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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#1 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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#2 TheRealEberle
February 08 2014, 10:28AM
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If Eberle gets traded I think I would cry more than Smyth did when he first got traded

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

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#4 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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#5 Wohin gehst du?
February 08 2014, 11:40AM
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Look, I know Joensuu hasn't played well, but would you really wish injury on him?

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#6 DSF
February 08 2014, 11:05AM
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If you can move Eberle for a top pairing D (somewhat doubtful), you're left with Gagner, Hemsky (a rental who would likely only yield a draft pick), Smyth (likely no value because of age) and Jones as trade chips.

I would imagine you could try and move Klefbom or Gernat for 3rd line help so the acquisition of a #2C and a top 6 power winger become problematical unless you can acquire them as UFA's

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#7 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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#8 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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#9 Walter Sobchak
February 08 2014, 10:57AM
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I know I’ve said this before but I would really like to have a Dubinsky and Jenner on this team.

I would move Peron way before Eberle, I see Eberle has more upside, he has a favorable contract with length & term, Peron will be a UFA in two years, and the chances of him staying at this point would have to be pretty slim.

Yakupov shouldn’t be dealt but have a strong feeling the Oilers are moving him this summer.

Sam Gagner has to go! If the Oilers are ever going to improve this is the guy that has to be replaced. I would be hesitant to deal Hemsky.

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#10 @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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#11 Woogie63
February 08 2014, 11:11AM
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MacT should wake up every morning and work on a;

1C - RNH might be better suited as 2C - you need to draft ...nobody trades this guy

2D- to play with an improving Shultz - trade a talented forward as noted above

1G - self evident - grab from FA or a trade it happens all the time.

Buy a team in the Q and OHL as the future of amateur scouting and player development.

Then enjoy 2013 Family Day.

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#12 Reg Dunlop
February 08 2014, 11:30AM
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If I didn't take your points the way you meant them then please enlighten me. It seems to be a big jump from JJ isn't an everyday NHL player to hoping he gets injured in TC. Obviously JJ is not much of an upgrade on Petrell but to see an injury to any player as a good thing seems wrong. Excuse me if I am missing something or if I am out-to-lunch on this.

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#13 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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#15 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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#16 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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#17 Fish
February 08 2014, 10:42PM
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Hall - RNH - Yak Perron - Bennett - Ebs Clifford - Gordon - Vey Smyth - Henricks - Pitlick

Erhoff - Petry Maricine - Ference Klefbom - J Schultz

Hemmer + D Simpson + Lander = Clifford + Vey from the Kings Gagner + Gernat + 2015 2nd = Erhoff

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#18 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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#19 Harry
February 08 2014, 10:46AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If the team could get every free agent it wanted, btw, I'd fill those missing spots with the following:

  • Paul Stastny
  • Dustin Penner
  • Nikolai Kulemin
  • David Moss

There's no way that happens, of course; there's only so much money and every team's going to be competing for a small list of available UFAs.

Good thing we kept that useless plug Hemsky and traded Penner hey?

I think we could also hold onto Ebs and Yak but only if we get a Ryan ORielly type #2 center

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#20 Taylor Gang
February 08 2014, 08:09PM
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JW, would it be a long shot to allow Gagner to slide into the 2nd right wing spot if Eberle was traded for a top 2 defenseman/big two way centre? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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#21 Al Low
February 08 2014, 10:49AM
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Great analysis. Does Lander have what it takes to be that 4th line centre? He hasn't been overly impressive at the NHL level., thus far. I kinda was hoping Hartikainen would come back into the fold next year and possibly battle for a spot. The Mark Fraser trade looks senseless thus far based on what I've seen of him so far.

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#22 @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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#23 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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#24 Rama Lama
February 08 2014, 11:24AM
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JW does Eberle get you PK Subban?

As much as I like Eberle, he has become very predictable and as you correctly pointed out his shooting percentage over his first two years was high and unsustainable.

I think having Subban anchors the defence and gives us options trading one of our up and coming defenceman for a solid top six center.

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#25 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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#26 Walter Sobchak
February 08 2014, 11:11AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'd move Perron before Eberle too, if the trade value on both was the same. I don't think it's even close; Eberle has way more cachet.

The trouble is that Edmonton needs help on D and I don't think anyone movable other than Eberle or maybe Yakupov brings that back.

So with that said Jon, do you think the Oilers could get by with an Ehrhoff to stabilize the defense?

My thinking is the Oilers are going to bring in Nurse, possible Klefbom and have a real good chance at drafting Ekblad. One or possible two of those players could be in the lineup come next season, if you include Marincin as a starter that’s three new defensemen.

Is that true heavy minute defensemen really a priority for the Oilers right now?

I can’t see an Eberle for an Ehrhoff making much sense? I can see a Peron for Ehrhoff or possible Yakupov for Ehrhoff but certainly not Eberle.

Of course this all depends on if those kids are really ready to be NHL defensemen and if the Oilers are even interested in Ehrhoff.

Will Klefbom be ready?

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#27 bwar
February 09 2014, 01:23AM
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I wonder if Buffalo would trade Gagner for Girgensens. Then we can eventually have a lethal Girgensens-Yakimov-Yakupov line. Zemgus, Bogdan and Nail. I don't even care if they are good that line would instantly be my favorite in the entire league.

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#28 Batfink
February 08 2014, 11:12AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If the team could get every free agent it wanted, btw, I'd fill those missing spots with the following:

  • Paul Stastny
  • Dustin Penner
  • Nikolai Kulemin
  • David Moss

There's no way that happens, of course; there's only so much money and every team's going to be competing for a small list of available UFAs.

Not Penner. Never Penner. His last year with oilers he was -12. I don't see this as the real Penner any more than I see the real Penner this year with his +19. Somewhere in the middle on an average team with average linemates is more realistic. With the Oilers again? Who knows. Playing with Getzlaf and Perry is like being whatever pylon the Canucks used to put with the Sedins. The Detroit octopus thrown on the ice could put up numbers with these guys.

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#29 DSF
February 08 2014, 11:21AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Are any of the draft eligible centres NHL ready to the degree you can plug one of them into the #2C spot?

I would assume Buffalo, if they retain the top pick, will take a centre since they are loaded with D prospects so which one of the 3 rated in the top 5 do you think could step in and play next season?

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#30 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 08 2014, 10:30AM
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Boyd Gordon is, in my opinion, one of MacT's best acquisitions. The guy's a rock. Nuge should be getting one on one time every practice with him, learning the art of the face off.

Gordon gets real low, usually ends up on one knee after each draw. I don't know if Nuge has the upper body strength to pull this off yet.

EDIT: Ebs has been my favorite Oiler ever since his first goal against Calgary. But I would be willing to part with him+ if it meant a top D man or clear cut 2C coming back.

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#31 tileguy
February 08 2014, 11:12AM
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I think if a decent return is realised with Ebbs you can keep Hemsky as your 2nd line RW if he agrees to sign for 2-2.5 mil.

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#33 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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#34 **
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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 TonyT
February 08 2014, 10:43AM
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Wow, I actually agree with everything you said. As much as I like Ebs, I agree he fetches more in a trade (right now) and I don't think I've ever seen him initiate contact or finish a check. I know he's clutch in the jrs but I don't how that will hold up in the playoffs if he never plays the body.

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#38 David Staples
February 08 2014, 11:11AM
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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 :)

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#39 Walter Sobchak
February 08 2014, 11:27AM
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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 :)

My thoughts exactly about Peron, trade high, and get something of need.

You then have an option for keeping Hemsky if you can’t find a decent trade for him.

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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 Spencer
February 09 2014, 01:43PM
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Perron. Hall and Ebs are the 3 players you do not want to trade. A Dwight King between Hall and Ebs or 2 line between Perron and ? would be dominant. RNH can bounce between 1st and 2nd line.

Sam G, Ales H and Yak are all great trading pieces to acquire 2 power forwards and a solid D man. All new acquisitions should be 6'1 and 215 pounds +. You could also toss in N Shultz, Potter and Petry. Keep AF, MF, JS, AB, PL. Aquire 2 other good big D men. Larson could also be used as a 2nd or 3rd line wingers. He is another guy that is smart and clutch skater.

Arco could be used as a trade or 4th line center. Perron and Arco have played with the most heart this year. Try Gazdic on the blue line or keep him as the enforcer with great skating skill.

The future of the Oilers are Hall, Ebs, Perron, Gazdic, Gordon, Arco, Marcininn, J Shultz(Mabye), Belov, Ference and Joensuu(providing he gets more physical) and a few others. I think Gazdic is a diamond in the rough.

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#45 Dog Train
February 08 2014, 11:01AM
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With the position that the Oilers are in, at least we have a longer time-frame to worry about making these moves. I would focus on adding picks and prospects at the deadline for players that are no longer in our plans and giving guys like Pitlick and Lander a long look. Teams might be more willing to make deals for guys like Eberle or Gagner in the off-season when the cap goes up.

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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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#49 toprightcorner
February 10 2014, 01:54AM
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Moves after the season

Eberle, Arcobello, Klefbom and 1st for Tuytin and Dubinsky

Gagner and Fedun for Brouwer and Erat (Ridding them of imovable Erat contract of $4.5 for 1 year is the key to getting Brouwer loose and not taking on salary and saves Wsh $3.5 and restock the cubards)

Sign Orpik, Moss, Boyle and Stuart

Should all be able to be done with about $4 mill left in cap space next year.

Hall - Nuge - Yakapov Perron - Dubinksy (162 hits) - Brouwer(162 hits) Erat(PK) - Gordon(PK) - Moss(PK) Boyle(115 hits)(PK) - Lander(PK) - Hendricks(PK)

Gazdic - Pitlick

Tuytin - Petry Orpik(145 hits) - Schultz Ference - Stuart(149 hits) Marincin

- Boyle and Hendricks can also play centre and move up if required.

- Moss and Gordon were a great team in PHX and cut from the same cloth

- Entire bottom 6 can kill penalties

- Orpik is a perfect 2 year contract guy as a stop gap for Nurse and some younger dmen in the system

- Stuart hits everything and is tough as nails and played with Ference for a few years in Boston

- The second line would be a menace to any other team

This adds a great top pairing dman on a value contract and a great top 4 with winning experience, big gritty 2-way forward in Dubinsky, power forward in Brower, If Erat can rebound he has some solid talent, more size in bottom 6 with Moss and monster Boyle an 4 guys who can all hold their own on the dot in the bottom 6.

I listed hits of new guys to give an idea of grityness not to bring up a debate about if hitting improves shances of winning

This roster would be 180 degree turn from last year with size and grit in top 6 with minimal decrease in offence by replacements but potential increas in offence by existing players. 3rd line is a definite shutdown line that Eakins could easily match with ane top line in the league and 4th line is big and grity, won't lose many battles and could be close to breaking even which is a plus. The defence is vastly improved with a proven #1 in Tuytin and a top 3 in Orpik and Stuart is a gritty veteran defenceman that will always compete, he is everything N Schults should have been.

Completely revitalized image

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#50 Halfwise
February 08 2014, 10:30AM
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Clear-thinking analysis. As a fan I have favorite players, but the team comes before the individuals.

If you broaden the perspective to include the holes on D, the trade chips have to be spread a bit more thinly.

Does an Eberle fetch an OEL or equivalent top pairing D?

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