KIDS AREN’T GOING TO SOLVE EDMONTON’S DEFENSIVE PROBLEMS

Jonathan Willis
January 23 2014 10:39AM

Going back at least as far as the day the Edmonton Oilers drafted Sam Gagner, fans of the team have been taught to place their reliance in young up-and-comers. 

It is an easy mindset to fall into on defence, where the problems are many and top prospect Aaron Ekblad may join an already strong prospect group at this summer's draft. As tempting as it sounds, general manager Craig MacTavish cannot afford to make the mistake of falling into the trap of thinking the solution is youth.

The primary problem has to do with timelines. 

Edmonton's NHL team has been in rebuild for a long time. Whether one subscribes to the party-approved line that the rebuild started with the drafting of Taylor Hall in 2010 or instead places the date at Chris Pronger's departure for Anaheim, futility has been the order of the day for far too long. The fans are unruly, and the only way to turn it around is with winning.

Another factor is what Lowetide likes to call the heart of the order - players like Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the like - who are now established as NHL players. Hall's being paid to produce like a first-liner, as is right wing Jordan Eberle. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will join them next season. These players are tremendously talented and entering the prime years of their careers but if they aren't supported - and soon - the Oilers run the risk of losing them. Edmonton has already lost the cheapest years for that trio, which poses its own problem (Chicago won the first Stanley Cup for the modern era Blackhawks while Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were still on their entry-level deals).

So with the clock running on its young stars and the fanbase's mood already turned to ugly, the Oilers have to start making considerable progress right now. To do that, they need good defencemen. 

Time & Opportunity 

There may not be a steeper learning curve at any position in hockey than there is on defence and the examples of players really putting things together after two, three or even four seasons of NHL hockey abound. Additionally, an organization can only devote so much space to prospect defencemen if they want to win.

A good example is the Oklahoma City Barons. At the start of the year the team's defence was pegged as a great strength and why not - with some strong second-year pros (Martin Marincin, Taylor Fedun, Brad Hunt and Brandon Davidson), a guy the Oilers felt might be NHL-ready (Oscar Klefbom), an actual NHL'er (Philip Larsen) and some extremely talented rookies (Martin Gernat and David Musil) pushing for time the Barons should have been set; they could ice two top pairings, and force the kids to fight with older guys like Hunt and Davidson for ice time

It hasn't worked out that way. Call-ups and injuries and regression (particularly on the part of Davidson) mean that for much of the year the Barons have relied on three rookies - one for each pairing. That's not a problem for the Oilers - these guys need at-bats and the AHL is a developmental league - but it's a big part of the reason who the Barons are four points out of a playoff spot.

The NHL is even more punishing. Oilers fans have seen first hand how a defenceman coming off college and an incredibly dominant AHL run struggled to adapt to second-pair and now first-pair minutes. They saw Ladislav Smid find his way in the majors after being pushed there well before he was ready.

Edmonton doesn't have a top-pairing defenceman right now. Even if Schultz is penciled in for a top-pair role next season on the assumption that he can handle it, the Oilers need a top-pair guy to complement him. Andrew Ference isn't that guy, and it's crazy to think Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom or Martin Marincin or Aaron Ekblad will be either. The first three (and the fourth, if drafted) may evolve into the role but the Oilers need is immediate. 

As it is, phasing in prospects like those listed above (to say nothing of Gernat or Musil or Dillon Simpson) is going to result in growing pains, which means the Oilers will need to lean on experienced guys who can play hard minutes to off-set the talented youth. Jeff Petry and Andrew Ference might be those guys on the lower pairs, but there has to be somebody topside who can cast a long shadow for the other pairs while they figure things out. The Oilers don't have anybody like that, and may not for years.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#201 Rusty Patenaude
January 23 2014, 06:26PM
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St. Louis Blues 2010-2011 Alex Pieterangelo age 20/21 yr. old: 79 gp 11g 32 a 43 pts +18 Kevin Shattenkirk age 21/22 yr. old: 72 gp. 9 g 34 a 43 pts. -4 Roman Polák age 24 yr. old: 55 gp 3g 9a 12pts -4 Hmmm...they did alright going with kids.

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#202 pkam
January 23 2014, 06:37PM
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Dave wrote:

What if the Oilers wanted to create more room to sign a UFA this summer ?

I nominated Gagner as my goat this year but I would not be surprised to see him perform at a higher level when his new coaches demand more of him.

What room are you talking about? If you mean cap room, I can't see any problem.

We have already unload Smid and Dubnyk, that free up another 7M. N. Schultz and Hemsky will free up another 8.5M, Smyth another 2.25. That is 17.7M for 5 guys. And Cap is going to rise about 7M. And I think we didn't spend to the cap and have about 2M this year. So we have about 27M to add 5 guys back. Still not enough?

If you don't like Gagner and want to trade him, find another reason. If you're not talking about cap room, then what room are you talking about?

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#203 michael
January 23 2014, 06:39PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Who said anything about drooling over a Jr?

Drafting for need is what got the Oilers terrible prospects for 15 to 20 years.

You draft BPA unless a centre is so damn close, then you draft the centre.

This trade Yakupov or trade Eberle has got to be the worst idea in a long list of ideas.

What makes more sense? Trading Perron who's under contract for only 3 more years & has value or Yakupov who we still have no idea what he may do & has little value.

Does it make sense the Oilers trade Eberle for a centre when we can draft a centre or trade that pick for one?

Bennett and Rheinhart are right there for the taking. Gagner at the draft gets you a solid NHL player. The Oilers will shed 9-11 contracts this summer.

Ryan Smyth,Jones,Scrivens,IB,N.Shultz,Joensuu,Grebby,Potter,Eager,Smack and so forth.

MacT will have cap room to spare.Contract space to sign guys like Dillon Simpson and Yakimov.Slepyshev.Chase.

MacT needs 5o ride out this sh#$storm.He has to be like LT Dan from Forrest Gump. scream and yell and ride out the storm.

look at my earlier post #40. I just feel that the win right now and damn the cost to the franchise long term pundits are beating their collective chests loudly. I hope that MacT takes a calm reflective approach and makes further changes based on his assessment based not on the voices of the mob. But on what he knows is right for this franchise long term.

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#204 Bucknuck
January 23 2014, 06:52PM
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Good article JW. This has been obvious to me for a long time, and obvious to you apparently. The question I would like to have answered is whether it is obvious to MacT.

I like MacT and think he is going to get the job done. HOWEVER, if he hasn't acquired a top D by the time next season starts, the man should be fired. I don't care how articulate he is.

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#205 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 23 2014, 06:52PM
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Mitch wrote:

OT:

I'm watching TSN regarding Seahawks Sherman's rant. They go on to say Sherman is the most articulate athlete in sports. I really wonder if TSN would say this about a white player. TSN does not even know how racist that statement was.

Mitch....you're going to need to better articulate your case.....whatever color you are.

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#206 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 23 2014, 07:07PM
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There are NO easy outs here. We've dug ourselves into a 30th place hole. There is a price to pay for that. If we have patience and develop from within the pain comes in the form of time...several more years as a non-contender. If we want build a contender now, before moving into the new barn, the pain comes in the form of trading assets for something slightly less than fair market value. It means giving up players that we've already bonded with, losing a couple of prospects, a couple of stars ( like Ebbs and Yak) and a couple of picks including top 5 in 2014.

I think that perhaps there are three types of people in this conversation. Those who preach patience, those who preach gitter done now, and those like me who see the pain coming either way and just can't decide which pill to swallow.

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#207 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 23 2014, 07:20PM
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pkam wrote:

How much will Gagner get? Nobody really knows.

4 years ago, Garbagekov got us a 2nd rounder. An aged and slow overpaid Staios got us a 3rd rounder and Aaron Johnson. And Penner got us a 1st, a 2nd and a prospect.

2011, Cogliano got us a 2nd rounder.

Last season, we got Mike Brown for a 4th rounder.

Earlier this year, Mike Brown got us a 4th rounder.

At trade deadline last season, the Sharks got 2 2nd rounders for Doug Murray.

I don't how much the other teams are willing to pay, but I am not trading him away for just a 3rd rounder.

I don't think there's any way that the Oilers are trading Gagner for picks. I can see them trading Hemsky for picks maybe (only because they seem eager to move him)....but Gagner has got to return established talent or they keep him for another year....that's my sense of the situation. Seems likely that it would be Gagner plus a good prospect for one player coming back.

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#208 Rick Stroppel
January 23 2014, 07:36PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Mustangheart wrote:

Penner was the most useless Oilers in the franchise history especially when you have a guy with his size and weight. Can't skate, doesn't hit, doesn't stand in front of the goalie to screen. Absolutely useless.

I completely agree. I especially hated the lack of heart he showed in leading the Oilers' in scoring by 22 points in 2009-10 when Pat Quinn and Steve Tambellini ran the franchise into the dirt.

It takes a real lack of character to show up when the team's imploding like that. I think it's the same lack of character that had Penner playing important minutes for two Stanley cup winners.

DUSTIN PENNER? IS THIS A JOKE?

Dustin Penner is a 230 pound man who plays like a 165 pound man.

I do not get a chance to attend many games in person these days. About six years ago I saw Edmonton play Vancouver, right toward the end of the season, when the team still had an outside chance to make the playoffs. Penner was invisible, hugging the boards, afraid to go anywhere where someone might run into him. I asked another fan, is he injured? They said no, he plays like that all the time.

I have a theory about Penners' signing. Call me crazy. I don't think Lowe scouted him and I don't think Lowe wanted him to play for the Oilers. The whole point of the exercise was to make Burke overpay for Penner. Lowe wanted to get revenge on Burke because Burke fleeced him in the Pronger deal.

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#209 Striker
January 23 2014, 08:43PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

You're very well spoken sir.

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#210 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 08:47PM
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@Mitch

No one bothers to call Eli Manning smart, because they know it’s not an anomaly that a white quarterback is intelligent. Yet some dreadlocked black cornerback has a slightly above-average intelligence, and every sportswriter bends over backwards to call him a genius and articulate .

To quote George W. Bush: this is “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

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#212 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2014, 09:13PM
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michael wrote:

Bennett and Rheinhart are right there for the taking. Gagner at the draft gets you a solid NHL player. The Oilers will shed 9-11 contracts this summer.

Ryan Smyth,Jones,Scrivens,IB,N.Shultz,Joensuu,Grebby,Potter,Eager,Smack and so forth.

MacT will have cap room to spare.Contract space to sign guys like Dillon Simpson and Yakimov.Slepyshev.Chase.

MacT needs 5o ride out this sh#$storm.He has to be like LT Dan from Forrest Gump. scream and yell and ride out the storm.

look at my earlier post #40. I just feel that the win right now and damn the cost to the franchise long term pundits are beating their collective chests loudly. I hope that MacT takes a calm reflective approach and makes further changes based on his assessment based not on the voices of the mob. But on what he knows is right for this franchise long term.

Well said,

In no way am I giving this management group a pass here, I will say if MacTavish can resist the urge to make a huge stupid trade then I think the Oilers can at least start to show a huge improvement.

I don't trade any of the kids and it had better be a massive overpayment to pry that draft pick away.

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#213 Striker
January 23 2014, 09:20PM
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@Rick Stroppel

Penner was a beast. Exactly the type of player that people undervalue. By eye, people think he's lazy but look at his stats every year. He was playing too high in the lineup here in Edmonton but that's on the Oilers, not him. His last full season in Edmonton he got 32 goals and 31 assists in the 09-10 season. His career average is 0.54 points per game so let's assume that's what he will get every year. He is making 2 million this year playing for Anaheim, you know that team that never wins. Last year the LA Kings paid him 3.25 mill, you know that team that doesn't know how to identify talent. The Oilers would kill to have a big body like Penner on the wing on their second or third line. We are paying Matt Hendricks 1.85 mill for the next 3 years after this one. The Oilers wish they had Penner at 2 mill for that term.

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#214 Striker
January 23 2014, 09:30PM
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@Jeffff

Ahhh, it was only a matter of time. I didn't think someone would actually go there but you did.

"not an anomaly that a white quarterback is intelligent"

And the cherry on top, you quote George W. Bush as wise sage that justifies your ridiculous stereotype.

Well played sir...well played.

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#215 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 09:34PM
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Striker wrote:

Ahhh, it was only a matter of time. I didn't think someone would actually go there but you did.

"not an anomaly that a white quarterback is intelligent"

And the cherry on top, you quote George W. Bush as wise sage that justifies your ridiculous stereotype.

Well played sir...well played.

I'm sorry you don't understand what i'm getting at. Don't grab the low hanging fruit , think a little.

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#216 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 09:38PM
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Jeffff wrote:

I'm sorry you don't understand what i'm getting at. Don't grab the low hanging fruit , think a little.

I'm in a generous mood. Why did so many sportswriters go on to say Sherman is a genius, articulate and went to Stanford? Why do you need to say that you wouldn't ,if this was a White player. It is because he is Black they are making excuses.

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#217 Striker
January 23 2014, 09:46PM
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@Jeffff

I think I grasped exactly what you're trying to say.

"No one bothers to call Eli Manning smart, because they know it’s not an anomaly that a white quarterback is intelligent. "

Ok so white athlete's are generally intelligent (i.e. not an anomoly)

"Yet some dreadlocked black cornerback"

Dreadlocked....ok

"has a slightly above-average intelligence, and every sportswriter bends over backwards to call him a genius and articulate ."

Ok so it's rare for black athlete's to have "above average intelligence" and because that is so rare, people go to pains to point that out.

"To quote George W. Bush: this is “the soft bigotry of low expectations."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ej7ZEnjSeA

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#218 Oiler Al
January 23 2014, 09:46PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Mustangheart wrote:

Penner was the most useless Oilers in the franchise history especially when you have a guy with his size and weight. Can't skate, doesn't hit, doesn't stand in front of the goalie to screen. Absolutely useless.

I completely agree. I especially hated the lack of heart he showed in leading the Oilers' in scoring by 22 points in 2009-10 when Pat Quinn and Steve Tambellini ran the franchise into the dirt.

It takes a real lack of character to show up when the team's imploding like that. I think it's the same lack of character that had Penner playing important minutes for two Stanley cup winners.

Yesterdays news, but JW you forgot to mention that Lowe dropped $25 million at his feet, and he show up over weight and out of shape for his first Oiler camp. This guy would be on the ice for 20 sec. and be waving his stick for a change.

After he arrived on the afternoon bus, yes, Penner would stand infront of the net and score a few bouncers off his butt, or shins , even his lip once. Some teams can afford to have slugs on their roster, not he Oilers or even the Kings.

Winkler beer league is the place for him

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#219 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 09:56PM
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Striker wrote:

I think I grasped exactly what you're trying to say.

"No one bothers to call Eli Manning smart, because they know it’s not an anomaly that a white quarterback is intelligent. "

Ok so white athlete's are generally intelligent (i.e. not an anomoly)

"Yet some dreadlocked black cornerback"

Dreadlocked....ok

"has a slightly above-average intelligence, and every sportswriter bends over backwards to call him a genius and articulate ."

Ok so it's rare for black athlete's to have "above average intelligence" and because that is so rare, people go to pains to point that out.

"To quote George W. Bush: this is “the soft bigotry of low expectations."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ej7ZEnjSeA

That is it. How about this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHIUdMVN_V0

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#220 Striker
January 23 2014, 10:03PM
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@Jeffff

I'm not a fan of Obama or Bush so that really doesn't do much for me. I regret throwing that video clip at the end of my comment because it lets you off the hook since you don't have to address the racism inherent in your comments that perhaps you're likely not even aware of.

Did I interpret your comments correctly in my post or did you mean something else by them?

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#221 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 10:07PM
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Striker wrote:

I'm not a fan of Obama or Bush so that really doesn't do much for me. I regret throwing that video clip at the end of my comment because it lets you off the hook since you don't have to address the racism inherent in your comments that perhaps you're likely not even aware of.

Did I interpret your comments correctly in my post or did you mean something else by them?

Please define racism?

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#222 Striker
January 23 2014, 10:09PM
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@Jeffff

Did I interpret your comments correctly in my post?

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#223 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 10:12PM
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Jeffff wrote:

That is it. How about this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHIUdMVN_V0

Bush does have a MBA from Harvard and graduated from Yale. How about you?

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#224 Striker
January 23 2014, 10:18PM
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@Jeffff

I see you're not going to answer my question about whether I interpreted your comments correctly in post #217.

It's a good tactic to deflect the question and ask me to define racism or to quote the academic credentials of Bush.

That's fine, you don't have to answer obviously, it's the internet after all. I'll just let the conversation sit where it is and people can judge for themselves.

PS Sorry to everyone for going off on a sidebar that wasn't really about the article. Just though I had to address that comment. Some days I let comments like those pass by. Just didn't feel like letting it pass by today.

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#225 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 10:25PM
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Striker wrote:

I see you're not going to answer my question about whether I interpreted your comments correctly in post #217.

It's a good tactic to deflect the question and ask me to define racism or to quote the academic credentials of Bush.

That's fine, you don't have to answer obviously, it's the internet after all. I'll just let the conversation sit where it is and people can judge for themselves.

PS Sorry to everyone for going off on a sidebar that wasn't really about the article. Just though I had to address that comment. Some days I let comments like those pass by. Just didn't feel like letting it pass by today.

I'm done, this is a hockey blog, I do believe in facts even if they don't coincide with my beliefs.

I believe Affirmative Action is reverse racism.

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#226 THRNHJE
January 23 2014, 11:29PM
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For all of you looking for the tank slogan for McDavid, the team will suck D for Mac-D

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#227 pkam
January 24 2014, 08:52AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I don't think there's any way that the Oilers are trading Gagner for picks. I can see them trading Hemsky for picks maybe (only because they seem eager to move him)....but Gagner has got to return established talent or they keep him for another year....that's my sense of the situation. Seems likely that it would be Gagner plus a good prospect for one player coming back.

I am not suggesting the Oilers are going to trade Gagner for picks. I am just responding to those fans saying Gagner doesn't even worth a 3rd rounder.

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#228 pkam
January 24 2014, 08:57AM
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Lofty wrote:

Getting rid of Sam's contract is a win. Use that money somewhere else.

When you consider the Oil's games in hand they're tied for DFL. I have no idea who they can replace Gags with that will be available as a UFA but even if it's Arco, losing Sam without bringing back a sizable contract won't hurt much. His contract will really hurt in a couple years. Especially with a no trade.

It would be real easy to get rid of Sam's contract, just put him on waiver.

If he is not claimed, like Souray, then we know it is a bad contract like you suggest.

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#229 pkam
January 24 2014, 09:21AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm a guy who believes winning begets lots of good things, including accelerated development and more winning.

Look at a guy like Nail Yakupov, who everybody loved a year ago. On a team like this, once something goes bad it goes *really bad*. You can say the same things about Sam Gagner and Jeff Petry and practically half the roster.

If the team's more successful, the individual criticism on those guys is less. If the team's better, guys can be developed more frequently in roles they're ready for, facing less of a baptism by fire. If the team wins a few games it lessens the risk of a young guy tuning out or losing hope. That's to say nothing of the development value of having another good, veteran D.

It is imperative that the Oilers show progress, and bringing in a guy who can play big minutes, offer a little shelter to the youth and spark an improvement is an important step, even if that guy ends up getting traded elsewhere before the team really has success.

At least, that's how I see it.

I am not against getting some veteran D help, I just want to confirm that you are not suggesting that it will speed up the rebuild.

In fact, I support the idea. I am so tired of reading the negative comments and hearing the calls for the head of Lowe, MacT, Eakins, and some players here. I am sure this will help the situation.

Just don't mortgage our future for short term #2/3. I absolutely don't want to go back to pre-2010 era.

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#230 BobbyCanuck
January 24 2014, 10:06AM
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Jeffff wrote:

Bush does have a MBA from Harvard and graduated from Yale. How about you?

Yes, Bush has an MBA from Harverd, I beleive there is also a library on campus named after his father, read into it what you will.

I read daddy got me into Harvard

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#231 Zarny
January 24 2014, 10:48AM
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pkam wrote:

I am not against getting some veteran D help, I just want to confirm that you are not suggesting that it will speed up the rebuild.

In fact, I support the idea. I am so tired of reading the negative comments and hearing the calls for the head of Lowe, MacT, Eakins, and some players here. I am sure this will help the situation.

Just don't mortgage our future for short term #2/3. I absolutely don't want to go back to pre-2010 era.

Absolutely some veteran D will speed up the rebuild.

And I'm not talking about mortgaging the future.

There is no future where Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, Ekblad and all the young prospects are the Oilers blueline.

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#232 Zarny
January 24 2014, 10:54AM
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Great article. JW is 100% right. Not only for the short term but for the long term.

In the short term, it will be an unmitigated disaster if rookies play significant minutes on D. This year will look like rainbows and puppy dogs by comparison.

More importantly, it will hurt the long term development of prospects like Nurse and Klefbom etc.

Young players struggle at times. Mostly with consistency. On nights when they struggle you need to be able to pull them out of the deep end so they can catch their breath.

We've seen the opposite with Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz etc. On nights where they struggle they get thrown back in the deep end to take on more water. The get overwhelmed, they get frustrated, they lose confidence and it snowballs.

It's not about win right now damn the cost. It's about setting up young players and the franchise to succeed for the next 10-15 years.

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#233 Zarny
January 24 2014, 11:09AM
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If you look at Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo and Letang you see commonalities.

All of them took 3-4 years to make the jump to the NHL. Many did play significant minutes in their first full year but all were supported by veteran D and they weren't tasked with the most difficult defensive assignments.

During Keith's first full year Chi had Spacek and Aucoin. Pietrangelo averaged 22 min/game his first full year but still trailed Brewer and Johnson.

Letang was drafted in 2005 but his first full year was 2008-2009 when Pit won the Cup. Letang was only 22. The rest of the D blueline were Gonchar (35), Boucher (36), Eaton (32), Gill (34), Scuderi (30), Orpik (28) and Goligoski (23).

You don't have to mortgage the future for stop-gaps. They might not be the sexiest names and they might not be the perfect fit.

They need to be able to take pressure off of the young kids, cover for their mistakes when needed, mentor the young kids and then likely traded away or allowed to leave just like Spacek, Aucoin, Brewer, Johnson, Gonchar, Boucher, Eaton, Gill, Scuderi and Goligoski.

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#234 Lil Breezy
January 24 2014, 11:20AM
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Put me down for not mortgaging the future as well.

I think bringing in mid-level stopgaps like Errhoff wont cost much, will fill a hole in the meantime, while we can develop our future dmen in Nurse, Klef, Ekblad.

Sign one UFA 4D, trade mild assets for Errhoff or Widemans bad contracts, and that will help without mortgaging the future.

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#235 pkam
January 24 2014, 11:35AM
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Zarny wrote:

If you look at Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo and Letang you see commonalities.

All of them took 3-4 years to make the jump to the NHL. Many did play significant minutes in their first full year but all were supported by veteran D and they weren't tasked with the most difficult defensive assignments.

During Keith's first full year Chi had Spacek and Aucoin. Pietrangelo averaged 22 min/game his first full year but still trailed Brewer and Johnson.

Letang was drafted in 2005 but his first full year was 2008-2009 when Pit won the Cup. Letang was only 22. The rest of the D blueline were Gonchar (35), Boucher (36), Eaton (32), Gill (34), Scuderi (30), Orpik (28) and Goligoski (23).

You don't have to mortgage the future for stop-gaps. They might not be the sexiest names and they might not be the perfect fit.

They need to be able to take pressure off of the young kids, cover for their mistakes when needed, mentor the young kids and then likely traded away or allowed to leave just like Spacek, Aucoin, Brewer, Johnson, Gonchar, Boucher, Eaton, Gill, Scuderi and Goligoski.

I don't know what the team has to pay for any of the players you listed.

But somebody here suggested to trade Eberle in a package for players like Ehrhoff or Byfuglien to bridge the gap.

I'll rather overpay to sign UFA.

What do you think? How about if we can't UFA, it is worthy to trade Eberle and some prospect for Ehrhoff or Byfuglien?

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#236 Zarny
January 24 2014, 03:50PM
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pkam wrote:

I don't know what the team has to pay for any of the players you listed.

But somebody here suggested to trade Eberle in a package for players like Ehrhoff or Byfuglien to bridge the gap.

I'll rather overpay to sign UFA.

What do you think? How about if we can't UFA, it is worthy to trade Eberle and some prospect for Ehrhoff or Byfuglien?

It depends on the package. In general I'm aiming higher than Ehrhoff and Buf if I'm moving one of the kids. The only way I would consider including Eberle is if Ladd, Wheeler, Kane or Ott were involved.

Luckily I think there are deals for Ehrhoff or Byfuglien that don't require Eberle or Yak. Gagner apparently has fans in Buf. Gagner + Marincin + a pick might get it done.

The only pending UFA I really like is Girardi. If I was MacT he would be top of my list right now. I expect he gets traded and signs. I don't think he'll cost a 1st round pick or Eberle/Yak. He's more Seabrook than Keith but he's a legit #2 D. He's the left side top pair until Nurse or Klefbom take over.

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#237 Seth
January 25 2014, 02:29PM
Trash it!
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Start the rebuild by trading for Sean Couturier.

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