All your centres are belong to Nashville

Jonathan Willis
July 22 2014 07:00AM

AYBABTU

The Edmonton Oilers reportedly had interest in at least two different unrestricted free agent centres. Both of them ended up signing in Nashville.

Rumours and reports

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

Edmonton landed two of its top targets in free agency -- Mark Fayne and Benoit Pouliot. (Someone was willing to go a sixth year on Pouliot, so the Oilers went to five to get him.) They also took a run at Olli Jokinen, who took slightly less in salary elsewhere (but in a tax-free state). They're going to look for a centre, because they don't want to rush Leon Draisaitl for no reason.

State tax and short-term overpays

Both Friedman and Rishaug mentioned that Tennessee’s favourable tax situation gave the Predators an edge in their pursuit of Jokinen and Ribeiro. It’s worth remembering that edge Nashville gets over Alberta is awfully small, as both Edmonton and Calgary have fairly good tax situations for professional athletes:

Here’s the other thing: Friedman specifically mentions the Oilers going to five years on Pouliot to get a deal done. Both Jokinen and Ribeiro signed one-year deals – Jokinen for $2.5 million, Ribeiro for just a hair over $1.0 million.

The Oilers aren’t in a bad cap situation, so what’s the problem with going to, say, $2.75 million for Jokinen on a one-season contract? Why not hand Ribeiro $1.25 million?

I’ll admit that Jokinen isn’t a player I’d have had much interest in if I were running the Oilers, but if he’s the player the team targeted there really isn’t any reason not to cough up the tiny bit of extra money necessary to secure his services. As for Ribeiro, the off-ice stuff is a little scary but this is a guy who was valued at $5.5 million per year on a long-term deal not all that long ago; even $1.5 million would be an incredibly low stakes bet with a significant chance of a big payout.

Nashville has a slightly better tax situation than Edmonton. That doesn’t mean the Oilers should have lost out on a centre they legitimately wanted.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Craig1981
July 22 2014, 12:46PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Funny how other GM`s have managed to make hockey trades.Dallas picked up Seguin(a very good young center)last year and it was not on NHL14.It was a real hockey trade.They do happen.Just not here very often.

Soooo I asked you to list me 3 GM'S that have made a better series of trades than MacTs Perron, Fasth, Scrivens, Henricks trades in the last 12 months..... and you listed one trade..... I will presume because you can't...... I accept your apology.

And as your reply to Jeremy, it was a 2nd, 2 3rds, and a 5th rounder. not 1st and 2nd AND for those that follow hockey it was a poor draft year. The odds of finding success this year was very low..... totally a different deal next draft. I would bet my hat those 4 picks don't turn out better than Perron, Fasth and scrivens (or give us better puns from Principe). Of all his mistakes not one of them hurt us long term.

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#102 druds
July 22 2014, 12:47PM
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Willis is bored column.....I know its July and we got to kill at least 6-7 weeks before we even have a hope of anything new to say in Hockeyland but really? moaning about not getting Riberio or Roy?

I say bless you Mac-T, the last time I threw up in my mouth was when we got Belanger and Tambo was crowing like he snagged Crosby! Man ...good times...no I do not want to relive that experiance.

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#103 freelancer
July 22 2014, 12:48PM
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@Stubblejumper

Even with the teams you mentioned, they all still played their top players together most of the time. I'm not saying splitting the wealth is a bad thing. Throughout this season I am sure we will see them all play in different spots in the lineup.

The difference you see with these other teams is they have depth and players with a variety of skillsets. Even when you split Hall Nuge and Eberle up, you are still relying on three players to produce for you. This team needs guys like Yakupov, Purcell, and Pouliot to produce.

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#104 Will
July 22 2014, 12:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I stopped reading after dishonest.The teams record speaks for itself.If you want to continue to believe otherwise nothing anyone can say can stop you.

I'm not surprised you stopped reading. That seems like the type of thing someone like you would do. After all, why read and learn something when you can just stop and continue believing your baseless opinions.

If you want to talk about records, then why not look at the records of the players mac T brought in. Perron, career year. Gordon, career year. Hendricks, career year extrapolated over 82 games with the Oilers.

You can talk all you want about how the team needs to improve. Good job pistol whipping a blind kid. But your comments were specifically aimed at the terrible job Mac T was doing, and it's not true.

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#105 Privateeye
July 22 2014, 12:52PM
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mnm wrote:

off topic but im just wondering what you guys think about taylor hall... what do you think we can get back? and was it a mistake to pass out on seguin?

Why would we want to give up our best player?

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#106 jeremy
July 22 2014, 01:01PM
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Spydyr wrote:

A high first round pick and a high second round pick is peanuts.OK then.No wonder some people here think this team is doing all the right moves.Despite a record that indicates the exact opposite.

What about his mistakes:

Eakins,going into last season knowing his goaltending was suspect it cost the team the sason was over before October,the Smid trade,all the ex-Marlies,Grebeshkov,the Belov and Jones handling those players could not leave town fast enough,now this year the massive overpay with Pouliot.Get back to me in a few years and let me know how you feel about that one.Finally the team regressed under his watch.

I should not waste my time with such dumb comments but I will, MPS had MANY CHANCES to prove he was a top 6 here and he could not, hell how is he in St Louis ? if you do not think Perron is MILES better than MPS and a magic bean 2nd round pick then you are dumb. Next you want to whine about goaltending yet taking what we know now (and I know for whiners like you it is hard to take your hindsight blinders off)does it make any sense for a gm to dump a goalie that had very good numbers last year (that were also improving year by year)before the beginning of the year, if you think that is a good idea once again you are dumb. I also love you sit there and cry about the Belovs jones grebeshkovs - WHO CARES, these are dime a dozen players that EVERY TEAM does the same with, but you ignore that fact too. As for the Smid trade do you not think there may have been something else to it, and just perhaps both took the high road or hell maybe Mac T just belives it was a bad contract and wanted to get out of it, but you will complain about that too.

I would also love to hear how the team has truly regressed under him from a year ago to today, did it get smaller ? - nope, did the goaltending get worse ? nope did the get worse ? nope, oh I know the centre position, yes that 2nd line centre position is why this team regressed I forgot. Keep running your mouth about how terrible everything is without using what little brain you actually have and think that the world is NHL 14.

Finally since you know so much tell me what "hockey trades" he should have made, let's hear how you would have got tyler seguin for nothing, tell me how you would have got PK Subban here, let's hear it

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#107 Pete
July 22 2014, 01:04PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I beg to differ. A mansion in North Carolina costs about what a decent four bedroom house in EDM does. That puts an extra mill in ones pocket. High end cars, rvs etc are all at least 20% or more less and rvs to give mom and dad could run north of 500000 in cda and cost 300"000 in PHX. Compared to the relatively small differences in tax between EDM and the south the cost of living is far more impactful.

Nashville or Edmonton? Are you kidding me?! Edmonton sucks!!

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#108 pkam
July 22 2014, 01:12PM
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Towersofdub wrote:

The lightning would have bought out Gagner. The only reason he wasn't bought out is because Phoenix took him off their hands. Sam Gagner lacks the intelligence to be a truly effective NHL player. He is simply not intelligent.

I know the lightning would have bought out Gagner, just like they would have bought out Purcell. At least the Coyotes are willing to pick up Gagner, no team except the Oilers is willing to pick up Purcell.

So if you want to quote this to prove that Gagner is not an intelligent player, wouldn't your argument suggest Purcell is even less intelligent than Gagner?

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#109 Mojo
July 22 2014, 01:15PM
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WE GET SIGNAL

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#110 freelancer
July 22 2014, 01:19PM
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@jeremy

Don't waste your finger muscles on Spydyr. He's a pretty passionate guy and knows his team well. Unfortunately he's become pretty disillusioned with this team and can't see past the negatives. The summer should be us as fans discussing the possibilities of the team. There will be plenty of time for pointing fingers later.

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#111 Serious Gord
July 22 2014, 02:04PM
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SlowTalker wrote:

Kevin Lowe Stanley 6 time Cup Champion

1984 1985 1986 1988 1989 1990 1994

Vancouver Canucks retired jersey's...

Stan Smyl - no cups Trevor Linden - no cups Marcus Naslund - no cups Pavel Bure - no cups

As an older Oiler fan I have fond memories of all those cup runs. Lowe was a fierce competitor and a loyal Oiler. Maybe you are a young Oiler fan who has no connection to the Oiler greats of the past.

But just in case you are a Canuck fan I wanted to remind you of the futility.

And your point would be:

- that you are an out of touch old boy oiler fan still living in the past?

- that six rings as a player does not a successful manager make?

- that the current oil are a disgrace to the legacy of the old oil?

- that Klowe is a disgrace to that same legacy?

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#112 Sorensenator
July 22 2014, 02:15PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I stopped reading after dishonest.The teams record speaks for itself.If you want to continue to believe otherwise nothing anyone can say can stop you.

You're the type of person that knows all the answers after the fact; after the results are in. We should be calling you captain hindsight.

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#113 Sorensenator
July 22 2014, 02:22PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And your point would be:

- that you are an out of touch old boy oiler fan still living in the past?

- that six rings as a player does not a successful manager make?

- that the current oil are a disgrace to the legacy of the old oil?

- that Klowe is a disgrace to that same legacy?

Old people always reference the past and that's how it was done in their day and the great people that did great things blah blah blah blah blah

My Mom and Dad used to go to University, have a part time job and pay their rent, tuition, groceries and extra circular activities.

I got mad when they told me they this when I had a hard time paying my 1100.00 a month rent on 17.00 dollar an hour wage.

The past is nice (to some) but it is irrelevant to today.

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#114 cccsberg
July 22 2014, 02:58PM
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jeremy wrote:

I should not waste my time with such dumb comments but I will, MPS had MANY CHANCES to prove he was a top 6 here and he could not, hell how is he in St Louis ? if you do not think Perron is MILES better than MPS and a magic bean 2nd round pick then you are dumb. Next you want to whine about goaltending yet taking what we know now (and I know for whiners like you it is hard to take your hindsight blinders off)does it make any sense for a gm to dump a goalie that had very good numbers last year (that were also improving year by year)before the beginning of the year, if you think that is a good idea once again you are dumb. I also love you sit there and cry about the Belovs jones grebeshkovs - WHO CARES, these are dime a dozen players that EVERY TEAM does the same with, but you ignore that fact too. As for the Smid trade do you not think there may have been something else to it, and just perhaps both took the high road or hell maybe Mac T just belives it was a bad contract and wanted to get out of it, but you will complain about that too.

I would also love to hear how the team has truly regressed under him from a year ago to today, did it get smaller ? - nope, did the goaltending get worse ? nope did the get worse ? nope, oh I know the centre position, yes that 2nd line centre position is why this team regressed I forgot. Keep running your mouth about how terrible everything is without using what little brain you actually have and think that the world is NHL 14.

Finally since you know so much tell me what "hockey trades" he should have made, let's hear how you would have got tyler seguin for nothing, tell me how you would have got PK Subban here, let's hear it

Jeremy, You're getting quite worked up over the MacT posts, but then again its July, the dregs of the summer. Can't say I totally disagree with either of the two arguments re MacT as both make some good points.

Personally I give MacT a lot of credit for many of the moves he's made, but also think he's made a few shall we say, less than stellar moves.

Probably the worst of the bunch was hiring the rookie coach with limited to no track record of success for the young Oilers team. Eakins talks a great game but seems to be lacking in some of the finer details of the game and I think overall the team suffered last year. Sticking with him this year is probably a good thing because of the coach turnover lately, but if things don't start to gel in the first month or two changes will need to be made.

Some of the other moves looked great last year but we'll see how they work out this year and going forward. The goalies, i.e. Scrivens came in leading the league in Save%, had a couple great games, got signed, then proceeded to tail off with less than replacement numbers to end the season at just about average overall. Hopefully Scrivens and Fasth can keep up decent numbers and provide a long-term solution for the next few years.

The Smid deal got rid of something sorely sorely lacking on the Oilers, a tough defenseman, albeit at a high contract, replaced him with rookies (not that bad an idea while rebuilding), and freed up $s to overpay for a couple other players to fill other holes.

I give MacT credit for working hard, it certainly looks like the team is improved, but the results are just the opposite. Hopefully the team starts fresh and injury-free this Fall so you won't have the built-in excuse if the year doesn't turn out as expected.

Also like some of the coaching changes, but need to see results next year to see if they actually help.

One thing I will say, and personally I think this is a problem, is MacT has stayed with the core (Fab5) he started with, trying to tweak things around the edges. Now that the edges are better we'll get to see if that works or more significant changes need to be made. The Seguin acquisition, and subsequent Spezza deals were MAJOR trades for Dallas which totally reshaped their team, and they've improved dramatically as a result.

The fun thing about the NHL and all this talk about who did what to whom and when is we get to see the results first-hand, starting next season. Hopefully the Oilers do break out. Its long overdue, but certainly no sure thing with all the MacT "successes" to date...

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#115 toprightcorner
July 22 2014, 03:19PM
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I am pretty sure the taxes were a very small portion of the reason. Ribero can stay out of the spotlight in Nashville while he tries to put his life back together and he would also be the #1 centre with a chance at a longer contract next year.

Jokinen knows what it is like to play in a media hotbed like Calgary and Winnipeg and probably preferred to finish his career without that same pressure.

It will always be tough for the Oilers to attract quality veterans at the end of their career until they have a chance to go far in the playoffs. Lots of pressure in this market to win, and if a guy on the verge of retirement goes somewhere they cant win, it will be somewhere warm with no pressure to finish their career in a relaxed setting

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#116 Spydyr
July 22 2014, 04:23PM
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Sorensenator wrote:

You're the type of person that knows all the answers after the fact; after the results are in. We should be calling you captain hindsight.

The past year alone I made the call on Dubnyk,Gagner and Eakins long before they became popular.

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#117 Spydyr
July 22 2014, 04:31PM
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jeremy wrote:

I should not waste my time with such dumb comments but I will, MPS had MANY CHANCES to prove he was a top 6 here and he could not, hell how is he in St Louis ? if you do not think Perron is MILES better than MPS and a magic bean 2nd round pick then you are dumb. Next you want to whine about goaltending yet taking what we know now (and I know for whiners like you it is hard to take your hindsight blinders off)does it make any sense for a gm to dump a goalie that had very good numbers last year (that were also improving year by year)before the beginning of the year, if you think that is a good idea once again you are dumb. I also love you sit there and cry about the Belovs jones grebeshkovs - WHO CARES, these are dime a dozen players that EVERY TEAM does the same with, but you ignore that fact too. As for the Smid trade do you not think there may have been something else to it, and just perhaps both took the high road or hell maybe Mac T just belives it was a bad contract and wanted to get out of it, but you will complain about that too.

I would also love to hear how the team has truly regressed under him from a year ago to today, did it get smaller ? - nope, did the goaltending get worse ? nope did the get worse ? nope, oh I know the centre position, yes that 2nd line centre position is why this team regressed I forgot. Keep running your mouth about how terrible everything is without using what little brain you actually have and think that the world is NHL 14.

Finally since you know so much tell me what "hockey trades" he should have made, let's hear how you would have got tyler seguin for nothing, tell me how you would have got PK Subban here, let's hear it

I should not waste my time with such dumb comments but I will.

I will explain regression to you.

The team went from 24th overall to 28th overall despite playing tougher Western conference teams exclusively.

They went backwards or regressed.

That is a fact.

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#118 Oiler Al
July 22 2014, 04:42PM
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How is Dallas's 5 year rebuild coming along? Traded for No 1.[Seguin] and No.2 center [Spezza]. Jamie Benn [ 5th rd. draft]and Olympic star.

And we were chasing Riberio and Jokinen?

I appreciate Oilers have a problem attracting star players, but goodness set your sights a little higher than that.

I only use Dallas as example, because they weren't hiding behind some 5, 8, 10 year plan, They had to make it happen , their arena was half empty, unliked OilTown.. sold out every night.

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#119 BlazingSaitls
July 22 2014, 06:30PM
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@Oiler Al

Dallas rebuild? the one where Horcoff led the Stars in playoff points and was ousted early...that dallas rebuild? Ohhhh ok

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#120 Wax Man Riley
July 22 2014, 06:52PM
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You have no chance to survive make your time!

lol Zero Wing.

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#121 A rye morning
July 22 2014, 07:07PM
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BlazingSaitls wrote:

Dallas rebuild? the one where Horcoff led the Stars in playoff points and was ousted early...that dallas rebuild? Ohhhh ok

It's going better than the one that hasn't finished higher than 24th place

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#122 BlazingSaitls
July 22 2014, 07:22PM
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@A rye morning

When the Oil get back in the playoffs I'd hope they are competitive. The last thing Oilers need is another team that is just 'good enough' to make the playoffs. We had enough of that in the 96'-02' era. I hope MacT maintains a steady course in the right direction. I hope that by the time Oilers make the playoffs its to compete hard for the cup; not be a long shot. Leave the long shots to "rebuilt" teams like Dallas. So ya, Dallas made the playoffs..big woop. Horcoff led them in points and they were out in 6. GG

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#123 Old time oil fan
July 22 2014, 08:36PM
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SlowTalker wrote:

Kevin Lowe Stanley 6 time Cup Champion

1984 1985 1986 1988 1989 1990 1994

Vancouver Canucks retired jersey's...

Stan Smyl - no cups Trevor Linden - no cups Marcus Naslund - no cups Pavel Bure - no cups

As an older Oiler fan I have fond memories of all those cup runs. Lowe was a fierce competitor and a loyal Oiler. Maybe you are a young Oiler fan who has no connection to the Oiler greats of the past.

But just in case you are a Canuck fan I wanted to remind you of the futility.

@ slowthinker.

It has been such a long time since we have won that the dates are getting a bit blurry! But heck, 5 out of 7 isn't bad when going for 6. ??? I think it was Montreal winning in '86 and Calgary in '89.

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#124 A rye morning
July 22 2014, 09:46PM
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@BlazingSaitls

So, after what will probably be nine or ten seasons of not making the playoffs, you expect a team, whose core will in all likehood have very little playoff experience, to crash the playoff party and then knock out one of the top western conference teams. OK

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#125 BlazingSaitls
July 22 2014, 09:57PM
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@A rye morning

just like pens, just like hawks, just like kings. All hit the scene quick and won a cup why not Oil? Kings and Hawks kept it going. Pens dropped. So yes. Recent history dictates a young team or inexperienced team or a team with a losing history can quickly become a cup contender. Over night. Quit hating on Oil man, expect a Cup not a long shot.

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#126 A rye morning
July 22 2014, 11:03PM
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@BlazingSaitls

The Kings missed the playoffs for 6 seasons then got bounced in the first round the next two seasons before winning a cup. The Penguins missed the playoffs for for seasons lost in the first round the next season before making the cup final. Chicago missed the playoffs for five seasons before going to the conference finals in their first playoff appearance, bucking the trend of rebuilt multiple top five draft pick teams getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in their first trip back. To call Dallas' rebuild a failure, because they got knocked out in the first round by the best refular season team points wise in the Western Conference, is asinine.

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#127 Towersofdub
July 23 2014, 07:49AM
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pkam wrote:

I know the lightning would have bought out Gagner, just like they would have bought out Purcell. At least the Coyotes are willing to pick up Gagner, no team except the Oilers is willing to pick up Purcell.

So if you want to quote this to prove that Gagner is not an intelligent player, wouldn't your argument suggest Purcell is even less intelligent than Gagner?

We'll see the difference in intelligence on opening night. Ganger is totally clueless in his own zone. I don't know enough about Purcell, so I'll reserve judgement until I see him play. I didn't say he was more intelligent than Gagner....I just said Gagner is not intelligent at all.

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