What the Oilers have/What the Oilers need: Forwards

Jonathan Willis
February 08 2014 10:21AM

The Edmonton Oilers enter the Olympic break on the upswing, having gone 5-1-1 over their previous seven games, primarily thanks to strong goaltending. The break gives the organization a breather to take stock of where they are at and chart their path over the last quarter of the season and into the summer.

Let’s take the opportunity here to do the same.

What we’re going to do is go through the roster position by position, and determine what changes need to be made over the summer and at the deadline and what questions need to be answered to make those changes.

Top Six Forwards

The options:

  • Jordan Eberle
  • Sam Gagner
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Taylor Hall
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • David Perron
  • Nail Yakupov

The Oilers have seven top-six options for next season, making this technically a position of strength but the mix needs to be changed. The consensus view seems to be that size needs to be added, particularly down the middle. While I think a bit of size would be a welcome change in the complexion of the group, I also think the most important thing here is to add two-way ability.

People forget that teams like the 2011 Boston Bruins (to pick one example) weren’t actually all that big up front. Boston’s top six had two big wingers (Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton), two tiny wingers (Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand) and a lack of size down the middle (Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci). Overall, that group averaged out to being 6’, 204 pounds. That’s still bigger than the Oilers – and Edmonton could really use a guy (especially on that second line) with the size to create chaos in front of the net. But the big thing with Boston’s group was that it had a pile of dedicated two-way guys. Edmonton has two, maybe three if we’re feeling generous.

In my view, Edmonton needs to axe three of the seven players above. They currently have seven players for six spots and need a two-way centre and a power winger. I’d nix Sam Gagner (owing to two-way indifference), Ales Hemsky (owing to age and health concerns) and Jordan Eberle (it’s him or Yakupov if the team needs help on defence and Eberle looks to me like the guy who will fetch more in trade).

All three are good players, particularly Eberle. But the mix needs to change and Edmonton needs trade assets.

The Third Line

The options:

  • Boyd Gordon

Some might include Matt Hendricks or Ryan Smyth or Ryan Jones on this list. I don’t, though I’m close with Hendricks (the problem with Hendricks is age and style – he’s a guy likely to drop-off in the near future and consequently counting on him here is problematic). Ales Hemsky might be included too – he’s been fine in the role this year – but I have a specific vision for this line and Hemsky’s skillset isn’t a great fit.

A Dennis King tweet lays out my vision for this line exactly:

We’re trying to make the top end more defensively responsible, but it will take maturation for guys like Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov to get there, so in the meantime a dedicated hard-checking, nothing-happens defensive line will help ease the burden. Gordon’s one member; the Oilers need two more.

Forwards 10-14

The options:

  • Mark Arcobello
  • Luke Gazdic
  • Matt Hendricks
  • Jesse Joensuu
  • Ryan Jones
  • Anton Lander
  • Tyler Pitlick
  • Ryan Smyth

I’m a big believer in a few things. Ideally, a roster should have 14 forwards and seven defencemen (since the eighth defencemen ends up sitting for long stretches), it should have a fifth centre and with the exception of the 10th forward guys on the fourth line should generally be both cheap and young. I’ve included the NHL guys this year as well as the relevant AHL guys who won’t clear waivers next year as options; the Oilers have five spots for these eight (plus whatever they want to add).

Personally, I think the team doesn’t need to add anything here; there’s lots to like in the depth group. Assuming that Luke Gazdic’s role is seen as essential, the four others I’d take are Arcobello, Hendricks, Lander and Pitlick, with Joensuu buried in the AHL (or being the beneficiary of a training camp injury) and the others departing as free agents. That gives the team three guys who can play centre, a legitimate top-six fill-in option and brings two young AHL’ers who are coming on strong into the mix (I laid out the case for Lander and Pitlick the other day). It also gives the coach four penalty-killing options (everyone but Gazdic) at the end of the roster.

Completed Roster

Naturally, there’s wiggle room here. If Nail Yakupov or David Perron work in trade as well as Jordan Eberle does, it’s possible to keep Eberle and move one of them. If third-line wingers prove impossible to find, Matt Hendricks could slide in at left wing and one of Smyth or Jones could replace him on the fourth line; a cheap Ales Hemsky could work on the other side too if it comes down to that. If a two-way centre absolutely cannot be added, than Sam Gagner could be retained as a place-holder until such time as one is. And so on.

But this is the basic plan I’d pursue in Craig MacTavish’s shoes, and any trade I made would need to fall in line with it. In other words, if some team offers me a fourth-liner, I don’t care because I already have a fourth line; I’m moving players either for other trade ammunition (picks, prospects) at the deadline or for players who will help fill the actual holes I have in my lineup.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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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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#52 HardBoiledOil
February 08 2014, 11:44AM
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David Staples wrote:

Why not trade Perron, having a career year, and hold Eberle, who will be better over next five years?

And this argument about Boston, well, Lucic changes entire complexion of the forward lines, a nasty, skilled, intimidating forward like that. Average size isn't the issue, it's having that kind of big, tough, skilled player ... and good luck finding him.

So if you can't get a Lucic, what do you do?

I guess you just keep looking for one. A Hanzal would also do :)

problem is, if i'm a team giving up a top d-man or a big, 2-way forward, i'm asking for Eberle and not Perron.

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#53 DSF
February 08 2014, 11:48AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

How do you fix the D if you move Eberle for a centre? Just wait for guys to develop or hope for Markov or what?

I think it's going to have to come down to a free agent or a more massive trade that includes draft picks and prospects.

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#54 Quicksilver ballet
February 08 2014, 11:52AM
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Perron and Petry may get you Couturier on Mar 5th. Take Meszaros too, if they throw in Rinaldo.

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#55 shanetrain
February 08 2014, 11:53AM
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Get good players.

Keep good players.

We would sorely regret trading Eberle.

Agree with most everything else. Nice post Willis.

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#56 S cottV
February 08 2014, 11:56AM
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I would take a look at Hendricks as the 4c.

He has played a lot in the middle and knows how to handle himself in his own end.

Big, strong, aggressive, kills penalties, fights - the whole bit for a 4c.

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#57 thatoneguy
February 08 2014, 11:57AM
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I agree that it would be better to trade Eberle. His value is higher than Perrons but more importantly he has a skill set that the Oilers already have while Perron's is unique. Trading Perron would be taking a step backwards to what this team should be trying to accomplish.

I do think that Arcobello is fully capable of filling that third line right wing slot. I think its important for any line to not have exact replication of skills. I'm not sure 2 more Boyd Gordon clones would necessarily be a good fit on the same line. Arcobello throws hits and is defensively responsible enough but also would bring unique offensive skills to that line plus he would be cheaper than someone from free agency

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#58 Show me da Money
February 08 2014, 12:04PM
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I'd sooner trade Eberle before Yakupov. I think Yakupov's ceiling is much higher than Eberle's.

He's got a hustle and grit that Eberle doesn't seem to have. You can't train heart.

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#59 vetinari
February 08 2014, 12:14PM
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Eberle and Yakupov could be a great 1-2 punch and force teams to divide their attention to each of their lines. Of course that means getting bigger complimentary players like a new second line centre, which maybe Perron or Gagner and some prospects could get you?

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#60 Chainsawz
February 08 2014, 12:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I love O'Reilly as a player but have trouble believing the Avs would move him in-division.

It's not an in-division move. And oddly makes sense (Ebs for O'Reilly).

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#61 **
February 08 2014, 12:29PM
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What are you talking about JW? all the Oilers need is love, though love, and cardio strenght, according to Eakins anyways.

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#62 Russ99
February 08 2014, 12:30PM
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None of the current players fit that 3rd line shutdown winger role.

And LT, there's usually a number of those guys in FA every year, so there's no need to move assets to get them.

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#63 Richard
February 08 2014, 12:31PM
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Serge wrote:

If Oilers are trading Eberle and that is a big if and if Philly is a trading partner rumour of the day Oilers would be wise to go after Sean Couturier.

I don't like the idea of going after a top Dman because he will be an older player and Oilers are not going to be peaking anytime soon. They have some excellent prospects at D.

Couldn't agree more.

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#64 gcw_rocks
February 08 2014, 12:53PM
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I think if I am the Oilers I am shopping Gagner, Perron, Eberle and Yakupov and see which one gives me the best relative return. I then trade that one player for a defender. Throw in prospects or picks if needed.

I trade Hemsky at the deadline for as protect that is close to NHL ready. Despres from Pittsburgh, Andersen from Anaheim, someone like that.

I try to sign Kulimen but I think the team is stuck with Hendricks on the other wing because that ridiculous contract.

I don't want to pay the fourth line more than $3 million total.

Then I think the Oilers go after a Markov type on a one or two year contract for stupid money to keep the term short.

If they have to live with Arcobello for a year at second line centre, I can live with that to get a real top pairing and retain more of the young talent.

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#65 Zangetsu
February 08 2014, 12:54PM
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I mosly agree with you, bit i see it as; Hall 2WC yak PF Nuge Eberle Perron Gordon Hemsky I would round out the forwards with gazdic(or any other goon because you HAVE to have one:(), and three good defensive forwards. I dont think you want to kill 3line offence, and that it's best to nudge off some 4liners. I dont know if hendricks, lander or smyth are up to the job.

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#67 etownman
February 08 2014, 01:01PM
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Show me da Money wrote:

I'd sooner trade Eberle before Yakupov. I think Yakupov's ceiling is much higher than Eberle's.

He's got a hustle and grit that Eberle doesn't seem to have. You can't train heart.

Wow, which hockey games have you been watching? Eberle doesn't have heart? He doesn't have size but everything else is top notch, especially the compete! Can't say I see that shift in, shift out with Yak just yet!

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#68 K_Mart
February 08 2014, 01:17PM
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Eberle has been roughly the 5-10th most offensively productive right winger in the NHL for 3 straight years. Do not deal him

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#69 K_Mart
February 08 2014, 01:19PM
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I'd deal Perron before Eberle

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#70 Harry
February 08 2014, 01:21PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm not sure you took my points the way I meant them.

I don't think Joensuu's an everyday NHL player.

As for Hendricks vs. Hemsky, I think it's important not to be carried away by Hendricks' play for the Oilers so far. He has six points this season; on a good team he's a versatile fourth-line forward who does a bit of everything and can move up on a defence-oriented third line if and when injury hits. Hemsky's a skilled second-line winger with enough defensive game to fill-in on a defence-oriented third line when necessary.

I don't think either guy is a good fit for the line; I was just laying out fallback positions.

I think a 4th line of Joensuu-Hendricks-Jones is adequate. A third line overhaul centered around Gordon is a huge challenge but necessary. And a 2c like Orielly of course

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#71 etownman
February 08 2014, 01:25PM
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@Jonathan Willis

In regards to Moroz & Khaira JW I don't believe the Oilers are looking for them to be scorers on the Oilers! Khaira plays for a very defensive coach in Constantine in Everett & the team has been quite successful. I think the Oil are quite happy that Khaira is learning defensive responsibilities from a former successful NHL coach! I really like this pick!

Moroz has played on a very talented team during his time with the Oil Kings & accepted a different role the previous two years hence his point totals were less but not his value to the team! He is a player who could easily play on a 3rd line & with maturation could evolve into that player who will be able to slip up & down the line up when called upon!

There is only so many minutes available in a game for quality offensive players & that will be Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak & Perron territory! It would be very interesting to revisit this dialogue in couple years just to see how things play out!

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#72 Harry
February 08 2014, 01:27PM
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DSF wrote:

No idea but it's always a risk to rely on an 18 year old in that prominent of a role.

I think, if I'm MacT I would take a hard run at Ryan O'Reilly from Colorado.

The Av's have Duchene and MacKinnon as their top 2C's and, even if they don't re-sign Statsny have Max Talbot to play #3C.

Eberle might get that done.

Correct me if im wrong but Orielly is a free agent after this year isnt he? 6 mil X 5 years

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#73 #ThereGoesTheOilers
February 08 2014, 01:30PM
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I agree with this entire layout.

So what we need for top end acquisitions: 2C, 2RW, 1D

What we have to give: 2C, 2RW, First round pick.

Will this be enough tit for tat though? Is free agency the only way we'll be able to address all three positions?

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#74 DSF
February 08 2014, 01:37PM
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Harry wrote:

Correct me if im wrong but Orielly is a free agent after this year isnt he? 6 mil X 5 years

A restricted free agent and he'll be really expensive to re-sign.

Perhaps the Oilers can move Eberle's $6M to the Avs if they throw in another asset.

Colorado also needs D but with the emergence of Erik Johnson this season, their need isn't quite as severe.

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#75 **
February 08 2014, 01:38PM
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I agree with everything you wrote, JW, I don't personally like Lander, but as you pointed out, if Hendricks and Arcobello are there, then he will have support.

I think out of those 4 positions in yellow, the 2 way center should be the priority, the Oilers, despite everything, are scoring at a decent pace. A 2 way top 6 center would give support to the d corps and would improve this team dramatically, even if all else, including d, stays the same. In other news, Yakupov is no longer the worse plus/minus guy in the NHL. Weber from Buffalo is now -32, against Yaks -29

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#76 etownman
February 08 2014, 01:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

How do you fix the D if you move Eberle for a centre? Just wait for guys to develop or hope for Markov or what?

Marincin is providing some argument for development JW! D-corp has changed significantly with this young fellow back there & I'm hoping we get a chance to see Klefbom during the last 22 games of the season! When you combine that with the change's in net, we're starting to see some positive signs!

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#77 Curcro
February 08 2014, 01:52PM
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@Willis if the Oilers are serious about trading Gagner, and I know they need to pump his value by playing him. They should do it now, because they should then use the remaining games of the season to see if Arcobello can actually handle the role, or if they genuinely need to fill it from outside. If you can internally promote a player it means that you can focus more intently on the other holes.

Not only that it is much cheaper.

On the other hand if Arcobello or even Lander can't handle it, you have enough information to make a better decision.

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#78 #ThereGoesTheOilers
February 08 2014, 01:54PM
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etownman wrote:

Marincin is providing some argument for development JW! D-corp has changed significantly with this young fellow back there & I'm hoping we get a chance to see Klefbom during the last 22 games of the season! When you combine that with the change's in net, we're starting to see some positive signs!

And just imagine how positive things would be looking if we could secure if one legit top-pairing defensemen.

Let Petry and Ference thrive on easier minutes, let Marincin and the rest of the up and comers ease into things.

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#80 Steve
February 08 2014, 01:57PM
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@Jonathan Willis

With all due respect... I don't like you're idea to move Eberle at all, unless its for a legit top pairing defenseman (which is very unlikely because teams rarely trade good top pairing defenseman in today's modern era).

Perron is the key peice to move in my opinion. His trade value has never been higher in his career... and if we are being realistic, the Oilers will never even come close to winning a cup in the final 2 years of his contract. Eberle on the other hand is an even better player than Perron, and is locked up for years so that he can be an essential part of the team 3-4 years down the road when the team has a realistic shot of being a legit contender.

If I were GM, I would be looking to...

1. Trade Hemsky before the deadline for the best prospect or bottom 6 forward that you can get for next year (I am under no illusions of getting an amazing player for Hemsky, but I would prefer a decent 4th line player for next year as opposed to a 2nd or 3rd round pick which is meaningless to me right now). Retain as much salary as you can if it will improve what you can get back.

2. Trade other UFA's like N. Schultz, Jones, Smyth, Potter for the best picks that you can get.

3. Trade Gagner for the best 2-way physical winger with size that you can get like Dwight King (At the deadline, or wait till the offseason if you aren't getting the value that you want). Retain half his salary if that's what it takes to get the value you need in return.

4. Package the Oilers 1st round pick, Perron, and a decent defenseman prospect like Gernat or Simpson... for a top shelf young defenseman like a Seth Jones/Brodin/Trouba type player OR a top shelf young centre like a Barkov/Monahan type player.

The Oilers aren't likely to be a contender next year no matter what moves they make because they lack the assets to fix all the problems that they have, and don't have enough overall depth or experience at key positions to play consistent for an entire season. It would be a huge mistake to trade a guy like Eberle who is a proven player that should be a key part of the teams future. It smells of desperation to make the playoffs... Players with skill who most likely wont be with the team in a couple years like Perron and Gagner should be the ones to trade.

If you think I'm wrong, then what happens 2 years from now if... - Yakupov never develops into a 2-way player, demands more money than Hall and RNH, or decides he doesn't like playing for the Oilers (All very possible). - Gordon, Perron, Gagner are all no longer with the team because of free agency. - Hall, RNH or 1 of the players that you trade for gets a long term injury

I don't expect the Oilers to be an good in the short term. I personally don't think they will be anything special until guys like J. Schultz, Marincin, Nurse, and Klefbom have around 150-200 games of NHL experience. I'm the type of person that would rather have a defensive minded Paajarvi's rights for the next 5 years as a 3rd line winger than Perron for only another 2years no matter how many points he puts up. Keep collecting assets that will actually still be with the team in 3-4 years (And will actually be effective), while our young defenseman develop ... That's what I say to do. Try to speed things up and take shortcuts just to make the playoffs next year, and we will be in the sane position 3 years from now.

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#81 @Oilanderp
February 08 2014, 02:02PM
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@Jonathan Willis

~J.W. I heard that you want to see Joensuu's future daughter get horrible marks on her report card in grade 3. Why?~

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#82 @Oilanderp
February 08 2014, 02:17PM
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@etownman

Has the farmer's almanac called for a bumper crop of exclamation points this year? You are using them at an alarming rate. Stop yelling at me! :)

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#83 relapse
February 08 2014, 02:34PM
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This is a great article. Looking forward to your analysis on defense.

Do you not feel that Marc Arcobello is capable of the 2nd line center role? He has shown offensive upside and even more importantly has shown excellent two way play. He is small but so is Gagner. With more time in the NHL he could really shine in this role, especially if MacTavish adds some more size in the top 6.

He could also be good trade bait if the teams opts for size in the top 6. He seems like too good of a player to fit in the fifth center slot. Better to trade him and get something in return while his stock is high.

There's also the option for him to play wing on Boyd Gordon's line. This would add defensive responsibility and offensive upside to this line. This allows the team the flexibility to have him join the PK and also play center when anybody is injured.

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#84 Mason Storm
February 08 2014, 02:39PM
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I'm all for arguing who to trade/draft/sign. I think we are missing the most important thing tho, who does Eakins start against Minnesota?

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#85 Randaman
February 08 2014, 02:40PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

With Hemmer exploring other options soon. There will be a need to fill a spot on the RW. Chris Stewart from the Blues may soon get Perroned if the land Ryan Miller by mar 5th. If Miller does land in St. Louis, it would probably be accompanied with a multi yr extension in the 6 mill per range.

Eberle in the trade bait category is hard to fathom.

Think the Oilers will land Ekblad this coming June. Like in other recent drafts top 3 teams seem to focus on potential elite offensive players and not blueliners, as seen in Adam Larsson and Seth Jones. Ekblad will still be on the board when the Oilers draft in that 3 or 4 spot. Maybe they could get Rod Langway in here to help tutor Ekblad, Nurse, Marincin and Klefbom for a couple years.

I say trade Hemsky at the deadline for a 2nd round pick hopefully and please don't resign him at any price. That horse has left the barn. Time to move on! If Ekblad is still on the board when it comes to our pick maybe Calgary trades Monohan for the pick? I think we need a 2C worse than Ekblad. We have Nurse, Klefbom, Fedun, Gernat, Musil, etc. already. Add them to J. Schultz, Petry, Ferrance & Marcinin and they look decent if you make a deal for a 2D to play with Schultz. What do we have for centre depth? Exactly, NOTHING! Draissati would be a good fit if we don't trade the pick and Reinhart or Bennett aren't available. Don't like their size anyway. Langway would be a huge step up from what we now have!!!

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#86 BGH
February 08 2014, 03:05PM
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JW - Do you think a package of Gagner, Gernat and our first would get us Brian Campbell and Florida's first?

We would be taking on salary that I am sure Florida would love to dump (about 3 mil a year for 2 more years). I don't think Campbell is all world or anything, but I do think he can eat minutes for a couple of years while our D develops.

Flipping draft picks gives up the chance of Ekblad, but we should still be able to draft a big 2C.

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#87 Wanyes bastard child
February 08 2014, 03:10PM
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Am I the only one that feels the Oilers are finally starting to get used to the game under Eakins and hes going to go into the break with fresh ideas and try to fix everything all over again and just fck it all up again?

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#88 Thumby
February 08 2014, 04:09PM
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etownman wrote:

Marincin is providing some argument for development JW! D-corp has changed significantly with this young fellow back there & I'm hoping we get a chance to see Klefbom during the last 22 games of the season! When you combine that with the change's in net, we're starting to see some positive signs!

etown!!! - I hate to be a grammar Nazi! But you seem to be overly in love with something!! Do you know what it is!!!? !!!!!!!!

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#89 etownman
February 08 2014, 04:26PM
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Thumby wrote:

etown!!! - I hate to be a grammar Nazi! But you seem to be overly in love with something!! Do you know what it is!!!? !!!!!!!!

Thanks, point taken! :-)

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#90 Johnnydapunk
February 08 2014, 05:24PM
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Perhaps I am looking at everything in a too simplistic manner, but all I would like to see is,that the Oil get one or two stud D-men, and I see anything else as minor. If it takes trading Eberle and another piece, so be it.

In a way I can understand looking at defensive forwards as well, but it's quite clear as to what a difference solid goaltending makes for the Oil, they have finally had it for the first time in a while. If they even signed both Bryz and Scrivens. I would be fine with that going into next year.

Until that D is fixed, it's not gonna be fun being an Oil fan.

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#91 nuge2nail
February 08 2014, 05:47PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Hall - Hopkins - Eberle

Perron - Reinhart - Yakupov

King - Gordan - Clifford

Gazdic - Hendricks - Pitlick

Campbell Shultz

Ference Nurse

Petry Marincin

Trade Gagner for King and Clifford.

This 14-15 Oilers team would have over 30+ million in cap space as well. Could move everyone down a spot with each acquisition.

Its going to be a fun offseason

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#92 Fuhr4Life
February 08 2014, 05:48PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'm playing GM Mode on NHL14 on hard setting and at the deadline I traded: Hemsky, Gagner, Arcobello, Jones, Bryzgalov, N.Shultz, Ference, O.Roy, Maricin, #1 & # 2 2014 picks, #2 2015 pick.

In return on trades and free agent off season I added: P.Stastny 2C, Cam Ward G, Brad Stuart Top 2 D, Jarome Iginla 3RW, Mayson Raymond, 4LW, Jamie Olesiak Top 6 D, Dan Hejda Top 4 D

My Line-Up is

Hall Nuge Yak Perron Stastny Eberle Smyth Gordon Iginla Raymond Lander Gadzic

Jonessu Hendricks Pitlick

Stuart J.Shultz Hejda Petry Fedun Olesiak

Fraser Belov

G 1. Ward Back-up: Scrivens

In the 2015/16 season we finished 1st in the division. Tool out Chicago in the 1st Round and playing Phoenix now. Note: in this game it's really hard to make trades

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#93 Max
February 08 2014, 05:57PM
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A forum is for everyone to voice their ideas and opinions - including the writer of the article. My God, how many armchair coaches/GMs who comment on this web site there are. Quote "I'd do this, I'd do that, I'd trade him, I'd pay him out." Listen to yourselves - try going into politics - you all obviously believe you can solve the world and achieve world peace. Leave the decisions to those in the positions to do so, stop making insane suggestions simply because you think you know better - NOT. I give up on this forum, too many know-it-alls, including the journalists.

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#94 Lloyd B.
February 08 2014, 06:10PM
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I haven't read the comments yet but what you have laid out as possible forward lines is exactly what I have been thinking. At least we are only looking for 3rd line guys now and that should be much easier to find than the high end guys we have on lines 1 & 2. Looking forward to seeing your next article on fixing the train wreck that passes as our defence.

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#95 Oiler Al
February 08 2014, 06:12PM
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Random taughts, on its all been said here before:

Please no Penner.. shows up every third game Hemsky ..Fragile in more ways than one Trade Perron over Eberle.. Perron has concussion issues .. Eberle needs work on his two way game though. Smyth.. thanks for the good times .. time to retire Gagner... we know the story here.. gone.

Boston Bruins, would never ever have players like Gadzic and Joensu in their line up. They tend to go for real hockey players.

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#96 Serious Gord
February 08 2014, 06:16PM
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So hemsky and gagner are gone (finally). Put Perron in the third line find two big physical forwards - one a 2c - to fill out top line and go get two more 3rd line players.

Meanwhile find a 1d player and cross fingers that marincin can be the number 2.

Get a starting goalie and you're all set.

Does MacT/Lowe have enough cap room and prospects on the shelf to pull off the above?

Doubtful.

Thus eberle likely will have to be traded. And with him and gagner gone essentially the oil are in some kind of hemi-rebuild - a rebuild within a rebuild.

And also - more critically the timeline is officially screwed. It will be highly unlikely that the oil will be at maximum potential with its stars before the team will have to undergo major realignment due to cap/contract issues. In other words the team will have to be renovated before the team is able compete at the very highest levels.

And that is the real cost of the mistakes made by MacT/Lowe this year - another lost generation...

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#97 Pouzar99
February 08 2014, 06:33PM
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This is the most interesting and thought-proving article on the Oilers needs and possibilities moving forward I have read in ages and I am looking forward to Sunday's piece on the defence assets and huge needs. I also love that you are participating in the discussion you started, which really fills out the broader picture you are painting.

It is also nice to read something that is admirably blunt but forward looking. Of course all of this depends on what deals GMs are willing to make at the trade deadline and the draft, what pick we get, who is available and how willing needed FAs are to sign here. It will also show what kind of GM MacT is. I believe he IS willing to make bold moves if the right deal is there. Whether he will get it right or not I do not know.

The most we can hope for next season is a strong sense of progress and a sense that the right hands are at the tiller. My only major concern with MacT is his decision to bring in Eakins, who was obviously overwhelmed at first and the jury is still out on him. I fear a major fan revolt if the Oilers do not show marked improvement next season, meaning 85 points at least.

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#98 Pouzar99
February 08 2014, 06:33PM
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This is the most interesting and thought-proving article on the Oilers needs and possibilities moving forward I have read in ages and I am looking forward to Sunday's piece on the defence assets and huge needs. I also love that you are participating in the discussion you started, which really fills out the broader picture you are painting.

It is also nice to read something that is admirably blunt but forward looking. Of course all of this depends on what deals GMs are willing to make at the trade deadline and the draft, what pick we get, who is available and how willing needed FAs are to sign here. It will also show what kind of GM MacT is. I believe he IS willing to make bold moves if the right deal is there. Whether he will get it right or not I do not know.

The most we can hope for next season is a strong sense of progress and a sense that the right hands are at the tiller. My only major concern with MacT is his decision to bring in Eakins, who was obviously overwhelmed at first and the jury is still out on him. I fear a major fan revolt if the Oilers do not show marked improvement next season, meaning 85 points at least.

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#99 Taylor Gang
February 08 2014, 07:27PM
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I'd trade Eberle before Yakupov. We tanked a season WITH EBERLE ON THE TEAM to get Yakupov. Yakupov will be better than Eberle by next year. In 2 years, he'll be skating rings around Eberle. Add in the fact that Eberle has more value than Yak at the moment and the answer is obvious.

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#100 tabs
February 08 2014, 07:48PM
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Your completed roster at forward is spot-on going forward. Great article Jonathan, with this you have slipped into the lead as ON's top writer.

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