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

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#51 CaptainLander
January 23 2014, 12:05PM
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I have a question. If Mac T asked around to teams out there "what will you give me for Yak and 2014 1st? rounded" (hypothetically say it is after the lottery and the Oil select 2nd overall). Mac T is looking for a top paring d-man with size, experience and can play for at least 4 more good years. Who do you think would be available? Is that player worth moving these two players for?

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#52 Eulers
January 23 2014, 12:06PM
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Bang on from the title on down, JW.

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#53 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 12:06PM
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@pkam

Pretty sure we wouldn't be complaining quite as much right now if we were 5 spots higher in the ranking, compared to fighting for the bottom spot. So we don't get whooped as badly for a few more years, I'd take that over watching them get manslaughtered every time St Louis comes to town. If they end up in the playoffs as they would 4 years (hopefully) what is the difference if they reduce the current pain?

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#54 2004Z06
January 23 2014, 12:06PM
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Mitch wrote:

It is racist because you would never describe a white athlete as the most articulate player in sports. You describe a black player in those terms as if your shocked or white guilt. Either way your not treating the black player as an equal.

It was a general statement by TSN. It had no reference to color at all. You are the one making an assumption as to the intent and playing the race card. Many people regardless of color have been described as articulate.

You should really not be allowed near a computer.

It is people like you that proliferate racial stereotypes through this type of nonsense.

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#55 Spydyr
January 23 2014, 12:09PM
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pkam wrote:

I wonder why the Hawks drafted Anton Babchuk ahead of Duncan Keith? And why so many teams passed on him and let him go 54th overall?

Don't forget the team that drafted Seabrook and Keith also drafted Barker 3rd overall.

Sure, every team makes mistakes in the draft. It is hard drafting 18 year old kids. The Oilers are just consistently bad outside the first round.

Prove me wrong.

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#56 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 12:09PM
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Greg wrote:

I didn't say he won't be good. My point is that people have him as a #1 D-man in NHL without playing a game.

I will say that i'm excited to get Ekblad, but not because i think he'll be a #1 dman. He could be a career #4 and i'd be OK with drafting him.

The reason i'm excited is because he's already over 200lbs and he's only 17. His size and defensive play alone would make him a great asset to the Oilers. His offensive upside is what COULD put him into the top pairing one day, but if it takes 300 NHL games to get that out of him, i'm OK with that. I dont need the offense.. I want the size, jam and defense first.

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#57 Posti
January 23 2014, 12:11PM
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It so weird because Edmonton used to be the feeder system for the league. We'd trade a great veteran for two or three prospects, turn them into solid NHLers then repeat.

What the hell happened? Now we can't turn our own bona fide superstars into just regular stars. A stud D man will definitely help but don't hold your horses cause he ain't coming. If you were a rival GM what would you take off the Oilers to give up your best defensman?

If the Oilers want to change the culture they need better coaching because for all intents and purposes THIS IS THE TEAM WE HAVE, make due with what you have !

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#58 Fish
January 23 2014, 12:12PM
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We do need at least one veteran minute muncher.

D Roster, Erhoff - Petry Ferrence - Ekblad or JS Jr. Stay at home Vet type - Schultz Jr./Ekblad

For me the trade chip is a Klefbom, Gagner, Hemmer, Schultz Sr. and Smyth.

Obviously we're not getting a 1D from a playoff pushing team for a Hemmer or Smyth. But, if we can parlay those players into a 1st (please have a good Olympics) and 3rd type return (or another good young prospect) we can add those to the trading chip pile of Gagner, Klefbom, (plus those parlayed returns. Hopefully we can turn those into an Erhoff type of LD.

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#59 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 12:13PM
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@Spydyr

Joaquin Gage, he had a great career...outside the NHL.

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#60 2004Z06
January 23 2014, 12:15PM
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michael wrote:

Robbing Peter to pay Paul what it amounts to what your suggesting. any one of those players is going to cost you considerable assets to obtain.

If one of those assets is Bennet,Eckblad or Rheinhart is it not taking 2 steps back to go 2 steps forward?

I can't but help wondering if we spite our nose to save our face if it helps in the long term anyways?

The rebuild is in MacT's hands. My opinion is such that we have 3 years more before we can even think we have a shot at winning more than a round in the playoffs.

Hall,RNH and Yak and Ebs will all be in their prime at that point.I just can't see wasting assets on defenceman who may not be here when we start winning.

I believe that MacT wll find at least 2 NHL defencemen this summer. We certainly need more seasoned NHL defencemen.That is a given. Heck we need more seasoned forwards. Halland EBs are certainly rounding into form. Given time RNH and Yak will be up there too.

Suck it up and let MacT do his thing.Good cripes you'd think he was only on the job for less than a year. Have some patience. Tambo wasted 3 years doing nothing. MacT at least does something.

I can guarantee you that if this current debacle continues at this pace at least two of, RNH, Hall, Yakupov, Eberle will have requested a trade. I presume Yakupov will be the first followed shortly after by Hall.

Making a bold move shows both the team and the fans that this organization is actually committed to improving.

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#61 Jackson
January 23 2014, 12:16PM
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The Oiler defense is the worst in the NHL.

Oiler goaltending is sub par

None of the so called "elite players" are getting better.

Do you see a problem Daryl?

OILERS RUIN HOCKEY PLAYERS.

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#62 Johe
January 23 2014, 12:18PM
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I don't think Ehrhoff is the answer. The contract is just too long. I would take aim at Giordano, although that's probably a pipe dream. I would even offer Gagner, Klefbom. Then in the offseason, sign either Girardi(preferred) or Orpik. Draft Ekblad. Then your depth chart looks like this:

Giordano Girardi

Ference Petry

Marincin Schultz

Belov

Send Nurse and Ekblad back to junior. Gernat, Musil, and Fedun continue to develop in AHL.

But alas, this is in a world where good things happen to the Oilers. AKA, not this world. But while we're daydreaming, how 'bout we sign Bolland, Winnik, Moulson, Ott, and Hiller.

Depth chart:

Hall Bolland Eberle

Moulson Nugent-Hopkins Perron

Winnik Ott Yakupov

Hendricks Gordon Arco

Gazdic Joensuu Pitlick

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#63 S cottV
January 23 2014, 12:19PM
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The needs are securing a top goaltender, 2 veteran d men for the top two rotations, a veteran 2C, get bigger in the process and bigger in general.

The above saves the near future day, to compliment the maturation of Hall and RNH.

Truth is - it is probably not going to happen with the likes of no trade clauses, UFA's who would prefer to go elsewhere and the fact that we dont have a lot to offer in return for these pieces.

So - development in the back end, may be the only route and unfortunately, Hall and RNH may need to go, at their most marketable point in the process.

Sad but true. The team is built @ss backwards and it has to be flipped around.

MacT obviously will try to pry some of the needed pieces but I think they really need to have a plan if filling the critical holes just cannot be done short term.

I really think they need a Hitchcock like Coach, who can tighten things up systematically, in order to shelter and fast track - as much as is possible, the back end development. You cant keep playing Oilers hockey with bombs going off left and right - expecting young d men and a prospect goalie to develop.

With the right Coach - with the right stuff, the Oilers just might find that they are able to win quite a few 3 to 2 hockey games in the meantime.

Beats the hell out of losing a whole pile of 5 to 4 hockey games, in my mind.

I mean - I like reasonable flow hockey like the next guy, as long as you can support it and win consistently.

With an inadequate back end - the Oilers can't support it - period.

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#64 Rama Lama
January 23 2014, 12:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The team needs to find a stop-gap, a guy like Ehrhoff or Campbell or Byfuglien who won't fill the job permanently but can stop the bleeding for a while and buy time for the guys who eventually replace him.

Really JW?

Come on man, we can stop-gap with a buttery soft d-man in Erhoff, a small midget with Campbell, or a sieve like Byfuglien?

NO thanks! I would much rather endure the pain and build our own than trading away our youth for marginal upgrades. UFA is the only option if we can get someone on a reasonable deal........not like the Clarkson deal which in my opinion will hog tie the Leafs for a few years. This has to be the best thing that ever happened to Edmonton ( not sigining Clarkson) .......we dodged a bullet there!

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#65 Striker
January 23 2014, 12:20PM
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@Mitch @Mack Strong @ Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things @bluetada @oilerjed

I think Mitch's idea about the word "articulate" being used is analagous to the "well spoken" adjective being used to describe Colin Powell in this commentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj050bz-k9o

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#66 Joe Mamma
January 23 2014, 12:20PM
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@JW

Unfortunately JW, I think it's pretty clear that this is EXACTLY what their "plan" is. KLowe's interview on Gregor's show the other day indicated that this is precisely what they are counting on.

It is indicative of the flawed concept that the prospects can come up to the show and propel the team forward, which they have been trying (and failing at) for the past 5+ seasons.

What these nitwits need to get through their thick skulls is that without bonafide NHL veteran leadership, these kids will likely never develop into top-flight NHLers. Datsyuk and Zetterberg got to learn from Yzerman, Lidstrom, Federov and Hull. Crosby had Lemieux (!), Recchi, Leclair, Palffy, and Gonchar. Stamkos had St.louis, Lecavalier, Recchi, and Roberts. On and on. In fact, I would bet you can make a direct correlation between the quality of today's superstars, and the quality of the players they learned from.

The Oilers have never provided any veteran leadership (and no, Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky don't count. Look at the names I've listed and tell me if they can hold their jocks) and until we get some on this club, it's going to be more of the same. These kids need someone to show them, on the ice, in the games, how it's done. Ference, while I think he is a good addtion, is not that guy. All this group has seen since they were assembled is how to lose. That is the failure of this management group, and in my opinion, until it is rectified we will always be a sub-par NHL squad.

I dunno, maybe it's just me.

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#67 Brad
January 23 2014, 12:21PM
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Dave Lumley was on Oilers Now yesterday and was a pretty solid interview. Basically put Stauffer in his place. He said everything that we fans have been thinking all season.

Why are Hall and Eberle continuing to make the same mistakes?

Gagner, Hemsky, etc have zero trade value.

You can talk about bringing in big, two way dmen or big top 6 centres, or big top 6 winger, but no one wants to trade those right now.

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#68 Striker
January 23 2014, 12:24PM
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Ehrhoff is exactly the type of player we need. Someone who isn't a name big defenseman and hopefully someone who is undervalued in the market. The guy is making a 4 mill caphit a year, starting from the d-zone, playing the other teams tough lines, and consistently outshooting his opposition. In the prime of his career which is what we need. We can't wait for our prospect dmen to develop while burning the years off the contracts of our skill forwards (Nuge, Hall, Yak, Ebs)

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#69 K_Mart
January 23 2014, 12:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The team needs to find a stop-gap, a guy like Ehrhoff or Campbell or Byfuglien who won't fill the job permanently but can stop the bleeding for a while and buy time for the guys who eventually replace him.

I agree the team needs a stop-gap, but I don't agree that the right decision is to break up the core and deal one of Eberle, Hall, Nuge, Yak, or J. Schultz.

I subscribe to selling high, don't most people? Do you think those core pieces I just mentioned have value on the market that is at it's peak? Maybe their value stays the same, but it certainly isn't about to drop any time soon.

There is one player on the oilers who is worth more right now than he will ever be worth again... One player who's value is at its Peak: David Perron. He has been better than anyone in oil country could have expected and if ever there is going to be a time to move him, that time is now. If a package involving Perron can bring in one of Hamonic, Roman Josi, Brodin, MacDonald, Mcdonagh, or another d man that is under 30 than great. That basically means we traded MPS for our top d man.

If you're screaming that Perron is way too valuable to move, than you're reinforcing my point of how highly people value him right now. Higher now than he ever will be again.

I might argue Perron can get close to as much as Eberle or more because he brings a nastiness that Eberle doesn't have, his contract is much lower, and he's right behind Eberle offensively. But in the long term, eberle is more valuable to this team than Perron.

Stay the course. It's the right decision, and it's the best course of action. If you're worried that hall's contract will be up by the time we make the playoffs, than there's no hope for you. You can't let the fear of losing Hall dictate how this team is managed. Thinking like that will just get the oilers in more trouble.

Move Hemsky, Perron, and Gagner if you can get fair value.

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#70 Joe Mamma
January 23 2014, 12:26PM
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Striker wrote:

@Mitch @Mack Strong @ Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things @bluetada @oilerjed

I think Mitch's idea about the word "articulate" being used is analagous to the "well spoken" adjective being used to describe Colin Powell in this commentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj050bz-k9o

@everybody involved in this discussion:

What the hell does this have to do with this article? I'm sure there is a TSN board or something on the subject where this moronic discussion with racist undertones would be better suited.

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#71 Arius Mumin
January 23 2014, 12:29PM
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I hate Liberals.

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#72 OilCanFan
January 23 2014, 12:29PM
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GlennH wrote:

Everyone who thinks Shea Weber is not going anywhere, needs to remember that Gretzky was thought to be untouchable. I'm not saying the Oilers have even the slightest chance of grabbing Weber - my point is that everyone is available, for the right price... A top NHL defender's starting price is at least a player like Eberle...

The Oilers didn't have the upfront multimillion dollar investment in Gretzky that Nashville has in Weber.

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#73 Striker
January 23 2014, 12:30PM
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@Rama Lama

So you would be willing to "endure" the pain. So you're willing to wait for Nurse, Klefbom et al to develop which may take another 2-3 years and in the meantime endure more seasons of merde like this one? I am not. We need a dman who can play now. That doesn't mean you trade away a blue chip forward for nothing mind you. As for the UFA option you suggest, you might want to have a look at the upcoming UFA dmen and ask yourself whether any of them is a solution. On second thought don't look, it'll only depress you. Trade is the route to go. BTW agree with you on Clarkson, Edm dodged a bullet there.

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#74 Striker
January 23 2014, 12:35PM
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@Arius Mumin

Me too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

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#75 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 12:35PM
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In all honesty i don't see much happening with the Oilers this summer in terms of real needs.

I think they re-sign either Bryz or Scrivens (or both) for short 1-2yr deals.

I think they find a way to trade for 1x 4/5 defenseman using rental players or low end guys.

And i think the Oilers draft Ekblad.

There may be a few more changes, but they'll likely be in the realm of shuffling deck chairs.

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#76 Oiler63
January 23 2014, 12:36PM
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Problem is the Oilers don't have any other options except to develop from within patiently.

First of all, how many teams around the league would part with their #1 or #2 D Man. I think by the time KLowe figured stud D man is hard to come by everyone else would've figured long time ago. When was the last time an elite d man changed teams?

Even if a team is willing to move a good D, chance is he has a NMC and Oilers is on the list.

Lastly, UFA market, when was the last time oilers landed a big name through UFA? Fact is people would rather take less to play somewhere else.

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#77 oilerjed
January 23 2014, 12:36PM
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K_Mart wrote:

I agree the team needs a stop-gap, but I don't agree that the right decision is to break up the core and deal one of Eberle, Hall, Nuge, Yak, or J. Schultz.

I subscribe to selling high, don't most people? Do you think those core pieces I just mentioned have value on the market that is at it's peak? Maybe their value stays the same, but it certainly isn't about to drop any time soon.

There is one player on the oilers who is worth more right now than he will ever be worth again... One player who's value is at its Peak: David Perron. He has been better than anyone in oil country could have expected and if ever there is going to be a time to move him, that time is now. If a package involving Perron can bring in one of Hamonic, Roman Josi, Brodin, MacDonald, Mcdonagh, or another d man that is under 30 than great. That basically means we traded MPS for our top d man.

If you're screaming that Perron is way too valuable to move, than you're reinforcing my point of how highly people value him right now. Higher now than he ever will be again.

I might argue Perron can get close to as much as Eberle or more because he brings a nastiness that Eberle doesn't have, his contract is much lower, and he's right behind Eberle offensively. But in the long term, eberle is more valuable to this team than Perron.

Stay the course. It's the right decision, and it's the best course of action. If you're worried that hall's contract will be up by the time we make the playoffs, than there's no hope for you. You can't let the fear of losing Hall dictate how this team is managed. Thinking like that will just get the oilers in more trouble.

Move Hemsky, Perron, and Gagner if you can get fair value.

This may be the best idea on here. I like Perron alot but it doesnt look like he is in the long term plans. What is his actual value I wonder. Most definitely better return then Gags but less then Ebs?

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#78 Oilbaron
January 23 2014, 12:40PM
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camdog wrote:

That's pretty much what Steve Staois said when the organization said they were going to get rid of all the veterans. I remember when people would get mad at guys like Moreau when they gave their exit interviews, seems like many of these players were right about management was doing and the vision of the organization was faulty.

OH it all makes sense now! With the intention of 'rebuilding', Katz traded away all of the real leadership, and now this team is overall too young to know how to win in the nhl. Kinda shot yourself in the foot there bud.

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#79 Curcro
January 23 2014, 12:40PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sure, every team makes mistakes in the draft. It is hard drafting 18 year old kids. The Oilers are just consistently bad outside the first round.

Prove me wrong.

In the last 5 years, the Oilers sit 15th in the NHL (middle of the pack, so not good not bad in 2nd to 7th Rounds Picks playing games)

It is the 2007 and before drafts that they suck at.

Who is number one? I am glad you asked, Anaheim has gotten the most out of its 2nd to 7th Rounders since the 2008 draft.

Stick Tap to Hockeydb.com

Proven wrong... average isn't bad, just average.

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#80 billythebullet
January 23 2014, 12:43PM
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There r stopgap options out there. I belive we wont see any of them on the oilers till draft week and free agency. Anyone coming from trades imo at the deadline will be good dmen with worse contracts like b.campbell or c.erhoff.

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#81 pkam
January 23 2014, 12:43PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sure, every team makes mistakes in the draft. It is hard drafting 18 year old kids. The Oilers are just consistently bad outside the first round.

Prove me wrong.

We all know the amateur scouting before 2008 was not good. But still they have found a few NHLers. Greene, Stoll, and Petry come to my mind.

I believe the current head scout Stu started 2008. We already have a glimpse of his work in Lander, Pitlick and Marincin. I believe we will see how good his earlier picks will be in the next couple of years.

Another factor that may affect the scouting performance is development. Without good development, the scouting may work wonder but still get no result. Hopefully, OKC is a better development system than the past.

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#82 Oilbaron
January 23 2014, 12:55PM
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I think Mac-T will trade for a veteran top pairing D before next season. The cap is going up and a lot of teams will likely be making moves after this season. Mactavish knows what's up and he's not going to get fleeced by another GM, so I look forward to the day we hear about this trade.

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#83 G-Unit
January 23 2014, 12:58PM
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I have been saying it for years that Chabot must go. We have had a number of promising young goalies that plateau in the past Delauriers, Roy, Duby, Conklin. Maybe not all destined to be stars, but many of them highly thought of as youngsters. Dubnyk was drafted in the first round, and would have been taken by any team by the third round, and hasn't progressed. I could see the hole in his game from a couch and yet the professional goalie coach couldn't teach him to go down without lifting first. His upper body lifts when he goes down exposing the area under his arms. Pretty basic stuff. Even if it isn't Chabot's fault, or Bucky's, or Smith's they have been on such a bad team for so long they need to be changed out regardless.

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#84 G-Unit
January 23 2014, 12:59PM
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pkam wrote:

We all know the amateur scouting before 2008 was not good. But still they have found a few NHLers. Greene, Stoll, and Petry come to my mind.

I believe the current head scout Stu started 2008. We already have a glimpse of his work in Lander, Pitlick and Marincin. I believe we will see how good his earlier picks will be in the next couple of years.

Another factor that may affect the scouting performance is development. Without good development, the scouting may work wonder but still get no result. Hopefully, OKC is a better development system than the past.

This is a team that didn't have a farm team for a season. Mind boggling.

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#85 pkam
January 23 2014, 01:02PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

Pretty sure we wouldn't be complaining quite as much right now if we were 5 spots higher in the ranking, compared to fighting for the bottom spot. So we don't get whooped as badly for a few more years, I'd take that over watching them get manslaughtered every time St Louis comes to town. If they end up in the playoffs as they would 4 years (hopefully) what is the difference if they reduce the current pain?

I don't mind less pain, just don't want to pay a big price for a temporary band-aid.

Rather go UFA for band-aid. If we can get a true 1st pair D, then it is another story.

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#86 NsxZero
January 23 2014, 01:06PM
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Bold move.

Edmonton Oilers Announce Purchase of Bakersfield Condors (ECHL)

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=701949&navid=DL|EDM|home

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#87 Lowe Expectations
January 23 2014, 01:07PM
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I was watching a Sacramento Kings game recently, and like the Oilers they are in a "rebuild". The color guy was talking about a discussion he had with Pat Riley (who knows a thing or two about winning) about building a winning team. Riley's answers were very interesting. He said that if you try to build through the draft it'll never work. It takes too long. The beginning players get to far out on the curve for the players drafted 4-5 years later and that assumes every player you draft has an impact. He talked how the draft is one tool you use, but trades and free agents are more valuable. Especially trades, when you use the draft for talent and deal from positions of strength to fill areas of need.

I also have concerns about the Oilers pro scouting. This is an area some teams flourish at, being able to find quality depth players.

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#88 Ed in Edmonton
January 23 2014, 01:07PM
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G-Unit wrote:

I have been saying it for years that Chabot must go. We have had a number of promising young goalies that plateau in the past Delauriers, Roy, Duby, Conklin. Maybe not all destined to be stars, but many of them highly thought of as youngsters. Dubnyk was drafted in the first round, and would have been taken by any team by the third round, and hasn't progressed. I could see the hole in his game from a couch and yet the professional goalie coach couldn't teach him to go down without lifting first. His upper body lifts when he goes down exposing the area under his arms. Pretty basic stuff. Even if it isn't Chabot's fault, or Bucky's, or Smith's they have been on such a bad team for so long they need to be changed out regardless.

The curious thing about Trotz's critique was that he stated "bad habits he picked up this year".

The Oil have not developed a starting goalie in house since Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr. Hard to believe.

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#89 G-Unit
January 23 2014, 01:09PM
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@Oiler63

Bouwmeester would count as an elite defenseman in my mind. Many other top 2 defense change all the time. Pronger played for 5 teams. Neidermayer 3 or 4. Blake. I have a tougher time finding 4 top ones that haven't moved a couple times. You might have to take a bad contract, but I would rather being paying an extra 1.5 for a d-man than giving away Mike Browne for nothing and then trading your starting goalie for a marginally better version of Mike Browne for an extra 1.2M.(and eating DD's salary) comical.

Its astonishing that a team this bad with this many holes isn't at the bottom of the league in payroll, fighting to stay above the floor.

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#90 G-Unit
January 23 2014, 01:09PM
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@Oiler63

Bouwmeester would count as an elite defenseman in my mind. Many other top 2 defense change all the time. Pronger played for 5 teams. Neidermayer 3 or 4. Blake. I have a tougher time finding 4 top ones that haven't moved a couple times. You might have to take a bad contract, but I would rather being paying an extra 1.5 for a d-man than giving away Mike Browne for nothing and then trading your starting goalie for a marginally better version of Mike Browne for an extra 1.2M.(and eating DD's salary) comical.

Its astonishing that a team this bad with this many holes isn't at the bottom of the league in payroll, fighting to stay above the floor.

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#91 Chainsawz
January 23 2014, 01:16PM
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I'm probably preaching to the choir here (mostly) but moving this team forward, even if just to bubble status till we develop 2-3 top end defensemen goes a long way to fan sentiment, ridding the locker room of a losing culture, and possibly keeping Ebs, Hall, and the Nuge past their current contracts.

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#92 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 01:16PM
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@pkam

Well I don't see any 1/2 D men going as UFA this year...if you spot one tell MacT.

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#93 Spydyr
January 23 2014, 01:16PM
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Curcro wrote:

In the last 5 years, the Oilers sit 15th in the NHL (middle of the pack, so not good not bad in 2nd to 7th Rounds Picks playing games)

It is the 2007 and before drafts that they suck at.

Who is number one? I am glad you asked, Anaheim has gotten the most out of its 2nd to 7th Rounders since the 2008 draft.

Stick Tap to Hockeydb.com

Proven wrong... average isn't bad, just average.

So, what teams are those players playing for?

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#94 Sisyphus
January 23 2014, 01:19PM
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Here is the main problem. I agree with the article whole-heartedly. We cannot wait for these kids to hopefully, miraculously blossom into top NHL dmen, in a very short period of time.

However, we aren't going to be able to trade for any help soon either. We have VERY few truly tradeable pieces--almost our entire d is gone after this season (no ones giving you anything for a decent rental, much less these crappy rentals). Our bottom 6 is laughable--its AHL quality. And even our stars are only middle-of-road players on decent teams.

If you're an opposing GM, and MacT calls about a solid dman, top forward with size and skill, etc. what do you ask for in return? If its me, I refuse to even entertain the conversation unless Hall or Eberle are on the table. Which they will not be--MacT wont touch them. And no GM in the league wants anything else from us. If players are struggling on one of the worst teams in the league, why on earth would anyone expect them to do better on a quality team? If anything, it would just highlight how bad they actually are

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#95 G-Unitmedia
January 23 2014, 01:20PM
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In a rebuild it would seem important to maintain enough quality veterans to guide the young players around the league. Management has done nothing to address these problems in the past and it doesn't look to be getting better.

You need a veteran player taking the media questions after tough losses, showing the work and dedication required to win in short being Shawn Horcoff. I know that many Oiler fans, myself included, were tired of watching his overpaid butt on the ice, but it was almost always the overpaid part that bugs us. Instead we keep a habitually out of shape Ryan Smyth. He has never been in shape, takes the stupidest penalties, has an average peewee shot and hasn't won a battle outside of the crease area since '94. He has had heart and guts for years, but beyond that he doesn't bring anything to the table.

The fact that Eakins has him on the penalty kill is an insult to every other player in that dressing room.

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#96 Sisyphus
January 23 2014, 01:21PM
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Chainsawz wrote:

I'm probably preaching to the choir here (mostly) but moving this team forward, even if just to bubble status till we develop 2-3 top end defensemen goes a long way to fan sentiment, ridding the locker room of a losing culture, and possibly keeping Ebs, Hall, and the Nuge past their current contracts.

Yes, but here lies the rub. You can't keep all of Hall, Ebs, and RNH and still get the kind of help that will improve things enough to keep the others around. You have to pick--2 of the 3 you can keep, but you are going to have to trade one of them to get anything back in return. Otherwise, don't make any changes at all, because you'd be trading our garbage for someone else's, if they'd even do a deal with us

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#97 WanderingMind81
January 23 2014, 01:28PM
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Wonder if Vegas has any odds for which of the young stars gets moved first--Hall, Eberle, Yak, or RNH....

My guess is it goes in order of most to least likely: Eberle, Yak, RNH, Hall

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#98 Nina Russo
January 23 2014, 01:28PM
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Didn't you hear Eakins on the Stauffer show -- this is year one of a new rebuild. The "re-rebuild" won't end for another five years ...

Ha! So sad.

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#99 Rama Lama
January 23 2014, 01:28PM
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Striker wrote:

So you would be willing to "endure" the pain. So you're willing to wait for Nurse, Klefbom et al to develop which may take another 2-3 years and in the meantime endure more seasons of merde like this one? I am not. We need a dman who can play now. That doesn't mean you trade away a blue chip forward for nothing mind you. As for the UFA option you suggest, you might want to have a look at the upcoming UFA dmen and ask yourself whether any of them is a solution. On second thought don't look, it'll only depress you. Trade is the route to go. BTW agree with you on Clarkson, Edm dodged a bullet there.

I in my heart-of-hearts want a decent trade to happen.........the problem I have is that no "real", player will consider Edmonton as an option.

With this in mind our only real option is to develop our own talent.

It's well know that in player circles ( I know a few players) that Edmonton is not player friendly......we have 6 rings to thank for that. Players know that management in Edmonton is poison.

Eventually Katz will figure that out.

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#100 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 01:33PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I in my heart-of-hearts want a decent trade to happen.........the problem I have is that no "real", player will consider Edmonton as an option.

With this in mind our only real option is to develop our own talent.

It's well know that in player circles ( I know a few players) that Edmonton is not player friendly......we have 6 rings to thank for that. Players know that management in Edmonton is poison.

Eventually Katz will figure that out.

So the players you know specifically say that K.Lowe is bad for players?

If so, can you elaborate with specifics?

After the Souray/Tambo ordeal, i could see a bad wrap coming from that. But Tambo is gone and now players deal with a GM that was a coach and a player with a great career. The player experience might be different starting the minute MacT was hired

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