Building

Jonathan Willis
April 07 2014 10:47AM

Kid Line-1

The Edmonton Oilers are a team with many problems, but there are some good things there, too. Number one with a bullet on that list is the line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

The Kids & the Hall

4-Hall-15

Hall’s a monster with any linemates, and watching him put the rest of his game together is incredible. He’s always been a hard-driving offensive difference-maker, but during the last lockout he added in a gift for playmaking that hadn’t really been part of his NHL skillset; we’re now at the point where he’s a first-rate setup man.

More than that, though, is his defensive game. I’ve always felt Hall got shortchanged reputation-wise because he drives results, but watching him the last month blocking shots and backchecking, it feels like there’s a dimension there that I hadn’t seen before, too. I’m not supporting this with numbers, but by eye it feels like somewhere around midseason he just found another level of defensive commitment.

Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle aren’t on the same level as Hall, but as a trio they’ve done some exceptional things together, both in the past and in this late season. Together, they’re a legitimate No. 1 line in the NHL.

The Rest of the Forwards

57-Perron-9

The Oilers, as they have for so many years, now need to find a way to support that top unit with 10-11 competent forwards behind them. Today, a healthy Oilers team looks something like this in those roles:

  • David Perron – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov
  • Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Ryan Jones
  • Luke Gazdic – Ryan Smyth – Jesse Joensuu
  • Anton Lander – Mark Arcobello – Tyler Pitlick

The second line is both awfully close and a mile off. An optimist sees a keeper on a great contract (Perron), a reliable scorer coming on after a terrible start (Gagner) and a potentially elite goal-scorer (Yakupov). The pessimist sees the same keeper, a black hole up the middle with awfully limited replacement options, and a winger who probably shouldn’t have spent the last two years in the NHL and has awfully high bust potential.

The rest doesn’t look much better than the Steve Tambellini editions of the team, and that (along with the defence) is a job for the general manager to tackle this summer. Gordon’s been very good, Hendricks was a nice addition, Arcobello’s done good things and one imagines they’ll hang on to Gazdic for pugilism.

89-Gagner-8

What represents enough improvement? Would moving Gagner for a third-line wing and adding a couple of free agent veterans do the trick? Is a depth chart that looks like the following good enough behind that top line?

  • David Perron – Mark Arcobello – Nail Yakupov
  • [Viktor Stalberg] – Boyd Gordon – [David Moss]
  • Matt Hendricks – Anton Lander – [Blake Comeau]
  • Two of: Luke Gazdic, Jesse Joensuu, Tyler Pitlick and Ryan Smyth

It’s a scenario that nicely highlights, for me, the difficult choices that need to be made on the second line next year. Yakupov’s a gamble – a gamble worth making, certainly, but a gamble all the same. At centre, the choice is even tougher, because finding an external candidate for the role is going to be very difficult, very expensive, or both, and the internal options are Gagner and Arcobello. It shouldn't be too difficult to fill out the roster but that No. 2 line is going to be tough.

There’s also this summer’s draft, where the Oilers will likely hold the No. 3 overall selection. The idea of Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl starting next year between Perron and Yakupov is a little scary, but long-term might be the best solution. It’s also the kind of move that retaining Arcobello (a pretty good fallback option in the event of struggles) might hint at.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 cccsberg
April 07 2014, 04:25PM
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mlcselli wrote:

Taylor vs. Tyler ?? Now we know.

yup, Seguin by a country mile...

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#2 Jason
April 07 2014, 12:16PM
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I think we will see what Edmonton has when they play meaningful games. Most teams take them lightly plat their 2nd goalie. Since Edmonton has been so bad most playoff type teams don't take them seriously and as a result they bring a B game.

Example Last night where Anaheim would have liked to win that game, they just couldn't get up for it until late in 3rd. Edmonton got to play against a weak goalie last night.

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#3 TigerUnderGlass
April 07 2014, 12:07PM
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Subban. That is all.

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#4 Total Points
April 07 2014, 03:30PM
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Oilers need to ride the first line next year - Hall, RNK, Eberle; Perron, Arco and somebody on the second line and trade Yak, Gagner and 1st overall this year for DEFENSE help.

Third and 4th lines are coming together, Gordon, Smyth, Hendricks, Gazig, Jones, Joensuu, Pitlick, etc

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#5 Jason
April 07 2014, 12:23PM
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I know Hiller is their starter but he is playing poorly. Anaheim probably would have won if Hiller was playing like he was before the Olympic break.

Watch Anaheim play LA or SJ then you see their A game. Face it teams don't try as hard against Edmonton because they are weak.

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#6 admiralmark
April 07 2014, 11:12AM
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I think MacT will have to trade some of the future for the now. Gagner for a quality 3rd line winger(e.g..Winnick) is a good step. Gagner is beyond horrible. What is it 5 years in the league and you don't know to pick up the trailing player? Brutal. Maybe a stop gap measure will be needed until a better option becomes available? Grabovski might of fit the bill as he could of mentored Yak as well? Bennet/Draistl look like great prospects but need another year in Junior likely? Its hard to say what might come available but 2C absolutely needs an upgrade and an experienced player that can help Yak along would be advisable. And yes I know about the D. I put the priority at 1) 1st pairing D. 2) 2nd line Center.

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#7 The Last Big Bear
April 07 2014, 02:10PM
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1) Either you have been watching a different Taylor Hall, or watching the Oilers has given you *painfully* low standards of what an appropriate level of defensive commitment looks like for an elite first line player.

2) Ryan Kessler, Antoine Vermette, Joe Pavelski, Sean Monahan (who BTW has more goals than The Nuge), Andrew Cogliano, and Mike Richards.

Those are the Pacific Division's 2nd line centres. Every one of them has 20 goals already this season, except Mike Richards (and he's an Olympic gold medalist, Stanley Cup champion, recent 30 goal scorer, etc, so I'll cut him some slack).

Oh yeah, and Mark Arcobello.

Sing along now, "One-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others"!

Im sure his 4 career NHL goals will stand to his credit when he goes head-to-head against other NHL second line centres like David Krejci, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Sharp, Vincent Lecavalier, Nathan MacKinnon, and seriously, you guys see 2Cs on other NHL teams all the time. On what planet is Mark Arcobello a serious option in that role?

3) The best long-term solution is to draft another 18 year old forward and throw him straight into a crucial top-6 role in the NHL? I think I blew some kind of sarcasm fuse trying to respond to this. I just... I just don't have enough sarcasm.

All I'll say, is don't ever change, Edmonton... Don't ever change.

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#8 pelhem grenville
April 07 2014, 12:31PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Subban. That is all.

...Sorry T.U.G. the guy's a hotdog, talented a good skater...can't throw a hip check to save his life...seen him bad

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#9 Jason
April 07 2014, 12:34PM
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Why do you think bad teams like Florida wins a game against Dallas or NYI winning games against playoff teams. Here is a hint it not because they are a good team. They win because other playoff teams don't take them seriously enough. Anaheim plays a B game against the Oilers and lose.

Last post on this subject because if you don't understand this premise you will never get it.

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#10 mlcselli
April 07 2014, 12:39PM
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Taylor vs. Tyler ?? Now we know.

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#11 Fuhr4Life
April 07 2014, 01:33PM
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@admiralmark

Totally agree. 1LD - Trade for Sekera, Volchenkov, or Free Agent Stuart, Hainsey 2C - Trade for either Anisomov, Couterier, Dubinsky or Stastny Also need a Powerforward Winger who can hit, score and pay both ends (Iginla, Stalberg, Simmonds, C.Stewart) And another top 4 RD ( cause we'll have traded Petry). My ideal line up would be:

Hall-Nuge-Ebs Perron-Anisomov-Yakcity Stalberg-Gordon-Iginla/Simmonds Smitty-Lander-Gadzic/Joensuu

Sekera/Volchenkov-Shultz Ference-Boychuck? Marincin/Klefbom-Ekblad/Belov

So obviously very active in trading and would be willing to move Gags, Petry, Fedun, Khaira, Roy, 2014&2015 1st Rounder, Gernat, Arcobello, Horak and Marincin

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#12 zoolander
April 07 2014, 11:28AM
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Is it me or are we not better with Ference out of the line up.

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#13 Bob Cobb
April 07 2014, 12:31PM
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Hey Willis, what about the idea of making a deal for O'Reilly out of Colorado for your 2nd line center? What do you think it would take? I'd say a pick, a prospect, and a player. Would Yakimov, Gagner, and this years 1st be too much? They aren't giving McKinnon or Duchene up and O'Reilly wasn't prepared to sign, it's just a thought, plus we could stick it to Calgary if the Oilers managed to trade for him.

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#14 Hall Awaits
April 07 2014, 11:38AM
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The idea of Stalberg is interesting but I don't know if Mac-T can pan gold twice out of Nashville.

In regards to the third line, I would take a serious run at Nikolai Kulemin and Brian Boyle in free agency with Arcobello acting as a plug and play on that line. With a fourth line of Hendricks, Gordon and any combination of Pitlick, Gazdic, Joensuu or Smyth the depth is immediately improved.

And if it were me, I'd ask Philly for Brayden Schenn straight across for the lottery pick unless of course we win the bloody thing again and get first overall. I'd say Couturier but don't think he's going anywhere...

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#15 Jason
April 07 2014, 12:29PM
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I know they wanted to win but they did not take Oilers seriously enough last night because they are the Oilers.

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#16 Oliveoiler
April 07 2014, 04:13PM
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1 - give Eakins the start next season and see how he does the first month or so 2 - have Lowe "step down", he has been a cancer to the team 3 - let MacT actually BE the GM without Lowe breathing down his neck 4 - bring back #94 for another year 5 - keep Pinizzotto - he seems like a good fit 6 - trade Yak and a high pick for a tough centre 7 - trade #89 and 2 high picks for a tough D man 8 - stop bringing up players who aren't NHL ready 9 - dump associate, assistant, goalie coaches AND amateur and professional scouts for new blood 10 - DO NOT MESS WITH THE TOP LINE. PERIOD.

Here endeth my shot at armchair coach for today.

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#17 David S
April 07 2014, 12:27PM
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You go with your strengths instead of trying to make players into something they're genetically not capable of doing.

Gagner and Yak showed moments of briliance this year. If the 1-2 lines were charged with bringing the scoring pain instead of worrying about D so much (something neither of Yak, Nuge, Eberle, Hall, and Gagner were drafted for) we might really have something. This all depends on putting a priority on making the bottom six legit defensive compliments who can score a bit (instead of hole fillers and face punchers - sorry Wonger) and adding some solid D pieces.

I don't think we're far off. Bumping a couple of guys down the pecking order in D and bottom six might do a world of good. Maturity and health should do the rest.

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#18 cccsberg
April 07 2014, 04:46PM
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Fuhr4Life wrote:

Totally agree. 1LD - Trade for Sekera, Volchenkov, or Free Agent Stuart, Hainsey 2C - Trade for either Anisomov, Couterier, Dubinsky or Stastny Also need a Powerforward Winger who can hit, score and pay both ends (Iginla, Stalberg, Simmonds, C.Stewart) And another top 4 RD ( cause we'll have traded Petry). My ideal line up would be:

Hall-Nuge-Ebs Perron-Anisomov-Yakcity Stalberg-Gordon-Iginla/Simmonds Smitty-Lander-Gadzic/Joensuu

Sekera/Volchenkov-Shultz Ference-Boychuck? Marincin/Klefbom-Ekblad/Belov

So obviously very active in trading and would be willing to move Gags, Petry, Fedun, Khaira, Roy, 2014&2015 1st Rounder, Gernat, Arcobello, Horak and Marincin

Some interesting ideas, and definitely something significant needed. But, Iginla on the third line (or Simmonds for that matter...) ? That's a joke, Iginla would be that line-up's best RW by far.

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#19 CYCLOPS
April 07 2014, 11:09AM
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Buffalo has for decent dmen going forward: Myers Erhoff Pysyk McBain?

Florida has: Campbell Kulikov Gudbranson Gilbert?

I still think and hope we have a chance at Ekblad at #3. Those teams need offense. Heres hoping.

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#20 OilClog
April 07 2014, 11:15AM
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Yakimov will be coming over next season and will get some games under his belt.

Lander is playing his finals days in OilCountry.

The idea of 4/93/14 playing together and killing the opposition is something all fans have known for the last few years. Nice to see the coaching Staff catching on! Whew! Don't forget over the summer please!

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#21 TigerUnderGlass
April 07 2014, 12:09PM
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@The Soup Fascist

He is not a good guy - at all - period.

Why do people think they know this?

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#22 Jack
April 07 2014, 01:57PM
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I have poor social skills.

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#23 Lowe Expectations
April 07 2014, 10:53AM
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There are good pieces moving forward. However, until this team can either develop or acquire that legitimate #1 dman real progress will be difficult.

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#24 Will
April 07 2014, 11:26AM
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This is a great article that highlights that the team, especially in the top six, really doesn't have a lot of moves to try and fix the balance issues.

I do think Mac T should try and move heaven and earth to land any free agent centre that would be an upgrade on Gagner for the number 2 C role. Lagwand comes to mind simply because when healthy, Detroit has their one and two centres locked up, not to mention arguably their third and fourth.

Stasny also looks like a guy without a job at his current club that I think would be an upgrade. Even if these guys end up getting more than our current top line kids, well I can't really see them being mad if it makes the team better.

With that solved, obviously the D needs to be addressed. With Ryan Whitney being so terrible last year and everyone expecting J Schultz to take another step, it looked like the D wasn't in that much trouble last year. Again, we have some great prospects on the way, much like at the centre position, but for now, for next year, Mac T needs to make a spend on the free agent market.

It's not prospects that will make this team better, it's veteran NHL talent.

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#25 Omar the Olive
April 07 2014, 12:08PM
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Our lack of reliable goaltending and overwhelmed defensemen(They were not playing their proper minutes) cost us the playoffs early on. The rest of the year was about .500. Im not saying the final result is a pretty one; im just saying that we should look at what we started with and who we end with. On top of that, we should remember that many attempts were made to bolster our defense and forward positions(offseason and during the season) but did not work in our favor. Im proud of this team now. The first half of the season, I could pretty much sum up the game after watching 5 minutes of hockey. It was a "we are done" or "we are going to win" type of thing, with the former being more common. When you see wins against very good teams in the past month, you know things are turning around. Once we address our defense in the offseason, I can predict a playoff push or potential run. Remember, all it took was Pronger to put us in the finals. I believe.

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#26 Starving Student
April 07 2014, 12:29PM
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Lots of talk of an Umberger buyout from cbj. What are odds of gagner+pick for umberger+nikitin. Lots of ties BTW edm and cbj, cbj is in east with need for offense (good fit for gags) and has an abundance of quality d. We pick up third line winger who can chip in depth scoring and can also play some centre (and help with pk) and a top 4 d in nikitin. 1. Does Columbus make the trade? 2. Does 89 agree to go? Thoughts?

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#27 ubermiguel
April 07 2014, 12:47PM
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Jason wrote:

Why do you think bad teams like Florida wins a game against Dallas or NYI winning games against playoff teams. Here is a hint it not because they are a good team. They win because other playoff teams don't take them seriously enough. Anaheim plays a B game against the Oilers and lose.

Last post on this subject because if you don't understand this premise you will never get it.

Why? Because at this level there's a fine line between winning and losing. Sometimes a bad team plays well enough to be on the right side of that line. The Oilers challenge has been (and continues to be) putting together all the winning elements 60 minutes a game, 82 games a year.

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#28 Will
April 07 2014, 01:37PM
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A few other good things to note are that Eberle could again crack the 70 point plateau. Hopefully that would silence all the people saying he would never get to that level again due to an unsustainable shooting percentage.

Mac T seems committed to making this team better. At times you had to wonder with Tambi, but Mac T really wants this team to win.

Yak's numbers this year were actually kind of impressive. There is a great article that breaks down the positives and negatives of Yak's play. All said, he looks more like a legit player than a bust.

Our defensive prospect pool just seems to get deeper. This team is going to have an endless line of good D prospects for a lot of years.

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#29 Will
April 07 2014, 03:46PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Do you have a reference for this "great article"

I don't think the Oil have missed Yak at all since he has been out.

I got a chuckle about the TSN guys last night comparing the race between Ovy and Yak to get the "green jacket" this year with the upcoming Masters.

Perhaps great was the wrong word, how about fascinating or thought provoking.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2014/4/7/5587734/3-nail-yakupov

Speaking of Ovi, I know us Oiler fans have had it tough, but there are teams out there with people like Ovechkin who are hitting the 50 goal mark again, who might not make the playoffs. Point being, there does not seem to be one magical ingredient that can make a team successful. Which, might be good or bad depending on your perspective.

As for Yak, I think he will live up to his billing as a first overall selection.

For those that want to make the case we should have taken Murray, well ask yourselves what is better, Murray or Yak and J Schultz. Because had they picked Murray, J Schultz likely would have signed somewhere else.

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#30 The Last Big Bear
April 07 2014, 04:08PM
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@Will

Yakupov is -33 (ie only two events behind OV), but has played 11 fewer games, and with only 12 mins or so per game at even strength.

And as you said, OV is a 50+ goal scorer to offset that. Yakupov... Not so much...

Anyways, I agree +/- is a generally crappy stat. Thats a fair point. All I was trying to get at is that Yakupov is absolutely brutal defensively, and he bleeds goals against like nobody's business.

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#31 City of Champignons
April 07 2014, 04:12PM
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Thanks for your time and good luck elsewhere:

Ryan Jones Sam Gagner Anton Lander Jesse Joensuu Philip Larsen Mark Fraser Anton Belov Will Acton

At this point I'd say all prospects are tradeable. Even the high profile ones.

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#32 Oilbaron
April 07 2014, 11:03AM
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I agree it looks like Hall really stepped up his defensive game about mid season. In the last bunch of games hes seemed like the hardest back checker on the team. Thankfully that stuff has gotta rub off on the rest of the guys and its nice to see Hall lead the way all around.

If Nuge doesn't have a breakout year this upcoming season Hall will be the captain sooner or later

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#33 Tuningout
April 07 2014, 11:36AM
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Yakupov is a the key piece in my opinion. If he excels (with Perron) the Oilers have a second line and all problems solved (regardless of the 2C if Perron and Yak score the 2nd line will look good). If Perron scores 23. Yakupov scores 25. And random center scores 10. That should be enough ?

The defence on the other hand. Is waiting for rookies to emerge. How much patience is needed ? I don't know. I'm not sure about Ekblad.

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#34 The Soup Fascist
April 07 2014, 11:59AM
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The Oilers look better without Ference because when he is dressed he is playing too many minutes (out of necessity) and his game suffers. If they can find an actual 1st pairing guy, knock "el Capitan" back by 4 or 5 minutes per game and give him a little softer matchup - voila - he is a serviceable defenseman again. Same with Petry I suspect.

Also, I am trying to find a way to add what should be a marked down Evander Kane, but I am having a problem making it fit. With he and Hall as left wingers, my Grandma could be the 4th line LW for all it mattered. Despite the immense talent and useful chip on his shoulder, there are issues:

1) He is not a center

2) He is not a good guy - at all - period.

3) Not sure we have the dressing room to straighten him out

4) With Kane and Yak as your 2nd line you need a very good skilled center with a defensive conscience. Gagner makes it the donut line - no center. The Oilers have no one close IMO.

5) Would this years 1st be an overpay for a guy with stupid talent but bad charachter, off the ice?

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#35 A-Mc
April 07 2014, 12:13PM
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@The Soup Fascist

Evander Kane. Definitely a name i've been hearing as falling out of favour in winnipeg these days. I am VERY curious what the cost might be to acquire him.

I certainly would not offer the 1st rounder though. It's basically a lock that the 1st rounder will be as good or better than Kane, IMO.

It's good to see some stuff coming together with the team. I hope they can sort some things out this summer. I am not counting on playoffs next year but i would certainly love to be battling with vancouver for a wildcard spot next season (Although i think vancouver is done. It's my opinion that they are going to nose dive in the next couple years).

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#36 A-Mc
April 07 2014, 12:19PM
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Jason wrote:

I think we will see what Edmonton has when they play meaningful games. Most teams take them lightly plat their 2nd goalie. Since Edmonton has been so bad most playoff type teams don't take them seriously and as a result they bring a B game.

Example Last night where Anaheim would have liked to win that game, they just couldn't get up for it until late in 3rd. Edmonton got to play against a weak goalie last night.

Uhh, Jonas Hiller was in net last night.. That's thier "Guy" - he isn't the weak option. Also, if you pvr your games, try playing an oilers game from a few months ago and then play the ANA game from last night. The game last night was fast paced and was good hockey. Normally i would agree with your sentiment, but in this instance i dont.

I think the Oilers scored a legitimate win last night and i haven't the heart to take it away from them.

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Jason wrote:

I know they wanted to win but they did not take Oilers seriously enough last night because they are the Oilers.

Who is reading and typing for you?

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#38 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 07 2014, 12:41PM
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Jesus, Willis! There's almost no sandpaper in that lineup behind Golden Trio!

Unlike yesterday, we'll get our lunch money beat out of us again and again.

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#39 oilerman53
April 07 2014, 12:59PM
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Gagner seems to have been turning things around lately. His defensive game is what will always be his downfall. He simply does not backcheck hard enough and is often seen standing around during goals against. A guy like Umberger intrigues because hes quick and hes a bugger body who will battle for the puck. I think if youre the Oilers you try go for Umberger and Anisimov for Gagner and the first rounder. Two great players for the second and third lines. Fill the defensive holes via free agency.

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#40 The Last Big Bear
April 07 2014, 03:31PM
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@geoilersgist

Sean Monahan started the season as the only rookie in the Flames top-9. Monahan had two defensive centres to take the tough minutes for him, in Stajan and Backlund. He started the season between Lee Stempniak and Curtis Glencross, a pair of physical veteran wingers. He was not expected to play beyond his 9 game cup of coffee. He subsequently forced his way onto the permanent roster, by scoring a point-per-game during his cup of coffee, and putting up 20+ goals over the season.

That is exactly how you bring a kid into the NHL. With easy minutes, surrounded by veterans, and where the default position is that he will be returned to a lower league unless he can prove beyond all doubts that he is ready for the NHL.

The new Oilers draftee will start in a top-6 where Perron is the only guy over 22. Instead of having veteran wingers to watch out for him, he'll have to babysit the worst minus player in the NHL. Instead of having to prove he's ready for the NHL, he'll be expected to learn on the job.

There is a very large difference between the situation Monahan stepped into, and the situation next yesr's Oilers draft pick would step into.

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#41 City of Champignons
April 07 2014, 04:03PM
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I really like the idea of getting #1 and #3 d-men. That way we can move a couple guys down the depth chart and likely hold onto both Marincin and Klefbom full time. A few of our d-men this year were asked to play above their ability and it cost us.

I also think we gotta bring in 2 - 3 bona fide NHL wingers to play in the bottom 6. Our top 6 as is seems ok.

And of course we need that #2 center.

But, what do we have to give up to get this shopping list? And will it nullify the little bit of stability we currently have? I feel like we can't afford to hold onto our first round pick this year. We need some trade bait and don't have much right now.

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#42 719
April 07 2014, 09:22PM
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I think if the Oil pick up Niskanen as a UFA (with the obligatory overypay), the Oilers do not need to trade for a defenceman.

Gagner for a 3rd line rightwinger (Clarkson, Horqvist, Stafford, Stewart, Setoguchi, Brunner, Fotaine, Parenteau, Ben Smith?)

Hall-RNH-Eberle

Yak-Draisatl-Perron

Smyth-Arcobello-xxx(Gagner Trade)

Hendricks-Gordon-Pitlick/Larsen

Extras: Lander, Gazdic

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#43 Sizzay
April 07 2014, 11:17AM
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We won't get the value with yak. Keep him and hope he has a better year with a fresh start. I see future chemistry with draisaitl. Draisaitl is excellent at protecting the puck in the corner and dishing it on the tape in the slot. If there is no move for a centre, draft him. 6'2 210lbs that will fill out to 225.

I'd move gagner and a prospect like pitlick/lander for a gritty winger like bickell and a prospect like McNeill.

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#44 westcoastoil
April 07 2014, 12:04PM
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There is very little C help in the UFA market, and unless MacT can pull a significant deal for a legit 2C which is not easy then the team will maybe have to look at a guy who is lower on the offense side, but could handle the d side of 2C which might OK with Yak and Perron.

I wonder if you could pull Craig Smith out of Nash. That would give Smith, Arco, Gordon & Lander for the C depth behind RNH and then they could return whoever they take back to junior (assuming Ekblad is gone). Not ideal, but that may be the way to go and if they can improve the 3rd line wingers that could help carry them until top draft guy 2014 is ready in another year.

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#45 Omar the Olive
April 07 2014, 12:27PM
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Jason wrote:

I know Hiller is their starter but he is playing poorly. Anaheim probably would have won if Hiller was playing like he was before the Olympic break.

Watch Anaheim play LA or SJ then you see their A game. Face it teams don't try as hard against Edmonton because they are weak.

Are you kidding me, Jason?!! Anaheim needed the win last night because theyre 1 point removed from possibly playing LA in the first round. Nobody wants LA in the first round.

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#46 jonny94
April 07 2014, 12:50PM
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mlcselli wrote:

Taylor vs. Tyler ?? Now we know.

What exactly do we know? Tyler Seguin has been playing lights out just as much as Hall. They both have lived up to the hype if you ask me... So what we do know is regardless of who we drafted they both panned out.

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#47 The Soup Fascist
April 07 2014, 01:16PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
He is not a good guy - at all - period.

Why do people think they know this?

A close relative of mine played with him for 3 (edit: sorry, actually only 2 years) years in Vancouver. The PR guys in Vancouver had their hands full.

By all accounts he has not changed in Winnipeg. I love the guys talent. Not sure if a leopard can change his spots, though.

Please share your stories that refute all that has been reported. Honestly, I would love for him to be a stand up guy.

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#48 Randaman
April 07 2014, 02:26PM
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admiralmark wrote:

I think MacT will have to trade some of the future for the now. Gagner for a quality 3rd line winger(e.g..Winnick) is a good step. Gagner is beyond horrible. What is it 5 years in the league and you don't know to pick up the trailing player? Brutal. Maybe a stop gap measure will be needed until a better option becomes available? Grabovski might of fit the bill as he could of mentored Yak as well? Bennet/Draistl look like great prospects but need another year in Junior likely? Its hard to say what might come available but 2C absolutely needs an upgrade and an experienced player that can help Yak along would be advisable. And yes I know about the D. I put the priority at 1) 1st pairing D. 2) 2nd line Center.

It is sadly obvious judging from the amount of trashes to your comment that most people on here have no clue and want to be basement dwellers for the forseeable future.

PEOPLE: Gagner is not going to lead us to the promiseland. He should not even be a secondary piece if you sincerely care about making the play-offs. Has this year or the last four actually not given you enough evidence to support thet FACT? Sheesh and we wonder why management just laughs off comments on here.

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#49 mlcselli
April 07 2014, 02:38PM
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jonny94 wrote:

What exactly do we know? Tyler Seguin has been playing lights out just as much as Hall. They both have lived up to the hype if you ask me... So what we do know is regardless of who we drafted they both panned out.

I would never argue with the success that Tyler Sequin is having. There is no doubt that he is a phenomenal player, and anywhere in the league he will play, that team just got better. The challenge on the draft year of choosing Tyler or Taylor is one that everyone will always wonder about. The reason for my comment is that the Oilers have fought an uphill battle all season, and are once again hanging around the cellar despite the talent on the team. With Hall being where he is in the leagues' scoring race, and in the company he's with, he gives the Oilers some bragging rights. With so few reasons to celebrate this year, Hall gave us something. Now if we could have both Taylor and Tyler………..

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#50 Ed in Edmonton
April 07 2014, 03:34PM
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Will wrote:

A few other good things to note are that Eberle could again crack the 70 point plateau. Hopefully that would silence all the people saying he would never get to that level again due to an unsustainable shooting percentage.

Mac T seems committed to making this team better. At times you had to wonder with Tambi, but Mac T really wants this team to win.

Yak's numbers this year were actually kind of impressive. There is a great article that breaks down the positives and negatives of Yak's play. All said, he looks more like a legit player than a bust.

Our defensive prospect pool just seems to get deeper. This team is going to have an endless line of good D prospects for a lot of years.

Do you have a reference for this "great article"

I don't think the Oil have missed Yak at all since he has been out.

I got a chuckle about the TSN guys last night comparing the race between Ovy and Yak to get the "green jacket" this year with the upcoming Masters.

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