MAJOR OVERHAUL, AGAIN!

Jason Gregor
April 17 2014 10:01AM

Change-ahead

This is not breaking news by any stretch, but by next October the Oilers will have 50% of their opening night roster from this season changed over. With Anton Belov signing a four-year deal to return to the KHL that means three of the Oilers starting D-men  from last October won't be in the lineup this coming October.

It isn't just the defence that will have a massive overhaul.

Last season's opening night roster looked like this: (players in bold are no longer in organization)

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Arcobello-Eberle
Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
Gazdic-Acton-Brown

Ference-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Belov

Dubnyk
LaBarbera

Those eight along with Ryan Jones and Denis Grebeshkov (not re-signing), Wil Acton and Jesse Joensuu (shouldn't be on roster) and Sam Gagner (trade) makes 13 of 26 players who dressed early last season, who might not be here in six months.

You can look at those changes two ways:

1.) It means the Oilers realize they aren't good enough and had to improve.

2.) You should be concerned because many of the players they brought in last year weren't good enough.

Can anyone say with certainty that the players they bring in this year will be better? I don't think you can. I believe that Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin have much more potential than N.Schultz or Belov, but will that potential appear right away? 

The Oilers had to change their roster because it wasn't good enough, but MacTavish must ensure that he and his pro scouts bring in competent replacements this year. If the organization wants to grow they can't afford to sign guys who can't play. They need to bring in better players.

QUICK HITS

  • On Tuesday MacTavish gave a glowing report for the assistant coaches. "I think we have the right people in place," he said. He went on to say he and Eakins will sit down in a few weeks to discuss the team and coaching staff. MacTavish said Eakins will have the final decision on who is on his staff, but if the GM is on record as saying they are great, how will that impact Eakins? If there are no changes on the staff then I believe the coach didn't want to go against his GM. If there are changes, which I expect there to be, then Eakins does have free reign to choose his staff.

  • MacTavish is big on loyalty, and him speaking highly of his assistants didn't surprise me. I'm sure he believes what he said, and if one of them isn't returning, he was never going to throw them under the bus prior to leaving. I'm very curious to see how this unfolds. I believe this situation will say a lot about the direction the organization is going, how much freedom Eakins has to make decisions, and if he will make a tough decision.

  • Last year MacTavish said Sam Gagner was one of the core players, but on Tuesday he wasn't mentioned amongst the core; Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle and Schultz were. It doesn't guarantee he'll be traded this summer, but all arrows are pointing to that. I still believe Gagner will be a 50-55 point player, and the broken jaw in the preseason completely derailed his season, but I think a change of scenery would benefit both parties.

  • MacTavish didn't mention Yakupov amongst the core, but that doesn't mean he isn't high on him. I doubt the Oilers can get fair value for Yakupov this summer, and I get the sense they believe he can still play a big role in the future. MacTavish will try to hard to find a 2nd line centre, a playmaker who is good defensively, who will compliment Yakupov and allow him to succeed.

  • The Oilers need more scoring from their 5th-12th forwards. I expect Yakupov to be better next year, but they need decent production from a few others. Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks are good role players, and won't produce much, which is fine, but here are a few UFA options who could help.

    Mikhail Grabovski. He isn't perfect, but he possesses the puck well and can produce.
    Dave Bolland. If he wants $5 million/year then pass. He can chip in with 30-35 points and is very good defensively. Excellent 3rd line guy who could move up to 2nd line for a few games if needed.
    Brian Boyle. Would add size down the middle or on the wing. Outside of one 20-goal season he hasn't been very consistent offensively, but he does have decent offensive skills.
    Devin Setoguchi. Good complementary player. He likely wouldn't cost much, but the former #8 overall pick has skills despite a poor season in Winnipeg.
    Nikolai Kulemin. A big body who is responsibly defensively, produces shots and chances. He scored 61 goals his first three seasons, but has only scored 23 in his past 188 games. He could be a solid 3rd line left winger.

    There are some big name offensive players like Tomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson and Milan Michalek, but all of them are left wingers and the Oilers have Hall and Perron, so I don't see why you would add more top salaries on the left wing. If the Oilers were going to spend big in free agency then I'd go after centre Paul Stastny.

    Stastny is 28 and has become a solid two-way player. He's exactly what the Oilers need, but if he tests the market I think he'll be the most sought after UFA and will command $6-6.5 million over 7 years.

  • MacTavish said he won't go after any middle of the road D-men, instead he'd rather give an opportunity to Klefbom, Marincin or Darnell Nurse. That makes sense, as long as his definition of middle of the road refers to guys like Grebeshkov, Belov, Philip Larsen, Corey Potter or Mark Fraser. I don't see any reason to sign players like that, but I'd assume he is still open to signing a proven veteran defender.

    The Oilers need some experience on the backend other than Andrew Ference. Last summer I said they should look at Ron Hainsey, and he would have been better than any of the five aforementioned D-men. I'd still consider him, but they also need a right shot veteran. Matt Greene would help their leadership and size, and even though his footspeed and puckmoving skills aren't great, I wouldn't have an issue with him on their third pairing. The free agent list of defenders doesn't have many big, strong, defensively sound players, but MacTavish has to get a proven player, rather than a wildcard.

  • I've noticed many people believe the Oilers are over valuing Justin Schultz. I'm not in that group. I think Schultz is still developing and he's done some very good things in his first 122 games. Since 1990, only 25 D-men have had a better points-per-game in their first two seasons than Schultz.

    I understand people are concerned about his defensive play, but I don't need him to be great defensively, just solid. He needs to work on when to pinch and when to stay back, but his offensive instincts are very good. He excels in that area, and as he matures and learns the defensive side of the game he will be very valuable. A good comparable could be Matt Niskanen. Niskanen's first two seasons were fairly good, then he struggled for a few before being dealt to Pittsburgh, and now at 27 he has emerged as a very good D-man.

    It takes time for most D-men to develop, especially those who were pure offensive D-men in college or junior, and I suspect that Schultz will prove many of his detractors wrong in the future.

  • A huge thank you to Page the Cleaner. They wanted to get involved and offered free dry cleaning to anyone who donates a suit to The Gregor Foundation. You have one week left to make a donation. Click here to find out which Page the Cleaner location you can drop your suit off at.

  • The OKC Barons lost 2-1 to first place Texas last night, but they still sit in 8th place with two games remaining. The Barons have a two-point lead on Charlotte and Rockford. Their final two games are Friday and Saturday against the last-place Iowa Wild. The Barons own the tiebreaker over Rockford, but not Charlotte. If they pick up three points this weekend they are in the playoffs, and they could guarantee a spot Friday night if they win and Charlotte loses to Milwaukee.

    It would be great for Klefbom, Nurse, Lander, Pitlick and the rest of the Barons to get some playoff experience. Nurse has played very well according to Todd Nelson and the more experience those young players get the better prepared they will be to battle for a spot at Oilers training camp in October.

    I only see room for one of Klefbom or Nurse in Edmonton next season, and maybe neither to start the season, but both will come to camp hungry to make the team. I'd send Nurse back to junior just to get more seasoning, but at some point soon it will be a refreshing change when the Oilers can send some players down who are actually ready for the NHL, but didn't make it because they have too many quality NHL players.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 1979
April 17 2014, 12:42PM
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This is piggybacking a bit on your last post Gregor, but you mentioned Josi as an option in trade. I wonder if Gagner & Marincin would do it? Maybe add a mid-round pick to it and bring back an inconsequential piece from Nashville as well. Then pick up Matt Greene and the pairings would look something like:

Josi - Schultz Klefbom - Petry Ference - Greene

I love Marincin, but as others have pointed out he is the most likely piece to go if we are bringing back a high-end D-man.

However, this leaves our 2C spot in a really tricky spot. I agree that Arcobello isn't who we want there, and likely we don't want our brand spanking draft pick there either. I also agree that what we really need is a defensive minded, playmaker to go with Yakupov. That is the type of centre we draft. Ideally we grab Statsny, but that seems less likely then the Josi deal.

In an ideal world we would do the Josi deal, sign Statsny for 7 years, bring two big third-line wingers with offensive upside to play along side Arcobello and since our top two centres are a lock at this point and our D-group looks fairly solid, we move down from 3 to 5 for a second or third round pick and draft Dal Colle!

Hall - Nuge - Eberle Perron - Statsny - Yakupov Winnik - Arcobello - Kulemin Pitlick - Gordon - Hendricks Lander, Gazdic

Josi - Schultz Klefbom - Petry Ference - Greene ???, ???

However, this won't happen...

If I'm a betting man, I think it plays out more like this: We sign Greene to be our no. 6 d guy,get a big win by signing Kulemin and/or Winnik, Gagner goes for a 4th liner and a 2nd round draft pick 2014, we draft Draisaital and he plays 2C next year, we unfortunately re-sign Fraser because there is no one else to be our no. 7 and our opening night roster looks like this:

Hall - Nuge - Eberle Perron - Draisaital - Yakupov Winnik/Pitlick - Arcobello - Kulemin/Pitlick Gagner Trade - Gordon - Hendricks Lander, Gazdic

Marincin - Petry Klefbom - Schultz Ference - Greene Fraser, ???

Opening line-up looks not much better then last years. Let's hope they get at least one of a top-d or a solid 2C this summer, that would make things look much better!

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#52 Walter Sobchak
April 17 2014, 12:46PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Zero chance Markov signs in Edmonton. He turns 36 in December. He'll want to play on a contender, not a team hoping to compete for 8th in the conference.

I agree and understand Markov.

It's the competing for 8th place that has me baffled?

As you mentioned turning over half the team and until players are brought in to fill those spots 8th place would be a very bold prediction.

MacT presser didn't say a lot of promising items.

Yes, he will search for that top pairing D-man, but not at the expense of his roster(core players)

If they go young, they go young....meaning get ready for the Oilers to continue leaking chances.

I think everyone can agree that goaltending masked the last 20-25 games.

Unless you think Scriven's can maintain 945 SV %.

There is far to many unknowns to say the Oilers improvement will be any better then Islanders at this point.

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#53 Walter Sobchak
April 17 2014, 12:48PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

"The free agent list of defenders doesn't have many big, strong, defensively sound players, but MacTavish has to get a proven player, rather than a wildcard."

I disagree with this strongly. And, I hope MacTavish doesn't see the UFA market in the same way, though I suspect he may.

I wrote about this here:

http://theoilersrig.com/2014/04/free-agent-defensemen/

That's a good read Rom.

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#54 Great One
April 17 2014, 12:53PM
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If we draft a center this year then we need a stop gap to fill in. I'd overpay for Statsny or Legwand on a short term deal.

Statsny 8.5M x 3yrs

If we strike out with him, then Legwand at 5-6M for 3 yrs. Gives Bennett, Reinhart, or Drasiti enough time to develop before they arrive take a 2nd line role.

If we end up with Ekblad, we should trade for Couturier who will be entering his 4th season.

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#55 Oilers101
April 17 2014, 01:10PM
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Bring in all the talent you want. Having them play a spazmatic system a minor coach could exploit, how will things improve? McT's state of the union address did nothing to convince me other than now ALL the empire is getting new clothes.

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#56 Great One
April 17 2014, 01:12PM
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@Great One

Assuming Yakupov is traded for Couturier.

Losing Yakupov sucks as he is will to turn into a dynamite winger. But keep in mind its easier to land good wingers than centers.

Ex) Pens with James Neal. Hawks and Hossa. LA and Gaborik. Carolina and Semin. Ott and Ryan. Bos and Erkisson Tor and Kessel Evander Kane is supposedly available

Wingers tend to end up in free agency where they cash in or they're traded at some point. Its imperative we get valid players in the most key positions.

1C - Nuge 2C - Couturier 1D - Ekblad? 2D - Nurse? Goalie - Scrivens?

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#57 Ed in Edmonton
April 17 2014, 01:12PM
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Great One wrote:

If we draft a center this year then we need a stop gap to fill in. I'd overpay for Statsny or Legwand on a short term deal.

Statsny 8.5M x 3yrs

If we strike out with him, then Legwand at 5-6M for 3 yrs. Gives Bennett, Reinhart, or Drasiti enough time to develop before they arrive take a 2nd line role.

If we end up with Ekblad, we should trade for Couturier who will be entering his 4th season.

I agree that a "bridge" deal overpay for a center might make sense. I would think Vanek should be in the conversation as well ( isn't he a right handed center and not a left winger as Gregor wrote?). The Oil have put a lot of money in his pocket with their RFA offer of years ago, he might look kindly upon them. The wisdom has been that Vanek wants to play in Minny, but Minny do not have that much cap room so a lucrative short term offer might work.

If the Oil do land a big $ FA center they might have $20M tied up in 3 centers counting Gags. This probably wouldn't work and moving Gags would become a must.

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#58 druds
April 17 2014, 01:13PM
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RE: Justin Shultz

I am old enough to remember when Paul Coffey started here and the exact same comments were made...I remember many fans wanted to trade Coffey after the first year or bury him in the AHL forever...I remember them booing him when ever he had a defensive lapse...crazy!!! Im not saying Justin Shultz is Coffey but patience is the key to young defensemen. People know this but still act like idiots when it comes to commenting on players.

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#59 Dan
April 17 2014, 01:22PM
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This story is getting boring....

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#60 waynethetrain
April 17 2014, 01:23PM
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If we draft draisaitl/reinhart he either stays in junior or starts as a third line center. You cannot bring in rookies and expect them to play top 6 minutes. Calgary did it with monahan. I think stastny would look great at like 7mil/5 years. My line up including an eberle,gagner, and 2014 1st rounder trade looks like:

Hall-nuge-yak Perron-Stasny-couturier anisimov-gordon-pitlick Hendricks-boyle-gazdic

Nikitin-Schultz Ference-kelfbom Marincin- petry

Scrivens-fasth

Some improvement would still definitely need to be made via a trade on the D unles they can land an orpik or niskanen

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#61 RexHolez
April 17 2014, 01:27PM
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druds wrote:

RE: Justin Shultz

I am old enough to remember when Paul Coffey started here and the exact same comments were made...I remember many fans wanted to trade Coffey after the first year or bury him in the AHL forever...I remember them booing him when ever he had a defensive lapse...crazy!!! Im not saying Justin Shultz is Coffey but patience is the key to young defensemen. People know this but still act like idiots when it comes to commenting on players.

For every Coffey their are a thousand Cam Barkers.

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#62 RexHolez
April 17 2014, 01:32PM
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I can see the oilers drafting Leon, and the flames getting Bennet. this gives the flames Monahan/Bennet and the oilers RNH/Draisaitl. Out of the 2, who has more compete and will to win down the middle? My money is on Burke and the flames to put together a playoff team long before the oilers. I doubt they'll even finish lower then oilers at any point

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#63 Will
April 17 2014, 01:35PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

"The free agent list of defenders doesn't have many big, strong, defensively sound players, but MacTavish has to get a proven player, rather than a wildcard."

I disagree with this strongly. And, I hope MacTavish doesn't see the UFA market in the same way, though I suspect he may.

I wrote about this here:

http://theoilersrig.com/2014/04/free-agent-defensemen/

That was a good read. I like the guys you are targeting, mostly because they don't look very expensive. However, none of these guys solve our problem either.

They would all look good in a mentor role on the third line paired up with one of our young guys, but none bump guys like Petry and Ferrence and Schultz down the depth chart. And that is needed big time.

I would love to see a third pairing of Gilbert (R) and Marincin or Klefbomb or Nurse next year (all Left hand defensemen). But then I'd also love to see a top pairing Left D with Petry or Schultz.

And maybe that is what Mac T is addressing. I think after watching his moves this year and in the off season last year, he is not shy about acquiring well priced, low risk components for less important roles.

He made the goal tending situation better. If you compare Gordon to Suter from the Penguins, it becomes shocking to see some people want a better third line centre. And of course there's the Perron deal.

But the two moves he hasn't been able to make are for a top flight D, and for a reshaping in the top six. To me the interview is saying don't hope for Markov or Timmonen because they are way too much money for what they are. Instead, the only way we'll get the guy we need on D is by trading something away.

And that is a fair statement. Who we trade and what comes back in return is a bit frightening and exciting.

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#64 ThatButthurtOilersFan
April 17 2014, 01:36PM
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I don't understand all the people that are crapping on MacTavish. He's done a fairly good job in his first year on the job. Every rookie GM makes mistakes. Chiarelli traded Versteeg for Brandon Bochenski on his first year of the job.

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#65 zoolanderl
April 17 2014, 01:42PM
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Lol I look at the opening lines ....No wonder yakupov called his agent...The moment Eakins put Smyth on the first line my optimism for the year plummeted. I know the opinion on yakupov is split but I would bet it closely follows the fire or keep Eakins position of most people.

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#66 Will
April 17 2014, 01:44PM
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RexHolez wrote:

For every Coffey their are a thousand Cam Barkers.

Shultz has been just shy of .5 points per game for his first two seasons.

Every Oiler fan was thrilled when he chose us. We should not blame his development curve on him. OMG a defenceman who didn't become a superstar in two seasons! Trade em, burry em! This is why no one wants to play here.

@druds

Thanks for giving fans some perspective. Hopefully we can bring in the guys needed to help Schultz instead of this horrible Oilers development system of throwing all our kids in the deep end. Then yelling at them when they don't instantly master the butterfly because they're too busy trying to tread water.

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#68 vetinari
April 17 2014, 01:50PM
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Gagner and Yakupov are hard calls this offseason. On the one hand, they have lots of potential and could be valuable. On the other hand, they both have been underperforming so your return on trading one or both of them will be pennies on the dollar.

Unless another GM is willing you give you close to market value on either of them, we may be stuck with both for at least one more year in a bid to drive up their value for the trade market.

As for UFA's, it looks pretty slim when you factor out players who are in their twilight years or want to play for a contender. I have a feeling that any big changes this offseason will come via trade and I suspect that OKC may find some of their depth depleted by mid-July.

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#69 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 17 2014, 01:51PM
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@Will

thanks for reading.

"solve our problem" is the wrong measure for any individual player.

They are all in for a raise, depends on how the market goes. The trade deadline market was incredibly weak. If that carries over (I don't think it will), we'll see some deals.

All these guys fly under the radar to a certain extent.

I disagree though that they are 3rd pairing. They are playing well above that on better teams right now and performing well.

Any of Fayne, Niskanen, Quincey, Gilbert, Hainsey would be top pairing on the Oil, though Ideally they'd play in the 3 spot.

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#70 Lochenzo
April 17 2014, 01:52PM
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You may be right about Markov wanting to play with a contender, but he's going to have to take a discount to do that. A contender is probably already close to the cap. At Markov's age and with his injury history, I'd think a contender would want to leave some flexibility to manage their cap room just in case.

Maybe the Oilers could come over the top in terms of money, as long as the term is shorter, and make it worth Markov's while.

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#73 Dog Train
April 17 2014, 02:00PM
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I won't miss most of the players who are leaving but I don't trust management to find the right pieces to replace them. We're in a tricky situation. We don't have the depth to be able to trade anything of value and all that we can offer UFAs is money and term. That's a recipe for making a bad signing.

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#74 backup bob
April 17 2014, 02:02PM
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I look forward with interest, as to how MacT fills the current roster.

How could management be satisfied with current scouts, when the player turnover is like a revolving door. At one time an Oiler scout recommended the player that now is no good.

Scouts should be paid based on performance.

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#75 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 17 2014, 02:20PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

That's a good read Rom.

thanks!

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#76 Will
April 17 2014, 02:21PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

thanks for reading.

"solve our problem" is the wrong measure for any individual player.

They are all in for a raise, depends on how the market goes. The trade deadline market was incredibly weak. If that carries over (I don't think it will), we'll see some deals.

All these guys fly under the radar to a certain extent.

I disagree though that they are 3rd pairing. They are playing well above that on better teams right now and performing well.

Any of Fayne, Niskanen, Quincey, Gilbert, Hainsey would be top pairing on the Oil, though Ideally they'd play in the 3 spot.

True, like I said I like that they will likely be looked over. However, All these guys play in the East. We need to get better on defence and a big reason why we are bad is because the Pacific teams push our defenders around and make their life hell on the forecheck. These guys are performing well for their teams, but the competition they are playing against is not what the Oilers face regularly. Moreover, the make up of their teams is not the Oilers. Meaning though they have been doing well for their respective teams, they could regress in the role they'd be expected to play here, against the type of competition the Oilers see.

I was at the last two games of the season. The Kings game was especially painful. Though I was trying to sooth the pain with Rexall beers, I did notice that Klefbomb had an easier time breaking up the King's cycle. He could use his size to be strong on the puck, which gave him a bit of time to make that pass.

I'm not sure Niskanin or Gilbert could do that against the Kings. Sharks, Ducks, Dallas top line. etc.

So, I respect we are trying to fix the team, and I think you've picked some great guys that are bing overlooked, but fixing the Oilers is a very layered problem. They are basically trying to get bigger, while adding highly sought after talent, only willing to lose Gagner and Yak. That seems like a nearly impossible task, especially since all 30 teams are trying to do the exact same thing.

I am more in agreement that until we overpay a free agent or two, which frees up some guys for trade, this team will be stuck throwing the kids to the fire year after year, and just crossing their fingers.

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#77 Mabell
April 17 2014, 02:36PM
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There is a lot of player movement –but I think this indicates that we know what we have and its just not good enough – or what is needed. A couple of moves over the summer can radically change this team:

1) Draft Leon Draisaitl with the 3rd overall pick. From all accounts he'd be able to play next year – especially with the additional moves noted below.

2) Move Gagner and another asset or two (maybe Buffalos 4th pick this year or our 3rd next year and Roman Horak) to Nashville for Colin Wilson and Victor Stalberg – two players that could use a fresh start, and who would be a great start on a better third line.

3) The big move – get Tyler Myers out of Buffalo. I would propose the 2015 1st pick and Jeff Petry. That is a lot and I’ve got to think it would be enough. Understand and the 1st next year has value – but we need to stop collecting future assets, we need a team that can move forward now. This is a tough move – but I think that Myers could be exactly what is required to solidify the back end for a long time. Buffalo will likely select Ekblad with their pick and Myers didn’t play well last year, that’s why I think he could be available. Really need our management group to make the right call on this one.

4) Pick up two UFA’s over the summer – one for the third line and a third paring D. Next years line up: Hall/RNH/Eberle Perron/Draisaitl/Yakapov Stalberg/Wilson/UFA signing Hendricks/Gordon/Gazdic Arcobello/Lander

Ference/Myers Klefbom/Schultz Marincin/UFA signing Fedun

Scrivens/Fasth

Not perfect – but a hell of a lot better than the last couple of years. I don’t like Ference in the top pairing but if the time was equally split between Ference/Klefbom/Marincin it should work out, and at the end of the year bring Nurse up to start playing.

I like the centre depth that’s created; and I’m comfortable with Draisait starting next year, especially considering that there will be Wilson, Gordon, Arcobello and Lander to back him up if he stumbles.

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#78 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 17 2014, 02:38PM
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I'm curious if anyone thinks MacT might move this year's first round pick for a roster player?

If NJ can get a legit starting goalie for the 9th overall last year, what could Edmonton get for the 3rd overall? It may be worth targeting Eastern teams like NJ (forced to pick last this year), NYI (have to give Buff a first rounder for Vanek), or other teams that may be looking to shed the salary of a roster player and who haven't gotten an elite prospect in a while (maybe Detroit or Washington?).

I'm not saying I want it to happen, but if they want a big winger, 2C, or a top D that can do the job next year, then the pick might go a long ways towards that. Any speculation on what the market value of the 3rd overall pick is?

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#79 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 17 2014, 02:39PM
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@Will

It is odd that nearly all the D on the UFA market are from the East, but I don't think it is as predictive of performance as you suggest.

If you are playing the top opposition, which these guys basically are, you are doing it against the West too and you are doing it against Ovi and Crosby, Lucic, etc.

The East is undoubtedly weaker, but top lines are top lines.

None of these guys are small. They are all 6+ and 200+.

I'm not worried about their toughness. I'm worried about their effectiveness. And, they all have years of NHL work to look at, which suggests they are effective.

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#80 Loweblows
April 17 2014, 02:40PM
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Ekblad will be gone so Draisitl it will be. Package Gags, one or more of any d prospects except Nurse and Klefbom plus picks or prospects to aquire a top notch D man. Pay the price for Stastny.That is my dream summer. And fire Eakins.

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#81 Scrivy
April 17 2014, 02:46PM
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I have to agree with Romulus on here.

Some of the names JG suggests just arent good corsi players. There are better cheap options out there.

Kulemin bad, Setoguchi bad, Boyle bad.

There are really good players who go for cheap: eg. Mason Raymond.

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#82 mayorblaine
April 17 2014, 02:57PM
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i think RNH is your top line center. i like the notion of Stastny as 2nd line center, but also on a 2-3 yr deal. "if" they don't get Ekblad then i'm still a Reinhart guy, but regardless a center it will be. so let that pick either go back to junior for 1 more year or stick them on the 3rd line. develop.

defense well that's a different, more convoluted ball of wax. i hope Nurse can do what MacT clearly thinks he can. i think he'll be good but do we need to rush him next year? that kid fills out he'll be a beast. let's not break him before he does. also let's not ask the world of Klefbom and Marincin. yet.

i'm no expert, just a guy who thinks - other than MacT, maybe Eakins - management is the biggest impediment to the Oilers success. owner included.

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#83 Tikkanese
April 17 2014, 03:00PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Scrivens had a .916sv% with Edmonton.

And I wrote, "An organization HOPING to compete for 8th place." I didn't say they would, I wrote that the organization is in a spot where they hope to compete for the final playoff spot next year.

That is why Markov won't come here. He has a few years left to win, and he knows it won't happen in Edmonton.

Never say never. I seem to recall the Oilers signing over the hill Khabby(top rated ufa goalie that year), Souray(top rated D-man that year), Belanger(top rated triangle that year) etc onto not very good Oiler teams.

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#84 Randaman
April 17 2014, 03:00PM
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ThatButthurtOilersFan wrote:

I don't understand all the people that are crapping on MacTavish. He's done a fairly good job in his first year on the job. Every rookie GM makes mistakes. Chiarelli traded Versteeg for Brandon Bochenski on his first year of the job.

Perron and Scrivens are good points but until he has the balls to fire Smith, Bucky & Chabot I will not be happy

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#85 Blucifer Copperballs
April 17 2014, 03:03PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Hey Gregor...about those suits...how old is too old? Let's say someone...you know, a friend...had barely used suits from the mid to late 90's...still ok to donate? Don't they say everything old is new again?

Only if they come in pastel colors with the sleeves pushed up and loafers, Sonny Crocket.

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#86 Will
April 17 2014, 03:18PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

It is odd that nearly all the D on the UFA market are from the East, but I don't think it is as predictive of performance as you suggest.

If you are playing the top opposition, which these guys basically are, you are doing it against the West too and you are doing it against Ovi and Crosby, Lucic, etc.

The East is undoubtedly weaker, but top lines are top lines.

None of these guys are small. They are all 6+ and 200+.

I'm not worried about their toughness. I'm worried about their effectiveness. And, they all have years of NHL work to look at, which suggests they are effective.

Hhmmm, well said, well argued.

I'm of the mind that we can't get any worse. I just don't want to see the Management pin next year's hopes on a combination of another Barker and youth. There's also the issue of right and left side to consider. The Oilers have a lot of left side D.

My hope for the future is a trade for a "top flight defenseman"

After that I would be happy to get Gilbert back on the right side to pair up with all our young stay at home L side D like Marincin, Klefbomb, and Nurse.

I don't agree that we need Weber, I think our team needs the next Weber. And between the 3 of those prospects, not to mention Simpson and possibly Ekblad, I think we have him. But the key will be to develop those guys into our core, and you can't do that with Petry, Ferrence, and Schultz.

I also do not want to end up like the Wild. The bought their team, are now up against the cap, and are not considered a cup contender. Basically, they are the new Calgary. They built a perennial 1 and done playoff team.

This off season will make or break Mac T as a GM. It is frustrating because the Oilers seem like they are so close yet so far away.

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#87 Oiler Al
April 17 2014, 03:18PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Looking for suits that kids would wear. Ask a 17 year old if he'd wear your friend's suit...If he says yes, we'd gladly take them.

Hope Don Cherry isnt reading this site! Don't want any of his suits do we?

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#88 Will
April 17 2014, 03:27PM
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The more I look at the UFA market, think about what those big name UFA's might want to do with their careers, then look at the needs of the Oilers, the more I become skeptical of Edmonton getting all the players it needs next year.

If Ekblad and Bennet are gone, I would be happy with Reinhart as our second line C over the bigger centre assuming a few things.

First, that Gagner and Yak net help on D. Second, of the myriad of wingers in this year's UFA pool, Mac T picks up 2 that have size and help both the second and 3rd lines, and also have some years behind them, and a good mind for two way play. Basically, Vrbata for sure, and then maybe Downie or another good name.

Next, he grabs the best R side UFA D he can possibly get. The guy doesn't need to be huge, just someone who can play big minutes sound, while being able to distribute the puck a little. All our stay at home prospects Marincin, Nurse, and Klefbomb are all L side. If they can develop with this mystery UFA (Romulus has a great article on some of these guys), then they can move up the chart to play with Petry and or Schultz.

I know moving Yak before he develops is a really unpopular idea. And I know that both he and Gagner do not have great value right now. But sometime you have to just buy the plane ticket to force yourself to save the money. Meaning, by eliminating those two off the second line, it forces Mac T to bring in a bigger RW, and asks the new second line centre to play a defensively responsible game, while pivoting between Perron and Vrbatta. That is a risk I'd be willing to take.

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#89 Oiler Al
April 17 2014, 03:29PM
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Randaman wrote:

Perron and Scrivens are good points but until he has the balls to fire Smith, Bucky & Chabot I will not be happy

See whee Nolan in Buffalo cleaned house ,firing all the assistant coaches , including their goalie coach.

Some teams know what they are doing.. not so much with the Oilers.

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#90 Sanchez
April 17 2014, 03:35PM
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I don't care what they do as long as Lowe is fired when they suck next year. Enough is enough

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#91 RexHolez
April 17 2014, 03:54PM
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After tonight rookie Nathan Mackinnon will have more playoff experience than all our so called "core guys" put together.

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#93 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 17 2014, 04:19PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Gilbert is not a top pair D-man on a good team or one that wants to improve. He is not an upgrade on Petry. There is no Brian Campbell for him to play with in Edmonton.

Pittsburgh won't let Niskanen go to free agency, and that is why I didn't mention him. I used players who are likely to test market, he won't. Martin is 33, Letang has health concerns, so they will gladly keep Niskanen.

Mark Fayne as a top pair defender would be as successful as Petry. He would be fine as a veteran addition, but expecting him to play top minutes would lead to issues. The Devils overall defensive team play, especially from their forwards, was much better than Edmonton, and that helps his stats. Is Fayne much different than Ference? I'd take him, and he would help, not doubt, but he pretty much fits what I said originally.

Go get a solid veteran, but there aren't many of them on the UFA market.

Thanks for the response.

I see where you are coming from. But I disagree on a lot of points.

Gilbert is on a bad team, I'll give you that. Well, he's on a middling that is middling largely because they boast Campbell and Gilbert as their top pairing. That get's them a lot further than they have a right to be.

The panthers problem is league worst EVSV%, not Tom Gilbert:

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/teamstats.php?disp=1&db=201314&sit=5v5&sort=SVPCT&sortdir=DESC

With another strong D (like Campbell), he'd be fine as a 2, but I agree better suited as a 3, like Petry.

I have no idea why the lowly Oilers would walk away from that. Especially as cheap as Gilbert is right now.

I get your point on Niskanen. I excluded Markov because I don't think he'll get to market. And, I'm not sure Niskanen will either. But I'm not convinced he won't either.

The Pens have 3 guys going UFA (Niskanen, Orpik and Engelland). They love Maata. Martin just turned 33 and is still very effective. Letang is a concern (suddenly).

I agree they'll want him, but I'm not as sold that he'll stay.

Fayne would, like Gilbert, need a strong hand alongside him to handle top minutes. I haven't said otherwise. But, if he had one he could.

Ideally he'd be a 3 or 4. I think he'd be a big upgrade on Ference if only because of age.

I think, in part, we need to take what we can get, esp. if we can get it without giving up assets and potentially cheaply.

If MacT is writing these guys off because they aren't 1s and 2s, I think he's making a mistake.

I think the list of Niskanen, Gilbert, Hainsey (who you also mentioned), Fayne and Quincey is a pretty big list of veteran UFA Ds who are all showing well by the numbers.

They are all relatively young for UFAs too.

I don't recall another year where you could say the same recently.

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#94 Oilers101
April 17 2014, 04:29PM
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Felt wrote:

Kevin Lowe Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith must wake up every morning and ask themselves is today the day they expose me for being a fraud, Or are they bulletproof.

Don't forget the goalie coach!... Goalies arrive, do well wither and die. It's been a revolving door, only Rollie who was old,smart and game enough to resist the poison fed to all tenders. Rollie would be an excellent goal coach imo

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#95 Ivan Drago
April 17 2014, 04:32PM
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Well Eakins did have the balls to walk into the Oiler dressing room and remove the old memorabilia, not that it did much, I wonder if he will have the stones to fire Bucky and Smith, and hopefully Chabot too.

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#96 Jeff
April 17 2014, 04:40PM
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Wow.....

So not only do the Oiler's organization not know what they want in a player/coach/puck boy... Oiler's media has no idea what we want.

To recap the above, we want a more offense, says Dallas Eakins, so we bench Nail because he is weak defensively.

We want a solide two way player beacuse we need more defence, yet we draft offensive players.

We want to more solid defence because our defence sucks, yet now we want to trader for offence and draft for offence.

Wow...

So maybe the problem with the team/media/the fans remains the lack of understand of what defines the Oilers, who are we, what style of game do we want to play, what is our objective.

Minnesota had great defense and were known for that... Philly was a mean, hard team to play against... San Jose will light you up every chance they get offensively.... Pitt/Detroit may be the best two way teams...

What are the Oilers, what defines us, and what do we want, what are we building towards.

Before we start picking players beacuase we think we know something, we should first define the oilers and what we will become including management, coach and media.

We cannot be successful at building with a winning team if we do not know what we are trying to build.

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#97 Will
April 17 2014, 05:16PM
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Ugh, I hate to do this, because I do not believe for one moment it's possible, but "if Gretzky can be traded"...

The general consensus is that it will take at least Hall to get Weber.

The guys is afterall the face of the franchise, the cornerstone, the guy everyone comes to see. And now with guys like Jones and Brodin the Nashville Blue is starting to look pretty great.

Unfortunately, the forwards are just awful. They need a lot of help, maybe even more than Calgary.

The reason getting Weber seems so important is that the message boards today prompted some great discussion on what is out there for D. And even if everything breaks right, the best D assembled today, is still not really that great.

I look at the Bruins and see they had a great D, but 4 of their main D men all played less than 50 games in the NHL at the start of the season. A situation the Oilers could find themselves in. The major difference being, the Oilers do not have a Chara. But my god if they had a Weber.

Now, what team would be crazy and stupid enough to sign their cornerstone guy to a big contract, then trade him and think they would be successful. Well Columbus that's who. Not only did they trade their cornerstone, but they didn't even get back one single marquee New York player in return. Not one. Instead they got Dubinsky (50 points), Arnisimov (39 points), a D prospect in Erixon, and the 21st overall pick which turned into a good looking prospect names Kerby Rychel.

So that was two good but not great role players. One D prospect, and the 21st overall pick for Rick Nash. Is Weber more valuable than Rick Nash. Maybe today. But then, all Columbus had was Nash. But they traded him, took his contract off the books, used it to land Horton (not that he really contributed all that much) and other free agents. Now Columbus is in the play offs, doing well against Pittsburgh, and they don't even have Horton.

So, obviously our 3rd overall pick is worth much, much more than the 21st overall. I would also say that we can offer a much better D prospect than Erixon. So who is our Anisimov and Dubinsky?

Basically what I'm saying is that if Rick Nash can be traded for that, and Columbus finds success, why can't Weber be traded for a better package? Eberle, 2014 1st round, Gagner, and a Defensive Prospect for Shea Webber. If you're the Predators, are you going to tell me you don't even consider this? You would be the stupid GM then.

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#99 BLAKPOO
April 17 2014, 05:44PM
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RexHolez wrote:

For every Coffey their are a thousand Cam Barkers.

I never thought I'd be giving Rex a 'props', but this is bang on.

If you're expecting Schultz to be the second coming of Paul Coffey, you need to put down the model glue and go outdoors for a few.

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#100 BLAKPOO
April 17 2014, 05:52PM
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RE: Shea Weber

If Nashville's willing to get rid of Big Barry, they're obviously open to major changes this year. Not saying Weber is being shopped, but what they have now isn't working too well for them, and with the addition of Jones, their D corps is pretty solid. If the right deal comes along for Weber, they'll move him. I don't think it would cost us Hall, but a deal without them taking a big dollar, long term contrat back might work. Yak, Schultz, Marincin, prospects and picks would be the currency Nashville would most likely look at.

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