Armchair GM VI: No news is bad news

With the Edmonton Oilers back home for five straight games at Rexall Place and slowly returning to health, an optimist might suggest there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately for Pat Quinn’s outfit, it’s probably a train.

Back from Columbus after dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Blue Jackets Monday, the Oilers could use some home cooking as they try to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak after getting four of a possible 10 points from a five-game road swing.

The problem for the Oil, now sitting in 12th place in the Western Conference at 8-10-3, is that this homestand, and three road games that come after it, will be against teams higher than them in the standings.

The Oilers open the stand Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche, who have to be sour about getting clipped by Edmonton 5-3 Oct. 8 in Denver to open the last swing. Then, it’s Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose.

After that, it’s six straight on the road, with the first three in Vancouver, Detroit and Dallas before stops in Florida, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

Anybody see the Oilers getting more than, what, eight points from those next eight games?

Do it now

I’m baffled why GM Steve Tambellini has yet to make a personnel move to address two glaring and connected needs that date back to last season — a defensive centre who can win face-offs and kill penalties.

While I get it that Tambellini hasn’t had a full roster to assess because of injuries and illness, the players he’s been without to this point aren’t going to address the issues even when they return, so I don’t understand what he’s waiting for. More time to assess, perhaps.

Unless I’m mistaken, and I’m not, the Oilers weren’t good enough on the dot last season, when they finished ranked 25th at 47.9 per cent. Anybody with two eyes and half-a-brain could see it, no?

Chasing me-first guy Dany Heatley this off-season made for great intrigue and inking Mike Comrie in what seemed an unlikely return made for a good kiss-and-make-up story, but neither pursuit addressed the need.

Same old same old

Twenty-one games into this season, the Oilers are ranked 29th in the NHL in face-offs at 46.1 per cent. Apparently, Tambellini thinks he’s good enough down the middle with Shawn Horcoff (50.0 per cent), Sam Gagner (46.4), Andrew Cogliano (40.3) and Gilbert Brule (52.0).

Or maybe Dustin Penner (42.6), who has been taking a lot of draws to minimize wear and tear on Horcoff’s shoulder, is the answer. I think not.

If Manny Malhotra or Blair Betts weren’t perceived as the answer over the summer — Malhotra was asking for way too much money and the Oilers were only lukewarm on Betts — fine. But what about now?

Finding another centre more proficient at winning face-offs isn’t going to solve all that ails the Oilers, the penalty killing being high on that list, but failure to address the need is going to be a costly blind spot for Tambellini.

By the numbers

With special teams, the good news is the power play has looked better despite playing most of the season without Sheldon Souray. The bad news, as I mentioned earlier, is that the penalty killing again stinks worse than a minivan full of carnival workers in mid-July.

— With two goals on the power play in Columbus, the Oilers are 19-for-86 for 22.1 per cent, leaving them 11th going into play Tuesday. In 2008-09, the Oilers finished 22nd on the power play at 17 per cent.

— The penalty killing, which most thought would be considerably better this season, is operating at almost the same dismal clip as it did a year ago, when a 77.5 per cent success rate left the Oilers ranked 27th. They’re at 77.6 per cent right now, leaving them 24th.

— Even with four straight losses, the Oilers aren’t far off last season’s pace after 21 games. In 2008-09 they were 9-10-2 for 20 points. They’re sitting at 19 points as the Avalanche come calling.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Hindsight has nothing to do with this. Anybody with a clue has known the Oilers have needed another centre who can win face-offs since Stoll and Reasoner left.

    Tambellini's priorities, for some reason, have been elsewhere and it's been a huge mistake and something I've been harping on for over a year, so spare me the hindsight suggestion.

    The Oilers have plenty of assets with which to acquire a third-line centre. Tom Gilbert gets you that guy. Denis Grebeshkov, before he got injured, gets you that guy. So does Laddy Smid, although I wouldn't move him now.

    And whatever you're on about with coulda and should means nothing. Not making the right move until now doesn't preclude Tambellini from doing it now — you're spouting platitudes that don't make a lot of sense.

    • Sorry, Robin. I just read this comment after I posted my last comment. When I asked who you get rid of to make a deal, this sort of answers it.

      But with how bad this team is defensively, why would you get rid of blueliners to get a defensive forward?

    • Tom Gilbert??!! What GM in their right mind would trade for his contract with the way he's playing. His game has zero intensity, he's prone to coughing up the puck when pressured and he is bringing little offensive upside. Tom Gilbert gets you nothing right now.

      • Wrong.
        While I've gone on the record repeatedly as having no great use for him because I don't like soft players, Gilbert's track record until this season has been fine and he had 45 points last season. That carries more weight than a bad 21 games.

        Had you offered him around last summer you'd get more than that third line centre. There's a GM who'd think he was getting him at a discount right now — and that third-liner is not too high a price to pay.

        Offensive upside? You mean offensive production here and now. Gilbert has already shown "upside" (even if I think it was a one-shot deal). How many D-men in the NHL had 45 points last season?

        • Dan the Man

          We're not talking about last summer. We're talking about what Gilbert currently brings to the table which is a big, soft giveaway machine. Horcoff has also put up points in the past (73pts in 79gms and 50pts in 53gms) but GM's wouldn't touch him and his contract with a 10 foot pole now. If you had the opportunity to take on a $4MM cap hit for the next four years for a Tom Gilbert would you do it?? I think not. Don't get too hung up on his one 45 point season and take a look at his actual play. He's painful to watch most nights. I have a hard time believing any GM would view his contract as being at a discount right now.

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            I'm not hung up on Gilbert's 45-point season. If you'd been following along, which you clearly haven't, I'm the last person impressed by numbers alone.

            Take a look at his actual play? You think I'm sitting in my pajamas at home writing this stuff? You can have a hard time believing anything you want, but I'm actually talking to GMs and chief scouts about players, including Gilbert, not guessing about them from afar, so I'll go with what I know, if that's OK with you.

            Gilbert hasn't helped himself with his lousy start to the season, but his value hasn't dropped as much are you are certain it has.

          • Well said.
            There's a middle ground with both. Teams keep ongoing books/reports on players. A 22-game stretch isn't going to vastly change opinions about a player if that segment varies greatly from what's been seen in two, three or more full previous seasons.
            Gilbert isn't as bad as he's looked so far this season and Penner, at some point, will cool off, even though there's no doubt he's playing very well.

  • For everyone arguing that the Oilers don't have the cap space to add a checker, I have a simple, simple solution.

    Robert Nilsson. Waivers.

    Tell him he's bound for the AHL unless he goes back to Sweden, just like what the Lightning did to Radim Vrbata last year.

    That's 2MM right there.

    • Ball Buster

      From what I have seen of the cap calcs on nhlnumbers.com, waiving Nilsson (and assuming someone picks him up) would only clear up the portion of the dollars remaining to be paid.
      I.E., the Oilers' cap hit would still be charged Nilsson's $2M salary pro-rated to 60 days (or however long he will have been on the payroll).
      It's not a small difference and if this calc is accurate then it's something to take into consideration when shouting for the GM to waive a guy (not directed at you).
      Waive enough guys and you still end up paying a decent salary to an empty seat.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Yes but if you waive Nilsson's 2mil, you can pick up a 2mil player as well and there will be no difference on your cap.

        Waiving Nilsson today saves up 1.5mil, only 500k has been applied to our cap today.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        He could have been waived day one, which would have saved the full 2 million. *If* Their is something out there that we could trade for or pick off wiavers or unsigned that could help us, Nilsson could still be wiaved today to clear up roughly 1.5 in cap space to accomplish said transaction.

        This is not a cap issue people.

        • Ball Buster

          @ Ogden clan

          The Oilers are currently over the cap so I think it a little premature to say that this cannot become a cap issue.

          Waiving MacIntyre 40 days in doesn't make much of a dent but waiving Nilsson (maybe 3 months when/if he recovers from concussion symptoms) is playing loose with your dollars.

          I agree though that at some point, it becomes moot. Nilsson must be sacrificed but you would hope that Tambellini can find some clever way to offload this player for ANY zero cost asset in return (a 2nd round draft pick would be nice). I can't imagine you would get any more for him anyway.

          And I just figured out how to do paragraphs!!! I think that's enough mental exertion for one day. I'm going home.

          • Dan the Man

            The Oilers couldn't start a game if the were "over the cap". It's a hard cap so the NHL would not allow it.

            Also there is no way any team gives up anything for Nilsson let alone a 2nd rounder.

          • Ball Buster

            Don't shoot the messenger. Just quoting nhlnumbers.com but maybe I'm reading it wrong.

            And I said "it would be nice", inferring that I was being hopeful, not realistic.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Once Stone, Chorney, Jacques and Gagner come back Arsene, Poultny and Reddox are back to the minors. There is about 1mil in saved money. We also already have 1mil roughly in LTIR that allow us to go over the cap. If Grebeshkov goes on LTIR there is some more extra space.

            According to capgeek we have 590k in space, so not sure how we are over.

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            nhlscap.com has a pretty good explanation on how LTIR (and most other things CBA related)works.

            i think we are in agreement, i think it is just the wording that is causing the issues.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Isn't there a clause there that says a team must be cap complient before taking someone of the LTIR? Could we not just put Nilsson on there and never become cap complient again this year?

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            yes, a team must remain cap compliant when a player returns from LTIR.

            in "theory" the LTIR must be approved by the league. A team, again in theory, cant just hide a player there.

          • Dan the Man

            I found a good explanation as to how LTIR impacts a teams cap and why NHL Numbers might say the Oilers are actually "over" the cap.

            With LTIR the team is allowed without penalty to go over the salary cap by the amount of the injured players salary. Example with a cap of $50 million and a team right on $50 million for salaries. If player A is making $1 million and goes on LTIR the club is allowed to replace player A with player B as long as player B's salary isn't over $1 million. Their payroll could now be $51 million and they won't be penalized.

            Source(s):
            NHL CBA

  • Robin Brownlee wrote:

    Offensive upside? You mean offensive production here and now. Gilbert has already shown "upside" (even if I think it was a one-shot deal). How many D-men in the NHL had 45 points last season?

    I'll field that, Robin (although it was probably rhetorical). Last year, Gilbert's 45 points ranked him 16th in the NHL. In 2007-08, his 33 points ranked 32nd.

    But, you ask, given that Gilbert's generally stuck behind Souray, Visnovsky, and occasionally Grebeshkov on the powerplay pecking order, where do his even-strength points place him?

    T-6th in 2008-09.
    T-17th in 2007-08.

    I know there's a habit among Oilers fans of knocking whichever player is out of style at this particular moment, but suggesting that Tom Gilbert is anything less than a highly capable offensive defenceman shows a total lack of comprehension as to how many players there are out there with his skillset.

    Yes, he's off to a slow start.

    He's also 26 years old, 6'3", a great shot-blocker and one of the league's thirty-best offensive defencemen.

    In a trade, he easily brings in a third-line centre.

    • I'm starting to think we (oiler fans) are reallly starting to overate the 3rd line center spot. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I doubt theirs many 3rd line centers that have brought back dmen with Gilberts offensive track record.

      Unless we are getting a Mike Peca in his prime, Gilbert or Grebs for a 3rd line center is a huge overpay.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Considering there were how many of them via free agency this year and so few offensive d-men I'd have to agree. How many times have we heard teams are looking for an offensive d-men? Compare that to how many teams are looking for a 3rd line centerman?

        Also do we need a third line center men? Could we not go with Horcoff, Gagner and Brule in the top 3 and then bring in a 4th line centerman?

        • Also do we need a third line center men? Could we not go with Horcoff, Gagner and Brule in the top 3 and then bring in a 4th line centerman?

          Outside of Horcoff, who can play against tough players on a regular basis? Particularly given that Quinn likes to roll his lines? Brule/Gagner aren't quite ready for that yet (IMO) and would benefit from having a Marty Reasoner-type player out there, especially for defensive zone draws.

          BTW, completely agree that Gilbert or Grebeshkov > Reasoner-type player.

        • OilCountryEast

          Call him whatever you want — third line, fourth line, whatever — bring in a centre with a track record of winning face-offs at a clip over 50 per cent and the ability to kill penalties. Don't get tripped up splitting hairs, here.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I still think Gilbert is overpaid, but I agree that being stuck behind Souray and Lubo probably hampers his numbers.

      I don't trade him for a third line center either. What good is it moving a d-man for another forward? I just can't see Gilbert being worth that little.

  • the oilers have been paying for the cup run in 06 for the last three years. Bad contract extensions and unrealistic expectations for veterans and rookies have screwed this team three years in a row, and I won't even talk about the scouting and drafting. How prendergast still has a job is beyond me. I could go on and pick the team apart, but I won't. I've been "loyal to oil" for 15 years, but I've had it. The oilers are, and will be for a long time, a sub 500 team that makes things interesting the last 15 games of the season. I'm tired of speding my time and money, and getting disapointed all the time. The rest of my season seats are for sale on kijiji as of this morning. Oilers home end, face off dot on the penalty box side, row 30, two seats side by side.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Call me the eternal pessimist if you like but…

    Look at the roster of this team. Even healthy….

    Seriously, it's a collection of pluggers, a couple of pretty good players, one guy who is having a year that I must admit I didn't think in a million years he could have…and a 'star' who seems to me really doesn't particularly like this "hockey" nonsense.

    My concern I would express, Robin re: Tambellini (sorry kids, General Managers do NOT get ridiculous hockey nicknames) – exactly what IS his plan?! He really doesn't seem to have one…

    Yes, he's handcuffed by Mr. 7 million, 2 million for Nilsson, etc….but lord when your only answer is

    Mike
    Comrie

    it's not a real smart question to begin with.

  • Eddie Shore

    Why would a deal ever take place? Can anyone pick out an Oiler that another team would want in a trade; I can't. They have these types of players on their lower lines and in their minor system. I would accept a couple more years of losing for a complete makeover.

  • Crust

    This team on most nights lacks intensity, there is no one out there say for Moreau who would rather watch the game from the penalty box giving it out there. I kept saying all along that this team needs a been there done it all leader who knows what it takes to win. We haven't had that since Ryan Smyth wouldn't take $100,000 dollars less to stay in town. Gilbert on bad days is still an offensive defenseman, which is something not a lot of teams have an will give up some goods to get. Gilbert right now isn't worth too, too much and would rather see Grebeshkov outta here but given the circumstances.

    I just look at this team this way, no one here knows how to give a frickin sixty minute effort. Too many floaters and not enough sandpaper, at the start of the year it was great with Ryan Stone going out there and mashing people. We were winning games and I was able to wear my Oilers gear with pride. Simple solutions, trade one of our many offensive dman and get a faceoff winning center and then go out and get someone who knows how to win.

  • Crust

    This team on most nights lacks intensity, there is no one out there say for Moreau who would rather watch the game from the penalty box giving it out there. I kept saying all along that this team needs a been there done it all leader who knows what it takes to win. We haven't had that since Ryan Smyth wouldn't take $100,000 dollars less to stay in town. Gilbert on bad days is still an offensive defenseman, which is something not a lot of teams have an will give up some goods to get. Gilbert right now isn't worth too, too much and would rather see Grebeshkov outta here but given the circumstances.

    I just look at this team this way, no one here knows how to give a frickin sixty minute effort. Too many floaters and not enough sandpaper, at the start of the year it was great with Ryan Stone going out there and mashing people. We were winning games and I was able to wear my Oilers gear with pride. Simple solutions, trade one of our many offensive dman and get a faceoff winning center and then go out and get someone who knows how to win.

    • It's not leadership.

      It's talent. This roster has a bunch of holes in it that have been obvious since well before the season started.

      We can talk about intensity and effort all we want, but the fact is that talent's where it starts and this team doesn't have enough of it.

      Please note: by talent, I mean actual, full-ice hockey talent, not 'soft hands'. Nilsson (and a bunch like him) has lots of the latter, less of the former.

  • Ball Buster

    Why would players not want to play in Edmonton. Horcoff is making 7 million. Just imagine if he was able to produce points, he would be making 12 million in K Lowe's book. K Lowe has screwed this team up for years. As long as Eathan Moron keeps taking penaltys and we have Kevin Lowe in the organization we are in big poop!

    Some one please tell me if any other team has a fourth line ( at best ) Captain ?

    Gilbert for a puck bag would be a steal for the Oilers. Gilbert's game is horrible and hard to watch. I think a change would be nice for him and better for us.

    I would trade Moreau and Gilbert first. Nillson would be next since he doesnt make as much.

    Still going to cheer my boys. But getting tired of the same results year after year.

  • *I'm not sure this is "legal" in the sense of cross-posting part of another blogger's article on Robin's comment section, so I'd understand if it was removed. But it adds some context and together with Robin's article, really makes the point I believe.*

    Lowetide had a wonderful post the other day in which he wrote a "letter" to Darryl Katz, where he included the following:

    "…I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but it seems to me that all of the other NHL teams begin each season with a "set" or "balanced" lineup. They are convinced that every game is a playoff game, beginning opening night. These teams start each game with the best possible lineup and very little leeway for "development" at the NHL level. Every season since 2006 has featured a distinct lack of balance on the Oilers roster to start the season. This year, the team is quite poor in experience and ability at both center and left wing. Points lost in November are just as dear in March and April. I know injuries have also contributed, but no team in the Northwest division spends as much time with "learn on the job" types as the Oilers."

    Maybe a bit idealistic given the Oilers cap and contract situation, but I was watching Calgary top up this summer and kept wondering why we weren't doing the same. If anybody out there can put some explanation to this, I'd be grateful.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        When is the much anticipated release of the 09/10 OILERSNATION gear?

        I seem to remember some time ago Wanye, or possibly you, saying that the unveiling of the new clothing was imminent with the re-launch of the new and improved ON.COM

        Christmas is fast approaching gentlemen!!!

        • Ender

          When I read this (and it's several companion messages in the same vein penned by others) it reminds me of another quote from a couple weeks ago:

          Bingofuel wrote:

          You know that scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when Eddie Valiant feeds Roger booze and he totally has that weird alcoholic relapse (pictured below)? That was Wanye's reaction every time someone said "edit button." And he would rant and rave and kick the air and demand things — crazy things involving origami cranes and the blood of young animals — until the edit button was in place.

          But it's here. And as Wanye dozes silently in a corner covered in newspapers from the 1980s, I think it's safe to say that he's happy with our progress… for now.

          I wonder if Wanye is getting as worked up over the NationGear inquiries as he was the edit button? If so, well, the button thing worked out ok so I wouldn't sweat it.

  • Ball Buster

    Haha yeah what a terrible day to look back on. The deepest draft in years and we come out of the first round with a pubic injured douchnut.

    Mike Richards has 19 short handed goals since the lockout. Seriously.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Yet at the time many including local media thought we did great by taking Pouilot and Jacques.

      Mr.Willis you should have that article on the front page at all times.

  • Slapshot

    I am the first to admit that I wanted Mac T out as the Oilers coach,I blamed him for all the Oilers problems,I am past frustration at this point in the season, because this Oilers team plays like all the Oilers teams in the last five years, the only difference is some of the names on the jerseys have changed and we have a new coaching staff,the reality that I have wasted another 6 grand to watch this team play again does not help either.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    The cap really isn't going to be an issue for us anyways this year. Only way it is, is if we continue to have guys that only go on the IR and not the LTIR or if they try trade picks/non-roster players for a 4mil guy today.

  • IF Buffalo was willing to trade Gaustad for Gilbert I think the deal would be done in a heartbeat. > 60% on face-offs. Maybe we could get him on another offer sheet & Pierre MacGuire loves him. I was sure he was going to be the monster when the oilers played the sabres. 77% on short handed face-offs thus far this season would solve that problem. (34 won/10 lost).

    Peverly would be interesting too. Lots of offensive upside, isn't leading scorer in ATL? I can't see ATL trading him if he is only 1.3 mm cap hit (next 2 seasons)& their leading scorer.

    Steckel is really good again this season. I would settle for Jay McClement from STL too.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      One trade that was started by Matheson and took off from there was Gilbert and someone for Gaustad and Tallinder.

      Still not really know if there was any truth to the whole talk because Matheson seems a bit out there lately with his hockey columns.

      • I don't read the journal – didn't realize that. I would take Gaustad (f/o), Kaleta (.5)(a-hole – we need one), & MacArthur(1.4). just throwing it out there…

        Talinder (2.5) & Gaustad (2.3) are close to 5mm hit. Gilber 4mm hit. We would have to unload 2 players to do that deal that Matheson wrote.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    @roughneck

    Thanks, I'm excited to have over $5400 back from the tickets(which were a tax write off anyways), I actually managed to make a small profit off of the sale so I couldn't be more thrilled. Oh and lets not forget about the $12 parking. What I will enjoy the most though is getting back the TIME I'm not wasting anymore. It will be nice to have an extra 4 hours back on home game days that used to go towards driving to, watching, and driving home from the game. I'm sure I will catch a few games on the tube, but having center ice, I usually end up watching teams that are actually good and entertaining, heck, maybe I'll get real lucky and be able to tune in to a team that would actually throw some hits? That seems to work well… I noticed when your giving the guy with the puck two seconds to make a decision as opposed to 8 or 9 seconds before he gets smoked, that makes a bit of a difference on how the play developes… If your giving the guy that much time to make a play, eventually he is going to find a play to make…. That would be cool… Its nice to see a play other than the panic attack fire it around the boards and hope and pray that your winger is a) actually where he is supposed to be an b)hope he left his purse at home and can actually get the puck out, and maybe even make a play with it?? Every other team in the league knows the oilers are soft, and tamb was supposed to fix that… I'm not sure how signing Mike Comrie at 5' 10" (on skates) 185 (wearing a sweater after being soaked with a fire hose) addresses that issue. The guys that are supposed to physical, aren't. The only guys I've seen throw decent hits, or at least try to hit someone are reddox and of ALL PEOPLE, Cogliano. Speaking of reddox, maybe today in practice he can show the rest of the team how to execute a proper dump and chase? Seems he is the only guy who knows that a dump and chase means that you actually get the puck into the corner, and than actually go after it, not go off for a line change, not try to stick handle through three guys, turn the puck over, and be the last one back on the back check…. Sounds pretty basic, but basic is exactly what this team lacks. Its a team full of guys who were either awesome in junior hockey, or had a good few months in a row, and have done nothing since. Enjoy the next six months of win 1, loose 3, win 2 loose 3, and enjoy another looooooong summer with no playoffs.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Dude! Your going to make Katz cry.
      I can say the thought of dumping ours has crossed my mind but to be perfectly frank, this team is the mid 70s habs dynasty compared to a bunch of stuff the EIG put out there for public consumption. Then again those teams were bought for a pittance compared to this capped out lot.
      (that matters to me)

      We do get to meet with management next wednesday in the allstar, I shall send your regards or maybe you shall attend and we can throw things together. If Robins predictions are correct we shall be about 9-14-3 at that point. Should make for an enjoyable evening of pacification.
      Originally I was just going to lobby for ice girls but who knows.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    LOL. Only a big game if we win if we lose it was just another game.

    Tonight is one where we have a good chance to win. Colorado just played last night and might be worn out. We need to take advantage of this early.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Fernando Pisani. Edmonton's own, But today I hear rumors of three different teams from three different source. I am hearing that the Islanders, Sabres, and Rangers all have interest. Why would Edmonton be moving him? I know he is a pending UFA….

    Wow, what a rumor

  • I've been wondering if Gilbert is enough of an overpay for a 3rd line center to force another team to take Nilsson too.

    I haven't the time to look right now, but are there any good centers to target on teams with room under the cap?

    I also wonder if Washington would like to save some money and how much Katz would be willing to bury. We gave been talking about waiving Nilsson. What if we offered Nilsson for Nylander and Steckel. It would save Washington a pile of cash, we get rid of Nilsson AND we get Steckel.

    Not a great deal for them player wise, but I wonder if saving almost 3 million dollars is worth the loss of Steckel to them. Plus it is entirely possible that Nilsson could be a lot more effective for them anyways.

    The catch on our side would be if Katz is willing to pay out that extra money for a non-roster player.

    That was just a random thought that occurred to me, I haven't really thought it through carefully, but it seems plausible enough.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      NHLSCAP is somewhat helping capgeek out, capgeek at least shows you a breakdown so you can double check the numbers if you want.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    27-10-83, 67-19-85, 43-13-91, 18-16-46

    5-71, 44-77, 8-24.

    These were the lines this morning although I suspect they will be changed with gagner in the lineup.

    • Ball Buster

      I would like to see Gagner move into that 3rd line centre position, pushing Cogliano to the wing but for some reason, I sense Brule getting the shaft somehow.

      And I think it an automatic that Arsene sits and Strudwick slots in.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Strudwick is already slotted in on the 3. I would have to say that Gagner goes to line 3 and Cogliano back to line 4, which would mean Potulny is out. Looks like Quinn wants to have some sort of banger or size guy on each line again. Kinda worked last game.

        • Ball Buster

          Yeah, I meant Strudwick comes off 3rd line to slot into the 3rd pairing.

          That way, Gagner and Strudwick cancel each other out on forward line movement and Potulny doesn't sit. If anything, he moves up to 3rd line duty with Gagner centering (if it is absolutely necessary to beat the dead horse of Cogliano at centre) or like I said, Cogliano gets LW time on line 3.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I think we are better when we have more size up front and while I'm not a huge fun of Strudwick, but I think him playing on line 3 or 4 he gets more done then Potulny on line 3 or 4.

            I do think Potulny is the better player, but to me when we have all these small guys dressed we get killed out there. We get knocked of the puck all the time and then we have problems controling guys in our own end.

  • MrOiler

    At the start of the season, I speculated that trades would be made by game 30 – 25 games to assess and 5 games to negotiate a trade.

    Up until game 25-30, no one is really serious about trades, they are simply kicking tires.

    I expect a few skill/small guys to be gone not long after the first week of December has past by.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    @roughneck

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "im going to sell my tickets" everytime the team loses a game sort of people. I admire Katz for what he has done not only with the oilers, but with the community as well and what his vision is. He believes in edmonton, and wants to see great things for it. I'm looking out my office window right now where they want to build a new rink, it sure would be nice to see, but its NOT going to happen if this is the type of product they plan to keep icing over the next 5-7 years.I've been all oilers since I was kid. I was there though the highs and the lows. I still went to games after they traded smyth and won something like 2 out of their last 20. I went to games last year when everyone wanted to fire mac-t and trade everyone. Speaking of which, I wonder where all the "fire mac-t he is the source of all our problems he can't coach young talent he doesn't know offense he lost the dressing room" people have gone. From what I can tell, were pretty much in the same exact spot plus or minus a point that we were last year at this time. I really hope mac-t is sitting somewhere, studying for his course, watching his paychecks from the oilers still coming in saying "I told you so". With regards to the meeting at all-stars, why not. I have no problem putting down some money for a very good meal, and a chance to talk to the decision makers is always a good thing. We can float trade rumors and waiver rumors all day long, but the fact is, by the time you factor in things like contract terms, cap hits, cap room, trade clauses, and a host of other things nobody ever talks about, 90% of the deals could never happen. The only ones that could happen are brought up by the guys who actually DO their homework on all the above issues, like mr brownlee and the rest of the writers, as opposed to most people who pull names from a hat, or somewhere else. As mention before by brownlee, the oilers could have made moves over the summer with either betts or manny, but didn't pick up either of them. Send me the info on the time for the meeting.

  • Dan the Man

    No, I've been following along just fine. You use Gilberts 45 point season to back up your argument on his perceived value twice in one post. So I'd say your hung up on it…but not quite as hung up as you are on yourself if you believe that GM's and scouts are telling a reporter such as yourself any meaningful intel about a player.

    • Hung up on myself?
      Writing about hockey is what I've done since 1983. It's my job. Part of that is talking to GMs, scouts and coaches, be it in interview situations or casual conversations. You strike up relationships over that length of time, and if you keep your ears and eyes open you get an insight into how teams value certain players and why. Believe that or not, I don't care.

      Maybe suggesting these people, most of whom I'm on a first-name basis with, never tell me anything meaningful makes you feel better, but it's a laughable argument.

      • TDSM31

        I'm not just guessing from afar about my assessment of reporters. My brother has been a scout for a certain NHL team for almost 10 years and I can tell you that he divulges very little of what would be considered useful information and will only give the media enough info to keep them at bay. So I'll go with what I know, if that's OK with you.

        • You don't know a damn thing about my relationship with GMs, coaches, scouts or players — even if I'm to believe your brother is a scout with an NHL team. And his name is, what, TDSM 30, TDSM29?

          Unless you've got a name for your brother, don't bother coming back and wising off with "what you know."