the trade deadline for minimal value when he already cost the team an opportunity to sign something useful would be a fail. MacT still has a lot of time to sort this, but his comments regarding the center situation are less than reassuring, especially when we consider how open and truthful he has been in the moves he has already made.

Avatar
#30 Rama Lama
August 20 2013, 08:54AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

It seems that everyone is concerned about depth down the middle, except Mac T? He must have a card up his sleve, otherwise as everyone has mentioned, we are nude, screwed, and tatooted without a top 2 centre.

I for one have been campaigning for Brad Boyes...........cant figure out why a recent 40 goal scorer is still unsigned. This guy has put up serious numbers and of all the UFA's deserves some serious thought.

Avatar
#31 106 and 106
August 19 2013, 11:51PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Didn't Hall say that he talked to Eakins and was "prepared to play centre" to start the season?

In that case, Hall, RNH (till he gets his legs), Gags, Gordon looks great to my eye, shuffle around the wings and throw Hemsky into the top 6 and that's a threat.

Hall for 1C?

Avatar
#32 seanjohn
August 20 2013, 08:45AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

i think we are just going to have to accept this lineup for what it is. Lander, Arcobello and Acton are the 4, 5, 6 centres. that's all there is too it. this little lineup up of 5'10", 180lb zippy little howdy-doers will have one year to prove they can compete with the big boys. if they their show gets run and end up no higher than 18th in the league, expect to see a very important winger (Eb or Yak) and/or a prospect D (Nurse or Marincin) leave town.

i hope they can do it, but i'm not placing any 4 figure bets on it.. or even 3 figures.

Avatar
#33 Smokey
August 20 2013, 09:57AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
They're $hittie wrote:

I hope your not serious. The only thing you would get is laughed at.

Gagner for Couturier is not happening either. They have offensive centers. Couturier does not bring enough offense at the moment and while he looks to be great defensively he took it on the chin last year. He is not fully established yet and we dont know yet what he will be.

I would love him on the oilers but not at the cost of Gagner.

Oilers would do that trade in heartbeat...Your right you don't totally know exactly what Couturier is. But you know what Gagner is, a soft one way center, poor on the draw, and lacks physicality.

Couturier would produce just fine in a situation where you had the wingers he could have. He would just have to concentrate on playing a sound two way game.

Holmgren or any sane GM would not give up a big, future 2nd line center on a value contract for a slightly overpaid quasi 2nd line small center with a no movement contract. Holmgren would slam the receiver down on MacT. Holmgren can have Gagner light, Wellwood if that what he wants.

I'm not bashing Gagner, but we have watched 6 years. The more he produces the more pucks go in the other end. His Corsi blows cause he can't win draws, and lacks physicality and skating ability to win puck battles. He is redundant on a team plagued with this dimension. The improvements in his game last season were his offensive numbers, and his penalty killing. Even with this he hardly produced after Hemsky went down and was terrible in crunch time. Is he ever going to win 50 percent of his draws or be a possession player? I don't know. I'd take the risk on a big 2 way player in a conference dominated by big centers who can skate, or explosive skilled centers. How do we expect to compete against Kopitar, Getzlaf, Thorton, McKinnon Duschene and O'Reilley, Hank and Kesler, Seguin and Benn, Backlund. We can't...

Avatar
#34 GVBlackhawk
August 19 2013, 10:11PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
34
cheers
DSF wrote:

What Derek Zona knows about hockey could fit in your earhole and still leave room for your elbow.

Gagner is about to enter into his 7th NHL season and is getting slaughtered by weak competition.

Despite getting favourable zone starts against the stiffs his Corsi ON was -14.4.

That's really, really bad.

Put the kid up against top competition and he'll fold like a Taiwanese lawn chair.

"...against the stiffs..."

Gagner's two most common opponents 5v5 last season were:

1. Ryan Suter 2. Jonas Brodin

http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_time_on_ice_stats.php?ds=8&f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f7=20-&c=0+1+3+5+8+9+11+13+29+31+33

Nice try. Happy trolling ;)

Avatar
#35 Smokey
August 20 2013, 09:39AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
106 and 106 wrote:

Didn't Hall say that he talked to Eakins and was "prepared to play centre" to start the season?

In that case, Hall, RNH (till he gets his legs), Gags, Gordon looks great to my eye, shuffle around the wings and throw Hemsky into the top 6 and that's a threat.

Hall for 1C?

I think the Hall experiment at center is the plan to eventually have RNH and Hall as your centers. I think everyone should have figured out after 6 years this team won't win with Gagner at center, and will ultimately move to the wing.

The RNH injury gives the Oilers a chance to try it and if it did not work well, well there is no pressure on Hall. 9-10 games in the preseason and regular season will hopefully give the Oilers a chance to properly evaluate. I don't think they will make a change to Hall at Center if he can produce and be successful.

Avatar
#36 Rocket
August 19 2013, 07:47PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

Today on Gregor's show Mark Spector said he would not want The Oilers to sign Grabovsky; so that's another good reason to bring Grabo to Edmonton.

Seriously though, this lack of centre depth is totally gonna cause me to drink heavily early on in the season when all those eastern teams come to town to warm up by beating the stuffing out of The Oilers.

I never thought my happiness would depend so much on the health of the shoulders of professional hockey players. Yikes!

Avatar
#37 VK63
August 20 2013, 09:41AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Nice article Robin.

I ponder young Sam Gagners 414 games and am struck with a certain resemblance to Forrest Gumps box of chocolates.

Avatar
#38 Benhur
August 19 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

I hope the little eyetalian, Arcobello, knocks their socks off in training camp! It would be great to have a 3rd scoring line with Arco centering Hemsky and Smyth! heaven help us if Lander becomes the 3rd line centre...he definitly is 4th line or AHL material.

Avatar
#39 Darrell
August 19 2013, 08:57PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
47
cheers
DSF wrote:

What Derek Zona knows about hockey could fit in your earhole and still leave room for your elbow.

Gagner is about to enter into his 7th NHL season and is getting slaughtered by weak competition.

Despite getting favourable zone starts against the stiffs his Corsi ON was -14.4.

That's really, really bad.

Put the kid up against top competition and he'll fold like a Taiwanese lawn chair.

They make folding chairs in Vancouver in the Spring and you continue to ruin my ON experience - book it !

Avatar
#40 The Last Big Bear
August 19 2013, 09:03PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

I'm curious how the PK time and difficult defensive starts are going to be divided.

Obviously Gordon will take the brunt of it, but then you have to choose between Nuge and Gagner.

Personally, I'm a big fan of having your stars killing penalties and taking the edge off the worst of the defensive zone situations. Perhaps more to the point, I'm a big fan of having stars who are good options for those tough situations.

I suppose we'll eventually see how Eakins feels about that... after RNH comes back from injury. Until then, the Oilers will have only 2 NHL-calibre natural centers, and thus not a lot of options for deploying them.

And I suspect that they will all be getting a lot of defensive zone face offs... because I think the Oilers are going to be seeing an awful lot of their own end while RNH is injured.

But it could be worse. Look at Calgary's centre depth chart.

Avatar
#41 Jerod
August 19 2013, 09:25PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

People think Malhotra is secret answer. He cannot play hockey he is virtually blind in one eye. The Insurance issues and the moral issues are to much for anyone one to sign him.

Give your heads a shake.

Avatar
#42 TayLordBalls
August 19 2013, 10:17PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

great article and astute observation, Robin

once RNH returns, it may take him 20 games to get up to speed and back to first line center position.

Avatar
#44 Devolution
August 20 2013, 05:41AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
andrewmk20 wrote:

Hey I'm Asian and I find that offensive. Not only are you incompetent but a bigoted incompetent. Probably shouldn't have expected less.

Dou#@@bag Sh*th*ad Fu*#tard

Are you the quality inspector at a Taiwanese lawn chair factory? If not, relax would ya? It is a hockey blog, not the UN.

Avatar
#45 j
August 20 2013, 08:11AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

It would be hard to accept the current group out of training camp with all the expectations surrounding the team. MacT has done quite well in terms of adding effective pieces and can't be expected to turn the team over in one year. However, the centre depth is a glaring issue that had been for years. Going into the summer months, it was right up there with the need for serviceable defensemen. Nuge and Gagner are the top two centres on this team for years to come. We should just accept that as fact. But I would be surprised if there weren't a few PTOs with the intent of bolstering the bottom half of the roster.

Avatar
#46 They're $hittie
August 20 2013, 08:15AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

So trading Gagner helps our center depth?

Uncertainty with nuge and we want to trade our highest scoring center at the moment. What team would take Gagner for a bigger more two way center that gets that many points. No one. You can throw in hemsky but with his cap hit he has no value until the deadline. Yes Gagner had a bad year defensively. Did anyone see his PK stats. Top of the team. Also 2012 his defensive stats were at the top of the team as well. Eberle had his break out year in 2012 but his defensive stats were at the very worst of the team.

They are all evolving as players and teams. IF everyone is healthy and there is a better balance of the work load, and more depth on D than the teams "corsi" will be better all around.

Avatar
#47 TayLordBalls
August 20 2013, 06:35AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

wait a minute....

we have plenty of scoring power on this team - even if the center position is weaker, we have some of the best wingers in the league.

all we have to do is score more than the other team and to do that, its going to be up to the defense.

Avatar
#48 Reagan
August 20 2013, 09:41AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Ironically enough I believe that Mac T has a deal in place or in the works. Maybe some time was taken off untill training camp. Preliminary camps may show the weaknesses of what is already here. Still lots of time to address things.

Avatar
#49 Wax Man Riley
August 20 2013, 02:30PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I'm sure that ship has sailed. He's probably expressed an interest to stay out east. It's really too bad they overpaid for Gordon, having Boyes and Gordon at 2 per each, is what Edmonton needed.

Gordon could be bought out next summer though if he flops as expected.

Why is he expected to flop? Who expects this flop?

Avatar
#50 Kevrock
August 19 2013, 08:14PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Grabo is not coming...he cannot be afforded. I'm quite sure MacT has been trying to deal Hemmer for the center we all want but that's not going to happen either it would seem.

Manny is an intriguing idea if he can function at speed, Otherwise a trade will present itself through the year. Or maybe just maybe one of the afterthoughts CAN actually do the job, I'm sure they will all be given a shot before we see Hall slide in.

Comments are closed for this article.