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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 Gordie Wayne
January 23 2014, 04:20PM
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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.

Be the lowest rated for Connor McDavid!

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#54 Cold Hard Truth
January 23 2014, 04:54PM
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Prediction:

Trade talks about Gagner and Hemsky will swirl from now until the deadline. Nothing will happen. The pundits will say it is better to trade them in the off season. Once the off season comes around, Hemsky will be resigned to a 5 year deal. MacTavish will say he is a cornerstone piece moving forward. The Edmonton sports pundits will applaud him. MacTavish will spool out some more hope, making everyone believe this is the year. The Oilers finish last again. MacTavish then fires Eakins, and admits he may have made a mistake. Messier is hired. This goes on for 4 more years. Fans begin to riot and Lowe starts receiving death threats. Lowe and MacTavish are forced to flee Edmonton by helicopter. Katz, running behind, grabs onto the landing arm of the helicopter as it's taking off and dangles from it in a dramatic fashion.

New management comes in and the Oilers start winning. The Edmonton sports pundits will then say that they knew all along that Lowe was no good.

The end.

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#55 Mitch
January 23 2014, 11:13AM
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Mack Strong wrote:

What the H E double hockey sticks are you talking about???

How is that racist!!??

Nevermind i don't want to hear anything else come out of your mouth….

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.

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#56 oilerjed
January 23 2014, 11:57AM
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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.

What good does it do our current players to undercut their development by not having a good group around them in which to develope. The first round pick this year is nothing more then a pipe dream to a better future. At some point you need to make the move to bring in experience, and by this I mean quality experience. Using your logic we are only going to be 2-3 years down the road but no better off. Encouraging prospects that fail to develope into what they are hyped to be.

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#57 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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#58 Arius Mumin
January 23 2014, 12:29PM
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I hate Liberals.

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#59 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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#60 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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#61 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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#62 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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#63 Mustangheart
January 23 2014, 03:50PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

The real question you should ask is, can we get Penner for less than a 1st, a 2nd and a prospect?

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.

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#64 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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#65 Yaz
January 23 2014, 11:13AM
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I have said it before, do not let these coaches near any more prospects or call ups or trades for that matter. The team has clearly quit trying other than the odd burst of individual effort. That is a result of the coaches being unable to develop a system that suits the current roster, might not be perfect but the coaches aren't smart enough to adapt..Get rid of them quickly, 50 points for this season is a dream and they will achieve the same next year.

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#66 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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#67 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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#68 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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#69 bwar
January 23 2014, 01:42PM
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Just trade the entire team for Chara and Weber.

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#70 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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#71 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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#72 Tikkanese
January 23 2014, 03:38PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

The real question you should ask is, can we get Penner for less than a 1st, a 2nd and a prospect?

Yea another soft winger is exactly what the Oilers need...

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#73 Todd
January 23 2014, 05:32PM
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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.

The Penner haters are unbelievable.....

Exhibit A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_3ZVo7tNCs Exhibit B: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoWdvZdxgiE Exhibit C: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q87_VKEWwE Exhibit D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGj4WNXncoI

Ya, no heart. When was the last time you saw anyone do Exhibit B on this Oilers team?!?

Its half a season through and nobody has touched Kassian. Penner b lined straight for Exelby when he hit Hemsky and laid a beating on him. Doughty destroys Hall and Penner insta fights him. Each clip is him instantly responding with his fists to a team mate getting hit.

I'd take Penner back in a heartbeat. This team could use a 240lb skill player willing to throw his weight, with 2 stanley cups and who has led the NHL most of the season in +/-. Is he perfect, obviously not or a guy of his size and skill would be making $8 mil.

But its clowns like you who boo at games and run our players out of town making sure we just get kids who have no choice to come here and washed up overpaid UFAs.

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#74 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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#75 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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#76 pkam
January 23 2014, 11:09AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Yeah - I hate 2-time Stanley Cup winning, olympic gold medalist, 40-point scoring defencemen like Brent Seabrook.

I'll take Seabrook, but I would rather have Keith, and Keith only cost the team a 2nd rounder.

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#77 etownman
January 23 2014, 11:18AM
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Danger Pay wrote:

Why can't the Oilers develop their own defensemen? It's not like top end Dmen are lining up to play for the Oilers. Which current NHL #1 or #2 D-man would come to Edmonton Via Trade or FA? Stay the course draft D-men, Goalies, Big Forwards and don't rush but Develop them!!!!!!!!!

B/C news flash everyone... The Oilers will miss the Playoffs next year too!

Exactly, except lets hope that we'll at least be contending for that final playoff spot next year if we make some decent trades & maybe a FA signing or two! Stay the course with the young guys though!

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#78 Tikkanese
January 23 2014, 11:47AM
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gm_armchair wrote:

I heard Jason Strudwick mention on his show last night that Dan Girardi might become expendable by the Rangers now that they traded for Klein who plays a similar role. Girardi while not a true top pairing guy, would still fit in very nicely and bring some much needed veteran leadership in the Oilers top four. I wonder what it would take to trade for that guy..

So Girardi who either leads the league or is in the top 5 in TOI nearly every year is not a top pairing defenseman?

He's also a UFA at the end of the year. Unless he comes very cheap, or in one of those sign and trade deals, there is no use trading for him in this wasted season.

That all said, I hope we do get him here and signed.

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#79 Jerry
January 23 2014, 11:50AM
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JW,

I watch the Oilers are none of them know how to play hockey in the NHL. Only players that know how to play come from other teams. This is a disaster oilers ruin hockey players. I really can't see it getting any better.

If I was a young player getting ready to be drafted, I would pray Oilers don't pick me.

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#80 GlennH
January 23 2014, 11:54AM
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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...

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#81 Dog Train
January 23 2014, 11:58AM
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Playing in the top pairing is not the place for a young Dman to learn the ropes in the NHL. I think Mactavish is smart enough to realize this. After all, if Tambellini was allowed to put together this year's team, one of Klefbom or Nurse would have likely been rushed to the NHL. Now guys like Belov, Larsen and Grebeshkov haven't exactly worked out but at least we didn't risk stunting the development of some of our top D prospects. Ideally, I would like to see us add two left side D and move Ference to play with Fedun on the third pairing. Maybe give Nurse his 9 games, let Marincin and Klefbom battle for their callups and if Ekblad is drafted, send him back to junior.

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#82 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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#83 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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#84 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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#85 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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#86 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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#87 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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#88 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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#89 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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#90 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:47PM
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@pkam

Sorry I guess I needed more sarcasm on that post. Although, for all his dogging it and slow on ice play, he was a big body and could out-muscle guys while putting up 40 points. Which does fit the bill on what the Oilers are looking for.

His biggest attribute that teams want is size and some performance, he brings that. He won't win fastest skater or silkiest mitts but he does provide something they don't have.

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#91 bazmagoo
January 23 2014, 04:31PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

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.

Really would like MacT to try and get Simon Despres for Ales Hemsky. Big d prospect, had a bit of a slump this season but still has huge upside. And much quicker potential upside than a pick in this season's draft.

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#92 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 04:38PM
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@Lofty

Only Patrick O'Sullivan could miss a wide open net from a foot away...and Craig Smith.

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#93 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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#94 Will
January 23 2014, 10:51AM
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Do everything to sign Callahan and Matt Moulson if they go to free agency. With that you have trade options on the right wing.

I like having the depth of defensive prospects, but I wouldn't be sad to see one of them traded out to net even more help on D.

I get the feeling after the draft, having Nurse and Ekblad as our top 2 defensive prospects will give us depth at that position for a lot of years.

With Moulson and Callahan, you balance out the top 6 a little bit more, push everyone on the defensive depth chart down one peg, add some much needed veteran leadership, and allow say Klefbomb and one of Yak or Ebs to be traded for either a top 2 D man, or a legit 2nd line centre with size and skill.

Although, I'd be fine with our second line being Arcobello, Perron, Callahan.

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#95 etownman
January 23 2014, 11:15AM
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Two solid veteran defensive d-men is what the Oil need right now! They have excellent young defencemen who will develop into those #1 or #2 d-men! We all know we're a couple years away from making noise so don't waste the young offensive talent up front for a quick fix! Two solid, veteran defensive would fit quite nice at this point & of course the #1 item in my books would be a startning #1 goaltender!

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#96 bluetada
January 23 2014, 11:16AM
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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.

Racist ? Really ? I don't recall anyone calling VP Joe Biden or U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid racists when they used exactly that word to describe Barack Obama. Or maybe you subscribe to the theory that Liberals can do no wrong.

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#97 camdog
January 23 2014, 11:40AM
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@Armchair GMing

Those are just excuses used by the pro Lander group. Those in the know say that Lander's foot speed is what has been holding him back.

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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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