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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#1 Spydyr
April 17 2014, 10:22AM
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3)" The braintrust" have absolutely no idea how to build a team beyond losing and drafting high and are flying by the seat of their pants.

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#2 DrDave
April 17 2014, 11:25AM
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If Boston wins the cup this year could you maybe see Iginla wanting 1 more cash cow deal? Bring him home to Edmonton on a 3 year 15Mil deal, which will be 1 more year than anyone will really want to offer him. Stick it to Calgary and have him mentor our young core players....

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#3 BIGDAWG
April 17 2014, 10:57AM
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Instead of sending NURSE back to JR. Can they not send him to OKC??

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#4 Will
April 17 2014, 10:26AM
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The D is going to be hard to fix via free agency this year. Largely because hat's available isn't great, but more so the ones worth getting are mostly L handed. If Marincin, and Klefbomb are up next year, then that's 3 L handed defensemen already. So either both Klefbomb and Nurse stay down, they look for a right hander, or someone plays their off position.

Not to mention, if they did get a Left handed vet like Markov, then who mentors Marincin? Petry?

Instead, I would look to grab two vets, one top two guy for the left like Markov or Timmonen to play on a top pairing with either Schultz or Petry.

Then look to grab a vet that is solid but comes cheap to play on the third pairing with Marincin. Of those guys available, I hate to say it but Tom Gilbert at 2 mil per?

Markov Petry

Ferrance Schultz

Marincin Gilbert

What does everyone think of this idea?

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#5 Will
April 17 2014, 10:45AM
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As for the Forwards, especially changing the balance in the top six, that's a lot more difficult. There does appear to be teams out there that have size who could make up for Gagner's lack of defensive acumen while enjoying his secondary scoring. There also looks like there's teams where someone who should be better just sin't fitting, and a change of scenery type of trade could work. But I honestly don't know what Gagner's value is, so what you could get for him is a mystery.

I don't see Stasny going anywhere, and my bet is Legwand goes to Anaheim. But if I was Mac T, knowing how rare the decent 2 way centres are in the league, I would overpay. The Oilers, like every other team in the entire NHL, will have to overpay to get a top UFA.

That's a good start and maybe a more defensive minded centre, combined with better defence and goalie can lower Yak's horrible minus 33 this year. But there might be a better RW option for second line C out there.

As for the third line, I do not understand why everyone says we'll be a contender when our third line is our fourth line. Are third lines not meant to be shut down lines?

Brandon Suter, for example, the third line C who moved up to second line for the 22 games Malkin was out, got 13 goals and 13 assists. Whereas Boyd Gordon on the Oilers, playing only 3rd line C and only getting defensive Zone starts and PK, managed 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points.

Sure Hendricks didn't produce a ton, but if you could upgrade the 3rd line RW, then I see nothing wrong with that line. In fact, it actually looks like our most put together line in terms of where it falls in the line up.

Some great UFA RW options are Steve Downie, Radim Vrbata (who could also help on the second line), and Seteguchi as mentioned.

Hall Nuge Ebs

Perron ? Vrbata

Hendricks Gordon Downie

What kind of second line C could you get for Gagner and Yak? Coutuier maybe?

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#6 Mabell
April 17 2014, 11:45AM
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There are a couple of moves that could be made that would really change this team:

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

2) Move Gagner and another asset or two (maybe next years 3rd round pick 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 – find out what it would take to 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.

This is a tough move – but I think that Myers is a player, and he 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.

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.

Having Wilson, Gordon and Arcobello allows for Draisaitl to be someone protected and provides an ability to move him up and down the line up as required.

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#7 Larry
April 17 2014, 10:51AM
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Tim wrote:

Gregor just outlined that 8 are gone for sure, and likely 5 more. That is a big turnover. Also MacTavish admitted his scoring depth needs to improve.

Major changes again...hopefully this time it works. **kneels down and says a prayer**

Gregor doesn't work for the Oilers although sometimes he thinks he does...

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#8 Fish
April 17 2014, 11:55AM
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The comments section is pretty indicative of the FUBAR Oilers train wreck and how we all feel about the teams make up.

Every comment made gets ripped. I don't know if there's a statement above that's rocking a positive corsi.

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#9 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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#10 pelhem grenville
April 17 2014, 10:53AM
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...get Couturier

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#11 madjam
April 17 2014, 11:00AM
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Nothing being bought in to excite anyone , and trying to salvage a lot out of AHL has done little in the past and doubtfully much more next season. We are going in worse next season so far . Wait and see if MacT. can actually accomplish making us better thru trades or acquisitions outside current club and AHL . Excitement for this club at an all time low for now ( no pun intended).

Disappointed Nuge, Eberle and Hall would not take opportunity to play more hockey with the worlds coming up . They already have six months off to stew how bad the season went . Their progress should grow playing in that tournament - not digress as their season had .

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#12 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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#13 non descript
April 17 2014, 10:34AM
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Spydyr wrote:

3)" The braintrust" have absolutely no idea how to build a team beyond losing and drafting high and are flying by the seat of their pants.

mactavish can say whatever he likes at press conferences. it is just double talk and rhetoric. the proof is on the ice. these guys are clueless and at this point it appears mact is dillusional.

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#14 Fish
April 17 2014, 11:11AM
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Hall - RNH - Ebs Perron - Grabovski - Yak Kulemin - Reinheart - Setoguchi Hendricks - Gordon - Arcobello/Gazdic

Nakitin (UFA) - Shultz Jr. Marincine - Petry Klefbom - Ferrence

I think we could see a Gagner plus for a Josi sort of thing.

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#15 Joe
April 17 2014, 10:28AM
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MacT must know many fans are against the old boys club. He goes on and praises the old boys. MacT is sounding a lot like KLowe.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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#16 Spoils
April 17 2014, 10:46AM
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@The Real Scuba Steve

not to label things as latter or beginning, and not to say we can't be competitive sooner, but by my calculation the Oilers should target 5 years as the peak year and build towards that.

in 5 years Nurse, Klefbom, Schultz, "Ekblad" are most likely to be truly competitive - Hall will be 27 so still at or near peak. Nuge, Yak will be at or near their best as well.

Strong D coupled with two scoring lines.

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#17 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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#18 paulghar
April 17 2014, 10:47AM
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What's to discuss Mac T won't make any significant changes.

Would you sign in Edmonton if any other team offered you a contract?

Take Hendricks took less money to go to Nashville now is stuck where he didn't want to be.

Hypothetically we can all fix the team as arm chair GM's but fact is that real people, players will not come here if they have the choice.

We will get more bottom of the road free agents and less value than we want for any trades. Hopefully Eckblad falls to third pick and he develops before the kids contracts are up (Nurse & Klefbom too) than just maybe we will see a playoff game. I sure hope I am wrong but nothing our illustrious management has said or done makes me think anything will change.

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#19 Will
April 17 2014, 10:56AM
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Shifty203 wrote:

I'm still betting Gagner is in Oiler silks in the fall. I just don't see any trade that makes sense, and I don't see them dumping him for the 3rd-4th round pick that hes currently worth, with no one challenging for the 2nd line spot.

It takes two to tango, and I don't see anyone wanting to do the Oilers favours.

We were at the Oil Kings playoff game last year watching Seth Jones completely dismantle the team.

One of my more, enigmatic friends noticed of all people the Blues scout a few rows down. So naturally he went to pick his brain. Now I wasn't there, but my friend is not real big on lying, and he said the topic of Magnus came up. The scout said they had absolutely no interest in Magnus. Kevin Lowe and behold, we get Perron for Magnus and a pick. Mac T turned an unproven LW - who's biggest season came in his rookie year when he scored 34 points - into David Perron who nearly had a career year her playing on the LW and got 57 points.

Imagine what he can do with a 2nd Line C who is second from his draft year in total points, only behind Patrick Kane.

I think there is a team that will want him.

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#20 6 ring circus
April 17 2014, 11:10AM
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Just like his predecessor Tambellini,Mactavish is saying the same things Tambellini used to,here in Oiler country its always wait till next season,yet when next season comes,its the same old results, 8 years and counting now.There are obvious management,coaching and scouting issues in this organization, to miss the playoffs for 8 years and to still think you have the right people in place makes absolutely no sense,you probably could get away with this in an southern American hockey market were the fan base doesn't care or does not know whats going on,but really in Edmonton this has gone on for to long and the sooner Katz makes wholesale changes and brings in experienced hockey personal, the sooner this team can get back to respectability and making the playoffs,until then everyone get your drinking cups ready as the organization hands out the annual Kool Aid again and again......!!!!

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#21 A-Mc
April 17 2014, 11:17AM
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I'd pay Stastny $6.5M/yr for 7 years if he'd come be our #1/2 C. I think that sounds reasonable considering the pain you'd experience w/o that 2C.

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#22 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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#23 Tim
April 17 2014, 10:15AM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

MacT said yesterday the team is at the latter parts of rebuild than at the begining. It doesn't sound like big changes coming hopefully a better season next year.

Gregor just outlined that 8 are gone for sure, and likely 5 more. That is a big turnover. Also MacTavish admitted his scoring depth needs to improve.

Major changes again...hopefully this time it works. **kneels down and says a prayer**

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#24 Oiler Al
April 17 2014, 10:28AM
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I think the Stasny should be the big chase for MacT this summer. Probably a hard sell for him to come to Edmonton. He's worth $6 million bucks.

Maybe theres a three way deal to be done with St. Louis as Stasny makes his home in St.Louis and would prefer to play there.

If Smith and Bruck return next season, you might as well paint " puppet" on Eakins forehead.

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#25 Fish
April 17 2014, 11:57AM
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Fish wrote:

The comments section is pretty indicative of the FUBAR Oilers train wreck and how we all feel about the teams make up.

Every comment made gets ripped. I don't know if there's a statement above that's rocking a positive corsi.

Unless it rips management or bags on a player. That seems to be pretty well received.

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#26 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
April 17 2014, 12:17PM
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DrDave wrote:

If Boston wins the cup this year could you maybe see Iginla wanting 1 more cash cow deal? Bring him home to Edmonton on a 3 year 15Mil deal, which will be 1 more year than anyone will really want to offer him. Stick it to Calgary and have him mentor our young core players....

I can't see that happening, but I would sure love it!

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#27 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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#28 The Real Scuba Steve
April 17 2014, 10:09AM
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MacT said yesterday the team is at the latter parts of rebuild than at the begining. It doesn't sound like big changes coming hopefully a better season next year.

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#29 Will
April 17 2014, 10:50AM
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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. I don't think he comes here either. But if I'm the GM of the Edmonton Oilers, I sure am going to try. I'd do everything to site a team like Colorado who seemed like they were just a goal tender away from being the team they are.

Otherwise I'd appeal to his wallet. I know the idea of overpaying isn't popular, but that's free agency. Wideman, Boumester, Richards, O'Reiley, Garrison, ect.

If not then your looking at a trade, which always circles back to Yak and Gagner, which if fine if we sign Stasny or Legwand, but they are likely in the same boat as Markov wanted to go to a contender. The only way to become a contender is to overpay for guys like these, or trade away one of the wonder kids.

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#30 Al Low
April 17 2014, 10:19AM
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I totally agree on Justin Schultz. He's a young guy who's going to get better and better. He'll never be a defensive stalwart but I think there's a place for him on this team. Part of the issue with this team is they don't have great puck movers from the back end. Schultz is somebody who can actually make plays from the blueline. When this team actually becomes decent, Schultz will be a piece of the puzzle. He won't be their best dman but he'll be part of the solution, I think.

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#31 Felt
April 17 2014, 10:33AM
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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.

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

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#33 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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#34 The Real Scuba Steve
April 17 2014, 10:22AM
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Tim wrote:

Gregor just outlined that 8 are gone for sure, and likely 5 more. That is a big turnover. Also MacTavish admitted his scoring depth needs to improve.

Major changes again...hopefully this time it works. **kneels down and says a prayer**

Read yesterday's Sun Timmy-boy, low expectations

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#35 Shifty203
April 17 2014, 10:39AM
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I'm still betting Gagner is in Oiler silks in the fall. I just don't see any trade that makes sense, and I don't see them dumping him for the 3rd-4th round pick that hes currently worth, with no one challenging for the 2nd line spot.

It takes two to tango, and I don't see anyone wanting to do the Oilers favours.

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#36 Rama Lama
April 17 2014, 12:20PM
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I hope that they don't sign any of the UFA's out there this year.

NYR has a hundred of these type of players and it seems that no one ever develops chemistry to produce? Just an observation.

I would much rather draft well and develop, something Todd Nelson has a good grip on.

Now that Dallas Eakins knows who plays where, maybe he can start doing the same.......better late than never.

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#37 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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#38 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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#39 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
April 17 2014, 10:18AM
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It's nice to see the bottom 3 dmen from last year's starting line up to be gone, to be honest. I think it's a good sign at least.

Also both goalies have already been improved on big time.

Things might actually start changing for the better.

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#40 Fresh Mess
April 17 2014, 11:29AM
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More of the same.

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#41 mayorblaine
April 17 2014, 12:11PM
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the most insightful and honest thing MacTavish said from the whole of that presser was that his words have no value (yes i'm paraphrasing).

same as last year, and so on...

believe what you wish, but they've turned me into the foremost pessimist.

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#42 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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#44 freelancer
April 17 2014, 10:49AM
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What about guys like Moss or Winnik as possible third liners as well. Will be nice when we can have guys like Hendricks and Gordon actually play where they are supposed to, ie 4th line and PK only. Maybe have some real scoring depth next season.

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#45 Doctor Smashy
April 17 2014, 10:59AM
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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?

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#46 Will
April 17 2014, 11:00AM
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Manfly wrote:

i don't think these 2 signings improve the Oilers "D" enough. i still think these 6 would play too soft of a physical game on the back end, and frankly, i am not a fan of Gilbert. i'd rather bite the bullet with Klefbom than sign Gilbert!

Ya but again, he's a lefty, and you can't pair him with Schultz or Marincin.

I just don't think it works out.

I'm also not saying I absolutely love this defence either, I'm just trying to say, of what's available, this would be the best bet through free agency.

Through trade I have no idea since it likely means trading forwards for defence, leaving holes at forward.

Basically, Mac T does not have an easy summer ahead.

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#47 merfer
April 17 2014, 11:21AM
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MacT picked all the low hanging fruit this season. Next season will be much harder to get the kind of players he wants. Second line center and 1/2 defense are vary scarce. I have a feeling he will work hard to shake a trade out of all the teams eliminated in the first round of playoffs. They are usually the most pissed off. If he can't find a center I think he will go with Draisadl and Arco at number two and see which one works out the best. I think he will use Gagner and any other assets he has for that 1/2 defenseman in a trade. He will need a great amount of luck to get anything decent

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#48 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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#49 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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#50 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 17 2014, 06:45PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I don't think MacT is discounting them, he just won't be going for longshots, wildcards or proven #6/7 guys.

Gilbert gives them more of the same style of player, with Petry and Schultz. I don't see him being the answer. Need diversity on right side.

Quincey is intriguing because he shoots left. If he is that good, Detroit won't let him go. They've lost too many good D-men the past few years. If he makes it to market he'd be worthy of a look for sure.

I'm still not as high on Fayne as you, however. He isn't offensive, not physical. He plays okay minutes, but not a difference maker.

We agree on Hainsey.

I'd rate those guys above longshots, wildcards, etc.

I'd take Gilbert back, but I get the comment. He's basically an older Petry. I'd be happy with that mind you.

Babcock played Quincey more than anyone else at 5x5, so I'm guessing they'll try to resign him… but as with all these guys, the fact that they haven't yet is potentially an open door.

At any rate, until they sign him, he's worth taking a look at.

I think we agree on Fayne, but as with Gilbert, I think we might disagree on what will help.

I'd be happy if they brought in a few vets who can shoulder 2nd pairing minutes and keep Nurse and Klefbom away from the NHL for a while.

Or, I'd love to land a #1, but those are damn hard to get… and I think it would be a good idea to look at some really solid "middle of the road" options. (these guys aren't longshots or 6s 7s)

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