ENTRY DRAFT 2014: MR. BUSYBODY

Robin Brownlee
June 26 2014 11:12AM

MacT1

"Craig MacTavish wants to be in on everything."

That assessment by TSN's connected Darren Dreger from Philadelphia this morning on the eve of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has to be sweet music to the ears of long-suffering fans of the Edmonton Oilers on so many levels in MacTavish's second draft go-round as GM after the reign of error and indecision by Steve Tambellini.

First and foremost, MacTavish HAS to be in on everything as GMs text and schmooze in the City of Brotherly Love because the Oilers remain at least two or three forwards and a proven defenseman away from filling all the holes on his roster. 

The old saying is the first steep to recovery is admitting there's a problem. MacTavish did that in recent days in ways Tambellini never did, stating the Oilers want to bolster the line-up with "four or five" players. Acquiring and overpaying Nikita Nikitin Wednesday was just the start, not the finish.

I tweeted in the wake of the Nikitin signing that I wouldn’t be surprised if MacTavish made another acquisition before the end of the day. That didn't happen, although we did get word not long after the Oilers would be meeting with UFA defenseman Mark Fayne. The Oilers are also talking with Deryk Engelland. 

TALKING THE TALK

mact

I know talk is cheap and eyes tend to roll when managers like MacTavish offer up lip service about being willing to "do whatever it takes to improve the hockey club . . . yada-yada-yada." As often as not, that's an empty sales pitch meant to placate fans, not close deals. This is not that.

Years ago in the pre-Twitter era, former Oiler media man Bill Tuele, who rode shotgun for Glen Sather and Kevin Lowe, used to put travelling beat writers on high alert and scuttle tear-up-the-town plans – be it at the draft or at the trade deadline -- by declaring, "Boys, I wouldn't go far from the phone tonight." More often than not, the phone would ring.

Between now and when teams gather on the draft floor Friday afternoon is when trade talks (and now wooing UFAs with a week-long window to make a pitch) heat up. It's also the time teams and their PR staffs lock things down. They clam up. That said, as was my sense yesterday, I'm expecting phones to ring before the Oilers take the podium Friday afternoon. Like Dreger said, I expect MacTavish to be pitching until his arm falls off.

If MacTavish doesn't get something done -- that's a possibility Oiler fans don't want to contemplate -- it won't be because he's at the dance hiding in the corner, blushing and looking away every time a suitor casts a glance his way. He'll be "in on everything."

MY TAKES . . . 

imo

  • I think everybody can agree the signing of Nikitin and landing either Fayne or Engelland would address depth and prevent forcing kids like Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom into minutes they're not yet ready to play. It doesn't, however, give Edmonton a legit first pairing defenseman. If Nikitin is the big upgrade, it's underwhelming.

  • We know MacTavish has the third overall pick in play. The question is whether it ends up being a bargaining chip used to move up, down or acquire immediate help. Your guess (and theory) is as good as mine, but the chances of MacTavish moving it to trade down go way up if both Aaron Ekblad and the Leon Draisaitl are off the board when the Oilers select.

  • As I already wrote last week, MacTavish is casting a wide net, but I keep coming back to Philadelphia as the likeliest trading partner. Of course, if MacTavish walks across the floor to the Flyers table, it'll be to talk with new GM Ron Hextall. Not Paul Holmgren, with whom he had extended conversations about Braydon Coburn last June.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Quicksilver ballet
June 26 2014, 04:02PM
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From the looks of that fab 5 photo on NHL.com, both Bennett and Reinhart look to be 1/2" taller than Draisaitl. Side by each and both Sams definitely look taller than Leon.

Don' trust the pre draft propaganda.

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#52 pelhem grenville
June 26 2014, 04:19PM
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Zarny...you say "...And really, if you're going to trust Jim Matheson there isn't much anyone can do to help you because quite frankly his head is up his a** most of the time..."

y'think? obviously you've been around...but hey

Matty's a hall of fame sports writer, he's MORE than well connected and deserves MORE respect than you're willing to offer...you're young and disrespectful zarny I get it so ...maybe start to make applications to whatever sports news outlets that need you immediately... whether it be on an internet blogging site, the NHL combine you spoke of above or a mainstream sports newspaper...your self absorbed insights and world experienced input should be welcome anywhere...just as long as it's elsewhere...

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#53 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 04:21PM
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Good read RB

Not sure if I'm reiterating what anyone has said, so here's my thoughts.

Given the Oilers depth at center and if the draft goes

1 - Ekblad 2 - Draisaitl. (As some have mentioned recently)

The Oilers move back without taking Reinhart or Bennett then we got a problem.

If the Oilers trade back & get a 2nd line center and one of those gap players, I think that's fine, it's a lot to ask for out of a 3rd though.

Interesting to see if Gagner, Perron and Yakupov are out there?

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#54 Sketchy
June 26 2014, 04:22PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

From the looks of that fab 5 photo on NHL.com, both Bennett and Reinhart look to be 1/2" taller than Draisaitl. Side by each and both Sams definitely look taller than Leon.

Don' trust the pre draft propaganda.

False advertising. What are they actually, a whole inch shorter than Leon? Wow, what a size advantage Leon has. Good thing were picking him

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#55 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 04:24PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hoping Vancouver offers a Kessler package to Dale Tallon for that first selection. The Canucks would love to get their hands on Sam Reinhart. The Sabres are said to be interested in Bennett. Allowing Ekblad to fall to that 3rd spot. Flames will be taking Del Colle, allowing Draisaitl to fall to 5.

Anything can happen with that 5th selection being for sale. Give Snow Perron and Fasth.

Allegedly Kessler is down to two teams on his "Ill go where I want to go list"

That's CHI & ANH

The Sucks are rumoured to be offering Shinkaruk and the 1st, that might do it.

NYI is rumoured to be interested in Yakupov, that may get the 5th.

If it plays out like your plan, it's conceivable that Ekblad and a center fall to the Oilers.

I like it.

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#56 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 04:37PM
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Zarny wrote:

95% + of everything GM's talk about fails to materialize so of course MacT has to be in on everything.

Doing nothing and waiting for 18 y/o draft picks was Tambellini's modus operandi; the results speak for themselves.

MacT has lots of options to weigh but he's only going to be able to make a few moves. He can't do nothing but he also can't do anything stupid. Everything has to dovetail together. Tough spot but that's why he gets paid the big bucks.

While first I agree with you on trading the pick for proven players, so let's just get that out of the way.

However, I don't think that's a going to happen, rumour has it that NYI might be interested in swapping Yakupov for that pick.

Being as Yakupov is still green and fresh does it make sense if you can grab 2 high end prospects this draft knowing that it could potentially fill two massive holes long term?

Depending how the draft roles out of course.

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#57 Ed in Edmonton
June 26 2014, 04:38PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Allegedly Kessler is down to two teams on his "Ill go where I want to go list"

That's CHI & ANH

The Sucks are rumoured to be offering Shinkaruk and the 1st, that might do it.

NYI is rumoured to be interested in Yakupov, that may get the 5th.

If it plays out like your plan, it's conceivable that Ekblad and a center fall to the Oilers.

I like it.

Yakupov for the 5th... that would be interesting. Nominally trading down from No1 to No5, but Yak's performance to date has been "uneven" to put it politely.

It would be a sort of a do over for the Oil.

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#58 Zarny
June 26 2014, 04:39PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

Zarny...you say "...And really, if you're going to trust Jim Matheson there isn't much anyone can do to help you because quite frankly his head is up his a** most of the time..."

y'think? obviously you've been around...but hey

Matty's a hall of fame sports writer, he's MORE than well connected and deserves MORE respect than you're willing to offer...you're young and disrespectful zarny I get it so ...maybe start to make applications to whatever sports news outlets that need you immediately... whether it be on an internet blogging site, the NHL combine you spoke of above or a mainstream sports newspaper...your self absorbed insights and world experienced input should be welcome anywhere...just as long as it's elsewhere...

I'm young? Haha...that's cute.

Yes, Matheson is well connected and still isn't very good.

I could throw some resumes out but I think I'll stick with the engineering gig. It pays rather well.

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#59 SmythforMayor
June 26 2014, 04:40PM
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Wintoon wrote:

The possibility of landing the #5 pick at the draft intrigues me. The NYI have stated they are looking for a LW to play with Okposo and Tavares. Might Perron be an ideal candidate. If a trade were made the Oilers would be maximizing Perron's value after a very good season and the NYIs would be getting hat they need/want.

This would allow the Oilers to acquire one of the top three Cs and potentially a second player such as Dal Colle, Virtanen or maybe even Ekblad. The temptation is definitely there.

Thoughts.

I love Perron but the fact is he is under contract for 2 years and that means we will have him until trade deadline next year. If the Islanders are dumb enough to trade the pick straight up (and they probably are) for a year qnd a half of Perron.... I'd pull that trigger in a heartbeat.

Perron is what we need more of but lets be realistic, are we a playoff team before he leaves us? Having one of the 3 centers and either Ekblad or Dal Colle would give us the talent (with Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Yak, Schultz, Nurse, Klef, etc) to build a dynasty

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#60 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 04:57PM
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Zarny wrote:

Good grief, my source is the extensive amount of coverage through numerous media sources for the NHL combine these days.

If you really want to get into the jargon the overwhelming consensus is that Bennett has narrow shoulders and does not have the type of frame that will put on a lot of weight.

You want a comparison...go check how much weight Wayne Gretzky or Patrick Kane put on between 18 and 26 because that is exactly how Bennett is built.

Toews on the other hand is 6'2" 210 lbs. He has 2" on Bennett not 1" and right now has 29 lbs on him. Toews has a much bigger frame (read bone stucture) than Bennett and no that doesn't change much from 18 to 26.

Bennett is most often compared to Doug Gilmour for a reason. Both are very feisty but neither was or will be big and strong.

Regarding Fayne, you inferred that PIMs was indication of being a physical player. Well, Shea Weber only had 52 PIMs this year. A few years ago he only had 36 PIMs and most years is under 50. Fayne is physical enough to gain position and knock guys off the puck.

And really, if you're going to trust Jim Matheson there isn't much anyone can do to help you because quite frankly his head is up his a** most of the time.

While I agree Bennett will never be Toews and is an awful comparison.

I have to......not disagree, but yes, he add height & can put weight on.

Kids typically don't stop growing until 20, after that they start to fill out.

Again, just to clear, I'm not a Bennett first booster. I actually like Reinheart the most.

Height is overrated in the NHL, weight can be added and yes, with today's sports nutrition and sports workouts players can add 20 to 25 pounds.

Different sport but NFL players typically add that right before or subtract it before season starts.

In Bennett's case the poor upper body strength was a "red hearing" according to Bob Mckenzie draft show.

Positional hockey is what separates great centres from average to poor centres, you don't have to be huge to do that.

RNH will be an excellent centre cause he can read, react and get body position and he played against the best.

Another small player who played like a beast....Peca, who was actually small player.

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#61 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 05:03PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Yakupov for the 5th... that would be interesting. Nominally trading down from No1 to No5, but Yak's performance to date has been "uneven" to put it politely.

It would be a sort of a do over for the Oil.

I like the concept of having a back up plan here regarding Yakupov, no matter how much Eakins tells us he likes the kid, I just don't think he's excepted in that room?

I could be way off, I just get that feeling he's not a good fit?

If the rumours are true and the draft plays out a little sideways with trades then I'm all for grabbing two high end prospects.

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#62 Beaumatters
June 26 2014, 05:46PM
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@SmythforMayor

Some of you guys are hilarious. The Oilers are short of actual NHL players and you want to trade the few we have? You complain about MacT, but your plan makes so sense. NYI and Mike Milbury must be your idol.

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#63 Southside09
June 26 2014, 06:08PM
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I'm waiting to see "oilers sign Paul statsny for 7 mill for 7 yrs". I don't know how long I'll be waiting for tho.

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#64 nuge2nail
June 26 2014, 06:15PM
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R U Kidding Me! wrote:

I say if Ekblad and Draisaitl are off the board at #3 we trade the pick to Toronto for Phaneuf and the #8 pick. As long as Toronto eats some of Dion's salary, that is.

Oiler Domination To Follow

If they make the trade with the leafs - I would instantly pitch the islanders on Gagner and the 8th for the 5th.

Than draft the best Center left.

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#65 Robin Brownlee
June 26 2014, 06:26PM
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Zarny wrote:

I'm young? Haha...that's cute.

Yes, Matheson is well connected and still isn't very good.

I could throw some resumes out but I think I'll stick with the engineering gig. It pays rather well.

You're not going to slag Jim Matheson, who has earned the respect of his peers from coast to coast over a career spanning 40 years, here with the characterization you used. It's not up to debate.

Do it again, and you won't post here again.

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#66 Quicksilver ballet
June 26 2014, 06:33PM
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Just seen Sam Bennett do 5 pullups in a 20 second span.

Where did all this, he couldn't do one bunk come from?

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#67 Alsker
June 26 2014, 06:34PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

MacT may want to seek wisdom found in his Karma handbook this weekend.

Page 751, Donkeypunch 4:12

Before entering into negotiations: try painting the frames on your eyeglasses with glue. Dip said frames into lime colored Glitter before the glue dries. Place back in position when dry, and prepare to be noticed.

Success rate.... 93.8% (.5% margin of error)

Damn I need a list of your meds...don't get me wrong.....I totally agree with you and enjoy the humor within.....but it took far too many Buds in a very short time to understand properly...

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#68 Alsker
June 26 2014, 06:36PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Just seen Sam Bennett do 5 pullups in a 20 second span.

Where did all this, he couldn't do one bunk come from?

Really, weird that he couldn't do one at the combines.......man he's got a great trainer or a great connection, I mean Doc of course......

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#69 SmythforMayor
June 26 2014, 06:43PM
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Beaumatters wrote:

Some of you guys are hilarious. The Oilers are short of actual NHL players and you want to trade the few we have? You complain about MacT, but your plan makes so sense. NYI and Mike Milbury must be your idol.

I'm not saying go for McDavid, but I think Dal Colle for 5or 6 years is better than a year and a half of Perron

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#70 SmythforMayor
June 26 2014, 06:45PM
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Southside09 wrote:

I'm waiting to see "oilers sign Paul statsny for 7 mill for 7 yrs". I don't know how long I'll be waiting for tho.

one can dream.

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#71 Robin Brownlee
June 26 2014, 06:47PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Seem obvious Gagner would be available, but I can't see the Oilers getting anything near a reasonable return right now.

I don't buy the trade Perron now because his value is high argument. He's in his prime and he brings elements the Oilers lack -- some greasiness in the top six.

Yakupov? I'm not sure he has the first clue right now about playing within a team concept, but he's young enough that he could still learn. Would take an overpay before I'd move him along so early in his career.

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#72 Quicksilver ballet
June 26 2014, 07:24PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Yakupov for the 5th... that would be interesting. Nominally trading down from No1 to No5, but Yak's performance to date has been "uneven" to put it politely.

It would be a sort of a do over for the Oil.

Yakupov and Gagner, for the 5th and Hamonic? Coming away from this weekend with Bennett and Draisaitl.....and Hamonic.

Both GM's are motivated to create the illusion of progress.

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#73 Alsker
June 26 2014, 08:01PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Yakupov and Gagner, for the 5th and Hamonic? Coming away from this weekend with Bennett and Draisaitl.....and Hamonic.

Both GM's are motivated to create the illusion of progress.

Hate to lose Yak...BUT...the return, how could you not do that....

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#74 madjam
June 26 2014, 08:25PM
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Might Anaheim offer D.Winnick and their 10th,22nd, and 55th (2nd rounder,as they have 2 of those as well) , for our 3rd ?

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#75 Serious Gord
June 26 2014, 09:19PM
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Robin:

Talk is cheap. MacT ran his mouth last year around this time and delivered bupkis and even worse stuck with gagner and dubnyk.

His flaw to this point is overvaluing what he has. If he still isn't moving gagner then it would seem he still has the affliction.

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#76 v4ance
June 26 2014, 09:32PM
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Since January of last year, there are 9 first time GMs (Buf, Cal, Car, Clb, Dal, Edm, Phi, Van and Was) and 2 other GMs who were recycled into new organizations. Right now there is an opportunity due to the limited and underwhelming supply of UFA talent to trade for an underappreciated asset.

If you believe MacT is as savvy or more shrewd than most other GMs, you can have faith that he'll make some good deals and improve the team step by step.

If you don't have faith in MacT or the Oilers management/scouting, this will be another pit that we'll fall into in the neverending rebuild.

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#77 knee deep in it
June 26 2014, 10:16PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The Leafs, and now the Capitals have decided they can do without him. Why is it the Oilers so desperately needs this guy?

washington traded for penner at the deadline and then played him on the 4th line. They never gave him a chance.

The oilers aren't the only organization to do some head scratching things

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#78 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 10:20PM
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madjam wrote:

Might Anaheim offer D.Winnick and their 10th,22nd, and 55th (2nd rounder,as they have 2 of those as well) , for our 3rd ?

Sorry bud, Winnik a UFA.

The Oilers could have him for a reasonable contract.

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#79 Walter Sobchak
June 26 2014, 10:28PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Seem obvious Gagner would be available, but I can't see the Oilers getting anything near a reasonable return right now.

I don't buy the trade Perron now because his value is high argument. He's in his prime and he brings elements the Oilers lack -- some greasiness in the top six.

Yakupov? I'm not sure he has the first clue right now about playing within a team concept, but he's young enough that he could still learn. Would take an overpay before I'd move him along so early in his career.

Fair enough RB.

I just can't see the Oilers going into next years camp with those three players.

Not to bang on Perron, I do like him as a player and I completely agree about his grit and love the pest factor he brings but.... 2 years left on a contract and one of the very few who does have value.

If you move Perron, Gagner can slide to the wing & you still have Yakupov with said potential.

Maybe I'm reaching with Perron?

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#80 OilPain
June 26 2014, 10:39PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

You're ridiculous.

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#81 Quicksilver ballet
June 26 2014, 10:43PM
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It's too calm. Where's the expected fire and brimstone type deals that usually take place before the draft?

Hope MacTavish isn't satisfied with the minimum due to him tomorrow. Has to be one of the many first yr GM's in the league wanting to renovate their roster.

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#82 Loweblows
June 26 2014, 10:58PM
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Zarny wrote:

I'm young? Haha...that's cute.

Yes, Matheson is well connected and still isn't very good.

I could throw some resumes out but I think I'll stick with the engineering gig. It pays rather well.

Stick with Engineering. Trust us.

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#83 Reg Dunlop
June 27 2014, 12:38AM
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@Loweblows

Have to agree; Zarny, stick to engineering. Driving those trains must be so cool.

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#84 pelhem grenville
June 27 2014, 07:12AM
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...draft Draisaitl

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#85 Zarny
June 27 2014, 10:04AM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Have to agree; Zarny, stick to engineering. Driving those trains must be so cool.

Haha...driving trains.

That's what the dizzy girls in the bar said in university.

You're that clever lol.

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#86 TigerUnderGlass
June 27 2014, 12:23PM
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@pelhem grenville

Matty's a hall of fame sports writer

There is no such creature.

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#87 Shaun
June 27 2014, 05:02PM
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Ribeiro has been bought out, should the Oilers try and sign him?

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