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

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#152 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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#153 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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#154 Lowe Expectations
January 23 2014, 01:07PM
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I was watching a Sacramento Kings game recently, and like the Oilers they are in a "rebuild". The color guy was talking about a discussion he had with Pat Riley (who knows a thing or two about winning) about building a winning team. Riley's answers were very interesting. He said that if you try to build through the draft it'll never work. It takes too long. The beginning players get to far out on the curve for the players drafted 4-5 years later and that assumes every player you draft has an impact. He talked how the draft is one tool you use, but trades and free agents are more valuable. Especially trades, when you use the draft for talent and deal from positions of strength to fill areas of need.

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

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

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

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

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

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#156 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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#157 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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#158 Chainsawz
January 23 2014, 01:16PM
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I'm probably preaching to the choir here (mostly) but moving this team forward, even if just to bubble status till we develop 2-3 top end defensemen goes a long way to fan sentiment, ridding the locker room of a losing culture, and possibly keeping Ebs, Hall, and the Nuge past their current contracts.

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#159 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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#160 Sisyphus
January 23 2014, 01:21PM
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Chainsawz wrote:

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

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

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#161 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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#162 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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#163 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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#164 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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#165 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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#166 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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#167 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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#168 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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#169 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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#170 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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#171 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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#172 @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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#173 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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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 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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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 Tikkanese
January 23 2014, 04:15PM
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Jesse wrote:

No this is how you build a team. Obviously these trades won't happen. But will bet you within 2 years you could only wish to have these players.

Oilers don't need more hope. They need players. Couturier sure, but Larsson isn't even producing in the AHL. Maybe someday he will, but we already have 8-10 defensemen that you can say the same thing about.

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#182 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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#183 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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#184 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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#185 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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#186 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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#187 mayorblaine
January 23 2014, 04:58PM
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i don't want to trade anyone anymore. keep everyone. i want them to just keep developing and drafting. i want to let this line of thinking run its course. see if they'll come around.

this would be fun. and funny.

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#188 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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#189 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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#190 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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#191 Jeffff
January 23 2014, 09:56PM
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Striker wrote:

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

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

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

"Yet some dreadlocked black cornerback"

Dreadlocked....ok

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

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

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

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

That is it. How about this

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

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

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

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

Please define racism?

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

Did I interpret your comments correctly in my post?

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

That is it. How about this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least, that's how I see it.

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

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

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

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#197 vinotintazo
January 23 2014, 10:53AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Yeah what's so bad about top pairing Bent Seabrook?

I don't Agree with rushing Nurse or Klefbom, even Ekblad (if we get him), but we might need to use one or two of these next year if we dont make a trade that brings a good top 2 D our way.

we need a big nasty D man, not 6 feet - 190 pounds guys.

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#198 Greg
January 23 2014, 10:54AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

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

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#199 oilerjed
January 23 2014, 11:17AM
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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!

The problem with the statement is, who is going to teach these young players that we are developing? Coaching is fine, but the real learning comes on the ice with an experienced mentor. Which means trade or free agency.

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