A look ahead to next season…

Looking ahead to next season and how the salary cap, more than performance, will affect some of Steve Tambellini’s decisions.

JW doesn’t think a Roloson/Deslauriers combo is very reassuring to start next year.

Why not? Most fans want so many other young players to get a shot; why not Deslauriers? His numbers, in limited time this season, are just as strong as Roloson’s. Roli’s proven that if he goes long stretches without playing he can come in and be effective, and he is competitive enough to still want to push to be #1 next season. Add in the fact he will sign a one-year deal, for no more than $1.5 to $1.9 million and it makes perfect sense.

There is nothing to say that Deslauriers won’t continue to progress. His mental toughness is the area he has worked on the most, and his size, agility and quickness make him a pretty good prospect to continue that curve. Having an experienced goalie to push him and possibly back him up is a good scenario for the OIlers.

Plus look at the salary cap. Unless the Oilers fail to sign Cole — which would hurt them since they have no one in the organization that plays his style of game and can score — I don’t see how they would have the money to sign a top-end free agent goalie.

Horcoff adds $1.9 million to the cap for next year, and Smid and Brodziak will need a bit of a raise. Roloson re-signing for let’s say $1.7 million makes up the difference of Horcoff’s increase, and then they will look to keep Cole for the same $4 million.

He has done nothing to show he deserves more, since he got $4 million a season scoring 30 goals… Even if he has a red-hot second half I don’t see him getting to 30, so I’d be surprised if he got more even on the open market.

Contrary to some reports, his family does live here, and he made a back-yard rink for his little boy, and his kids and family like it here. I’m not saying it is 100 per cent that he will re-sign, but if the team continues to improve I could see him staying here. The fact that Hemsky is on the verge of becoming a superstar should have a positive influence on whether Cole decides to stay here.

Signing Grebeshkov will be more difficult. Don’t undervalue is ability to the team. I like Smid a lot, but he is better suited to replace Staios than Grebeshkov. The Oilers will probably bite the bullet and keep Wanye’s favourite player rather than deal him at the deadline and hope they can re-sign him in the summer. He’s an RFA, so unless someone makes a stupid offer they do have some leverage to keep him. Arbitration is probably where he will go.

Keeping him — and I’m guessing $3 million a year is what he would be looking for — means they have to rid themselves of some dollars elsewhere.

Staios (at $2.7 mill), and Pisani (at $2.5 mill) are options, and their contracts expire at the end of next season, right before the alleged drop in salary cap for the 2010–11 season, so that might make it easier to deal one of them.

Another option would be Nilsson, due to his $2 million cap hit. If the Oilers want to keep Grebeshkov, they have to free up at least $1.5 million to cover off the extra money he will get next season.

The Oilers don’t have much flexibility under the cap heading into next year. They already have $44.2 million committed to 17 players:

  • Visnovksy $5.6 million
  • Horcoff $5.5 million
  • Souray $5.4 million
  • Penner $4.25 million
  • Hemsky $4.1 million
  • Gilbert $4.0 million
  • Staios $2.7 million
  • Pisani $2.5 million
  • Nilsson $2.0 million
  • Moreau $2.0 million
  • Gagner $1.625 million
  • Cogliano $1.33 million
  • Pouliot $825K
  • Stortini $700K
  • Deslauriers $625K
  • MacIntyre $537K
  • Jacques $525K

They have to resign, Cole ($4.0), Grebeshkov ($3.0), Brodziak ($1.3), Smid ($1.3),

Brule ($1.0, he was making $833K this year) and then a goalie Roloson ($1.5) and they would still need a seventth D-man. Strudwick for another $625K?

That would add $12.7 million in salary and put them at a $56.9million cap hit, which is too close to the cap ceiling and would handcuff Tambellini from making any moves throughout the season.

If the Oilers do make a push for a UFA goalie — Backstrom, Thomas or another — then they are looking at a contract around $3.5-4.5 million. If they go that route, then either Cole or Grebeshkov are gone for sure, and possibly both.

The best scenario for the Oilers is that Deslauriers gets in at least 10-14 games down the stretch and shows he is consistent enough to up that to at least 40-45 games next season. If he does, that allows them much more flexibility to sign Cole, Grebeshkov or at least a UFA player that can replace them, because they have no one in the system that is capable right now of replacing either one.

  • @ Drago:

    It's pretty hard to argue that trading Staios makes this team better right now; he's filling his role, and whatever happens from here on out he'll always be one of the guys I'm pulling for on the ice.

    But he probably isn't part of the plan going forward; he's got two seasons left on that contract and he's been passed by Grebeshkov and Gilbert, and knocked down bby Souray and Visnovsky. The worry is that he keeps sliding, and gets untradeable right about the same time the Oilers need to sign the kids.

    I'd like to see him dealt while he can still fetch a decent return, and before the kids start getting paid, even though it means a bit of a drop off right now.

  • Tyguy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Yep, and Moreau and Staios used to be the kind of player who could do that while putting up good results.
    So how is Moreau not putting up decent numbers again? He has 10 goals all on EV or SH, and the only forwards with a better +- are Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky. And when Hemsky was out for 10 games Horcoff was -2 and Penner -6 in those games. In the last two games when Hemsky carried the team Horcoff +5, Penner +4…so really outside of those two games, Moreau is right on par with every forward in +-. A stat you like to use. So how is he not effective, because of PK? And how is he overpaid?
    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    The real question is who’s right more often.
    Who is right more? The great thing about stats is we can almost always find one to back our point, but that doens’t make us 100% right. I think the point some are making is that by ignoring the intangibles(that don’t have a statistical backing) and believing that stats always tell the truth is a bit narrow-minded.
    Stats can tell a great story, but they like intangibles, they don’t always tell the whole story.

    Maybe an example of what those "heart & soul" guys…
    HOF #11-noted leader, "explained" to teammates
    1) Never toss a Jersey on floor
    2) Never walk on the Logo in Dressing room
    3) Kick'n Door/garbage cans,etc. to get a point across
    5) Follow me Boys! I will lead the charge !

    Who is in the room now,leading the team ?
    #18 ? # 44 ? # 24 ?
    How much is that worth ?
    How much do you pay for a mentor/teacher ?

    Can a stat +/- be found on that ?
    Would #24 block shots count ?

    Hey, I'm just say'n, is all I'm say'n

    "Stat guys" vs …..the world ! ; )

  • Grumpy Owl

    Re Goalie Expiry dates.

    I remember a long time ago oilers had a goalie named Dave Dryden, Ken's brother. One spring he was a more than adequate goalie, the fallowing fall the wheels fell off and he couldn't stop a beach ball with a snow shovel as the old saying goes. He was gone before Christmas.

  • RobinB

    Grumpy Owl wrote:

    Re Goalie Expiry dates.
    I remember a long time ago oilers had a goalie named Dave Dryden, Ken’s brother. One spring he was a more than adequate goalie, the fallowing fall the wheels fell off and he couldn’t stop a beach ball with a snow shovel as the old saying goes. He was gone before Christmas.

    I wouldn't hold Dryden out as an example. You left out a significant detail — in the spring, Dryden was "adequate" stopping pucks with the WHA Oilers. The following fall the Oilers were playing in the NHL. Big difference.