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, 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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#101 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2014, 01:34PM
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The Oilers will draft Ekblad because they are in such a mess. ( they should be looking hard at DalColle Draisaitl or Reinheart ) .

My take.

Draft a centre because when it comes down to the top 5 players being extremely close in projection & skill you alway should draft the centre.

This is despite what the Oilers need, the hardest position to fill are skilled centre's and they rarely get traded.

These players tend fit into the line up quicker then a defensmen.

This free's up Gagner to be used as trade, this way the Oilers are not taking from Peter to pay Paul as someone mentioned earlier.

The Oilers can trade there pick move back & still acquire & skilled centre.

What I Think the Oilers actually do.

Draft Ekblad

Slam Nurse into a hole in the line up.

Trade Gagner.

Try to fill a new hole at centre with ether Hall or Arcobelo

The Oilers will go whale hunting this summer come up with like type players with the ones that left creating the same team again.

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#102 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 01:40PM
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@Walter Sobchak

I feel like there are only 2 options for the Oilers at this year's draft: Ekblad or Draisaitl. Ekblad is clearly a decent pickup, all you need to do is watch him play. Draisaitl on the other hand, isn't as obvious and IMO is only up in the top 10 because of his size + Position.

If there is a way the Oilers can draft Draisaitl at a lower number and somehow get something for trading their #1/2 position, then that could be an option.

BUT!

Let's say in this fantasy scenario that Draisaitl will go 8th and the Oilers trade #2 for #8. What, in return, can a team realistically expect in trading the #2 spot for a #8 spot?

Is the return + a 2nd rnder? + a player? + prospect? both picks are top 10 so really... What is the expected return on doing something like this and is it worth the gamble of missing out on your guy at 8th (What if calgary takes him at #3!!!?!?!!?)

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#103 bwar
January 23 2014, 01:42PM
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Just trade the entire team for Chara and Weber.

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#104 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 01:43PM
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Also!

What if the oilers keep their #2 pick but trade a roster player for the #8 in an attempt to get both Ekblad AND Draisaitl?

Does Gagner get you a #8 pick? Does Gagner get you anything in the 1st round at all?

And would you rather have a Draisaitl at 2C or Gagner?

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#105 bluetada
January 23 2014, 01:44PM
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Would Perron + Gagner get Ott + Erhoff ?

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#106 pkam
January 23 2014, 01:45PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

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

If it is a true 1/2D who we can sign to a long contract, I don't mind to pay for a trade.

But if it is a 2/3D for a couple of years, I'll rather sign an UFA to a short beefy contract. In other words, I'll rather pay extra cash than asset for a short term 2/3D.

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#107 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 01:45PM
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@A-Mc

If Gagner returns more than a 3rd rounder and Draisaitls jock-strap I would be surprised.

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#108 China town man
January 23 2014, 01:47PM
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After hearing Dallas speak on the radio!!! I am less angry and more on his side wtf

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#109 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 01:48PM
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@pkam

Look at the UFA list, there isn't a 1/2 D man on there. The best you have is trading someone, and you WILL over pay simply because this is the Edmonton Oilers and no team is going to give up something to them if they aren't getting one of the top players.

If you think 1/2 D men are just growing on the UFA tree you need to take a step back and look at the facts. HENDRICKS didn't want to sign in Edmonton...if you're going to say a 1/2 D man (if they existed as a UFA) would want to sign here you're certified insane.

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#110 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 01:49PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

If Gagner returns more than a 3rd rounder and Draisaitls jock-strap I would be surprised.

I honestly think we, as a fan base, undervalue Gagner. We undervalue him because he's exactly what we DONT need on this team. Our needs are NOT the same as other Team's needs.

Gagner has shown he can put up ~50pts a season. He has shown that he can drop the mitts when he feels taken advantage of. He has shown that he has some decent character to him.

He has also shown that he can be a huge defensive liability.

GM's from other teams will see anyone from edmonton and understand why the defensive game isnt there in the players. If a GM's team is defensive minded and needs scoring, i dont doubt a GM could attempt to pick him up and make a semi reclamation project out of him.

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#111 bazmagoo
January 23 2014, 01:52PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Wes, if Edmonton decided to take one of those centers instead of Ekblad do you think trading Gagner to Toronto for Jake Gardiner would be a good fit for Edmonton? Plus or minus draft picks on either side, not sure where each players value is at. In my mind it would be straight up because Gagner's salary reduces his value compared to Gardiner who is at a reasonable salary for his current ability level.

This wouldn't fix Edmonton's blueline, but would add another solid emerging defender who played with Justin Schultz in college I believe.

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#112 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2014, 01:53PM
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A-Mc wrote:

I feel like there are only 2 options for the Oilers at this year's draft: Ekblad or Draisaitl. Ekblad is clearly a decent pickup, all you need to do is watch him play. Draisaitl on the other hand, isn't as obvious and IMO is only up in the top 10 because of his size + Position.

If there is a way the Oilers can draft Draisaitl at a lower number and somehow get something for trading their #1/2 position, then that could be an option.

BUT!

Let's say in this fantasy scenario that Draisaitl will go 8th and the Oilers trade #2 for #8. What, in return, can a team realistically expect in trading the #2 spot for a #8 spot?

Is the return + a 2nd rnder? + a player? + prospect? both picks are top 10 so really... What is the expected return on doing something like this and is it worth the gamble of missing out on your guy at 8th (What if calgary takes him at #3!!!?!?!!?)

You shouldn't over look both Bennett & DalColle both have better numbers then Draisaitl.

Both I believe are a year younger? I'd have to look that up.

When I say trade down we're talking a spot or two.

Ekblad will be very good D-Man and wouldn't be terrible upset if they took him, it just adds years to the rebuild.

The Oilers have to Get better players, keep better players and develop better players.

They are not doing that well.

They need to trade Gagner, I like Gagner + a prospect for big buff.

I would also trade Peron, he's not on a long contract, he has top value, likely won't resign.

Could sell very high on him.

Re-sign Hemsky & Perons position is filled internally.

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#113 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 01:53PM
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@A-Mc

I see Chicago giving MacT a call because Gagner and Kane did so well in junior. Besides that, what team wants an undersized overpaid 2nd line centermen who can't win draws, has not tallied more than 49 points, is consistently injured, and plays a poor defensive zone game. That isn't my opinion, that is the opinion of other teams around the league who talk to our talk show hosts.

I would say if anything we overvalue him because he's not a quality 2nd Line NHL player.

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#114 Ed in Edmonton
January 23 2014, 01:54PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Also!

What if the oilers keep their #2 pick but trade a roster player for the #8 in an attempt to get both Ekblad AND Draisaitl?

Does Gagner get you a #8 pick? Does Gagner get you anything in the 1st round at all?

And would you rather have a Draisaitl at 2C or Gagner?

At this point Gagner is a negative asset. He is only tradeable if you take somebody else's problem back. Kind of like the Del Zotto/Klein trade yesterday.

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#115 Ed in Edmotnon
January 23 2014, 01:56PM
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G-Unitmedia wrote:

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.

So you are saying that they should be insulted that an aging 38 year old has been is still better at PK than most others on the team?

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#116 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2014, 01:57PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Wes, if Edmonton decided to take one of those centers instead of Ekblad do you think trading Gagner to Toronto for Jake Gardiner would be a good fit for Edmonton? Plus or minus draft picks on either side, not sure where each players value is at. In my mind it would be straight up because Gagner's salary reduces his value compared to Gardiner who is at a reasonable salary for his current ability level.

This wouldn't fix Edmonton's blueline, but would add another solid emerging defender who played with Justin Schultz in college I believe.

I like Gardiner! I think he's being under utilized and misused, problem is T.O's coach is very much like Eakins.

I believe Gardiner needs stability to help him much the same way I think Schultz needs the same thing here.

I would do that trade yes, on the condition the Oilers have a legit two way centre coming somewhere.

The Oilers need to be looking to buy low somewhere or draft that centre.

IMO

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#117 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 01:57PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You shouldn't over look both Bennett & DalColle both have better numbers then Draisaitl.

Both I believe are a year younger? I'd have to look that up.

When I say trade down we're talking a spot or two.

Ekblad will be very good D-Man and wouldn't be terrible upset if they took him, it just adds years to the rebuild.

The Oilers have to Get better players, keep better players and develop better players.

They are not doing that well.

They need to trade Gagner, I like Gagner + a prospect for big buff.

I would also trade Peron, he's not on a long contract, he has top value, likely won't resign.

Could sell very high on him.

Re-sign Hemsky & Perons position is filled internally.

Bennet and Dal Colle are 178 and 179 lbs respectively. Yes they are young, but those players will max out at ~200lbs (like Taylor hall). They wont be small, but they wont be bigger either.

This team NEEDS bigger, but not "bigger" in a goon kind of way. We need "Bigger" in the top 6 or Top 3D kind of way.

If my team is passing on Ekblad for a Centerman, Draisaitl's 208lbs is miles ahead of either Bennet or Dal Colle; even if down the road those 2 players end up producing more points.

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#118 Lochenzo
January 23 2014, 02:00PM
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Eberle, Perron, Gagner, Yakupov should be available for trade. It'd be a major mistake to bring back anything less than a top-2 defenceman if you were to trade one or package a couple of them together.

That being said, Byfuglien is off my list. He looks like he really enjoys playing forward. A wnger for winger trade won't make this team much better.

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#119 bluetada
January 23 2014, 02:01PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You shouldn't over look both Bennett & DalColle both have better numbers then Draisaitl.

Both I believe are a year younger? I'd have to look that up.

When I say trade down we're talking a spot or two.

Ekblad will be very good D-Man and wouldn't be terrible upset if they took him, it just adds years to the rebuild.

The Oilers have to Get better players, keep better players and develop better players.

They are not doing that well.

They need to trade Gagner, I like Gagner + a prospect for big buff.

I would also trade Peron, he's not on a long contract, he has top value, likely won't resign.

Could sell very high on him.

Re-sign Hemsky & Perons position is filled internally.

Perron is signed for 3 more years at AAV around $3.8 which only increases his trade value. The question is could the Oilers replace him by signing Hemmer to a 3/4 year extension at that price ? Makes sense if we can't get decent trade value for Hemmer.

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#120 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:01PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

I see Chicago giving MacT a call because Gagner and Kane did so well in junior. Besides that, what team wants an undersized overpaid 2nd line centermen who can't win draws, has not tallied more than 49 points, is consistently injured, and plays a poor defensive zone game. That isn't my opinion, that is the opinion of other teams around the league who talk to our talk show hosts.

I would say if anything we overvalue him because he's not a quality 2nd Line NHL player.

To be fair, 2 of Gagner's semi recent injuries are absolutely no fault of his or are indicative of his body breaking down.

Jones slit Gagners hand with a skate while climbing over the boards, and Kassian lumber jacked Gagner's Jaw.

You meantion talk show hosts, but i hear the opposite of what you're saying. When i hear people questioned about Gagner, the general consensus is that the Oilers shouldn't be too quick to move Gagner. They cite is character and his ability to put up points.

I'm not going to go on a spree defending Gagner, my original reply was simply that he's worth more than a 3rd round pick..

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#121 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2014, 02:01PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Also!

What if the oilers keep their #2 pick but trade a roster player for the #8 in an attempt to get both Ekblad AND Draisaitl?

Does Gagner get you a #8 pick? Does Gagner get you anything in the 1st round at all?

And would you rather have a Draisaitl at 2C or Gagner?

would you rather have a Draisaitl at 2C or Gagner?

The way Gagner has played this year is nothing short of unremarkable.

Having said that Gagner is a PRO and Draisaitl is a amateur, huge difference.

There's a bid to huge learning curve.

Do I think Draisaitl is going to be better then Gagner two years from now?

Yes.

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#122 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:02PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

At this point Gagner is a negative asset. He is only tradeable if you take somebody else's problem back. Kind of like the Del Zotto/Klein trade yesterday.

Yet how many times has Del Zotto been mentioned as being a good person to look into acquiring for the Oilers?

He has perceived value for THIS team, yet in your example he's part of "trading a problem" ?

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#123 Ed in Edmoton
January 23 2014, 02:04PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Yet how many times has Del Zotto been mentioned as being a good person to look into acquiring for the Oilers?

He has perceived value for THIS team, yet in your example he's part of "trading a problem" ?

Del Zotto was a problem for the Rangers, that's the point.

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#124 pkam
January 23 2014, 02:06PM
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@DisappointedFan

I didn't know I said to sign 1/2D UFA.

Let me repeat again what I said.

I don't mind to pay a high price to trade for a true 1/2D if he has a long contract or willing to sign a long contract.

I don't want to pay a high price for a 1/2/3D for a couple of years only. I'll rather sign a UFA 2/3D to a 2 year beefy contract.

If none is available, then I'll take the pain.

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#125 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 02:08PM
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@A-Mc

Missed games are missed games, he has played 1 - 48 game season which was the closest to a full season he's played yet. Regardless of injury prone he still makes every other point glaringly clear with his play this year.

I'm not talking when Gregor or Stauffer are talking because they all see Gagner as an asset. I'm talking when they bring in radio hosts from other cities or GMs from other cities or people from TSN or CBC, the people who have an unbiased opinion of the Oilers.

It would be like trying to sell you on Artem Anisimov being traded for a first rounder

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#126 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:08PM
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Ed in Edmoton wrote:

Del Zotto was a problem for the Rangers, that's the point.

Right, and Gagner is a problem for the Oilers but could be perceived as having real value to another team. IE: it doesn't have to be a problem for problem situation.

Was Klein a problem for NSH? It seems to me NSH traded real value for someone they PERCEIVE as having something they value more.

Our "problem" can still garner real value back from another team that needs scoring from the top 9.

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#127 G-Unit
January 23 2014, 02:09PM
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Ed in Edmotnon wrote:

So you are saying that they should be insulted that an aging 38 year old has been is still better at PK than most others on the team?

Aged - not aging.

If a lazy 38 year old is your top penalty killer then the pk coach should be fired immediately.

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#128 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:12PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

Missed games are missed games, he has played 1 - 48 game season which was the closest to a full season he's played yet. Regardless of injury prone he still makes every other point glaringly clear with his play this year.

I'm not talking when Gregor or Stauffer are talking because they all see Gagner as an asset. I'm talking when they bring in radio hosts from other cities or GMs from other cities or people from TSN or CBC, the people who have an unbiased opinion of the Oilers.

It would be like trying to sell you on Artem Anisimov being traded for a first rounder

a GM will do his Due Diligence when researching a player. I'm sorry but "Missed games are missed games" is a bunch of crap.

If a player has missed 20 games through out the season because of repeat groin injuries, then that is very telling. If that same player is out because some goon billy clubbed him in the face and busted him up, that's MUCH different.

re: Gagners performance
Watch how often hockey players get their head smashed against the boards or have random things clip their jaws. It happens a lot. Gagner has had a failure of a year, but that Jaw injury was a huge contributor to that. When you can't get greasy, you're relegated to "Stick" duty. Players who reach with their sticks get used as pylons.

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#129 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 02:16PM
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@pkam

Wording is everything on those things.

Well you can't bank on any player staying around anywhere for more than a couple years, especially a 30th/29th place team. Because there is a chance anything can happen, but at the end of the day if you get 2-3 years out of them I'd consider that a big win since we should have Nurse and the gang up and hopefully ready to play by then.

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#130 Johnnydapunk
January 23 2014, 02:17PM
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Does anyone know when do players technically become free agents? I'm asking as the rule for trying to sign RFAs is that teams recieve picks as compensation and I can't find out what year those picks would be for.

If it is for the 2014 draft, the Oil have traded all of their picks away (except the 1st) that could be used as compensation so they wouldn't be able to go after any RFAs. But if compensation is for the 2015 draft, the Oil have a chance I guess at sending some offer sheets out.

Any ideas?

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#131 Lochenzo
January 23 2014, 02:17PM
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I guess the other point we should make is that this Dman we receive should ideally have at least 5 years of high performance left on the odometer. That's the window for bringing along guys like Nurse, and maybe Ekblad. They can mentor and shelter their minutes if and when required.

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#132 bazmagoo
January 23 2014, 02:19PM
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@Walter Sobchak

I'd be more comfortable going into 2014-15 with RNH 1st, Arco/Draisaitl battling for 2nd line, Gordon 3rd, Arco/Draisaitl on the 4th line then I would with Gagner in that #2 spot. Gardiner's history with J Schultz is relevant and could give Edmonton the option of playing Ference with Petry to settle Petry down. Not a legitimate top 4 but an improvement. With Klefbom, Marincin, Nurse, Fedun, Larsen?, Belov?, UFA signings battling for that 3rd pairing spot that could be an improved roster. Think that's about the best we can hope for, except for maybe a sought after UFA deciding he wants to get the biggest pay day possible & signing.

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#133 Ed in Edmonton
January 23 2014, 02:19PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Right, and Gagner is a problem for the Oilers but could be perceived as having real value to another team. IE: it doesn't have to be a problem for problem situation.

Was Klein a problem for NSH? It seems to me NSH traded real value for someone they PERCEIVE as having something they value more.

Our "problem" can still garner real value back from another team that needs scoring from the top 9.

I agree that someone else's problem might be a fit with the Oil, but might just a easily be a problem here as well. The point is some people are dreaming in Technicolor about Gagner's trade value.

BTW Dreger did consider Klein a "problem" for Nashville, although it might have been more contract than performance.

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#134 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 02:23PM
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@A-Mc

Okay, so you have proven that one small part of his game could be attributed to the fact that he has received the short end of the stick in terms of freak in-game accidents.

You're entire "re: Gagners performance" says a lot of words but no real point. What are you trying to say, that he somehow has an "excuse" for poor performance when other players get injured and continue to perform well all the time?

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#135 Rick Stroppel
January 23 2014, 02:24PM
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THERE IS NO PLAN

One big mistake many people make is assuming that Lowe and MacTavish have developed, or will develop, any kind of a coherent strategy to "turn this around". At the beginning of the season, about four months ago, MacTavish was saying he was impatient and was going to make bold moves to make the team somewhat competitive now(ie at least compete for a playoff spot this year). So he trades this years' second and (I believe) third round draft picks. Then he tells everyone he is going to trade the first round pick too. I heard MacTavish do a "year end" interview with Stauffer around December 30. He was asked whether trading that first round pick depended on how the team finished, and basically he said no, he would explore trading the pick no matter how high it was.

THREE WEEKS LATER Katz is writing his letter saying we need to be patient, not impatient, we are keeping our draft picks, we are now building through the draft. YOU CALL THIS A PLAN?

MacTavish is the guy who fired a very decent man and a promising coach (Kreuger) based on a "hunch" he probably developed during a 45 minute interview with Eakins. Leaving the skype issue aside, Kreuger never got a fair chance to show what he could do. MacTavish had no "plan" concerning coaching.

Face it: MacTavish and Lowe are nitwits who will continue making huge mistakes until they are fired.

PS: Any talk of quality UFA's coming here is a waste of time. Everybody in the league can see what a cluster-flub this team has become.

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#136 bazmagoo
January 23 2014, 02:26PM
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Come to think of it, both Gardiner and J Schultz are both RFA's. You could sign them to matching 2 year, 3 million dollar contracts to tie them further together. I doubt Toronto wants to pay Gardiner that much, and Edmonton gives out contracts like magic beans so could be win-win for both teams, ha.

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#137 Dallylamma
January 23 2014, 02:29PM
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Posti wrote:

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 !

"What happened?"

Mike Milbury isn't a NHL GM anymore, that's what happened.

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#138 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:33PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

Okay, so you have proven that one small part of his game could be attributed to the fact that he has received the short end of the stick in terms of freak in-game accidents.

You're entire "re: Gagners performance" says a lot of words but no real point. What are you trying to say, that he somehow has an "excuse" for poor performance when other players get injured and continue to perform well all the time?

My point is that the type of injury he has this year is severely hindering his game. It doesnt cause him to miss guys in the slot (which he does too often) but it does limit his ability to dig along the boards or get in on a check from certain positions.

"players get injured and continue to perform well all the time"
You mean like Burrows on the Canucks? Last i heard, he's praying for any kind of scoring to get him out of the funk he's in from his face injury. (Although he has only been back a few games..)

You're using some fairly wide sweeping arguments that aren't really specific to the player we're discussing.

Again, i'll re-iterate that i dont think Gagner should be on the Oilers because he's not what they need. but I'll also re-iterate that i DO think he's worth more than a 3rd round pick and Draisaitl's jock strap(as was previously suggested).

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#139 @Oilanderp
January 23 2014, 02:35PM
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Check this out from Pittsburgh:

http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/5448123-74/letang-trade-penguins#axzz2rFuY41KG

We have wingers, they need wingers. They have D, we need D. Get on it MacT.

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#140 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 02:42PM
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@A-Mc

Congratulations, you just used a very poorly constructed circular argument to prove nothing more than my point. Every aspect of his poor play over the years is contributed to this new injury he received from a stick to the face. You think he magically was a better player other years? He had an 8 point game that saved his record from looking abysmal that year.

Teams do not want or need this player, if they did you think they would have been breaking down our door for him every other trade deadline. Now that he is underperforming even more this year you think anyone wants him for more than a late pick. Good luck with that.

Talk about something other than an excuse of injury and maybe I'll see your point as more than laughable.

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#141 bored
January 23 2014, 02:49PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

would you rather have a Draisaitl at 2C or Gagner?

The way Gagner has played this year is nothing short of unremarkable.

Having said that Gagner is a PRO and Draisaitl is a amateur, huge difference.

There's a bid to huge learning curve.

Do I think Draisaitl is going to be better then Gagner two years from now?

Yes.

The years of wanting multiple first round picks are over. We need players that are capable of playing in the NHL today and if we have to give up some future prospects to get them, than we do so. Drooling over junior hockey players is a step backwards.

We should try to trade the pick for proven talent, but if nothing fair or useful comes to fruition, than draft the best player who fulfill the biggest need.

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#142 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:49PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

Congratulations, you just used a very poorly constructed circular argument to prove nothing more than my point. Every aspect of his poor play over the years is contributed to this new injury he received from a stick to the face. You think he magically was a better player other years? He had an 8 point game that saved his record from looking abysmal that year.

Teams do not want or need this player, if they did you think they would have been breaking down our door for him every other trade deadline. Now that he is underperforming even more this year you think anyone wants him for more than a late pick. Good luck with that.

Talk about something other than an excuse of injury and maybe I'll see your point as more than laughable.

Maybe this is where we differ..Until this year, I didn't have a problem with Gagner's play.

I was almost always on the boat that he should be moved because he's not the right fit HERE, but in saying that, i was recognizing that he had value and that moving him would bring something decent in return.

If You and I are subject to miscommunication because you think Gagner has always been garbage, and i do not, then i dont think we can really go down this path.

Ultimate conclusion: You think Gagner is worth a 3rd round pick. I think otherwise. Opinions are opinions!

We'll just have to wait and see what happens with Mr Samwise.

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#143 Gored 1970
January 23 2014, 02:53PM
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I thought that since defensemen take longer to develop (if you're doing development the right way and not rushing things) the rule of thumb was to draft forwards and trade for defence.

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#144 Will
January 23 2014, 02:54PM
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Would everyone be happy with Arco as our number 2 if he had larger wingers? The guy is small sure but he wins a ton of face offs, plays bigger than he is, and can put up numbers when playing with skill players.

Getting Gagners contract off the books might be the best way to open the door for Arco and allow Edmonton to go whale hunting for Callahan and Moulsen.

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#145 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 02:56PM
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Gored 1970 wrote:

I thought that since defensemen take longer to develop (if you're doing development the right way and not rushing things) the rule of thumb was to draft forwards and trade for defence.

A while back i posted all the top 2 D (in TOI) for each team and how they were acquired by their respective teams (Trade, UFA, Drafted).

The glaring truth of the matter was that top defensemen most often were drafted by the team they are playing for.

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#146 neilswheels
January 23 2014, 02:59PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

The Oilers will draft Ekblad because they are in such a mess. ( they should be looking hard at DalColle Draisaitl or Reinheart ) .

My take.

Draft a centre because when it comes down to the top 5 players being extremely close in projection & skill you alway should draft the centre.

This is despite what the Oilers need, the hardest position to fill are skilled centre's and they rarely get traded.

These players tend fit into the line up quicker then a defensmen.

This free's up Gagner to be used as trade, this way the Oilers are not taking from Peter to pay Paul as someone mentioned earlier.

The Oilers can trade there pick move back & still acquire & skilled centre.

What I Think the Oilers actually do.

Draft Ekblad

Slam Nurse into a hole in the line up.

Trade Gagner.

Try to fill a new hole at centre with ether Hall or Arcobelo

The Oilers will go whale hunting this summer come up with like type players with the ones that left creating the same team again.

thats a good argument, although because of immediate size requirements maybe the big german is best here. then trade gagner and maybe yak together (although his upside is dangerously not known yet) for a GOOD STRONG D man who, as you say, can mentor the new kids. But then this argument requires patience for Draistle to develop and development time is not on the oilers side with 4 first round forwards learning the game, along with marincin, nurse, and Petry.

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#147 Rick Stroppel
January 23 2014, 03:00PM
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China town man wrote:

After hearing Dallas speak on the radio!!! I am less angry and more on his side wtf

CONCERNS ABOUT EAKINS

I am trying to be fair to Eakins and I try to listen carefully to what he is saying. Two things in his recent comments concern me:

1. Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but I sense a bit of defeatism. It almost sounds like he is saying "yeah I might get fired...too bad...stuff happens".

2. He seems to be blaming previous coaches for this years' problems. He is hinting that all the previous coaching changes have created a big mess, and he should get at least a couple of years to fix it. That sounds whiney to me. Eakins needs to take ownership of what is happening right now.

In any event it is all academic, I believe Eakins will probably get the rest of this season, and next, to show what he can do. Unless the team is totally out of it by around Christmas 2014.

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#148 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:02PM
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@A-Mc

I'll agree to disagree on Sammy Snowpants.

Regardless coming up with a catchy phrase for doing bad and McDavid....it's a tough one, if you can think of one I'd like to hear it.

Best I have is "lurid for McDavid", doesn't roll off the tongue though.

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#149 Woogie63
January 23 2014, 03:08PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

I see Chicago giving MacT a call because Gagner and Kane did so well in junior. Besides that, what team wants an undersized overpaid 2nd line centermen who can't win draws, has not tallied more than 49 points, is consistently injured, and plays a poor defensive zone game. That isn't my opinion, that is the opinion of other teams around the league who talk to our talk show hosts.

I would say if anything we overvalue him because he's not a quality 2nd Line NHL player.

I see Edmonton and Chicago has trading partner because we can give them the depth needed for a Cup run, with no term in 2014/15, little cap in 2013.

Here is how,

Going to Chicago 80, 83, 15 Going to Edmonton, Raanta and McNeil.

Chicago get better in goal Chicago get veterns that can add depth and help the PP and PK for a cup run this year.

Edmonton get the younger goalie for their run at the cup in 3 years Edmonton get a big young centre that is scoring in the AHL

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#150 A-Mc
January 23 2014, 03:10PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

I'll agree to disagree on Sammy Snowpants.

Regardless coming up with a catchy phrase for doing bad and McDavid....it's a tough one, if you can think of one I'd like to hear it.

Best I have is "lurid for McDavid", doesn't roll off the tongue though.

McDavid is a centerman I'd be happy to draft as "Normal Sized". He's no monster but his skill level is worth it, or appears to be thus far!

Lets be honest, we'll likely be in the dumpster next year also so McDavid is a real possibility!

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