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, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 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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#102 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:17PM
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@Woogie63

I don't know, that's a big cap slice for Chicago. Especially when we aren't taking a whole lot back off their plate, unless the Oil retain most of Schultz and Hemsky's salaries.

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#103 vinotintazo
January 23 2014, 03:18PM
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A bit off topic, but what do you guys think of ryan jones latetly? hes been good at least for a 4rth line guy, he can't score a lot but hes an energy guy that can kill penalties and is a good guy in the room.

Is he on hes way out this year? or would we resign him?

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#104 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:53PM
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@Mustangheart

You're forgetting the year he had 63 points, he led the Oilers in points...it was a rough year.

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#105 Jesse
January 23 2014, 04:04PM
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Eberle for Sean Couturier

David Perron for Adam Larsson.

These moves would make oilers a much better team in the future.

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#106 Mitch
January 23 2014, 11:17AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

I agree

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#107 michael
January 23 2014, 11:46AM
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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.

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.

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#108 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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#109 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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#110 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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#111 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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#112 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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#113 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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#114 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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#115 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:22PM
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@pkam

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

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#116 Mustangheart
January 23 2014, 03:47PM
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vinotintazo wrote:

A bit off topic, but what do you guys think of ryan jones latetly? hes been good at least for a 4rth line guy, he can't score a lot but hes an energy guy that can kill penalties and is a good guy in the room.

Is he on hes way out this year? or would we resign him?

I really like Jones and his efforts not to back down. It's normal that he was a bit slow coming out of the gate with his eye injury, but he's fine to "rock n roll".

Right now I would not touch the 4th line. They are doing just fine. Get what we can for Smyth, Gagner and Hemsky. Toss in a couple from the Barons and even our draft picks.

I am one who would not touch Hall, Eberle, RNH J Shultz or Perron. That should remain our core in which to build upon. If we need to get a top 4 defenseman, (which we are in dire need of) the 1st round pick of this year, providing we get a certified defenseman or duo in the trade.

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#117 primeau
January 23 2014, 04:34PM
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Then should a complete rebuild start at drafting the blueline? Would'nt that be considered a plan. Does anyone know what the plan is or was exactly in edmonton? And I mean details, milestones and contingents. Did they think 20 year old kids were going to put this team on their backs and succeed with out proven top minute defense or a goalie. I find it hard to believe no one in the organization seen this coming

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#118 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 04:48PM
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@Jonathan Willis

JW you need to lay off that sarcasm, I can taste it from here.

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#119 bazmagoo
January 23 2014, 04:50PM
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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.

That comment is so dripping with sarcasm, it's oozing out of my computer screen.

Well done Willis, really impressed with your writing these days.

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#120 Oliveoiler
January 23 2014, 05:57PM
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Man, I am SO tired of all this losing and negativity. We all seem to think we know better than anyone else. We have started slamming each other, and everyone in the Oilers' organization including the players. This has to stop, it's bullying and is not acceptable - if our kids were slammed or bullied like this we would be up in arms. Until we are paid the big $$$, until we are NHL caliber players, until we have spent years honing our hockey skills and until we REALLY know what we are talking about, why don't we throw some positivity on all of this and support our team regardless, after all, that's what being a true fan is all about. Trash me all you like - I've had enough of this b*****it.

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#121 CaptainLander
January 23 2014, 11:42AM
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I think the problem comes to acquisition. I do not see any team in the league that has too many #1 d-men that they can lose one with it leaving a huge a gap in their own lineups. Even in Chicago, if Keith or Seabrook go down to injury they have some depth but if they move a guy like Seabrook and Keith goes down can Hjarlmasson play 30 minutes a nigh and carry that load? Can his d partner? Not likely. That leaves potential free agents. Suter etc. Not a lot of them available and not many will to join a struggling team and franchise. That leaves the only option to me and that is develop your own. Yes by the time the Oiler d has a top parring of Klefbom and Nurse(as an example) the Oiler forward lineup may look completely different. The fact is if they do choose to move any of the fab 4 forwards 2-3 years from now it will be for a pretty good return add the should be the finishing touches to make a cup run. Waiting sucks but options are limited.

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#122 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 11:44AM
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@camdog

Name some Oiler call ups who have been successful on the Oilers 4th line and stayed on board?

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#123 camdog
January 23 2014, 11:45AM
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@Jonathan Willis

What I remember is him commenting on him supposed to be carrying the load in respect to physical play when he was surrounded by very small hockey players that were unable to compete physically. It's the same quote that applies today.

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#124 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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#125 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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#126 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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#127 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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#128 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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#129 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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#130 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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#131 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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#132 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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#133 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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#134 @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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#135 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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#136 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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#137 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 03:18PM
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@A-Mc

My thoughts exactly, unless the gut a large chunk of the roster they aren't going anywhere in the standings.

It most definitely is...*tears*

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#138 pkam
January 23 2014, 03:25PM
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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.

The problem is, if every team drafts forwards and trades for defense like you suggest, where is all the defense coming from?

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#139 pkam
January 23 2014, 03:33PM
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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?

I don't know, what do you think now?

He had 39 pts in 62 games when he was traded. Now he has 26 pts in 40 games. So the stats are pretty much the same.

All I remember is in 2010, all hockey analysts invited by our radio show believed we would be lucky to get even a 1st rounder for Penner.

If Penner will cost more than a 1st, 2nd and a prospect now, Gagner still not worth a 3rd?

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#140 Reggie
January 23 2014, 03:50PM
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Oilers are here whether we blame X or Y. Oilers are probably 3-4 years away from making the playoffs. I think it is time Oilers start building a TEAM. We don't need an All-Star team.

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#141 bsmart
January 23 2014, 04:25PM
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When drafting this summer, if I'm the oilers. I would take Reinhart over Ekblad. The centre is far more valuable especially with Sam not getting it done. I agree with Willis another developing D is not going to make us better. Ekblad reminds me of chris Phillips not shea Weber.

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#142 Lofty
January 23 2014, 04:40PM
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pkam wrote:

How much will Gagner get? Nobody really knows.

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

2011, Cogliano got us a 2nd rounder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#143 Lofty
January 23 2014, 04:42PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

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

I don't remember POS ever getting that close to the net but you're right.

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#144 TayLordBalls
January 23 2014, 06:15PM
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"KIDS AREN’T GOING TO SOLVE EDMONTON’S DEFENSIVE PROBLEMS"

Yes they are!

It may take a few more years, but it will get done and when this team has matured - its going to be spectacular!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OT:

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

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

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

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

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

Mustangheart wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Winkler beer league is the place for him

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#149 pkam
January 23 2014, 12:01PM
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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.

So this temporary band-aid player probably will help us get out of the basement and become a playoff bubble team, like the Jets?

So if we have to develop our own top pairing D, does it mean we won't be able to become a cup contender until Nurse, J. Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, Ekblad if we draft him mature into our top 4, which is at least 4-5 years away, right?

In other word, it won't change the timetable, just reduce the pain in the next 4-5 years?

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#150 DisappointedFan
January 23 2014, 12:03PM
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@camdog

So Kevin Lowe is the one who has a series of strings on each player on the ice making them play poorly?

I will admit he does a terrible job managing the team and putting the right players on it, but I find it hard to believe he's the one MAKING them under-perform when they do well in the AHL.

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