End of Roster Forwards

Jonathan Willis
April 09 2014 07:00AM

51-Lander-1

This late season run was supposed to be an opportunity for some of the Oilers top AHL prospects – players like Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick – to show they belonged in the NHL.

Instead, Lander’s floundering in a feature role and Pitlick can’t string half a dozen healthy games together. But that doesn’t mean nobody’s taking advantage of the opportunity.

13-Pinizzotto-1

Steve Pinizzotto’s in a rough spot. He turns 30 this summer, and while he’s a scrappy, do-it-all kind of forward he’s at an age where a lot of teams are going to look right past him. When the Oilers first traded for him and assigned him to Oklahoma, I asked him something along the lines of how vital it was to make an immediate impression on the organization.

“I’m getting to an age now where there are guys that I am probably 10 years older than,” he replied. “The door can’t stay open forever. I can’t look at next year; like you said I have to worry about this year and hopefully catch some eyes.”

Through four games, he’s been pretty decent for the Oilers. He’s not a pure enforcer, but like Matt Hendricks he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty (HockeyFights.com has him at eight tilts this year, after he fought six times last season) and at the AHL level he’s been a secondary scorer and a penalty killer. He’s tougher than Tyler Pitlick and a better hockey player than Luke Gazdic.

36-Larsen-4

Surprising, at least for me, has been the play of Philip Larsen. Over his last five games, all at right wing, the Oilers’ fourth line has had a slight edge in scoring chances (8-7) with Larsen on the ice. He has three points in that span, too, and has looked better as a forward than he did at any point this year as a defenceman.

There’s a part of me that really likes the idea of the last skater on the roster being a swingman who can play on either the back end or on a forward line. I find myself wishing the Oilers had tried him at right wing earlier in the year – though of course there was no way Dallas Eakins and company could have known he was going to make the transition so seamlessly.

41-Acton-2

Finally, Will Acton’s had a pretty reasonable five games, too. He’s not producing any offence, but the fourth line has done a far better job of late in terms of out-chancing the opposition, and he’s been around for that. Like Lander, Acton got stuck at the start of the year with lousy linemates; unlike Lander he doesn’t have the pedigree that would get him a cameo on the higher lines. I’m not saying that’s wrong – Lander had earned his shot with strong AHL play – but any fair evaluation of Acton notes who he’s played with.

My Guesses

Craig MacTavish2

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the five fringe players – Pitlcik, Lander, Pinizzotto, Larsen and Acton – currently getting NHL minutes up front.

I do think that Pinizzotto – a pending unrestricted free agent – would be a really nice fit on a two-way contract next year, and it wouldn’t bother me at all to see him in the fight for one of the bottom spots in training camp next fall. Worst case scenario, he’s a useful AHL’er and a reliable call-up; best case scenario he can fill a depth role in the NHL.

Larsen, Lander and Pitlick are RFAs. My expectation is that the Oilers decline to qualify Larsen, but retain both Pitlick and Lander (unless one or both find their way into a summer trade). The wrinkle here is that both players should probably be in the same boat as Pinizzotto: signed to two-way deals and asked to come in and win a job in training camp.

Acton’s the lone guy under contract for next season, and he looks like a nice fit for the Chris Vande Velde role: the checking line in Oklahoma City and occasional call-ups if/when injuries warrant.

But those are just my guesses, and with only one of the five guys under contract the Oilers have the ability to go in an entirely different direction.

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 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 09 2014, 07:20AM
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Must be hard to write this stuff at this point. I barely care to read it.

Good job, JW. And thanks, 6Rings, for the "inspiration".

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#2 kgo
April 09 2014, 08:13AM
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Last night during MacT's interview, when he said J schultz was playing like "a veteran" my heart dropped.

It's too bad after playing in 4 playoff games (losses), however long it takes to get there....management will relaize this team is far too soft...and will have to rebuild again.

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#3 j
April 09 2014, 08:16AM
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I struggle with Acton on every level. He just hasn't made any impression that is worthy of being in the discussion of NHL employment. I appreciate that the 'fourth line' has received far too much press given the actual impact on the game but surely we can do a bit better than a 30 year old AHLer and Acton? I'd rather have Steve Downie and Matt Cooke out there. Really.

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#4 Oiler Al
April 09 2014, 08:39AM
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At this point Lander is a total NHL bust and Pitlick is a china doll and not that good of player.. I'd say two way deal only or move on.

I would sooner sign Larsen, for a forward position, he's not a good NHL D Man. He's a great skater, can handle the puck, goes to the net and can play on the Power Play. Needs to beef up a bit. Be a good third liner.

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#5 David S
April 09 2014, 08:40AM
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Larsen >>>>>>>> Lander.

That's the nub of it.

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#6 Soccer Steve
April 09 2014, 08:52AM
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Any conversation about depth in the Edmonton Oilers is a good one to have. But, no offense to these guys, they are what they are, I just wish we were talking about actual players. It always seems like we're on about these fringe-types.

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#7 Sevenseven
April 09 2014, 08:56AM
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Almost sound like we need a past his prime Ryan Smyth again next year. And keep him on the wing! Arcobello sounds like a better option than anyone else on your list jw.

Please reward our 8 year struggle as loyal fans oh hockey gods. Guide mac t to the best free agents, allow him three moves like the perron move. Guide our players to career years. Have both fasth and scrivens look like number ones. And if trots gets let go in Nashville, overpay that man to get him as an assistant here!

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#8 Sevenseven
April 09 2014, 09:04AM
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Oh, and Lowetide wondered why Oiler fans have no love for Will Acton? Maybe because he doesnt look like an NHLer. Why is he here? Most fans think its cause daddy is on the coaching staff. Fair or unfair, hes going to have to really impress to gain any respect.

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#9 OilDieHard
April 09 2014, 09:16AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

At this point Lander is a total NHL bust and Pitlick is a china doll and not that good of player.. I'd say two way deal only or move on.

I would sooner sign Larsen, for a forward position, he's not a good NHL D Man. He's a great skater, can handle the puck, goes to the net and can play on the Power Play. Needs to beef up a bit. Be a good third liner.

i agree. Lander looks like a bust and i wonder as well if Pitlick can ever stay healthy enough to realize his potential? if Lander were traded and Pitlick not re-signed, it wouldn't bother me. not a fan either of Acton. don't really want him back next year. Larsen i do like and the Oilers should re-sign just because of the fact he's looked better up front, can play on D if he has to, and can pot a few points. he also skates well. Pinizzotto is a good, tough skater who can drop the gloves if he has to, but can't get a point to save his life. i'd re-sign him to a two way as well.

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#10 vetinari
April 09 2014, 09:22AM
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If I had to guess:

Two way, one year contracts to Lander, Pinizotto, Larsen

Release Acton (average at most things but above average at nothing) and Pitlick (injury history and his skills can be replaced by other prospects)

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#11 Greenlingj
April 09 2014, 09:32AM
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Pitlick, Lander, Larsen,

Guys like this are not on any ones depth chart on the other 29 clubs in the NHL.

Cut your losses and move on, or, Accept the fact that most depth players don't become decent NHL products till they are 25 very rarely do you find players who can produce at the NHL level at 20-25, does not mean they are not good players.

I would sign Lander and Larsen to two way contracts and keep them down in OKC until they need to be called up.

Pitlick is a train wreck poor kid can't stay healthy and that hurts your development at any level. He is a bust I would cut my losses and focus on the other players going forward.

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#12 mr common sense
April 09 2014, 09:50AM
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We need to go after UFA's Steve Ott and Dave Bolland. Exactly the type of players we need.

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#13 DT
April 09 2014, 09:51AM
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Lander looks much better in the most recent call-up. He is far less tentative and actually holds onto the puck to make a play, instead of dumping the hot grenade into the corner. He's not producing any points, but outside of the top line, who is? Perron and Gagner (relatively) have gotten points, but when is the last time that Jones contributed, or Smyth? So, I would give him another contract, a short two way. Acton does not keep up to NHL pace and doesn't really do anything else to contribute when he's not producing. I would part ways with him. Larsen could be resigned as a forward.

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#14 Hall Awaits
April 09 2014, 09:53AM
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Steve Pinizzotto has been fairly impressive in a small role to me. I think a fourth line of him, Hendricks and Gordon would be just fine. Commissioner Gordon with two guys who can bring it. They also can play a little bit more then the Gazdics and Macs of the world.

To me the entire 3rd line needs an overall. And that D corps to....

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#15 Spaceman Spiff
April 09 2014, 10:07AM
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I'd say that, of those four, I'd definitely keep Larsen. He's definitely got NHL wheels and if his hands can catch up (even a little bit), he might be useful as a fourth-liner. He's not physical at all, so that's a drawback. But moving him up to defence (where he was a ticking time-bomb a la Grebeshkov) probably has given him a Second Act as an NHLer. Worth a longer look next year.

I'd probably also consider keeping Pitlick because I still think there's a lot of "there" there even though his string of injuries is worrisome. Not too late to turn it around but the clock is ticking on him.

Acton is an AHLer and Lander is starting to look like what the baseball guys called a "4A" player - one who's probably too good for the top minor-league but not good enough for the majors.

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#16 MattL
April 09 2014, 10:09AM
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I thought I heard somewhere that Larsen was a centre until he was 16. I also like the idea of him and Arcobello as two utility guys, like the guy every baseball team has on the roster. Outfield? Sure. Shortstop? Sure. Batting .300? Nope.

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#17 ColourMeImpressed
April 09 2014, 10:17AM
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That Will Acton has a contract next season over Lander, already, is a travesty.

The guy is so bad at hockey.

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#18 etownman
April 09 2014, 10:23AM
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I'm hoping the Oilers bring Pinizzotto back next year, from what I've seen I think he has something to contribute towards the team. What role & where he fits in will obviously be determined in pre-season.

I also think Lander & Pitlick will be retained, probably on 1 year contracts at this point in their careers. Both have a solid chance to contribute towards the team as long as their roles are defined at beginning of year & they're used appropriately. Pitlick has to get over the injury bug to have a long time future in the NHL but he's definately a player who will come along under the tutelage of Hendricks.

Larsen has played well in his 'swing man' role from RW to D when needed. Wouldn't hurt my feelings if the Oilers defined his role as such & used him accordingly. Which means he would fill the 13/14 forward & probably get into about 40 to 50 games next year. He isn't big but he's not afraid to go to the hard areas to make plays.

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#19 oilredemption
April 09 2014, 10:25AM
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Anyone know where I can find the macT presser?

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#20 michael
April 09 2014, 10:28AM
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Hall Awaits wrote:

Steve Pinizzotto has been fairly impressive in a small role to me. I think a fourth line of him, Hendricks and Gordon would be just fine. Commissioner Gordon with two guys who can bring it. They also can play a little bit more then the Gazdics and Macs of the world.

To me the entire 3rd line needs an overall. And that D corps to....

I like my 10-13 fwds to be MH,BG,SP and LG. With Gazdic and SP platooning.

My 3rd line would consist of Leon Draisatl or Rheinhart centering one FA veteran and Lander.

I believe we need more scoring out of the third line and we need to develop a 2cd line option to replace Gagner when/if he is traded.

I do not see Gagner being traded this summer. I'll say it till I 'm blue in the face.Arcobello cannot be your 2cd line center option in September. Retaining Gagner and giving him a mulligan on this years performance is more in line with what I think management will do this off season.

MacT believed that Gagner was a core player when he signed him.I do not think that mindset has changed. I believe MacT and Eakins have a heart to heart with Gagner at seasons end clear the air. Gagner may be a defensive liability but MacT always believed he could teach defence more readily than he could teach someone skill.

My thought is that MacT will go after Dion Phaneuf this summer.Phaneuf has worn out his welcome with Leaf fans and management. The deal he signed was done to appease the TML fan base who would have cried bloody murder had he been dealt.At the time the Leafs playoff hopes were still alive. With the emergence of Morgan Reilly I think the Leafs will look to add up front to bolster their second line scoring.

The TML management will be under pressure to sign Bolland and it will be looking to add a scoring winger.

There is a hometown appeal for Phaneuf. The Oil need a player of his caliber to center the defense.

would not surprise me to see either Yakupov or Perron head to Toronto this off season.

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#21 mesa
April 09 2014, 10:30AM
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us oilers fans is like somebody asked by his wife to sell his stuff that he bought over the years and never used in the basement in a garage sale .

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#22 alledmonton
April 09 2014, 10:41AM
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@j

Completely agree. Acton is not an NHL player. When he gets the puck, he gets rid of if immediately or loses it. Linemates are not the problem.

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#23 Shredder
April 09 2014, 10:43AM
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My feelings towards any of these guys and whether or not they get brought back next year:

meh.

Does it make a difference? I'd say no. After the Canucks on Saturday, and the lottery on Monday, it's going to be really tough to find anything to discuss that's interesting, other than maybe other NHL teams...apathy for this team set in months ago, now what happens when the offseason gets boring because we've already discussed it so much (who to draft/trade the pick/ufa's to sign).

I, regrettably, renewed my season tix next year. It's going to take a miracle to get me to do it for another year after.

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#24 Bi-Curious Gord
April 09 2014, 10:48AM
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mesa wrote:

us oilers fans is like somebody asked by his wife to sell his stuff that he bought over the years and never used in the basement in a garage sale .

Big Props for being able to post a comment while having a stroke.

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#25 oilredemption
April 09 2014, 11:03AM
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@Bi-Curious Gord

So funny! Thinking the same thing!!!!

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#26 Tikkanese
April 09 2014, 11:37AM
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Pinizzotto - agree with JW, looks good so far and is at worst a depth callup

Larsen - whether he's better going forward as a Winger or D is unknown at this point. Is it ever a good idea to cut loose 24 year old Defensemen?

Lander - I've said before, he needed at least a full year in the AHL. All these callups are ruining his confidence. I'd still resign him to a two-way

Pitlick - Despite the injuries, still has enough pedigree to take a chance on a 1 year two-way.

Acton - Sadly is signed already to another year. On the bright side, the farm team needs veterans

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#27 Dave
April 09 2014, 11:52AM
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Just a short editorial comment. It is difficult to evaluate players from TV broadcasts. I was at the game last night and was impressed by Larsen on the PP etc. He is definitely worthy of a second look next year. The same goes for Arcobello.

Let us hope that Gagner is traded . I also think that Ryan Smyth is done.

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#28 godot10
April 09 2014, 11:57AM
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At a similar age and similar point production in the AHL, without any significant NHL production to Lander, Detroit qualified and then signed Gustav Nyquist to a 2-year one way NHL deal, and he spent 1.5 years of that contract in the AHL.

That is what a good NHL organization did with a similar prospect to Lander at a similar age and production at the AHL level.

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#29 oprah sucks
April 09 2014, 12:00PM
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people that think lander is a bust are idiots. he could be and should be oilers 4th line center next yr!

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#30 Oilergasm
April 09 2014, 12:14PM
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Sadly, the only one I think they should potentially keep for next year is Larsen. I think the roster spots are more valuable than fringe NHLers. We'd be better off filling out the 4th line on the waiver wire during training camp, like we did with Gazdic.

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#31 Oilergasm
April 09 2014, 12:16PM
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oprah sucks wrote:

people that think lander is a bust are idiots. he could be and should be oilers 4th line center next yr!

why? has he proven to be more capable than Arcobello this year? Arcobello isn't isn't even suited to be the 4C. Hendricks is best suited for the job but he's playing up 3W because of the lack of depth in the bottom 6.

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#32 Manfly
April 09 2014, 12:24PM
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oprah sucks wrote:

people that think lander is a bust are idiots. he could be and should be oilers 4th line center next yr!

the whole 2009 draft has been a bust for the Oilers! Paajarvi has been less than impressive offensively, for a guy who went 10th overall and was said to be ranked even higher. Lander is a step too slow in my opinion to play a scorers role in the NHL. add to that the stellar picks of busts like Troy Hesketh, Cam Abney, Kyle Bigos, the so-so goaltending of Olivier Roy and the talented, but ultra small Toni Rajala, and the Oilers really got burned (or burned themselves) at that draft.

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#33 Lochenzo
April 09 2014, 12:32PM
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To your point on Sam Gagner, you know he can deliver 50-60 points in the #2 centre hole when he's healthy. It's hard to give up the point production when the Oilers are in the bottom third in league scoring year in and year out.

You would have to hope that the mix of more size in the top six, more skill on the 3rd line and a top 2 mobile defenceman will help not only replace the offence of Gagner, but also add to it. Tall order.

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#34 godot10
April 09 2014, 12:34PM
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@Manfly

Paajarvi is still 2 years younger than Gustav Nyquist.

Paajarvi was the key asset in obtaining David Perron. Is David Perron a bust?

Half of the Red Wings roster is guys who many Oiler fans would have called busts at 21 or 22.

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#35 Ed in Edmonton
April 09 2014, 12:40PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

To your point on Sam Gagner, you know he can deliver 50-60 points in the #2 centre hole when he's healthy. It's hard to give up the point production when the Oilers are in the bottom third in league scoring year in and year out.

You would have to hope that the mix of more size in the top six, more skill on the 3rd line and a top 2 mobile defenceman will help not only replace the offence of Gagner, but also add to it. Tall order.

Gag's highest point total has been 47, so how would ne "know" he can deliver 50 to 60 points?

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#36 Ed in Edmonton
April 09 2014, 12:41PM
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kgo wrote:

Last night during MacT's interview, when he said J schultz was playing like "a veteran" my heart dropped.

It's too bad after playing in 4 playoff games (losses), however long it takes to get there....management will relaize this team is far too soft...and will have to rebuild again.

He didn't say what kind of veteran dman.

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#37 Oilergasm
April 09 2014, 12:48PM
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@godot10

Detroit has a luxury of using an organizational system of developing depth, When you have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and previously Lidstrom, they have no reason to rush players along. Your comparison is unfair. Apples to Oranges.

Perhaps using Colorado or Chicago is more fair. Was Wolski or Stewart a bust? How about Kyle Calder or Tyler Arnasson?

Sometimes teams have players that will never flourish within their organization. Paajarvi was one for us, as was Cogliano.

Perron was a salary dump, they then turned around and used some the cap space to get Miller and Ott... Terrible asset ustilization? Highly doubtful!

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#38 Ed in Edmonton
April 09 2014, 01:03PM
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Manfly wrote:

the whole 2009 draft has been a bust for the Oilers! Paajarvi has been less than impressive offensively, for a guy who went 10th overall and was said to be ranked even higher. Lander is a step too slow in my opinion to play a scorers role in the NHL. add to that the stellar picks of busts like Troy Hesketh, Cam Abney, Kyle Bigos, the so-so goaltending of Olivier Roy and the talented, but ultra small Toni Rajala, and the Oilers really got burned (or burned themselves) at that draft.

I would agree that to this point the players taken have been a bust, although Paajarvi was yet show he can be a useful NHL player. But as pointed out before, as Perron is now a product of that draft it is far from a bust for the Oil.

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#39 Lochenzo
April 09 2014, 01:04PM
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Oilergasm wrote:

Detroit has a luxury of using an organizational system of developing depth, When you have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and previously Lidstrom, they have no reason to rush players along. Your comparison is unfair. Apples to Oranges.

Perhaps using Colorado or Chicago is more fair. Was Wolski or Stewart a bust? How about Kyle Calder or Tyler Arnasson?

Sometimes teams have players that will never flourish within their organization. Paajarvi was one for us, as was Cogliano.

Perron was a salary dump, they then turned around and used some the cap space to get Miller and Ott... Terrible asset ustilization? Highly doubtful!

Cogliano said that while he was Edmonton, he never envisioned himself not playing centre. Que the trade to Anaheim and Cogs is a productive winger having a great year. Sometimes guys just need that wakeup call to think hard about what adjustments they need to make to be successful in this league.

So having said that, I'd be interested in trading the rights to Pitlick for Carter Ashton. Ashton has already been traded once, but this time he's at a cross roads in his career. Maybe a change of scenery now may help him get to the next level. Ditto for Pitlick.

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#40 Total Points
April 09 2014, 01:18PM
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I would keep Larson as 4th line and change with Gazdig. Larson play skating teams, Gazdig play tough teams.

Larson's play, although for only a few games, has made the 4th line look the best it has looked in the last few years

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#42 Oil Can
April 09 2014, 01:41PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

To your point on Sam Gagner, you know he can deliver 50-60 points in the #2 centre hole when he's healthy. It's hard to give up the point production when the Oilers are in the bottom third in league scoring year in and year out.

You would have to hope that the mix of more size in the top six, more skill on the 3rd line and a top 2 mobile defenceman will help not only replace the offence of Gagner, but also add to it. Tall order.

So you are basically saying that the Oilers should change the entire team and keep Sam Gagner, and then Sam Gagner will be great. Are you related to Gagner in some way.

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#43 Manfly
April 09 2014, 01:59PM
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godot10 wrote:

Paajarvi is still 2 years younger than Gustav Nyquist.

Paajarvi was the key asset in obtaining David Perron. Is David Perron a bust?

Half of the Red Wings roster is guys who many Oiler fans would have called busts at 21 or 22.

yes, i realize Paajarvi is still young, and it doesn't matter what Nyqvist or any other player is doing, Magnus hasn't developed yet, it he does at all and you can't say because player X took this long to develop, player Y will too.

and where in my article did i say Perron was a bust? re-read it. Paajarvi got us Perron because apparently the Blues needed to dump a salary and the Oilers wanted to *upgrade*, and Magnus was the player they wanted. i firmly believe that if the Oilers ever saw a 30 goal man in Magnus they would have kept him. they didn't so i stand by what i said.

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#44 Manfly
April 09 2014, 02:08PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I would agree that to this point the players taken have been a bust, although Paajarvi was yet show he can be a useful NHL player. But as pointed out before, as Perron is now a product of that draft it is far from a bust for the Oil.

the 2009 draft was far from a success either! the fact that Paajarvi got us Perron does not make that draft a success at all. Magnus did very little *with* us so that was one of the worst drafts for us in recent memory.

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#45 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 09 2014, 02:13PM
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@Manfly

I think it's interesting how people are ready to stamp the Perron deal as a clear win for the Oilers.

It's true that right now, Edmonton has the best player and is ahead on winning the trade, but it remains to be seen how Paajarvi will develop and how the 2nd round pick they gave up (i.e. the 33rd overall pick) will pan out.

It's entirely possible that in a couple years St. Louis winds up with 2 serviceable roster players which isn't a bad return when they were essentially forced into dealing Perron for cap relief.

Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but that 30-34th overall pick might make the trade look a lot more even in the long run...

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#46 Scrivy
April 09 2014, 02:18PM
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By my eye, Larsen has looked like a smooth skating, excellent passing, playmaking dman all year.

And yet everyone in the msm has dumped on him all year.

I believe the numbers back me up when I say, please re-sign Phillip Larsen. He is a very good Petry-esque player, underappreciated, overperforming.

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#47 Mclick
April 09 2014, 02:33PM
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I am making a prediction that we finish next year somewhere between 20 and 25 place. After reading the article and comments and just really don't see MacT being able to satisfy all the team needs in the off season. Too many changes needed, too little time and bodies available. If we have to rely solely on what we have, I am not confident that these players will get the job done.

We will improve but not by much. I do think we need to draft the center posisition, depending on the players available when we pick, and aquire a defenseman via trade.

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#48 Ed in Edmonton
April 09 2014, 02:35PM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

I think it's interesting how people are ready to stamp the Perron deal as a clear win for the Oilers.

It's true that right now, Edmonton has the best player and is ahead on winning the trade, but it remains to be seen how Paajarvi will develop and how the 2nd round pick they gave up (i.e. the 33rd overall pick) will pan out.

It's entirely possible that in a couple years St. Louis winds up with 2 serviceable roster players which isn't a bad return when they were essentially forced into dealing Perron for cap relief.

Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but that 30-34th overall pick might make the trade look a lot more even in the long run...

The deal is win for the Oil because it has made their team better. It may also be a win for the Blues if MP gives them something they need and/or the 2nd rounder turns into something. There is no reason why a trade can't turn out to be a win win.

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#49 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 09 2014, 02:44PM
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@Ed in Edmonton

Absolutely. Perron is a great competitor and contributes most nights. I shudder to think of how much worse this season would be without Perron's 30 goals...

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#50 Will
April 09 2014, 02:52PM
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The fact he might not clear waivers next year is a bit worrying. I think Lander, more than many of our prospects, has been given a good opportunity to develop and 'show good'. As much as it pains me to say, I would trade one of the two of them preferably in a package, if not then to recoup some of the picks we lost in rounds 2 and 3.

The issue going forward will be that when these guys do arrive at the NHL level, and need to develop their game here, who is helping them do that? A rookie coach? Edmonton has a top 6 all 25 or under, then some vets. Same on defence. All our stud horses are all young guys. I really hope they offer a 2 year term to a guy like Markov for some big money to mentor the kids on the blue, and then even add in another Ferrence type guy. Maybe Orpik. That would go a long way to helping the kids find their game knowing their D partners won't be defensive liabilities.

As for the forwards, well sadly I think you need to get rid of 2 and replace them with some proven NHL talent. The Oilers might actually lose the battles on those trades, but would win the war as the overall team would be better, and that is the most important thing.

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