HARD TARGET SEARCH: FLORIDA PANTHERS

Lowetide
May 19 2014 05:00PM

mact common7

Craig MacTavish partnered with St. Louis last season in a deal that helped the Oilers. David Perron was one of the few bright spots in a long season. MacT may go south this summer, as the Florida Panthers offer Edmonton some nice possibilities.

Dale Tallon, Florida's General Manager, is looking ahead to an active summer, and it sounds like he's going to be aggressive. A couple of quotes from late last month:

  • On #1 overall: “I’m looking at everything. I’m open for business. You have three options — you either take it, move back or trade it. So that’s what we’re looking at. What’s the best deal for our future, that’s the key.”
  • On what they'll do this summer: “We have a commitment from (owner) Vinnie Viola to win, and to go after the top players in free agency and make this team a winning team right away. That’s what we’re selling.”

So, it seems fairly clear the Panthers are going to re-set. They've fired their coach, have said nice things about Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette, and are giving off the impression they plan to turn north next season. 

THE OILER TARGETS

  • First overall pick: Why not? If he's open to trading the pick, and Edmonton could acquire BOTH Aaron Eckblad and (say) Leon Draisaitl? It would depend on price, but that's an option.
  • Dmitry Kulikov: A nice young defenseman who has frustrated Panthers management with errors, but has learned the lessons and is an effective young player.
  • kulikov es
  • That's a nice player. Full stop.
  • It doesn't sound like Tallon is of a mind to deal his veterans—Campbell, Upshall, Boyes, Goc—but there may be a window of opportunity for someone like Sean Bergenheim. The veteran winger is a $2.75 million cap hit and one year froom free agency.
  • bergenheim es
  • That's a nice two-way player, we'll call him the modern Pisani.

So, by my count, we're talking #1 overall, the defender Kulikov and winger Sean Bergenheim. Not sexy enough? I disagree. Would love to have all three assets. Let's see what it'll cost. 


POSSIBLE PANTHERS

  • #3 overall. It would be nice to gather up #1 and #3, but that's going to be a massive investment in moving the cluster down the line. May not be possible, let's see how this shakes out.
  • Sam Gagner. He's a monster cap hit, but 89 is a skill guy and can help a team offensively—especially on the power play. 
  • gagner es
  • Plus, he's consistent. I bet you a 2-4 he'll score between 40 and 50 points next season. Panthers have some nice young centermen, so may be able to move 89 to the wing without any trouble. Or, they could run him at center with responsible wingers. Either way, he has value and the Panthers are miles from cap trouble. As rough as Gagner had it this past season, he would have been the second leading scorer on the Panthers (leader: 38 points).
  • There are several other possible Panthers, including David Perron, Oscar Klefbom, Andrew Ference, Jeff Petry and Matt Hendricks. Let's take what we have and see what we can find that fits.


TRADE PROPOSALS

Let's start with two things Edmonton might want to accomplish:

  • Offload Gagner
  • Acquire Kulikov

The cap hits are wide, but Gagner's 4.8M is a hard cost, while Kulikov is an RFA this summer, coming off a contract that paid him $2.5 million. It's not a massive stretch to suggest the Russian will get over a million in raises annually, maybe more. Both had ghastly plus minus numbers and coverage issues, but both are young and extremely likely to recover.

I think there's a trade there, with Edmonton needing to add something at the beginning of the negotiation. That might be an agreement to pay a portion of Gagner's cap hit, or maybe Edmonton throws in a prospect. Florida could add Bergenheim and the first overall, forcing Edmonton to deal Gagner, #3 and something significant from the Perron-Petry list above. There's a lot to discuss.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL!!!

Using Gagner for Kulikov as the foundation, is there a deal here? I think there is. You?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

baseball

I think Craig MacTavish is going to have to employ a little slight of hand this summer, but I'm confident he can do it. Sam Gagner has value, and there's a underachiever somewhere out there in a town like Miami who could help here.

Gagner for Kulikov. It just makes sense.

    C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
    Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
    Avatar
    #101 A-Mc
    May 20 2014, 02:56PM
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    Smokey wrote:

    Put down the bottle.

    Yakupov and Gagner for the first seems more plausible.

    The sad part is that I think Ekblad and Draisaitl have a better shot at making an impact on this team than Yak and Gagner; and i mean nearly right away with all their rookie warts. Long story short, Yak and Gagner have contributed so little to the team that i dont think it's much of a step down to go with 2 fresh rookies in Ekb./Drais. over these 2.

    That's a bold move, if I've ever seen one.

    I would want some other throw in though on FLA's part. I wonder if Kulikov+1st for Yak/Gagner would fly?

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    #102 Dman09
    May 20 2014, 03:19PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    The sad part is that I think Ekblad and Draisaitl have a better shot at making an impact on this team than Yak and Gagner; and i mean nearly right away with all their rookie warts. Long story short, Yak and Gagner have contributed so little to the team that i dont think it's much of a step down to go with 2 fresh rookies in Ekb./Drais. over these 2.

    That's a bold move, if I've ever seen one.

    I would want some other throw in though on FLA's part. I wonder if Kulikov+1st for Yak/Gagner would fly?

    I mentioned earlier that I believe Kulikov+1st overall would require Yak+Gagner+Gernat(type prospect)+ 2nd rounder (maybe even a 1st in a future draft).

    I honestly believe that's what it would take. It may seem high but the reality is that is what Tallon or other GM's would be asking especially when its a 1st overall pick.

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    #103 Zarny
    May 20 2014, 03:38PM
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    jeremy wrote:

    Yes you are right Katz was not committed to winning, because Katz giving the OK to spend to the cap when he first bought the team was not committing, Katz Lowe and Tambelini going to beg Danny Heatly to come here was not committed to winning. Yes he should take notes. I challenge ANY oiler fan to come up with a coherent argument on what the Oilers should have done to build a winner knowing that - they had no AHL team, they had No superstars (and no garbage players like Ryan Smyth is not a superstar), they did not have the money to spend until 2008, and they had nothing of value to trade. So let's hear it fans how should they have rebuilt the team and spare me the kool aid BS

    Not sure if you are being sarcastic but spending to the cap and supporting the GM when he goes after players via free agency or trades is about the only thing an owner can do to "commit" to winning. FYI...that's all Vinnie Viola has promised to do.

    RexHolez is 100% correct that the Oilers' rebuild has been characterized by bad asset management.

    How should they have rebuilt the team? The short answer is they should have never stopped trying to get better.

    In G, the Oilers bet it all on Dubnyk who they drafted in 2004. It's not that they didn't get Schneider or Bishop. It's that they got no one else. If plan A failed they had no other option and we saw the results last year when plan A failed. That's bad asset management.

    You are correct the Oilers had no superstars; but they had some good players. Hemsky certainly wasn't perfect but he was in his prime and better than most top 6 F on playoff teams. Given his injuries and trade value Hemmer should have been penciled in as the 2nd line RW behind Eberle; or if Hemsky wasn't part of the solution he should have been traded back in 2010. Instead Tambo dithered. They drafted another RW with Yakupov that truly made Hemsky redundant and finally traded him 4 years after starting the rebuild for basically nothing. That is bad asset management.

    I don't lament the loss of any particular 3/4 line F or 5/6 D; but 3 years after drafting Hall the Oilers started the season with nothing but AHLers on the 4th line and half of the D. These are the easiest players to acquire yet every player Tambo brought in failed. That is bad asset management. Especially when you look at the quality depth players like Stoll, Greene, Glencross, Cole, Brodziak, Penner etc who were with the team not long ago.

    And then there are the kids...Hall is the only draft pick that should have played in the NHL as an 18 y/o. Young players make mistakes, struggle with consistency and don't play a 200 ft game. None of them do. Knowing that the team would be adding several young players there should have been an emphasis on adding veterans who could support them; especially on defense.

    Instead the Oilers went scorched earth. The kids were rushed to the NHL and thrown on the ice with sweet f*ck all for support. When Nuge, Yakupov or Schultz struggle the Oilers can't reel them into shallow waters so they can get their footing because they are supported by players who shouldn't be in the NHL.

    That isn't just bad asset management...it's horrendous asset management.

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    #104 A-Mc
    May 20 2014, 03:40PM
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    Dman09 wrote:

    I mentioned earlier that I believe Kulikov+1st overall would require Yak+Gagner+Gernat(type prospect)+ 2nd rounder (maybe even a 1st in a future draft).

    I honestly believe that's what it would take. It may seem high but the reality is that is what Tallon or other GM's would be asking especially when its a 1st overall pick.

    I'd pay that i think (but not a 1st. 2nd, sure, not 1st).

    The Oilers would be acquiring, in 1 draft, Kulikov, Ekblad and either Bennett or Draisaitl. I think that's a SOLID addition.

    How many times have we run the stats where you dont get to trade for true #1's of any position. They are far more frequently drafted and held onto. Doing a bold move like you stated could be setting the Oilers up with a proper foundation.

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    #105 Dman09
    May 20 2014, 03:44PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    I'd pay that i think (but not a 1st. 2nd, sure, not 1st).

    The Oilers would be acquiring, in 1 draft, Kulikov, Ekblad and either Bennett or Draisaitl. I think that's a SOLID addition.

    How many times have we run the stats where you dont get to trade for true #1's of any position. They are far more frequently drafted and held onto. Doing a bold move like you stated could be setting the Oilers up with a proper foundation.

    What if that 1st was for 2016 instead of 2015?

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    #106 A-Mc
    May 20 2014, 03:47PM
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    Dman09 wrote:

    What if that 1st was for 2016 instead of 2015?

    2 years out - ya i might be more inclined to do that. BUT! obviously you want that pick to be 20+ if you're going to trade it because it hurts too much to lose out on picks that are more likely to be real players. Do i think the oilers are in a position to be picking 20+ in 2016? hell no.

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    #107 Zarny
    May 20 2014, 04:32PM
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    Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

    Hi Zarny,

    In terms of helping them right away, what do you think Florida can get for their 1st overall? ( with the Cory Schneider trade being some kind of weird anomaly)

    For example: A Gagner + Ference+ Oilers 2015 pick adds two roster players and retains a high end first round pick. I wouldn't under estimate how much GM's value retaining picks.

    Of course Florida could package the 2014 first overall with a couple of top end prospects to try and obtain a Tier One Star player....but that seems less probable as well, as teams generally don't like to give up proven talent, age 24-28, for prospects. ( which is the reason that the highest probability is that Florida retains the 2014 pick)

    It's typically very circumstantial....finding a trade that works for both teams....

    As for 18 year olds helping in the short term, not that I like it, but I'm fairly convinced by their actions that Oilers Management is focused on a window that is 2 to 5 years away...and that all talk of immediacy and boldness is to appease the masses, fans and media alike.

    Otherwise, they'ed be trading their 3rd overall pick.

    I don't consider the Cory Schneider trade some kind of weird anomaly. Same with Phi trading Carter and Richards or Bos trading Seguin.

    What all 4 did have were special circumstances. With Schneider it was Luongo's contract; with Carter, Richards and Seguin it was concerns with off-ice activity. To me the lesson is never assume. GM's will always publicly say players are not available. What they say in private is much different when tangible assets are available in return.

    I don't see Tallon trading the 1st overall for Gagner + Ference + Oilers 2015 1st rnd pick. If the pick isn't top 2 next year the player Florida drafts probably won't be as good as who they can get #1 overall this year plus they are a year behind in development. I don't think Gagner + Ference mitigates that risk enough.

    Who could Florida get for the 1st overall or a package including?

    I think the obvious names are guys like Evander Kane. Some off-ice issues in Wpg but really high upside. Or the players in Phi that are often mentioned in Edm: Schenn, Couturier, Simmonds, Coburn. Yandle + prospects in Phx. Perhaps Josi and a prospect like Forsberg in Nsh. Spezza in Ott. The Staal brothers in Car. Kesler in Vancouver.

    For less obvious names I'd look at good teams who did a face plant in the playoffs like Pit, SJ and StL. I won't be shocked if Pit trades Neal or Letang (obvious health risks). I think StL is more likely to go after guys like Spezza or Phaneuf but I don't think it's impossible they move Shattenkirk or Backes or Oshie for a lottery pick package. Marleau and Thornton are both 34 and haven't carried SJ to a Cup final so I wouldn't trade the 1st overall for either straight up, but a package including their 1st round pick or Hertl etc could be possible.

    I'd also being dialing up Colorado who have a glut at C but need help elsewhere. A package including ROR or Stastny (pending resigning) and Col's 1st round pick perhaps.

    Big trades are certainly difficult to make but I don't buy line that players aren't available or that the 1st or 3rd overall pick would not yield top line players or 1-2D. 29 teams fail every year and 30 GM's have to manage a salary cap that likely won't go up as much as GM's hope with the drop in the CDN $.

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    #108 Zarny
    May 20 2014, 04:57PM
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    michael wrote:

    Serious Gord is laughing his head off. This post actually to me makes sense. How could you?

    Bjugstadt is the perfect 2cd line center for this team.Gagner is the perfect second line center for the Panthers. Just score baby.

    The Panthers defence is better than ours in terms of experience and could easily make up for Gagners lapses.

    Cap space for Florida is not an issue.

    Zarny what would you give up for a Gudbranson is the question?

    Also what do you think about the suggestions that Bergenheim would be a good fit for a 3rd line left wing?

    I like the thought of Kulimen from Toronto too.

    Hard to say what Tallon would want for Gudbranson. Nino Niederreiter was drafted 5th overall that year and Min got him for Cal Clutterbuck and a 3rd round pick.

    A package with Gagner + pick(s)/prospects or Petry perhaps. There is probably a deal including Yakupov or maybe Perron.

    I think Bergenheim could certainly contribute to Edm's 3rd line mostly because it's so bad right now. My concerns are that he's 30 so he's past his prime and he's never reached 30 pt even once in his career. So he's not a guy who can move up the lineup if Hall or Perron get injured. He's a better version of Matt Hendricks right now but that isn't necessarily saying much.

    I would prefer Kulimen because he's younger and has more offensive upside; but he might cost you more than Bergenheim and that's a factor for Edm.

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    #109 Old Soldier
    May 20 2014, 07:00PM
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    Okay sorry folks but first chance I had to reply to my earlier comment. Someone compared Draisatl to Gaudreau in the game this morning, and yes Gaudreau had a great game, but he played 10 more mins than Draisatl with a better supporting cast against a German defence and goaltending.

    Draisatl stood out with less time, just as quick, and the TSN boys brought up that he is now 6'2 not 6'1 and is up to 216 lbs....at 18....3 years younger than Gaudreau.

    I have watched the top 3 centers play this year, and this kid will quietly blow the other two away...plus he is low maintenance.

    If the Oilers could walk away from the draft table with Draisatl and Kulikov I would be pretty damn pleased....A big skilled low maintenance no 2 center, who may end up 1b. Look at Getzlaf, Kopitar, Malkin, Toews, etc....wouldnt it be nice to have someone who could line up against them

    Once again sorry for the late response.

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    #110 Baconator
    May 21 2014, 01:57AM
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    Nice to see the corporate trolls out in force. Ever notice how anyone who dares to utter a negative opinion regarding certain management types gets trolled with great prejudice. I couldn't give a crap about the thin-skinned management types with the shaky corporate egos. But they sre absolutely incompetent and this train wreck of a franchise is far from hitting bottom.

    Good luck with future ticket sales ' thou of the 6 rings '.

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