Dog days of summer meet reality

Jason Gregor
July 16 2014 09:25AM

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July 15th begins a long six-week stretch for hockey fans. The euphoria of the draft and free agency has subsided and now many start to dissect how their team's roster looks like. It is obvious the Oilers are light on proven NHL centres, but are you so desperate to add another centre that Derek Roy's signing in Nashville upsets you?

I can understand being concerned about the Oilers current state of centre position, it is a valid concern, but if you think Roy is the answer, then the question must be.. Which centre can the Oilers add that won't improve their team?

I never read an article or a comment that mentioned Roy is a player the Oilers should target leading into free agency, so why is he suddenly someone Craig MacTavish missed the boat on?

Roy is small, not physical and his production has declined drastically in the past three seasons.

In the past three years, Roy has produced 22-76-109 in 197 games. 0.55 points per game.

In that same time span, Sam Gagner scored 42-80-122 in 190 games. 0.64 points per game.

Roy is not considered a defensive stalwart, so how he is an improvement over Gagner? He is 31 and has slowed down the past three seasons, I'd wager that Marc Arcobello could produce the same as Roy and he'd come in much hungrier.

I'm not enamoured with Arcobello as the 2nd line centre, but I don't see Roy as an obvious upgrade, and adding him just to add a veteran centre reeks of desperation. I would have preferred Olli Jokinen or David Legwand but the Oilers were unable to land them.

MacTavish started the off-season with a plethora of holes to fill, and it was unrealistic to expect he'd be able to fill all of them. He added some solid pieces, mainly veterans who have a reputation of knowing how to play solid defense, but so far he has been unable to acquire a proven 2nd line centre.

The biggest reason was because there wasn't many on the market and very few teams are willing to trade legit 2nd line centres. If you want one, you need to develop them and that's why the Oilers handling of Leon Draisaitl is ultra important.

If MacTavish is unable to add a bonafide 2nd line centre by training camp it will be a disappointment, but I can't say his summer was a failure. Which Oilers assets are worth a legit 2nd line centre straight up? Nail Yakupov won't get you a proven centre, neither will Jeff Petry, and that's why I never expected MacTavish to get his 2nd line centre this summer.

Of course it is possible, but there is a major gap between possible and realistic. Legwand would have been a solid stop gap, but he wanted to play out east. He choose Ottawa over Edmonton, which shows he was more interested in geography than winning. The Senators aren't that much better than the Oilers now that they lost Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.

RIBEIRO

As for Ribeiro, he is a proven scorer. However, he just got bought out by Arizona, who count every penny, because he wasn't committed enough on and off the ice. It would have been a risk for the Oilers to bring him into their young dressing room, but they did consider it. If things went awry with veterans like Shane Doan and Derek Morris, what would happen in Edmonton?

Brian Sutherby played with Ribeiro.

"I would have been a little bit hesitant being the Oilers and bringing him in, and I say that respectfully. He is a fantastic player and was a good teammate. He is a different guy..He doesn't look like your prototypical hockey player in how he dresses. He does get a bad rap due to that. He likes to have fun off the ice. He isn't a rink rat. You won't see him come to the rink and spend hours in the gym prior to warm up. However, he was always committed to winning. He has a lot of skill.

"He is a pretty quiet, reserved guy. On a team like the Oilers, I think you want your older players to be guys who are going to bring the team closer together, and Mike is a guy who does his own thing. You want your leaders to be rink rats and sending the right message all over the rink, whether it is nutrition, watching video or just being around the rink.

"In Dallas we had a  good leadership group and I never felt like he was an issue. He produced, but I believe he fits in better on a veteran team," said Sutherby.

The Oilers did reach out to Ribeiro's camp, and they were indeed interested, but his camp clearly choose Nashville. Ribeiro admitted at his press conference yesterday that his marital struggles impacted his off-ice issues last year. He was honest and upfront about a very personal situation saying he and his wife are still trying to work things out. I was also told his camp was a bit leery of being in a hockey crazed market right after what Don Maloney had said publicly.

He is trying to save his marriage and his children and wife are comfortable living in the USA and they are used to the school system, so you can understand why they elected not to come to Canada. I hope he gets his life in order, and I can see why both sides had some trepidation about making a deal.

The Oilers lack of centre depth is a major concern. MacTavish has made it known he's looking for a centre. He's talked to numerous teams, and I suspect a deal will happen, but it might not occur until early in the season.

I don't see the Oilers as a playoff team. I truly hope I'm wrong, because we are all tired of watching a losing organization, but I do believe they've improved. The Oilers will be more competitive next season, but last April I didn't expect them to jump up six spots in the west and make the playoffs, and three months later, even after upgrading his defence and wingers, I still believe that.

And that's why in my eyes MacTavish can't force a trade. He can't give up too much just to fill an obvious void. If not making a deal right away means Arcobello and Anton Lander get more icetime than people expected, that is a better alternative than making a trade that will hurt the organization long-term.

I know it sucks to be patient, but I don't see a better option at this juncture.

COACHING THOUGHTS...

  • The Oilers have two vacancies in their professional coaching ranks. The need a 3rd assistant coach on the Oilers, a guy who will watch the games from upstairs, and they need a head coach for their ECHL team in Bakersfield. Troy Mann was the head coach, but he got the head coaching job for Hershey in the AHL. Rocky Thompson is a candidate for both jobs.

    Thompson has been an assistant in OKC for the past four seasons. The players love his enthusiasm and he is very good at breaking down video and very good technically. For the past few seasons Thompson would split his time in the game watching from the pressbox, and then coming down for the third period and coaching from the bench.

    He has experience in picking up things from upstairs and relaying that information to the head coach.

    The Oilers need a young, players coach on their staff. Craig Ramsay is an excellent teacher, Keith Acton is a veteran coach, but he's not a guy who will lighten the mood. Thompson is a very bright guy, but his attitude and demeanour would be a welcome addition on the staff. Every team needs an assistant who can relate to the players, and Thompson could fill that void. He has some youthful exuberance. I think he would be a great fit.

    Thompson still has a home in from Sherwood Park, so moving home would be an easy decision. He's also a candidate to be the head coach in Bakersfield. Does he want to be a head coach and forge his own path, or work his way up the assistant ranks in the NHL?

    "I'm interested in both jobs," Thompson told me yesterday. He did meet with Dallas Eakins during the prospect camp. "My goal is to be a head coach, but NHL jobs don't come around every day. Both positions offer different challenges, but I think I'm ready for either one," Thompson said.

    Look for Eakins to make a decision regarding his third assistant coach soon, and I expect Thompson will be hired.

  • I'm hearing the Oilers will bring back goaltending coach Freddie Chabot. Chabot will continue to work with Sylvain Rodrique, who the Oilers signed last summer to help with goaltending development and scouting.

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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#101 Will
July 16 2014, 12:48PM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

We could both come up with hundreds of trade proposals and end up with hundreds of scenarios that will not happen.

Point is Oilers need a centerman, and they'll likely have to trade for one.

I agree they need a centreman, sort of, and to get one they'll have to trade for him. All I was saying is that Philadelphia has said again and again and again Coturier is going nowhere. And at only 1.7 mil cap hit, it wouldn't make sense to ship him out for all sorts of reasons.

As for Lecaviallier, yes I think Phily is looking to ship him out for a bag of pucks to get under the cap. Problem is he was really bad last year, so who would want to take on that contract on a bad player. Second is he has the hammer with his NMC and NTC.

Fair point about who's playing videogames. But given the choice, Lecaviallier is who I would try and trade, not Coturier.

As for needing a centre, I fall squarely into the Draisaitl on a soft minutes line to start. And the give Arco a shot camp. Now one big injury and that would be game over. But I don't really see the team competing for the cup this year anyway. So why not get Draisaitl acclimated to the NHL, and see what he's capable of, then either grab that really experience vet 3rd line centre next year to solve the puzzle. Or if all works out you promote either Yakimov or Jujhar, depending on who develops better in the AHL this year. Not to mention, next year is likely the year two of our 3 D prospects are really ready to play. So two of Klefbom, Nurse, or Marincin, will likely come in and help the D even more. In other words, I see all roads leading to next year.

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#102 Spydyr
July 16 2014, 12:48PM
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Mustangheart wrote:

Can someone please tell me when the Oilers are in Penticton and how does one go about getting tickets? Thanks

I'm sure Google may be of some help.

First Google item:

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=723975

It answers all your questions.

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#103 Ol Timer
July 16 2014, 12:54PM
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I don't expect any more trades for MacT until September when some of the teams that are over or pushing the cap need to make some space. One of those teams will panic and unload a good depth centre for a draft choice. Until then, don't worry, be happy.

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#104 admiralmark
July 16 2014, 12:56PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Do you know what the role is with the Oilers?

Head coaches in other leagues won't take it. They want to be head coaches, not the 4th coach on the staff and a guy who isn't on the bench.

Do you know what his role was in OKC? Most don't and that's why saying you hate the hire, when he gets job, makes no sense.

He was on a coaching staff that went to final four two of last three years. He has worked with the D-men. Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others. Are you saying they haven't developed?

His role has been to watch game from upstairs and then talk to coaches at intermission about the tendencies of opposition and how to counter them. The Barons won a lot of games, so clearly he had some impact.

Winning teams have different elements, and having an upbeat, positive assistant coach is part of it. He has experience, has become very good on breaking down video and noting in game adjustments that can help.

How is he old boys club? He never played with any of them. He was hired from outside the organization. Do you just want to hate every move and blame it on something? In this case none or your complaints match the facts.

Gregor you're on fire today! lol

It's like watching Bruce Lee after he gets surrounded by a bunch of hooligans.

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#105 Hallsy
July 16 2014, 12:57PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Things to do during the offseason:

1) Secure the services of a top pairing blueliner.

2) Add a 1st/2nd line center, along with a 3rd/4th line center.

Neither of these two glaring needs have been addressed, as of today. One could argue this is the same ship different year all over again.

On the other hand.....Connor McDavid will look great in the royal blue, white and orange. Hope the young kids here now will continue to remain patient during the Oilers rebuild of the first rebuild.

GO ESKIES!

You'd think for someone with the skilled penmanship and drive to continually troll this site, such as yourself, would also have the ability to come up with fresh content.

The dive for McDavid and perpetual rebuild comments are old and have even been highlighted by the Nation writers.

If you have the magic bullet that doesn't involve the first line, Yak, any of our current defensemen or the 1st which would be our shot at McDavid, I recommend sharing it before MacT does something wrong again!

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#106 Harry
July 16 2014, 12:59PM
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Whenever I hear Rocky Thompsons name I think of NHL '03. He was 40 overall and couldnt even accept a pass but was the best fighter in the game.

Makes me chuckle every time

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#107 Jasmine
July 16 2014, 12:59PM
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@Jason Gregor

Even if the Oilers were winning, Oilers wouldn't be a destination of choice. UFAs won't come to Edmonton because people say Edmonton is colder than Siberia. Al Strachan started that and everyone believes it.

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#108 Ed in Edmonton
July 16 2014, 12:59PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

That wasn't my question. I agree there is only one player in the entire NHL that cant be traded for. As other posters and Gregor talked about its the cost

My question was if Yandle is available at a price the oilers are fools not to pay, why has no other team made that trade.

Hint: its because he isn't and you're wrong

I'm guessing if the Pens offered Crosby straight up for Yandle, Yandle would be available.

Anyone is available if the offer is right.

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#109 jonny94
July 16 2014, 01:02PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Even if the Oilers were winning, Oilers wouldn't be a destination of choice. UFAs won't come to Edmonton because people say Edmonton is colder than Siberia. Al Strachan started that and everyone believes it.

Really? I recall the Oilers not having very many issues attracting players in the 80's... I don't think much would change if the Oilers were a contender year in and year out. That goes for any team in the NHL. Geography plays a factor but as Gregor pointed out Athletes ultimately want to win.

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#110 A-Mc
July 16 2014, 01:13PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Even if the Oilers were winning, Oilers wouldn't be a destination of choice. UFAs won't come to Edmonton because people say Edmonton is colder than Siberia. Al Strachan started that and everyone believes it.

These athletes make a butt load of money and spend most of their time away from the home town they play in because of a) they can afford to live abroad and b) their job has them traveling abroad quite frequently.

For them, taking a job in Edmonton isn't like you or i taking a job in Edm.

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#111 Big Cap
July 16 2014, 01:13PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Do you know what the role is with the Oilers?

Head coaches in other leagues won't take it. They want to be head coaches, not the 4th coach on the staff and a guy who isn't on the bench.

Do you know what his role was in OKC? Most don't and that's why saying you hate the hire, when he gets job, makes no sense.

He was on a coaching staff that went to final four two of last three years. He has worked with the D-men. Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others. Are you saying they haven't developed?

His role has been to watch game from upstairs and then talk to coaches at intermission about the tendencies of opposition and how to counter them. The Barons won a lot of games, so clearly he had some impact.

Winning teams have different elements, and having an upbeat, positive assistant coach is part of it. He has experience, has become very good on breaking down video and noting in game adjustments that can help.

How is he old boys club? He never played with any of them. He was hired from outside the organization. Do you just want to hate every move and blame it on something? In this case none or your complaints match the facts.

Head coaches in other leagues wont take a the 4th coach in the NHL??? Is it because these coaches will be making more money in the NHL or the fact they'll be coaching at the highest level and have their foot in the door??

I also believe its to early state to that Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others have developed into NHL'ers. They are on the right path, and we hope they will be, but there not there yet. Keep in mind we are a 28th team and there haven't exactly made the jump yet to a depleted, weak D-core.

Yes you are correct that he is NOT part of the Old Boys Club. However you justifying he's been a coach with us for 5 years, and put his time in, and tried really hard, that IS the thought process of the Old Boys Club.

Finally, I don't dislike Rocky, or the job he does. I just believe there are better options.

Thanks

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#112 Woogie63
July 16 2014, 01:16PM
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I am going off the chart for the "pressbox" coach ....

Dave Hakstol, head coach at UND for 9 years, with a 225-111-33 record and an Alberta boy.

NCAA coaches have huge credibility to recruit players, plan practices and break down a game.

We have cleared out "the boys on the bus" from the bench, lets continue to add new dimensions to the coaching team.

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#113 A-Mc
July 16 2014, 01:23PM
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Big Cap wrote:

Head coaches in other leagues wont take a the 4th coach in the NHL??? Is it because these coaches will be making more money in the NHL or the fact they'll be coaching at the highest level and have their foot in the door??

I also believe its to early state to that Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others have developed into NHL'ers. They are on the right path, and we hope they will be, but there not there yet. Keep in mind we are a 28th team and there haven't exactly made the jump yet to a depleted, weak D-core.

Yes you are correct that he is NOT part of the Old Boys Club. However you justifying he's been a coach with us for 5 years, and put his time in, and tried really hard, that IS the thought process of the Old Boys Club.

Finally, I don't dislike Rocky, or the job he does. I just believe there are better options.

Thanks

The old boys club equates to people being gifted positions they did not earn via years of experience. Instead they get these positions based on a buddy system.

Are you saying that Rocky would be getting the nhl job based entirely on a buddy system and less about actually earning it or him being a good fit?

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#114 Harry
July 16 2014, 01:24PM
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Mustangheart wrote:

Can someone please tell me when the Oilers are in Penticton and how does one go about getting tickets? Thanks

Sept 12-15. Been there for the past 3 tourneys its grewt hockey. Nurse was impressive last year. Cant wait to see LD

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#115 CMG30
July 16 2014, 01:24PM
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I'm on board with the point in the article that the Oilers are improved but not enough to be a true playoff contender yet. Other than maybe a Malkin, I don't see a new 2C as being enough to change that.

Internal help is ultimately the answer but that's still a few years away so any incoming center will be of the 1-2y bridge type. Because of this I just can't see it making long term sense for the Oilers to trade a bunch of valuable assets for the sake of a temporary patch especially if it means opening holes elsewhere in the roster. If some other GM loses their mind and throws away a viable player then great! But what are the chances of that happening now that Tambi is no longer a GM in this league?

Maybe once the season starts some GM will decide they need to make a change but as things stand now I see Arcobello as roughly equivalent to the other realistic options out there.

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#116 admiralmark
July 16 2014, 01:28PM
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jonny94 wrote:

Really? I recall the Oilers not having very many issues attracting players in the 80's... I don't think much would change if the Oilers were a contender year in and year out. That goes for any team in the NHL. Geography plays a factor but as Gregor pointed out Athletes ultimately want to win.

Good example is Detroit.. They are getting beat out regularly for Free agents now but in the hay day they almost had 1st choice. As for the actual city of Detroit? Brutal winters, major violent crime issues, massive poverty... etc etc. Put a winning team together in Edm and we will see more UFA's willing to come.

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#117 The Last Big Bear
July 16 2014, 01:29PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Fayne is a 3rd pairing D-man. You should look up your facts before looking foolish.

Statsny wants to win. He just finished a five-year deal making $33 million. Money isn't is driving force. If you think guys who have made million care more about money than winning that shows you don't understand how competitive athletes think.

The Oilers aren't close to winning. Making a bit more money but not coming close to the Cup wasn't his focus. Again, this isn't hard to see.

Miller got $6 million dollars when there was no one competing for his services. He was average for Blues in playoffs. Why is he a great signing.

The Oilers didn't need Niskanen. They have Schultz and Petry. You don't need all the same types of players.

The Oilers offered David Clarkson more money last year than the Leafs did, but he choose to go home. Assuming the Oilers can just outbid everyone is incorrect. The only contract that can hurt the Oilers is Pouliots. The rest are short term, or in case of Fayne solid value for a very good defensive D-man, which this team desperately needed.

Fayne was 6th in TOI/game in NJ. He was so awesome, they gave him less ice time than everyone else on the bench.

And for a defensive specialist, it's curious that he was 4th in SH TOI/game, getting about half the PK ice time of guys like Salvador and Volchenkov.

Yes, I know, he played against Tavares. I saw. Chris Butler's most common opponents this season were Hall, Eberle, and Patrick Kane. Thats not that unusual for a 3rd pairing defender.

And you're playing bait-and-switch.

You say that money isn't a driving force for UFAs.

But you are clearly and demonstrably wrong. The majority of UFA don't sign with winning teams, and high-end UFA's like Niskanen routinely leave contending teams to play for garbage teams.

So then you change your tune to "the Oilers don't need those guys" or "that guy is overpaid".

The fact remains. Money talks. 18 of the top 30 UFA contracts signed this year were signed with teams that didn't make the playoffs.

I don't expect the Oilers to outbid everybody for every player.

I expect them to be able to outbid them for any ONE of many available players in a position of crucial need for the team, when they have $15m-ish in cap space for UFAs.

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#118 RexHolez
July 16 2014, 01:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Taylor Hall scored 80 points in his first year of his deal. He has become one of the dominant offensive players in the game. But he doesn't care.

Hall doesn't compete? Seriously. Do you even watch the game?

Can he improve his two-way play, sure, and he did late in the season. But if you think he isn't competitive then you really don't know what the word means.

And I understand now why you wouldn't post your real name, because you wouldn't want people to know how low your hockey acumen is if you actually believe he isn't competitive.

You missed my point. I wasn't getting at hall not competing, we all know he does. What I was getting at is how long will he and the others be willing to endure this pathetic "rebuild"?

I saw on TSN hall was against doughty for one of there gimmicky segments and the biggest knock on hall was he's never played a meaningful game. That's gotta be getting to him. His as competitive as they come, and he's stuck on the worst team this decade. I can't imagine him being happy with this team too many more years

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#119 Chunkylover69@google.ca
July 16 2014, 01:53PM
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Great article! Absolutely nailed it!

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#120 chillout
July 16 2014, 02:08PM
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@RexHolez

If Hall was as competetive as they come he would be doing anything he could to help his team win. He does not, all he cares about is points. Lets talk when he stops coasting back into his own zone cause he doesn't feel like playing anywhere other than the offensive zone

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#121 jeremy
July 16 2014, 02:25PM
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RexHolez wrote:

You missed my point. I wasn't getting at hall not competing, we all know he does. What I was getting at is how long will he and the others be willing to endure this pathetic "rebuild"?

I saw on TSN hall was against doughty for one of there gimmicky segments and the biggest knock on hall was he's never played a meaningful game. That's gotta be getting to him. His as competitive as they come, and he's stuck on the worst team this decade. I can't imagine him being happy with this team too many more years

I love the pathetic rebuild comment, are you that dumb to think that rebuild happen over night, let's hear how long this "pathetic rebuild" should have taken when you consider:

- that the team had no AHL franchise til 08 because ownership decided that was not needed,

- the team had very few assets of value and those that they did they had to keep to continue to, continue to try to compete for a playoff spot because that is what the so called best fans in the NHL would demand.

- the fact that teams that have had to rebuild have been terrible for much longer.

Sorry I forgot that Pittsburgh's 5 top 5 picks must have been pathetic, Chicago's and LA's decade of disasters must have been pathetic too. Like I said to someone else if you think this team is garbage then go hop on the kings or hawks bandwagon.

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#122 cccsberg
July 16 2014, 02:27PM
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If the Oilers want to fill the centre spot with a budding centre not quite there yet, but looking like they are ready to breakout, perhaps they should look to Calgary and make a deal swapping one of their D prospects which would fill a need on both teams. Calgary has a glut of young prospect centers, including: Granlund Reinhart Arnold Knight

Might even be willing to let go of Stajan, though a bit early i.e. the current game plan...

Don't really want to give up on any of these, but unlike most of the posters here, realize you have to give up something to get something. Calgary needs some more good D prospects, so e.g. Klefbom, Marincin other etc...? might fit the bill.

PS: Seeing as most of the posters here base everything on points, don't expect good response... oh well, wandering in the desert is fun. Right?

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#123 RexHolez
July 16 2014, 02:32PM
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@jeremy

You're a pretty good oiler apologist. But I won't call you names back. For every team you named I can name 1 that hasn't gone thru a decade of suck to win championships and compete. Boston, Detroit come to mind first.

Excuses are plenty for this team and I'm glad you buy into them.

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#124 Mustangheart
July 16 2014, 02:43PM
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Harry wrote:

Sept 12-15. Been there for the past 3 tourneys its grewt hockey. Nurse was impressive last year. Cant wait to see LD

Thanks a lot !!! I'll be there

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#125 jeremy
July 16 2014, 02:49PM
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RexHolez wrote:

You're a pretty good oiler apologist. But I won't call you names back. For every team you named I can name 1 that hasn't gone thru a decade of suck to win championships and compete. Boston, Detroit come to mind first.

Excuses are plenty for this team and I'm glad you buy into them.

Yes the typical bs response - an ultimate oiler apologists, no it is actually having a brain and common sense, but good try. I am also waiting for your great answer of how this "pathetic rebuild" should have taken. Detroit was terrible for much of the 80's and even after they got Yzerman they were terrible til they had one amazing draft followed by the ability to throw asinine money around. You are right about Boston however I am pretty sure that the GM having a prior relationship with one of the top d men in the NHL when he hit free agency did not hurt either, but hey why would you care about those facts since you have ignore them anyways. Humor me a bit more and let us know then how the oilers were suppose to become a Stanley cup contender, this should be good.

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#126 cccsberg
July 16 2014, 02:53PM
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CMG30 wrote:

I'm on board with the point in the article that the Oilers are improved but not enough to be a true playoff contender yet. Other than maybe a Malkin, I don't see a new 2C as being enough to change that.

Internal help is ultimately the answer but that's still a few years away so any incoming center will be of the 1-2y bridge type. Because of this I just can't see it making long term sense for the Oilers to trade a bunch of valuable assets for the sake of a temporary patch especially if it means opening holes elsewhere in the roster. If some other GM loses their mind and throws away a viable player then great! But what are the chances of that happening now that Tambi is no longer a GM in this league?

Maybe once the season starts some GM will decide they need to make a change but as things stand now I see Arcobello as roughly equivalent to the other realistic options out there.

Interesting comment, especially the implying Malkin would come in as a 2C. Malkin would immediately be the Oilers 1C and probably best overall player. Interesting in the way that teams and fans love the concept of drafting the BPA at the draft with the idea that they can later balance out the team's needs through trades, e.g. Oilers now heavy with D prospect but needing Centers. Unfortunately we tend to fall in love with our own picks and have a very hard time even thinking of trading a young/unproven prospect even if it benefits the team. The idea that RNH is the 1C (over, hypothetically, Malkin) is the same thinking. But really, its all relative to what else you have on the team...

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#127 Harlie
July 16 2014, 03:01PM
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Ribeiro sounds like the ultimate wing man, it's a wonder he is a Center.

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#128 Bryan
July 16 2014, 03:01PM
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RexHolez wrote:

You're a pretty good oiler apologist. But I won't call you names back. For every team you named I can name 1 that hasn't gone thru a decade of suck to win championships and compete. Boston, Detroit come to mind first.

Excuses are plenty for this team and I'm glad you buy into them.

Detroit i might disagree with as they were no powerhouse in the 80's and it was only the mid 90's they started turning things around and became the powerhouse they did.

The real test will be now seeing as before they got steals in the draft and the last couple of years they haven't been able to achieve that. Free Agency wasn't as kind to them as it has been in the glory years either as lots turned down going there for other places.

I think Jeremy is valid on the point of no farm team though, if you don't own a farm team then you are at the mercy of other organizations to develop and teach your prospects and let's be honest, they aren't there to look out for anybody elses but their own.

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#130 A-Mc
July 16 2014, 03:25PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You should look closer rather than TOI. Feel free to look closer at the facts...Willis wrote them.

Fayne’s been on the ice against John Tavares more than against any other player in the league. Claude Giroux ranks third, Eric Staal fourth. Other notables include James Neal, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik and Tyler Seguin. It’s a pretty impressive group. Fayne’s posted a positive Corsi against that list of 25, nearly three full percentage points better than the average opponent those players face (and keep in mind that as a rule they’ll have been playing against good defencemen).

Fayne plays hard minutes. He is a solid defensive D-man, which Oilers don't have. Saying he is a #6 is so wrong it is actually laughable. Try again.

To support your argument of not looking at TOI alone: remember that Tom Gilbert had near 1st pairing TOI for florida. Is Gilbert now a 1st pairing defenseman? No chance!

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#131 jeremy
July 16 2014, 03:27PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Fayne was 6th in TOI/game in NJ. He was so awesome, they gave him less ice time than everyone else on the bench.

And for a defensive specialist, it's curious that he was 4th in SH TOI/game, getting about half the PK ice time of guys like Salvador and Volchenkov.

Yes, I know, he played against Tavares. I saw. Chris Butler's most common opponents this season were Hall, Eberle, and Patrick Kane. Thats not that unusual for a 3rd pairing defender.

And you're playing bait-and-switch.

You say that money isn't a driving force for UFAs.

But you are clearly and demonstrably wrong. The majority of UFA don't sign with winning teams, and high-end UFA's like Niskanen routinely leave contending teams to play for garbage teams.

So then you change your tune to "the Oilers don't need those guys" or "that guy is overpaid".

The fact remains. Money talks. 18 of the top 30 UFA contracts signed this year were signed with teams that didn't make the playoffs.

I don't expect the Oilers to outbid everybody for every player.

I expect them to be able to outbid them for any ONE of many available players in a position of crucial need for the team, when they have $15m-ish in cap space for UFAs.

When in the HISTORY of the Oilers have they ever outbid ANYONE for a top free agent, maybe one time and that was Justin Schultz and he came here for opportunity not money. They tried Forsburg, Niedemieyer, Hossa, and they LANDED NONE OF THEM. Like Gregor said it comes down to more than money especially at the top end (where you claim the crucial need is) where you "expect" them to outbid someone, maybe use some common sense once in a while.

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#132 Numenius
July 16 2014, 03:32PM
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Numenius wrote:

I really hope Thompson comes to the Oilers to help Ramsey lighten the mood.

Excellent article, Jason. Very reasonable and balanced.

Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 8m #Oilers appoint Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach. Rocky was AC with the @OKCBarons the past four season.

Ask and you shall receive!

Welcome on board, Rocky. All the best as you help to right this ship.

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#133 Wax Man Riley
July 16 2014, 04:01PM
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I used to like Oilersnation because the people that commented were educated hockey fans.

Now it seems so many think running a hockey club is like playing NHL 14.

lol trade Petry and a 2nd for Courtourier? Brad Richards signed with a cup contender for $2M... MacT didn't even make the phone call! Legwand signed in Ottawa! MacT just sat on his hands and didn't even call his agent! Just go out and get a #1D without trading any of our good players! I'm sure Klefbom and a 3rd rounder would do it! MacT refuses to call Nashville and trade for Weber though!

It's getting pretty tough to comment here any more.

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#134 The Last Big Bear
July 16 2014, 04:03PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You should look closer rather than TOI. Feel free to look closer at the facts...Willis wrote them.

Fayne’s been on the ice against John Tavares more than against any other player in the league. Claude Giroux ranks third, Eric Staal fourth. Other notables include James Neal, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik and Tyler Seguin. It’s a pretty impressive group. Fayne’s posted a positive Corsi against that list of 25, nearly three full percentage points better than the average opponent those players face (and keep in mind that as a rule they’ll have been playing against good defencemen).

Fayne plays hard minutes. He is a solid defensive D-man, which Oilers don't have. Saying he is a #6 is so wrong it is actually laughable. Try again.

Unless you have some other esoteric system, where you are ranking defensive pairings and players by some system other than their ice time, then yes.

If you play the 6th most minutes per game on a team, you are their 6th defenceman.

There might be the odd niche role-player who's an exception, but since Fayne doesn't fight much, never plays on the PP, and is on a decidedly secondary PK unit, that doesn't really seem to apply.

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#136 Brad
July 16 2014, 04:38PM
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Chabot coming back should NOT be acceptable...

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#137 Kozy Mel
July 16 2014, 05:27PM
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Freewheeling Freddie wrote:

Frederic Chabot?BOOOOOOOOOOOO

Looks like the Oilers have decided that developing goalies isnt a priority.

They're going to let Chabot continue to suck what ever life is left out of these guys.

Wake UP!

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#138 Do not live in Edmonton
July 16 2014, 06:15PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Things to do during the offseason:

1) Secure the services of a top pairing blueliner.

2) Add a 1st/2nd line center, along with a 3rd/4th line center.

Neither of these two glaring needs have been addressed, as of today. One could argue this is the same ship different year all over again.

On the other hand.....Connor McDavid will look great in the royal blue, white and orange. Hope the young kids here now will continue to remain patient during the Oilers rebuild of the first rebuild.

GO ESKIES!

When are all you morons gonna realize NOBODY wants to live in Edmonton!! It is a $hithole! It's not that easy to get free agents here!!

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#139 DrunkGuyTy
July 16 2014, 07:12PM
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JG: good post. Tried to respond with the same points to Willis' article yesterday and it's clear why you're a writer and I'm not.

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#140 TigerUnderGlass
July 16 2014, 07:15PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Do you know what the role is with the Oilers?

Head coaches in other leagues won't take it. They want to be head coaches, not the 4th coach on the staff and a guy who isn't on the bench.

Do you know what his role was in OKC? Most don't and that's why saying you hate the hire, when he gets job, makes no sense.

He was on a coaching staff that went to final four two of last three years. He has worked with the D-men. Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others. Are you saying they haven't developed?

His role has been to watch game from upstairs and then talk to coaches at intermission about the tendencies of opposition and how to counter them. The Barons won a lot of games, so clearly he had some impact.

Winning teams have different elements, and having an upbeat, positive assistant coach is part of it. He has experience, has become very good on breaking down video and noting in game adjustments that can help.

How is he old boys club? He never played with any of them. He was hired from outside the organization. Do you just want to hate every move and blame it on something? In this case none or your complaints match the facts.

All of this is bang on.

I have no way to know for sure if he is a good coach or not, but his resume for the job is more than acceptable.

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#141 TigerUnderGlass
July 16 2014, 07:18PM
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@The Last Big Bear

If you play the 6th most minutes per game on a team, you are their 6th defenceman.

Fayne...never plays on the PP

You just answered your own question. Fayne played much of the year on the first pairing at EV and was run out against the oppositions best with regularity.

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#142 TigerUnderGlass
July 16 2014, 07:29PM
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@Big Cap

I just believe there are better options.

The problem isn't your opinion, it's the fact that you can't justify it beyond "I think he's just a rah rah guy."

Why would an AHL coach decide to be a 3rd assistant in the NHL? That is a demotion.

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#143 OiledStatGuy
July 16 2014, 08:00PM
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Nutrition, JG ...

Okay, I'll bite. What evidence do we have, if any, that Oilers are taking "nutrition" serious?

Any stories I hear haven't convinced me. And I'm not going to be fooled into thinking a multimillion dollar operation must be doing this.

Saw article of how Chris Stewart consulted a specialist last summer and discovered his mom's goto recipes were detrimental to his performance.

Hear good things coming out of Gary Robert's camp for Stamkos, completely revamped diet.

And Oil???

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#144 OiledStatGuy
July 16 2014, 08:41PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

There are a bunch of options out there for a center that shouldn't cost too much.

A couple examples: Toronto seems to be refusing to use Holland properly. Trade for him.

Anders Lee is a center having to play wing in NY because they have too many. He's young but has developed well and appears ready to take on an NHL role. Trade for him.

There are both guys with enough of a track record to believe they could fill the role and not cost an arm and a leg.

These are just the first two that came to mind.

The best way to get a very good player at a bargain is to trade for guys who appear ready but haven't accomplished anything yet. Just a single good NHL year increases their price dramatically.

Kudo! These are the value deals that MacT has to keep making to incrementally move organization forward.

MacT could try for winning the valuation one-up in trade for more elite player, but this team isn't close enough to winning that they can afford to lose value on unsecured players. i.e. getting player w UFA approaching and giving up years on young asset. When negotiating from weak position you can't afford any misses.

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#145 Max
July 16 2014, 08:46PM
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Please would all of the negative commenters who slammed Jen Scrivens when Ben was signed issue a HUGE apology. This lady has become a huge asset to the "Oilers' ladies" AND to the Hockey Foundation - not only that, she suited up to be goalie at the road hockey game today - WOW, what an asset to the team AND the city. Jen, you are a STAR.

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#146 2004Z06
July 16 2014, 10:57PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Philly is really 2 mill under the cap, once you figure in Prongers LTIR.

The Flyers are dealing with some buyers remorse after going for it last summer with the Lecavilier dealings and such. Hextalls crew could be a serious contender for a lottery pick next season by the way things have gone for them this summer.

Still think Couturier and a salary dump (Coburn/Simmonds) leaving Philadelphia can provide them with some options.

Could the Oilers even acquire Lecavilier (salary dump) if only to buy him out after one season? The Oil could certainly use more than one center this coming season. The Germainian dangler could use the coming season to work on his mobility/skating in PA.

Philly has to be under the cap prior to the start of the season. They are not able to move Pronger to LTIR until the season starts.

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#147 v4ance
July 17 2014, 02:46AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You should look closer rather than TOI. Feel free to look closer at the facts...Willis wrote them.

Fayne’s been on the ice against John Tavares more than against any other player in the league. Claude Giroux ranks third, Eric Staal fourth. Other notables include James Neal, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik and Tyler Seguin. It’s a pretty impressive group. Fayne’s posted a positive Corsi against that list of 25, nearly three full percentage points better than the average opponent those players face (and keep in mind that as a rule they’ll have been playing against good defencemen).

Fayne plays hard minutes. He is a solid defensive D-man, which Oilers don't have. Saying he is a #6 is so wrong it is actually laughable. Try again.

Based on total TOI/GM, the 3rd (Salvador), 4th (Merrill) and 5th (Harrold) ranked D-men played 40, 52 and 33 games respectively. 6th placed Fayne played 72 games.

Looking at TOTAL TOI for the year, Fayne was actually 3rd.

In ES TOI/GM, Fayne was again 6th but, again, 4th placed Harrold and 5th placed Larrson only played 33 and 26 games so that bumps Fayne up to the #4 spot

PK TOI/GM, Fayne was 4th

PP TOI/GM Fayne esentially was zero. 3:11 out of 1318:25 total TOI for the season or roughy 2 seconds of PP TOI/GM

To sum it all up, Fayne was basically 2nd pair hard minutes #4D with 4th highest SH TOI and 3rd highest total TOI for the defence of the Devils.

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#148 Casey
July 17 2014, 03:19PM
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Yakimov and Khaira will play games. I put my money on it.

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