Next season begins now

Jason Gregor
June 16 2014 11:45AM

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The NHL's busiest three-week stretch involving player movement is upon us.

The compliance buyout period starts today. Keep in mind teams need to put a player on waivers before they can buy him out, and only Aaron Rome (Dallas Stars) was on waivers as of 11:15 MDT, but a team could announce its intent to use one later today.

The buyouts are just the beginning.

Free agent interviews, the 2014 draft, player elected arbitration, free agency and multiple trades will all occur before July 6th.

It should be an exciting 21-day stretch.

I've touched on compliance buyouts before, but the obvious ones are Martin Havlat (the Sharks already said he isn't returning), Ville Leino, Jordan Tootoo and now Rome. Brad Richards seems like a solid candidate based on what he's getting paid now, but also due to the recapture penalties. He'd be sought after as a free agent, especially on a shorter deal with less money than his current six year, $6.66 million deal. 

This summer free agents will be able to talk to teams prior to signing with them. I know for a fact that teams and agents spoke about players prior to July 1st. I flew home from the 2012 draft and sat beside an agent who let it slip that two of his clients had already been to NHL cities and spoke with their GMs.

The new free agent interviews evens the playing field. Now every team has a chance to try and court a player before July 1st. Teams can't officially announce a signing until July 1st, but we can expect leaks of potential deals prior to July.

This year's UFA class has some decent options.

Forwards: 

Benoit Pouliot (27), Steve Downie (27), Nikolai Kulemin (27), Devin Setoguchi (27), Paul Stastny (28), Tomas Vanek (30), Ales Hemsky (30), Matt Moulson (30), Derek Roy (31), Steve Ott (31), Dustin Penner (31), Marian Gaborik (32), Mike Cammalleri (32), Dany Heatley (33), David Legwand (33), Radim Vrbata (33), Brian Gionta (35), Olli Jokinen (35), Brendan Morrow (35), Jarome Iginla (36), Saku Koivu (39) and Daniel Alfredsson (41).

The Oilers would love to get Stastny, but if he makes it to July 1st he will have many suitors. The Oilers could use a player like Pouliot, Kulemin or Ott as well.

Defence:

Matt Niskanen (27), Anton Stralman (27), Mark Fayne (27), Andrej Meszaros (28), Nikita Nikitin (28), Kyle Quincey (28), Matt Hunwick (29), Clatyon Stoner (29), Joni Pitkanen (30), Matt Greene (31), Tom Gilbert (31), Brooks Orpik (33), Ron Hainsey (33), Andrei Markov (35), Henrik Tallinder (35), Derek Morris (35), Mike Weaver (36), Willie Mitchell (37) and Stephane Robidas (37).

Niskanen is very similar to Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry, so adding him would mean they'd need to move one of those two. Stralman seems to be the new flavour of the month for many, but how good is he when he's not playing beside Mark Staal? I don't know, but I'd be leery of giving him a long term deal at big money.

The rest have different skill sets, but they all have NHL experience which is something the Oilers severely lack. MacTavish has made it clear he won't rush his young D-men, Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin, so I expect him to sign two veteran defenders. The Oilers gave up the most goals in the league last year, they don't need to get younger on the blueline. If only one of those three starts the season in Edmonton, that is a good thing.

Goalies:

Jonas Hiller (32), Ryan Miller (33), Ilya Bryzgalov (33), Tomas Vokoun (37), Evgeni Nabakov (38), Tim Thomas (40) and Martin Brodeur (42).

After Hiller and Miller age is the biggest concern amongst the free agent goalie. Alex Stalock from the San Jose Sharks might be the best bet for NHL teams to take a gamble on. He is only 26.

DRAFT AND TRADES

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The draft usually provides a lot of excitement. Teams and fans are hopeful that their first round pick will become a franchise player, while other teams are willing to move high picks for proven players.

The Ottawa Senators don't have a 1st round pick, but Jason Spezza is on the market. The Anaheim Ducks need a 2nd line centre, they own the Senators pick (10th) overall and they have nine NHL D-men on their roster. Luca Sbisa, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are all young. The Ducks could offer a package that stats with one of them and the 10th overall pick for Spezza or Ryan Kesler.

I don't see the Canucks trading Kesler within their division, but stranger things have happened.

The Oilers could use an upgrade at centre, but Kesler and Spezza likely don't have Edmonton on their list of teams they'd go to. When you've been the worst team in the NHL for eight seasons it is more difficult to attract players.

QUICK HITS

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  • Colorado elected for club salary arbitration for Ryan O'Reilly, while Winnipeg did the same with Michael Frolik. The teams can still negotiate with their players before their arbitration date. If not, then they go to arbitration and the player can decide on a one or two year term.

  • The Oilers have three RFAs. Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Luke Gazdic. Gazdic will be an easy signing, while Petry and Schultz don't have much leverage. I think you will see both defenders get two-year deals.

  • If Boston wants to resign Jarome Iginla they need to move a D-man. Johnny Boychuk has one year left at $3.36 million. The risk in moving him is that Miller, Bartowski and Krug are all similar style of players, and none of them can replace Boychuk. Zdeno Chara is 37 and you wonder how many more years he has left as an elite defender. Boychuk is a solid second pairing D-man and if the Bruins are looking at moving him the Oilers should be very interested. They need big, right hand shot who plays physical, can move the puck and kill penalties.

  • The Oilers shouldn't go into the season expecting any of Klefbom, Nurse or Marincin to make the team. They need to stop hoping for best case scenario on kids and instead have eight solid D-men and if one of the young guys is ready to be an every day D-man, great, and if not, then they will have some proven, quality NHL veterans who can play. MacTavish should sign or trade for at least two or even three proven NHL defenders this summer. Marincin looked good last year and so did Klefbom, but don't assume they will automatically improve next year. Very few player's developmental curve is constantly trending upwards.

  • I don't see the Oilers trading down, and I think the asking price will be too high to move up. I spoke to a WHL player, who is very good himself, on the weekend and he said Leon Draisaitl and Sam Reinhart were the best players in the league. He said they both have great skill, but feels Draisaitl will be better in the future because of his vision and how strong he is. It is always interesting to hear from a player who plays against the kids. Usually they have a very good read on how good players are.

  • Just a hunch, but I expect the Penguins to be very active in free agency and trades over the next three weeks.

  • As hard as it will be to sell it to the fans, I think this is the summer Craig MacTavish needs to be patient. This team is still eight players away from being really competitive. One trade won't solve all the problems, so he needs to be patient and calculating, rather than try to hit a grand slam. It sucks for the Nation, but I don't see the Oilers making the playoff in the ultra-tough Pacific division next year.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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    One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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    #1 Oilbaron
    June 16 2014, 11:49AM
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    This means they're gonna change the music at Rexall right??

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    #2 hallsyoilerforever5
    June 16 2014, 11:53AM
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    A new Rexall DJ would be nice as well. Can't have a great atmosphere when Rexall DJ continues to play cotton eyed joe all the time. And please change the goal song. Pitbull? Really? Terrible.

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    #3 RomZ
    June 16 2014, 11:56AM
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    hallsyoilerforever5 wrote:

    A new Rexall DJ would be nice as well. Can't have a great atmosphere when Rexall DJ continues to play cotton eyed joe all the time. And please change the goal song. Pitbull? Really? Terrible.

    Who can forget other Rexall classics like

    Ke$ha - Timber

    The music needs to be changed for sure.

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    #4 Danger Pay
    June 16 2014, 12:01PM
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    I heard from a season ticket holder that allot of people did not re-new this year, allot more than usual that is. Hopefully this message is RECEIVED and the at game experience for fans is revamped! Oh it's the 3rd period, time for Kick Start My Heart. If the team is going to be bad, at least try to entertain the fans with 42 different at-game experiences instead of the same old recycled songs played at the same points of the game!

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    #5 Will
    June 16 2014, 12:04PM
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    It is a hard sell to be patient and this team is still many players away, but that doesn't mean doing nothing will get those players.

    Eventually, the team will have to pull the trigger in free agency. No top contending team has done so strictly through rebuilding through the draft and trades.

    Also, can anyone please explain to me why Heatly's name is never ever mentioned in UFA's for this year. He's big, has had monster seasons, and would come cheap. And yet, not one mention of his name.

    Whatever team lands Heatly will win free agency.

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    #6 A-Mc
    June 16 2014, 12:05PM
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    I'm so nervous that Eckblad and Draisaitl will go #1/2 overall and then we're left with 'the rest'.

    Lots of fans love Bennett, so that would be just fine with them, but not me. I really want one of either of those 2 players.

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    #7 A-Mc
    June 16 2014, 12:06PM
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    Will wrote:

    It is a hard sell to be patient and this team is still many players away, but that doesn't mean doing nothing will get those players.

    Eventually, the team will have to pull the trigger in free agency. No top contending team has done so strictly through rebuilding through the draft and trades.

    Also, can anyone please explain to me why Heatly's name is never ever mentioned in UFA's for this year. He's big, has had monster seasons, and would come cheap. And yet, not one mention of his name.

    Whatever team lands Heatly will win free agency.

    I think because we tried to get him years ago and he flat out said no to Edmonton.

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    #8 EVILTED
    June 16 2014, 12:08PM
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    Just heard from a friend of a friend that closer to or in conjunction with Draft day...Kadri and Gardiner straight up (plus futures?) For YakCity. Hold me to it. Burn me if I'm wrong but praise me if I'm right!

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    #9 casey
    June 16 2014, 12:14PM
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    i haven't been to a game all season, won't go back until the DJ is gone and Oil actually win. losing 5-0 in the 3rd? Perfect time to play cotton eye joe as everyone is leaving!!! might aswell have no music at all!!!

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    #10 Romulus' Apotheosis
    June 16 2014, 12:15PM
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    Moss and Winnik should be on your Forward list.

    Good targets.

    Spec even mentioned Winnik in his recent piece from an interview with MacT.

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    #11 Will
    June 16 2014, 12:17PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    I think because we tried to get him years ago and he flat out said no to Edmonton.

    True, but thats when he was sought after. Now I doubt anyone wants him. He's gonna have to take what he can get.

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    #12 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
    June 16 2014, 12:21PM
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    Will wrote:

    It is a hard sell to be patient and this team is still many players away, but that doesn't mean doing nothing will get those players.

    Eventually, the team will have to pull the trigger in free agency. No top contending team has done so strictly through rebuilding through the draft and trades.

    Also, can anyone please explain to me why Heatly's name is never ever mentioned in UFA's for this year. He's big, has had monster seasons, and would come cheap. And yet, not one mention of his name.

    Whatever team lands Heatly will win free agency.

    Heatly is 33 and has definitely lost a step.

    Since 2009-2010 he has steadily declined from being a point a game player (82 pts in 82 games) to 0.37PPG (28 pts in 76 games last year).

    I think the line on Heatly is that he doesn't skate well enough to score at the pace he used to. If skating is his issue then I don't know how effective he can be as a banger/checker on a thrid line either.

    I'd pass on Heatly unless I had insider knowledge that he's got an appointment with the same witch doctor that kept the ageless Selanne going all these years...

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    #13 DisappointedFan
    June 16 2014, 12:21PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    I think because we tried to get him years ago and he flat out said no to Edmonton.

    Because he was an overpaid player who is on a drastically downward decline since his departure from San Jose.

    Unless I'm mistaken he's also been suffering from an eye injury that has made his sight a larger problem over years.

    The reason why no one talks about him as much as they may have several years ago is because no one sees him being that scoring machine that he once was. He got 28 points in 78 games last year, several of those against Edmonton.

    So I don't see him being a big benefit to the Oilers.

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    #14 A-Mc
    June 16 2014, 12:21PM
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    Will wrote:

    True, but thats when he was sought after. Now I doubt anyone wants him. He's gonna have to take what he can get.

    So why would we want him if no one else does? Sounds like we'd be adding a piece that is questionable at best in terms of making the team better, as well as having to deal with the fact that he snubbed this city in the past.

    Fans don't forget that kind of thing. If he were picked up by the Oil, i bet he gets booed from day 1 by Edm fans.

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    #15 Craig1981
    June 16 2014, 12:22PM
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    Oilbaron wrote:

    This means they're gonna change the music at Rexall right??

    I would love a new DJ that plays music post 1999. If I was the DJ I would let it be like baseball and give ever player their own song (like they do in baseball)......and play "I'm the man, I'm the man" ever time Taylor Hall scores a goal!!

    ..............the song for Ryan Smyth's farewell spotlight moment was just terrible.

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    #16 Craig1981
    June 16 2014, 12:26PM
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    Is there any reason they can't sign 3 solid old D-men to one year contracts and then trade them midway through the season if one or 2 young player turn out to be just too good fore the AHL and they need to make roster room? .......or is this to much of a NHL14 manager mode way of thinking?

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    #17 freelancer
    June 16 2014, 12:40PM
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    Craig1981 wrote:

    Is there any reason they can't sign 3 solid old D-men to one year contracts and then trade them midway through the season if one or 2 young player turn out to be just too good fore the AHL and they need to make roster room? .......or is this to much of a NHL14 manager mode way of thinking?

    For the players that want to sign here, most are going to want the security of a longer contract

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    #18 Will
    June 16 2014, 12:40PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    So why would we want him if no one else does? Sounds like we'd be adding a piece that is questionable at best in terms of making the team better, as well as having to deal with the fact that he snubbed this city in the past.

    Fans don't forget that kind of thing. If he were picked up by the Oil, i bet he gets booed from day 1 by Edm fans.

    Well, the Oilers have a lot of problems. One of the often sighted ones is that they need to get bigger, another is that they need to play more physical, another is that they need more veterans.

    Unfortunately with 30 other teams all having problems of their own, there are no easy or cute ways to solve these problems. Heatly, however, helps in all of these areas, and he is not expensive.

    I just think until the team is a winner, they will need creative solutions to become a winner.

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    #19 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
    June 16 2014, 12:41PM
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    Craig1981 wrote:

    Is there any reason they can't sign 3 solid old D-men to one year contracts and then trade them midway through the season if one or 2 young player turn out to be just too good fore the AHL and they need to make roster room? .......or is this to much of a NHL14 manager mode way of thinking?

    I think that's basically what MacT did last year with his "defence by committee" approach and the Belov, Garbagekov, etc. signings.

    He took a gamble on a couple guys hoping they'd exceed expectations and/or generate some trade value and we all know how that worked out.

    They already lead the league in the number of 5/6 defencemen they have. They don't need to bring in more and based on MacT's comments at the end of year presser, he's not looking to add those kind of guys.

    They need impact players.

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    #20 pkam
    June 16 2014, 12:50PM
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    Will wrote:

    Well, the Oilers have a lot of problems. One of the often sighted ones is that they need to get bigger, another is that they need to play more physical, another is that they need more veterans.

    Unfortunately with 30 other teams all having problems of their own, there are no easy or cute ways to solve these problems. Heatly, however, helps in all of these areas, and he is not expensive.

    I just think until the team is a winner, they will need creative solutions to become a winner.

    If Heatley is the solution, then he will have many choices and won't be available to the Oilers, the last team he wants to join.

    If he is not a solution to 29 teams but the Oilers, then we are not going anywhere with him.

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    #21 Wintoon
    June 16 2014, 12:53PM
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    Heatly is exactly the type of player that the Oilers should avoid acquiring. He isn't a character guy, he isn't a leader, he isn't physical, he has lost his scoring touch and any price will be overpriced.

    If the Oilers add during free agency, they need to find undervalued assets, if possible, who can add to the roster. They do not need Heatly or anyone who even resembles him.

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    #22 sizzay
    June 16 2014, 12:55PM
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    Not sure if this was the player you spoke to Jason but on Craig Button's draftcentre podcast he mentioned that Haydn Fleury thought Draisaitl was the toughest player in the league to play against. If it's not the same guy, there's two guys confirming Draisaitl is a load for Dmen.

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    #23 Hoss83
    June 16 2014, 01:01PM
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    Just a comment about the DJ. I am a season seat holder and was in the same boat as most in regards to music being played, however towards the end of the year I was at a couple games and there was a message on the score clock to text any song requests to a the number listed. If you do not like the music text something you like.

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    #24 Danger Pay
    June 16 2014, 01:11PM
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    Hoss83 wrote:

    Just a comment about the DJ. I am a season seat holder and was in the same boat as most in regards to music being played, however towards the end of the year I was at a couple games and there was a message on the score clock to text any song requests to a the number listed. If you do not like the music text something you like.

    I wonder how many times Loser by Beck was requested? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7PlMqsc5Cc

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    #25 ubermiguel
    June 16 2014, 01:20PM
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    Wintoon wrote:

    Heatly is exactly the type of player that the Oilers should avoid acquiring. He isn't a character guy, he isn't a leader, he isn't physical, he has lost his scoring touch and any price will be overpriced.

    If the Oilers add during free agency, they need to find undervalued assets, if possible, who can add to the roster. They do not need Heatly or anyone who even resembles him.

    Pressed the Cheers button multiple times hoping to give multiple cheers for this comment.

    Heatley's like a beautiful girl you asked out years ago and she emphatically said "no" and embarassed you publically. Now you're a little wiser, she's a little older, maybe put on a couple of pounds and she's in your league. Still, have some pride and move on.

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    #26 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
    June 16 2014, 01:21PM
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    Not all players who'll be bought out, will be put on waivers first. Players with NM/NT clauses can forgo that step if they choose, and head directly to free agency after being bought out. That's probably why you may not see guys like the Brad Richards or Rick Nash types on the waiver wire at all. Players who've earned the right to call their own shot, needn't waste their time going through that formality. The cellar dweller pecking order is the last thing they should have to deal with when being forced to relocate.

    The best part of the Oilers season is finally here. I see the Oil putting out quite a few offers, with no takers unfortunately again. I fear they'll settle for the minimum due to them again this summer with that 3rd overall selection. That inaction is probably still better than dropping their drawers to take a Coburn type salary dump for a year and a half, at most. Probably better off to bring Darnell in now since the playoffs are still 3-4 yrs away. Let him develop here like all the other kids have had to do. We know he'll still be here when a Coburn type probably won't. It would conform to that rebuild from within thing they mentioned so many years ago.

    The Oilers rebuild.....we're halfway there. MacT said it himself, if we have to go young, we'll go young.

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    #27 rubbertrout
    June 16 2014, 01:22PM
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    Here's my thoughts on Heater. Courtesy of the boys at JSBM.

    EDIT: Stupid hyperlink doesn't want to show up. Click on "Here's"

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    #28 Tim in Kelowna
    June 16 2014, 01:24PM
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    Gregor, I agree MacT needs to be patient this summer, but there is no reason he can't add 4 of those 8 players. Barring a miracle, the Oilers don't stand a chance of making the playoffs, but add a quality centreman, a quality winger, and a few veteran NHL dmen and this team should at least be respectable.

    Whether it's this summer or next, MacT will need to roll the dice on a blockbuster trade for a stud dman. Is there any reason to believe next summer will be a better time for the Oilers to make a move like that?

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    #29 nuge2nail
    June 16 2014, 01:37PM
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    Tim in Kelowna wrote:

    Gregor, I agree MacT needs to be patient this summer, but there is no reason he can't add 4 of those 8 players. Barring a miracle, the Oilers don't stand a chance of making the playoffs, but add a quality centreman, a quality winger, and a few veteran NHL dmen and this team should at least be respectable.

    Whether it's this summer or next, MacT will need to roll the dice on a blockbuster trade for a stud dman. Is there any reason to believe next summer will be a better time for the Oilers to make a move like that?

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    MacT made it clear he's looking to add 4-5 of these players.

    He wants to add 2-3 via trade before July 1, and add another 2-3 via free agency.

    This is going to be a great offseason for the nation IMO.

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    #30 Spoils
    June 16 2014, 01:45PM
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    "When you've been the worst team in the NHL for eight seasons it is more difficult to attract players."

    so why did J Schultz join our team?

    It is up to MGT to sell our story to the players we sign. I think you can make a pretty compelling pitch to any player who is under 28 years old.

    In 4-5 years the Oiler D could be pretty impressive - Klefbom, Schultz, Nurse, Marincin, Petry, (Ekblad) - then add a peaking Hall and Nuge and Yak... and you have a great story.

    I sure hope MGT is trying to sell our story and not accepting this impression that Edmonton is a bad place to go.

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    #31 ubermiguel
    June 16 2014, 01:58PM
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    Spoils wrote:

    "When you've been the worst team in the NHL for eight seasons it is more difficult to attract players."

    so why did J Schultz join our team?

    It is up to MGT to sell our story to the players we sign. I think you can make a pretty compelling pitch to any player who is under 28 years old.

    In 4-5 years the Oiler D could be pretty impressive - Klefbom, Schultz, Nurse, Marincin, Petry, (Ekblad) - then add a peaking Hall and Nuge and Yak... and you have a great story.

    I sure hope MGT is trying to sell our story and not accepting this impression that Edmonton is a bad place to go.

    Schultz in on record as saying Kreuger was a big part of him joining. Not sure Eakins has the same salesmanship.

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    #32 Woodguy
    June 16 2014, 02:04PM
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    Stralman seems to be the new flavour of the month for many, but how good is he when he's not playing beside Mark Staal? I don't know, but I'd be leery of giving him a long term deal at big money.

    Good question.

    The answer is Stralman's play doesn't fall off without Staal, and Staal's falls off significantly without Stralman.

    CF% Together 56.2% (excellent numbers) CF% Stralman without Staal 56.1% CF% Staal without Stralman 48.6%

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=702&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

    I looked at his numbers pretty hard (who he played with, who he played against, zone starts etc) for the last 3 years.

    He's the real deal and has been performing at a high level for 3 years. Not a flash in the pan.

    For a smaller guys (5'11 185lbs) he sure uses his body well too.

    Got in the way of Kopitar all series.

    He's the goods.

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    #33 Sasquatch
    June 16 2014, 02:04PM
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    Can't wait to watch them struggle thru another year. Bring on the bottom feeders!!

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    #34 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
    June 16 2014, 02:05PM
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    @Spoils

    I think it's safe to say that Jultz came to Edmonton because MacT was able to promise him meaningful minutes and PP time immediately. On any other blue line in the league, he'd have to prove himself to be better than the players that were already there.

    One of the few times being a terrible team has made a destination more attractive for the player.

    I suspect Hall & Ebs also called Schultz to tell him about the other "perks" of being an Edmonton Oiler who is young and single.

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    #35 Will
    June 16 2014, 02:07PM
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    Wintoon wrote:

    Heatly is exactly the type of player that the Oilers should avoid acquiring. He isn't a character guy, he isn't a leader, he isn't physical, he has lost his scoring touch and any price will be overpriced.

    If the Oilers add during free agency, they need to find undervalued assets, if possible, who can add to the roster. They do not need Heatly or anyone who even resembles him.

    I don't think he will be overpriced at all. In fact I think he falls perfectly in the range of undervalued, hence why he would be great for a new third line that pushes Gordon and Hendricks down to a tough minutes fourth line.

    Like I said, Edmonton has a lot of problems, and they are not going to find easy answers. But Heatly might just be an easy answer.

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    #36 Woodguy
    June 16 2014, 02:07PM
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    A Ranger blogger set out to evaluate their Dmen this year and was very suprised that Stralman came out looking better than any other D on the team against the best in the NHL.

    http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/6/4/5778722/deployment-of-the-ranger-defencemen

    I like this evaluation a lot. Wasn't trying to prove a point on Stralman and actually was surprised by the result.

    Another data point for Stralman being very good and its not Staal driving the bus.

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    #37 WeridAl
    June 16 2014, 02:23PM
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    Gregor did you by chance watch any of the Penguin games in the playoffs. Niskanen was a joke, not a chance in hell. In the western conference he would get eaten alive.

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    #38 OilDieHard
    June 16 2014, 02:30PM
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    i dunno, when i see a lot of those names and the possible buyout names, i can't help but think that the Oilers are going to be signing some other team's garbage.

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    #39 Lochenzo
    June 16 2014, 02:32PM
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    @Woodguy

    Do you have Marc Staal numbers from the beginning of the year and by the end of the year? He struggled adjusting for his eye. He was much better over the latter half of the year.

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    #40 Lochenzo
    June 16 2014, 02:43PM
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    No love for Joni Pitkanen? I might have been the only guy to mention his name as a UFA signing.

    This defence has a lot of needs. They need to win more puck battles, shut down the cycle better, box out much better, score more points. The puck management, to me, stood out as extremely bad. It's like watching a game of hot potato the cast of "The Big Bang Theory." Two passes max and, oh somebody's dropped it.

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    #41 bazmagoo
    June 16 2014, 02:48PM
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    Question for OilersNation - if the LA Kings moved to buyout Mike Richards do you think it would be a smart move for MacT to grab him off waivers?

    Just curious

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    #42 Maurey
    June 16 2014, 02:55PM
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    The article is missing Chad Johnson as a UFA goalie. I think Edmonton should sign Johnson for 2.25M for 2 - 3 years. I'm sure he'd rather not play behind Rask with 2 up and comers nipping at his heels. Whereas Fasth's 1 year contract might make sense for Boston. Make a trade with Boston for Boychuk. He's in his final year so they shouldn't be able to get much for him.

    Then throw the bank at Markov. Make him an offer he can't refuse. North of 7.5M per for 2 or 3 years without a NMC or NTC in the final 2 years or at least a very restricted one. If he's worried that any year could be his last the big money might be pretty damn attractive. If that doesn't work out then go after Hainsey for a more reasonable price. But I think Hainsey as #1 LD probably isn't the greatest option. They need a true #1 25 minute plus LD and I think Markov is the only UFA with those credentials.

    I'd love to see someone like Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis at #1 LD but good luck prying him from another Western conference team without some real value going back the other way.

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    #43 Craig1981
    June 16 2014, 03:08PM
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    freelancer wrote:

    For the players that want to sign here, most are going to want the security of a longer contract

    I have thought about that.....and maybe you are right, but I am talking about older midrange guys that will only get one year contracts (like Hainsey,Mitchell,Morris) and of course the players know that IF they get traded it would be to a playoff team.

    I do agree MO playoffs, but I disagree it turned out terrible. They now do have a 4th and a 5th out of Nick Schultz and Bryz which isn't going to change things drastically, but is better than nothing.

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    #44 Jasmine
    June 16 2014, 03:41PM
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    ubermiguel wrote:

    Schultz in on record as saying Kreuger was a big part of him joining. Not sure Eakins has the same salesmanship.

    Not true. MacTavish was a big reason and he said this as well. MacTivish. Krueger is the most overrated coach in Oilers history if not the entire NHL. Krueger proved nothing at the time and if he's so good, why doesn't he have an NHL job as head coach.

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    #45 Jasmine
    June 16 2014, 03:44PM
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    Lochenzo wrote:

    No love for Joni Pitkanen? I might have been the only guy to mention his name as a UFA signing.

    This defence has a lot of needs. They need to win more puck battles, shut down the cycle better, box out much better, score more points. The puck management, to me, stood out as extremely bad. It's like watching a game of hot potato the cast of "The Big Bang Theory." Two passes max and, oh somebody's dropped it.

    Pitkanen's career might be over because of a stupid icing.

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    #46 v4ance
    June 16 2014, 03:45PM
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    Woodguy wrote:

    A Ranger blogger set out to evaluate their Dmen this year and was very suprised that Stralman came out looking better than any other D on the team against the best in the NHL.

    http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/6/4/5778722/deployment-of-the-ranger-defencemen

    I like this evaluation a lot. Wasn't trying to prove a point on Stralman and actually was surprised by the result.

    Another data point for Stralman being very good and its not Staal driving the bus.

    Thanks for the recap Woodguy! I was also seeing these same bits and pieces referring to Stralman as a highly underrated possession D all over the internets.

    He seems to be one of these players who is quietly effective while being overshadowed by "big name" players who aren't doing as good a job(Girardi, McDonough, Staal).

    Stralman doesn't naturally catch the eyes but shows his true value when you crunch the numbers. Between him and Markov, I'm much rather go with Stralman

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    #47 Will
    June 16 2014, 03:45PM
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    Huh, so Markov wants 6 mill for 3 years. I think the Oilers could probably cough that up. Draft Ekblad, send one of Klefbomb or Marincin back to the AHL.

    Markov Ekblad

    Marincin Petry

    Ferrence Schultz

    Next year buy out or trade Ferrence and promote Klefbomb.

    Then in two years trade anyone of Marincin, Markov, or Klefbomb and bring up Nurse. Boom, you now have a properly developed D core, which could by that time be both the biggest and deepest in the league.

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    #48 madjam
    June 16 2014, 03:47PM
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    S.Thornton cut loose from Bruins , and would be nice cheap addition for bottom line .

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    #49 pkam
    June 16 2014, 04:02PM
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    Will wrote:

    Huh, so Markov wants 6 mill for 3 years. I think the Oilers could probably cough that up. Draft Ekblad, send one of Klefbomb or Marincin back to the AHL.

    Markov Ekblad

    Marincin Petry

    Ferrence Schultz

    Next year buy out or trade Ferrence and promote Klefbomb.

    Then in two years trade anyone of Marincin, Markov, or Klefbomb and bring up Nurse. Boom, you now have a properly developed D core, which could by that time be both the biggest and deepest in the league.

    So we have to send Marincin or Klefbom back to AHL to provide a roster spot for Ekblad, and put him in the top pairing with Markov, ahead of Petry and J. Schultz. I heard he is good, but didn't know he is this good. Must be the best defense prospect ever, who else can play top pairing defense in his draft year?

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    #50 LOIL99
    June 16 2014, 04:40PM
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    Danger Pay wrote:

    I heard from a season ticket holder that allot of people did not re-new this year, allot more than usual that is. Hopefully this message is RECEIVED and the at game experience for fans is revamped! Oh it's the 3rd period, time for Kick Start My Heart. If the team is going to be bad, at least try to entertain the fans with 42 different at-game experiences instead of the same old recycled songs played at the same points of the game!

    I am a season ticket holder and I would tend to disagree with your source. I went to the seat upgrade last week and there were no more available seats than there has been in previous years. In fact I would argue the opposite, that LESS people are giving up their seats because the new arena is only 2 years away now.

    Just my observations.

    Even if your friend is right and many fans did give up their seats, Katz wont feel a thing because there are 2000+ people on the waiting list eager to get their hands on season seats.

    Comments are closed for this article.