BLUE ON BLUE

Lowetide
June 20 2014 12:04PM

Klefbom ferguson

The tipping point: the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. Ladies, we're there.

In the first season of Oil Change, an episode that discusses the 2010 entry draft involves a heated conversation between Stu MacGregor and his scouts. They are discussing selection No. 31, and the scouts around the room are pushing for Tyler Pitlick, while MacGregor is making the argument that this team needs defensive prospects.

As it turned out, the club accomplished both things during that second round, drafting Pitlick No. 31 and acquiring a pick that they used on Martin Marincin. On that day, their 'bubbling under' list of defensive prospects looked like this:

  1. Jeff Petry
  2. Theo Peckham
  3. Alex Plante
  4. Johan Motin
  5. Taylor Chorney
  6. Troy Hesketh
  7. Kyle Bigos

The proof is here

In 2010, the club added Marincin, Jeremie Blain and Brandon Davidson. The following seasons? Oscar Klefbom, David Musil, Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, Erik Gustafsson, Joey Laleggia, Darnell Nurse and Ben Betker. MacGregor recognized the need (that's a horrible prospect list) and the club went about the business of improving defensive depth.

These are not NHL-ready kids, I'd argue Edmonton would be wise to plan on only Marincin to start the coming season with the big team (if Klefbom and Nurse can change their minds, fine). However, let's see where these young men are:

  1. Marincin—over half a season in the NHL, he may not go back to AHL.
  2. Klefbom—made NHL debut, he's very close, perhaps half a season in OKC.
  3. Nurse—in no man's land because of the CHL rule, he's got a chance.
  4. Davidson—Inconsistent season, but building his resume.
  5. Musil—Solid AHL debut, improved prospect outlook after OKC season.
  6. Gernat—plenty of work to do, but a Marincin comparable in skill terms.
  7. Simpson—graduated college, has a nice resume.
  8. Laleggia—one more offensive season in college.
  9. Betker—impressive junior season has him tracking well.

That's a much better list than the day MacGregor and his scouts argued Pitlick v. Marincin. 

davidson ferguson

THE HOCKEY NEWS

In an article published today in the Hockey News, Matt Larkin suggests the Oilers should trade down from No. 3 overall. 

  • Edmonton sends Toronto the No. 3 pick, which the Leafs covet, for the No. 8 pick and Jake Gardiner. The Oilers pick Fleury. Suddenly, a horrible defensive team can build around Nurse, Fleury, Justin Schultz (reunited with best buddy Gardiner), Oscar Klefbom, and Martin Marincin, with veteran support from Andrew Ference, Jeff Petry and maybe Nikita Nikitin.

I think Larkin's thought process is sound for the trade (don't know if Toronto does it, mind), save for the selection of Haydn Fleury with the No. 8 overall pick.

WHY?

The needs have changed, and NOW the Oilers need help at center. Craig MacTavish addressed up the middle last season in terms of the draft by plucking Darnell Nurse, Greg Chase Bogdan Yakimov and others, but there's much work to do. The need at center today is far greater than the need at defense.

  1. Greg Chase—brilliant junior season.
  2. Bogdan Yakimov—impressive Russian results on 10 minutes a night.
  3. Mark Arcobello—knocking very hard on that NHL door.
  4. Jujhar Khaira—Turned heads in an AHL cup of coffee.
  5. Travis Ewanyk—rugged center coming off rookie pro season.

The Oilers need to shore up the center position this summer. 

ewanyk ferguson

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Trading down doesn't make sense when there's a perfect fit available. Edmonton will get to choose from two of Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl at No. 3 overall. Trading down and taking Haydn Fleury—while also adding Jake Gardiner—adds tremendously to the blue.

However, the new 'our blueline sucks!" is "good lord we have no centermen" this year. Stu MacGregor knows it, his scouts know it and Craig MacTavish knows it.

It's going to be Ekblad (you can't pass on him if available) or a center.

(Klefbom/Musil, Davidson and Ewanyk photos via Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).


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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 Team 1260.
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#51 DrDave
June 21 2014, 09:01AM
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What if we some how convince Brad Richards to sign here to be our #2 Center? Then is it worth trading down if we can add a player like Gardiner to our D corp???

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#52 RexHolez
June 21 2014, 09:12AM
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@DrDave

Richards is 34.

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 09:37AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

The Oilers really need an NHL-veteran shutdown defender.

Maybe they could pick someone up in exchange for a goalie prospect and the rights to Roman Horak...

You laughed it up last yr like that as well.

Just before MacTavish gave up a prospect (Paajarvi) and a second for Perron.

Careful you don't stray too far from the rest of the herd there The Last Big Sheep.

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#54 Thumby
June 21 2014, 10:20AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I kinda hope they pick Bennett. He has grit, which is something the other top picks lack. You can't train grit, but you can add strength (hello pullups). He gets compared to doug Gilmour, who is as much a blue collar hero as Smyth is. I don't think I could ignore that.

I agree but your can't teach size either...

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#55 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 10:26AM
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Thumby wrote:

I agree but your can't teach size either...

Might not want to tell the last five Conn Smythe trophy winners that.

Skill, speed, competitiveness and size. Pick three, any three, it's all that's really required to be successful in this league.

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#56 Woogie63
June 21 2014, 10:55AM
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Buffalo will love that #3 pick, a #2 and #4 with jump start their rebuild.

#3 for Myers

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#57 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 05:46PM
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DrDave wrote:

What if we some how convince Brad Richards to sign here to be our #2 Center? Then is it worth trading down if we can add a player like Gardiner to our D corp???

The move might sense if it's someone other than Brad Richards.

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#58 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 05:50PM
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freelancer wrote:

We don't need more defensemen like Gardiner. Offensive minded while weak on the defensive side

I'll take Jake Gardiner, thank you. There's a lot you can't teach in that kid, too, you forgot to mention that.

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#59 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 05:56PM
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pkam wrote:

Which centre will be available at #8? Does it justify to trade Bennett or Draisaitl for Gardiner and that centre at #8? I don't see adding Gardiner to our blueline outweigh getting a more guaranteed top 2 centre.

However, adding Gardiner and a bruising winger (possibly with speed) at the 8 pick would effectively free up a defenseman for a deal, and you could package him with something else to acquire that center. There are lots of possibilities.

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#60 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 05:57PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

It would depend on what my scouts thought about that 8th spot, and it would also be nice to know what Gardiner is looking for in terms of dollars/term for his new contract. I would definitely consider that deal. Gardiner is valuable, and it is still possible to grab value at #8.

Curtis Lazar, for example, was drafted at #17, and while he hasn't played an NHL game yet, I'm pretty sure Gardiner + Lazar > Draisaitl.

There is potential to win or lose that trade.

I can guarantee there will be an NHL center in this draft that is not picked in the top 7; to win this trade the scouts just need to find him.

Tough call.

Problem is, they don't pick again until round 4. Now it's deep into the draft after that 8 pick, a little tougher to find that center.

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#61 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 06:00PM
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westcoastoil wrote:

If say Ekblad is there at #3, then can Gagner, Marincin/Klefbom (I don't see them dealing Nurse) and + if needed get you the much needed 2C?

They would be nuts to deal Klefbom now. I wish you guys would stop trying to shop him, just as he's on the verge, because he's going to be an impact guy in multiple ways, and sooner rather than later.

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#62 Joy S. Lee
June 21 2014, 06:03PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

If Florida passes on Ekblad, does Yak get us the 2nd pick so we get Ekblad and a centerman? Would Buffalo have any intrest in a high scoring winger?

I'm not a guy proposing an EAsports NHL15 trade, I am just wondering if something could be there?

You got trashed a lot for this, but there's potential do-ability for both sides in that offer. I wouldn't deal Yakupov just yet, though, either, but I would at least understand a deal like this. Looks like most wouldn't, though.

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