Michal Handzus is not the answer. He isn’t close to the answer. The answer doesn’t take his calls.

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2014 09:07AM

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector had an article up on Thursday (h/t Lowetide) in which he considered the Oilers’ off-season plans through the lens of a discussion with Craig MacTavish. It’s a good piece, but the suggested additions range from the adequate to the truly horrifying.

In the last category is Michal Handzus.

Spector:

Up front they require help at first- or second-line centre, but that’s an unlikely prospect. A more reasonable hope would be some second- or third-line size, like a Daniel Winnik or perhaps a Michal Handzus.

Let’s talk a little about the season Handzus just had.

WOWY

Common Linemates Minutes Corsi Together Corsi Apart Difference
Patrick Kane 310 50.9% 56.9% -6.0%
Kris Versteeg 259 53.3% 54.7% -1.4%
Brent Seabrook 234 54.0% 57.3% -3.3%
Duncan Keith 230 55.1% 56.9% -1.8%
Patrick Sharp 217 53.0% 58.2% -5.2%
Niklas Hjalmarsson 207 50.6% 53.8% -3.2%
Nick Leddy 200 53.1% 57.8% -4.7%
Johnny Oduya 199 45.1% 54.4% -9.3%
Brandon Saad 107 55.2% 58.0% -2.8%
Sheldon Brookbank 102 43.2% 53.4% -10.2%

The above chart shows the 10 players who spent the most time with Michal Handzus last year, as well as their Corsi percentage with him and without him. Every one of them was better apart.

The Rest of It

Craig MacTavish10

Some of what we’re seeing above is the Jonathan Toews effect, but not nearly enough of it can be blamed on looking bad in the shadow of a superstar.

Handuzs ranked 10th among the Blackhawks’ regular forwards in Quality of Competition. He started more than 60 percent of his non-neutral zone shifts in the offensive end of the rink. Despite this, and despite playing regularly with Patrick Kane, he had one of the worst Corsi numbers on the team. Even that was better than the playoffs, where the exceptional Blackhawks were out-shot by a brutal 112-62 margin with Handzus on the ice.

Handzus’ scoring has also all but disappeared. He had four goals this year; he’s had six in his last 98 regular season games. At 37 years of age, it’s not likely that his scoring is about to reappear, either.

Where’s the upside here? Are the Oilers so arrogant as to believe that they can find a scoring touch in a player who couldn’t light the lamp with Patrick Kane on his wing? Do they think that a guy who got hammered on the Blackhawks in pretty much every statistical category is going to recover in Edmonton?

The Good News

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 Oilers21
June 13 2014, 09:23AM
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Maybe we could sign Pavol Demitra and Lubos Bartecko as well to reunite the Slovak Pack

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#2 99
June 13 2014, 09:41AM
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What would it take to get Oliver Ekman Larsson out of Arizona? Could we do a straight up deal for him?

OEL-Pertry Klefbom-UFA Ference-Schultz

Sign a veteran UFA like Markov or potentially Boyle.

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#3 JESSE
June 13 2014, 01:13PM
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@Lochenzo

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

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#4 Will
June 13 2014, 02:24PM
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With the potential trades going in for Spezza, the Oilers could easily put together a better package of a player, a prospect, and a pick. Reports are saying from the ducks guys like Bonino or Cogliano? Pffttttt. I think Edmonton could do better.

Gagner, Marincin, 2015 2nd rounder.

Then resign Hemsky and go grab either Heatly or Penner for your third line. Draft Draisaitl and give Yak some soft minutes on the third line.

Hall, Nuge, Ebs

Perron Spezza Hemsky

Penner Draisaitl Yak

Hendricks Gordon Pinnizotto

There. The average size of the team just took a huge leap forward. The team has three scoring lines with a great mix of vets and young skill. The top two lines could both really be a first line on almost any NHL team. And the pressure comes of Yak and our new shinny pick which both get some sheltered minutes on the 3rd line.

Sure the Defence is still miserable, but this is going to be a year where Mac T can fix the forwards or the defence, not both. And really what our defence needs most is time for our prospects to develop, so you might as well fix the forwards.

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#5 nuge2nail
June 13 2014, 10:34AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Nicholson is the perfect addition to the management team.

Ramsey is the perfect addition to the coaching staff.

Marchand and Kulemin would be the perfect additions to the third line.

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#6 Oiler Al
June 13 2014, 01:02PM
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Pinizotto and Handzus, more bold moves from the illustrious Mac T.

Would be better off talking Smyth out of retirement.

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#7 PutzStew
June 13 2014, 10:52AM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Nicholson is the perfect addition to the management team.

Ramsey is the perfect addition to the coaching staff.

Marchand and Kulemin would be the perfect additions to the third line.

Lets get one thing straight. Nicholson was not brought in to make this a winning team. If the powers that be wanted this team to be a winner, then Lowe would be gone, Bucky and Smith would be gone, They would have brought in a way more qualifies person to be GM intend of MacT, MacT would still be TSN, Atkins would be wrecking another team, Smyth would have been forced to retire at least one year earlier and Edmonton Tax payers would not be on the hook to help line Katz pockets for the next 35 plus years.

Nicholson did one thing very, very well with Hockey Canada. He turned a none profit entity into an extremely profitable source of income for many. That is why he was hired. To make more money. No other reason. It is all about money. Don let yourself be fooled.

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#8 oilleak
June 13 2014, 12:06PM
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Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

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#9 TigerUnderGlass
June 13 2014, 12:58PM
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@ Willis

Good thing Handzus doesn't play in the Corsi Hockey League.

On another note: Handzus may not be the answer, but Hanzal would be a hell of a start.

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#10 Sketchy
June 13 2014, 09:18AM
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Is Kevin Lowe gone yet? I'm so excited!!!

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#11 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 06:04PM
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What is happening to this country. Effeminate metrosexuals hand in hand with new Canadians going ape spit over freaking soccer.

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#12 PutzStew
June 13 2014, 10:43AM
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Hey Jonathan

Thank for another very good read. You did use fancy stats but just enough to state your point and not take over the article. Please teach some of your less talented colleges how to do this.

And while I agree with you, They will overpay him and bring him in and he will enjoy a slack retirement type of job, while the fans trash him. That's the way it goes here.

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#13 Bloodsweatandoil
June 13 2014, 10:04AM
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Sean17 wrote:

I am truly scared of what Sportsnet NHL coverage will be like when they have guys like Spector, Lawton and Kyperos on the payroll. Oh and the best big mouth, Doug Maclean. What a piece of crap. It is really amateur hour on that network. Hopefully they weed out those d-bags, weed out PJ Stock and Healy from CBC and shoot Maguire. Get Freidman, Mackenzie and Draeger.

Well said Sean17,

I'm not a fan of Ferraro either. To think of it,I cannot stand the in-between the benches bantor. Ferraro talks down to the audience and tries to educate everybody, while Healy doesnt know what side of the fence he sits on and over talks the game commentator constantly.

For a 58 billion dollar monopoly, how much more are us viewers going to have to pay to watch hockey and cover Roger's investment, I dont think advertising will cover that.

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#14 VK63
June 13 2014, 02:03PM
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whats with this junk on TSN 1260? If I'm a local advertiser I'd be like…. refund please.

Soccer.

yeesh.

ryan kessler thinks soccer guys dive.

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#15 Sean17
June 13 2014, 09:56AM
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I am truly scared of what Sportsnet NHL coverage will be like when they have guys like Spector, Lawton and Kyperos on the payroll. Oh and the best big mouth, Doug Maclean. What a piece of crap. It is really amateur hour on that network. Hopefully they weed out those d-bags, weed out PJ Stock and Healy from CBC and shoot Maguire. Get Freidman, Mackenzie and Draeger.

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#16 ThatButthurtOilersFan
June 13 2014, 02:08PM
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JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

On behalf of everyone here, turn off caps lock, please.

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#17 A-Mc
June 13 2014, 03:36PM
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Zarny wrote:

@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

How do you know that spezza has no interest in going to a canadian team?

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#18 Sean17
June 13 2014, 09:52AM
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Spector is a moron. He is the epitome of a talking head. Says nothing, knows nothing. Spouts off stupid comments about a game he has never even played. Truly one of the worst broadcasters. I always FWD through his garbage on Sportsnet.

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#19 Zarny
June 13 2014, 10:58AM
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99 wrote:

What would it take to get Oliver Ekman Larsson out of Arizona? Could we do a straight up deal for him?

OEL-Pertry Klefbom-UFA Ference-Schultz

Sign a veteran UFA like Markov or potentially Boyle.

Puff, puff, give man; don't bogart that J. It sounds like primo sh*t if you think there is a reality where Phx parts with OEL for a collection of maybes.

This isn't NHL 14. Volume doesn't compensate for quality.

If, and it's a ginormous IF, Phx or any team trades arguably a top 10 D in the league it will cost Edmonton a core component like Eberle or at the very least Yakupov plus the 3rd overall this year and/or the 2015 1st round pick.

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#20 Will
June 13 2014, 03:16PM
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Zarny wrote:

@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

Meh, I'm not Spezza so I have no idea what he wants, or where he would want to play. Ottawa, is not going to get a player, a prospect and a first round pick for a guy who has one year left on his contract.

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#21 Spydyr
June 13 2014, 10:05AM
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Kevin Lowe has been named Vice-Chairman of the new organization, and will continue to play a leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations. Patrick LaForge has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of OEG and will be responsible for the group’s business operations.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Full press release here:

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=722586&navid=DL|EDM|home

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#22 The artist formerly known as Harry
June 13 2014, 11:53AM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Nicholson is the perfect addition to the management team.

Ramsey is the perfect addition to the coaching staff.

Marchand and Kulemin would be the perfect additions to the third line.

Why do yu continue to add better players to edms roster than they currntly have and proceed to bury them on the 3rd line?

Marchand wouls instantly be our new #2 RW. Get a grip

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#23 Lochenzo
June 13 2014, 12:38PM
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The Kings will be looking to dump salary this summer so that they can sign Gaborik. Kyle Clifford may be available again and under these circumstances he'll cost less to acquire than the Sam Gagner rumour earlier in the year.

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#24 Serious Gord
June 13 2014, 05:47PM
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PutzStew wrote:

Lets get one thing straight. Nicholson was not brought in to make this a winning team. If the powers that be wanted this team to be a winner, then Lowe would be gone, Bucky and Smith would be gone, They would have brought in a way more qualifies person to be GM intend of MacT, MacT would still be TSN, Atkins would be wrecking another team, Smyth would have been forced to retire at least one year earlier and Edmonton Tax payers would not be on the hook to help line Katz pockets for the next 35 plus years.

Nicholson did one thing very, very well with Hockey Canada. He turned a none profit entity into an extremely profitable source of income for many. That is why he was hired. To make more money. No other reason. It is all about money. Don let yourself be fooled.

Add to that that Nicholson is the pent ultimate Fokker acquisition - he is Katz and Lowe (and laforges) biggest friend in hockey canada. His hiring is the biggest addition to the Katz playground. And he will only protect Lowe and laforge - not move to replace them.

And he is the second of two 61 year old hires in a row. Difficult to see how they will reinvent and rejuvenate at this stage of their careers.

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#25 Hall Awaits
June 13 2014, 09:29AM
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Oilers21 wrote:

Maybe we could sign Pavol Demitra and Lubos Bartecko as well to reunite the Slovak Pack

Something tells me Demitra ain't coming to that party...

As for Handzus.... Is 6'5", 215 his height and weight?

Or is it his age?

#Grabo&Kule2014

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#26 Rama Lama
June 13 2014, 09:45AM
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The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

That's all this is!

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#27 HardBoiledOil
June 13 2014, 09:57AM
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99 wrote:

What would it take to get Oliver Ekman Larsson out of Arizona? Could we do a straight up deal for him?

OEL-Pertry Klefbom-UFA Ference-Schultz

Sign a veteran UFA like Markov or potentially Boyle.

^everyone please stop with this! OEL is going absolutely NOWHERE so you may as well stop dreaming about it!!

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#28 Sean17
June 13 2014, 10:11AM
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@Bloodsweatandoil

I actually don't mind Ferraro, but he has gotten more arrogant on TSN. You're right Healy is always trying to cut-off the play-by-play crew to say something stupid.

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#29 John Chambers
June 13 2014, 10:26AM
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Sean17 wrote:

I actually don't mind Ferraro, but he has gotten more arrogant on TSN. You're right Healy is always trying to cut-off the play-by-play crew to say something stupid.

Ferraro's arrogance, IMO, is part of his charm and what makes him a good commentator. He seems really engaged and for whatever reason I find his criticisms of coaches, players, teams, to be astute and, at any rate, more entertaining than when Pierre McGuire does it.

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#30 BlazingSaitls
June 13 2014, 10:33AM
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I read an article about how a new study suggests that men's faces evolved to be punched. Men's faces look different from women's because their ancestors evolved to survive being punched during fights a new study suggests.

By 2025 Oilers fans will all have indestructible washboard stomachs, regardless of beer intake. Oilers fans midsection will become evolved to be very different from those of other hockey fans due to taking repeated gut shots from our favorite team. This evolutionary adaption will be key to the survival of Oilers fans.

#ThanksKevin I always wanted 6 pack abs.

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#31 stealthwise
June 13 2014, 10:57AM
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Handzus at league minimum to be the fourth-line center is one thing, and actually a decent fit for a team looking to add experience and actual NHLers. Handzus at more than that for a 2nd-3rd line role is insanity. It only worked for Chicago that one year because he was a deadline pickup in a shortened season and he played with Kane, Sharp and co. and it hid most of his huge gaping flaws.

As a Hawks and Oilers fan, this is not what I was hoping for when I envisioned any kind of talent swap between these teams.

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#32 Yaz
June 13 2014, 11:02AM
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Watched the presser re Nicholson, just shook my head when KL crowned the greatest man in hockey and that he would continue on as POHO. Oiler domination to follow ?? My ass !!

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#33 RyanCoke
June 13 2014, 11:44AM
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If Michal Handzus is the answer then what the HE double hockey sticks was the question? That should have been the Headline

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#34 pelhem grenville
June 13 2014, 12:01PM
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VK63 wrote:

~Hall of fame baby…. hall of fame.~ also.

FML

?...FML

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#35 Spydyr
June 13 2014, 12:16PM
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oilleak wrote:

Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin. Then wake up you are dreaming.

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#36 baggedmilk
June 13 2014, 09:12AM
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But... but... the Oilers could use a guy with Handzus' foot speed!

*continues dragging piano*

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#37 @kahmad92
June 13 2014, 09:39AM
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Oilers21 wrote:

Maybe we could sign Pavol Demitra and Lubos Bartecko as well to reunite the Slovak Pack

Demitra passed away...

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#38 Spydyr
June 13 2014, 01:19PM
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JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

You know really is totally doable.Turning off your caps lock.

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#39 vetinari
June 13 2014, 01:21PM
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JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

Unless you are Death or the Hockey Gods, please turn off the all-caps. It is really distracting. If you are Death or the Hockey Gods, then carry on.

EDIT: beat by Spydyr the Quick

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#40 Zarny
June 13 2014, 01:35PM
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oilleak wrote:

Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

I see "99" past the blunt to you.

The players you covet would certainly help the Oilers, but there is no reality where Petry gets you Couturier nor is Chicago going to trade Bickell and Saad for picks and prospects who are 4-5 years from contributing while they are in the middle of their window to win Cups.

Reality...trades have to actually be based in it.

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#41 chris gallant
June 13 2014, 02:22PM
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Handzus from 10 years ago might help, but not the current version. YIKES!

As for Winnik. I've seen him listed as a center, but his faceoff % and # taken are Sam-Gagner-low. Is he really a center or maybe a winger in disguise? I'd still take a flyer on him, but maybe not pencilled in as faceoff help!

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#42 Zarny
June 13 2014, 02:46PM
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@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

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#43 Kevin
June 13 2014, 05:39PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Pinizotto and Handzus, more bold moves from the illustrious Mac T.

Would be better off talking Smyth out of retirement.

Yes- bold moves like these will for sure end up with us BOLDLY out of the playoff mix for another year and selecting in the top 5 again next year. This latest Katz hire is just another one of Lowe's buddy's with a great resume with Hockey Canada. Let's face it folks, Maggey the monkey can select a Team Canada team. They certainly don't need to add more insulation for six rings- they need to get rid of the cancer along with the rest of the boys club.

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#44 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 05:52PM
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oilleak wrote:

Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

After you wake up, don't forget to ask your mum to wash your sheets.

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#45 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 06:23PM
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That Pia Toscano is a prime slice.

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#46 Bituman
June 13 2014, 06:34PM
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Is the above TOI with or without? It seems to be the with following the link. But the without TOI is not shown.

The WOWY stat is not a very good one, especially on its own. It's Derek Zona's favorite for piling the "marde" on the likes of Gazdic, but many good players show bad WOWY stats. It's especially vulnerable to what statistically illiterate hockey writers in the Corsiverse like to call "sample size" problems.

You are comparing the CF% for the 310 minutes that Handzus played with Kane to the 710 minutes that Kane played with everyone else. Not a fair comparison, period.

Run the WOWY stats on Hall. They are also "marde". By your logic, Taylor Hall is not close to the answer either. Most players have higher CF% WITHOUT Hall. Smyth's CF% with Hall is 37.3; without it's 45.7.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1341&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

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#47 Don W
June 14 2014, 09:27AM
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What about Sam Gagner for Mike Richards? Would save the Kings a million a year in cap and only 2 years on Gagners contract. Oilers get a 2 way center with experience who isn't over the hill and doesn't have a no trade but has a contract the kings likely want out of.

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#48 Bloodsweatandoil
June 13 2014, 09:39AM
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Wow, Handzus had 16 points in 59 games this year. Did not realize he slid down that bad.

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#49 Lochenzo
June 13 2014, 09:52AM
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The Jeff Carter vs Michael Handzus matchup was one of the reasons why Chicago lost to LA. Jeff Carter lit them up until they moved Handzus off the Kane line.

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#50 pelhem grenville
June 13 2014, 10:21AM
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JW...Sheldon Brookbank is a free agent Dman

...he could / could he be a fit IMHO / ?

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