Time for a change: let the do-over begin

I’ll admit to being stubborn when it comes to changing my mind on stances I’ve taken, like the need to tear down the Edmonton Oilers roster and start over with a full-scale rebuild, but the abomination that is the Oilers seven-game losing streak has made a believer out of me.

While the make-up and mix of the roster coach Pat Quinn has to work with has looked wrong to me since training camp broke, I have been of the mind, given injuries and illness, that GM Steve Tambellini should wait 50-60 games to start undoing this edition of the team.

Even then, I wasn’t in for a full-scale Dive For Five, but after watching this mis-matched collection of players that’s supposed to be a team fade into a nothingness that can only be described as an epic fail, 39 games has me convinced.

Consider me a card-carrying member of the DFF Faction, a convert to the belief that Tambellini, or somebody else if he doesn’t have the stomach or wherewithal for the job, has to do whatever it takes to get to square one.

Dan Barnes pulled the trigger by calling for the same thing today in The Journal, so I’m not claiming to be staking new ground here, but I’d rather catch on to what many fans here at OilersNation and elsewhere have been saying sooner rather than later.

It’s broke. Time to fix it.

The ugly details

I said a week or so ago my philosophy for the DFF is that landing a 2010 draft lottery pick should be considered an aside to a proper rebuild, not the focus of it. I’m sticking by that because I don’t believe a Taylor Hall or a Tyler Seguin is the cure-all for the Oilers, even if it is a start.

The goal for me is freeing up cap space and creating options, rather than throwing the mess Kevin Lowe created on the shoulders of 18-year-old kids coming out of the draft, no matter how talented they might be, in the next couple of years.

  • If I’m Tambellini, I’m faxing the other 29 GMs in the league a list of roster players I’m willing to trade before the New Year. I’m informing them that I’m ready to deal between now and the deadline.
    The only players NOT on that list are Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid, Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Potulny, J.F. Jacques, Dustin Penner, Ryan Stone, Zack Stortini, Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner.
    With the exception of Hemsky and Penner, these players don’t put a significant dent in the salary cap now and likely won’t in their next contracts. There is no windfall waiting for Cogliano or Gagner this summer, so they aren’t going anywhere, at least not yet.
  • While it’s unlikely there’ll be calls for players at the top of the salary scale like Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray or Lubomir Visnovsky, I’d make them as attractive as possible. Dump their salary for picks and prospects, if possible. Yes, these contracts are next-to-impossible to trade, but you take a shot and see what happens. If one or all of them are back, so be it.
  • I’m especially pushing Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios and Patrick O’Sullivan before the deadline. They could be decent pieces for the right team during the stretch drive, even with some term left.
  • My 2010-11 edition of the Oilers includes Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Theo Peckham and Taylor Chorney.
  • My first moves before hitting the fax machine are, as Barnes suggested, finding out if surgery is the answer for Horcoff’s shoulder and Nikolai Khabibulin’s back.
    Surgery takes them out of play in terms of trades in the unlikely case that anybody would be interested — Mike Milbury isn’t an option — but it helps secure a lottery pick. 

At the top

  • If I’m owner Daryl Katz, I’m grading Tambellini on what he does between now and the trade deadline. If I don’t see a significant shift in the right direction, he gets a pink slip when the season ends.
  • If Tambellini gets the sack, then Quinn moves from coach to GM, while associate Tom Renney and assistants Wayne Fleming and Kelly Buchberger run the bench. I also look at rescuing Rob Daum from the shit show that is Springfield and adding him to the staff here.
  • The entire hockey operations side gets re-evaluated at the end of the season, and that evaluation begins with the scouting staff, starting with Kevin Prendergast.
  • If I’m Katz, I take a long look at old pal Kevin Lowe, now the president of hockey operations, and ask some tough questions. Does he serve out the term of his extension or take the fall now for the mess he left Tambellini? Either way, Lowe’s days are numbered.
  • If I’m Katz, I call Tambellini, Lowe and anybody who has a stake in the decision-making process and inform them in no uncertain terms the do-over starts now. Then, I call a news conference to tell fans exactly that.

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

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Potential summertime targets:

    Hartnell – If the Oilers are disapointing this year, I'd hate to see how people view the Flyers. Flyers manangement typically isn't very patient… a solid player from that team could be on the move. He and Penner would give us a good 1-2 punch for big bodies that can score in the top 6.

    Sharp – Someone has to be moved in Chicago this summer, if it's Sharp the Oil should be all over it. Solid 2 way player that can get you 25 goals and play all 3 forward positions on any of the top 3 lines. Consolation prize: Barker

    Volchenkov – UFA this summer that would give us that physical, shot blocking Dman in his prime.

    Willie Mitchell – Consolation prize to Volchenkov. Could be a good vetran Dman to replace Staios.

    Bobby Ryan – Long shot, but rumours are that he and the Ducks are having troubles with his contract extension. If true, the Oilers should have Gagner+ on the table.

    Horton – having a big season might have brought him off the market, but theirs been trade rumblings he wasn't happy in Florida.

    Spezza – Lower on my list, but he's had a rough season and Ott may wish to have a clean break from the former Spezza/Heatly duo. If something could be worked around Horc+Cogs+prospect…

    Move some vets off the current roster add one of the above + Hall + some roll players like Travis Moen on the cheap this summer and the Oil will be on there way.

    • swany

      But isn't this the opposite of what RB is taking about, We have enough guys comming up to make room for and if this is a total rebuild going after guys like Hartnell, Mitchell, Spezza are backwards steps, but the other guys yes it should be looked at all young guys that could fit right in

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        I don't think we need the full blow up. With a horribly unbalanced line-up, it's still a bubble team when healthy.

        I think the ground work has already been laid for "young talent" Gagner/MSP/Eberle and with the hopefull addition of Hall could go head to head with any teams 20 and under forwards. We also lucked out with Brule stealing what looks like the equivalent of another top 10 pick.

        Add Sharp or Hartnell + 2 legit 3rd line forwards in their prime with size while subtracting O'sully+Cogs and 2 out of Moreau/Stone/JFJ/Stortini and one of Gilbert/Grebs with a legit top pairing physical dman and this team could go toe to toe with any team outside of the elite 4-6.

    • Patience people on Gagner…if we trade Gagner we are going to regret it…

      You can see the skill in his game…build around this guy don't include him in trades for guys like Bobby Ryan…holy crap man

      I like going after Horton if he can be had, same with Sharp and Hartnell…I'd also like to add Jeff Carter to that list as he has been rumoured to possible be available

        • Yes I know who Bobby Ryan is and I'm not trading Gagner to get him let alone Gagner + something. I don't mind adding Bobby Ryan but not at that cost.

          I also know that he turns 23 in March and playing in Anaheim much of the time with Getzlaf and Perry and his numbers aren't much better than Gagner's who isn't playing with Getzlaf and Perry..

          Look at Gagner's numbers the short time he was playing alongside Hemsky and Penner

          I reiterate…if the Oil trade Gagner…they WILL regret it

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Like I said I wouldn't mind having Bobby Ryan but not for Gagner…

            Why don't you explain it to me because I'm not getting what you are saying about Ryan. He has 97 points in the NHL at age 23…Gagner is ahead of him and is 3 yrs younger. Plus Ryan plays with Getzlaf and Perry.

            I would bet that Gagners numbers at age 23 in 3 yrs will be better than what Ryan is putting up now.

            So what am I missing?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            ….you're comparing a guy that's played +/- a hundred games in the NHL TOTAL numbers against a guy that's played almost 200 total games….

            Ryan was at almost a PPG average last year, Gagner hasn't even been .7

            More importantly Ryan is a goal score. He scored at a 40 goal pace as a rookie. He's scored at a 37 goal pace this year.

            He played less then half his 5 on 5 production with Perry/Getzlaf.

          • Yes I am and Gagner has done this at age 20..Ryan didn't crack an NHL lineup until last year…if you want to compare apples to apples look at Gagners numbers after he turns age 22 as that is the age that your Bobby Ryan has put these numbers up.

            Ryan is also another big body who brings very little grit to his game. He has also played on a better hockey team the last 2 yrs.

            This plays a factor in the numbers, no?

            Ryan is basically one year away from reaching his prime (between age 24 and 30)

            Again you still aren't convincing me we should give up Gagner + to obtain Ryan.

            Ryan is not worth Gagner

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            He partially didn't crack because of cap reasons, also theirs a general consensus that power forwards take longer.

            The Ducks team is also crap this year, in fact they've scored less goals then the Oilers have. (and barely outscored them this year)

            Interesting note: Their are as many or more players who have seen their numbers stay flat or go down once traded to Pits (to play with Crosby) as their are who's #'s go up. I would suggest that works the same with whomever rides shotgun with Getzlaf.

    • GSC

      Is that you, TambLowe?

      Chasing the "big fish" only lands the Oilers in deep water with nothing to show for it. Excuse the metaphor, but IMO that's one of the biggest self-inflicted wounds that the organization has brought upon itself.

      Volchenkov or Mitchell would be a nice veteran shutdown defenceman, but at what price? If Mattias Ohlund went for $3.6 MIL to Tampa, what is the going rate for one of those two (and both are better than Ohlund)? The idea of a Ryan or Horton is sexy, but again, at what price?

      I say it's time the organization got smart with its spending. If you're going to sign free agents, sign some prime-aged/veteran players who give you bang for the buck, value depth players that the organization sorely lacks. Overspending on UFA's is not the way to go. I'd love to see the Oilers take a Buffalo Sabres stance on those kind of contracts, sticking to developing their own talent and keeping that talent around for the long haul.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Non of those guys are "big fish" (with the exception of maybe Spezza)

        Their proven, quality NHL'ers in the prime of their careers, that are either on teams that either have to make a move, or are likely to want a shake-up.

        • GSC

          Given the salary they might command, they're considered "Big Fish". Ryan would mean an offer sheet, which has to be a no-no at this stage. Horton makes $4 MIL, fair enough he's probably worth it…but what is the asking price? All things to consider right now.

          Hey, I'd love to acquire some of those players (namely Volchenkov), but for a team that's rebuilding you can't go out and throw money at free agents. Lowe did that already, remember? Look at what happened…

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            You don't need to offer sheet Ryan, you can trade for him. I would imagine he would command something in the 5 – 6 million range…and at 22 after scoring at a 40 goal pace as a rookie and a 37 goal pace thus far this year (at 6-1 210lbs to boot) he'd be well worth it.

            Volchenkov would likely cost you 4 – 4.5 on the open market (assuming he gets there) Mitchell probably 3.25 – 3.75. If Gilbert/Grebs are moved, both would be well worth the $$.

            The rest are all under contract

          • GSC

            That's all well and good, but how do you move contracts like Souray, Visnovsky, Horcoff, and Gilbert?

            Before any of this can happen, salary has to be moved. House has to be cleaned. You're jumping to phase 3, and we're not even at phase 1. Remember the Underpants Gnomes, before you can get to profit (phase 3) you have to get underpants (phase 1).

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            How do we move them? Google search NHL transactions, big contracts are moved every year.

            They wont all go, but 1 for sure, probably 2 would be relatively easy to move.

      • Hemmertime

        Neither Mitchell or Volchenkov are better than Ohlund. Granted Id rather have Mitchell on our current team than Ohlund but overall Ohlund is a much better rounded D man

  • An important thing to remember is that the Oilers arent starting their youth movement with a lottery pick this season. The Oilers have some good young players on the NHL roster right now in guys like Brule, Gagner, and Cogs. They also have a group of 3-4 even younger guys playing over-seas and in the CHL that make up the bulk of the next group that should battle for jobs NEXT season in guys like MPS, Omark, and most importantly Eberle who is the best player in the CHL (better than Hall as of right now by the way). The lottery pick the Oilers are on pace to receive would only be adding to the stable of youth that is heading to Oil country.

    This isnt the starting point, this might be looked back as the point where the Oilers pushed their rebuild into overdrive. Face it. The Oilers are rebuilding whether they want to or not. Key roles are already being filled by unproven young players. Why not make it official and shed some salary while we're at it? The ground work of good drafting APPEARS to have been done already.

    • Also totally agree with this…it doesn't have to take 3 to 5 yrs to compete again…look at Colorado after adding Duchene..

      Taylor Hall could make an immediate positive impact on this team next season along with Gagner another year older, Brule, Hemsky, Penner, Eberle, Svensson.

      Then if assets such as Souray, POS, Cogs, Moreau, Staios, Gilbert, Gregs and picks can be used to add something of note we can be a competitive team, maybe even a playoff team next season. It would all depend on the impact of Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin, Eberle and Svensson.

      Add a Seabrook or Barker and a forward such as Sharp or Hartnell or Jeff Carter, maybe sign some grit such as Armstrong and/or Tootoo and it doesn't really look all that bad.

      Penner Hall Hemsky
      Sharp/Hartnell Gagner Eberle
      Svensson Horcoff Tootoo
      Jacques Armstrong Stortini

      Barker Vishnovsky
      Smid Gilbert/Grebs (whichever one we don't trade)
      Chorney Peckham

      If we're lucky maybe we can actually sign a Hamhuis

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I personally think Katz is getting his hands dirty himself. The 'If I'm Katz' points means nothing to me cause I think he is pulling some strings. I'm not saying Lowe is any better, but I think Lowe is poisoning Katz' mind. Katz is the king from Lord of the rings, and Lowe is Snick. Snick has poisoned the kings mind and someone needs to break the Lowe-mind control curse on Katz. We need a Gandalf.

  • Been saying the same things as the original post for a while now. I think more and more people are starting to see the need for it. I'm sure even the players are seeing it as well too, and that probably helps the "DFF" cause in a way. Not to say that they're intentionally tanking, but similar to last year, last place is probably really weighing on these guys and dragging many of the players down.

    As I said, I've been a fan of a re-build and tanking for tyler/taylor, however I too don't see those players as the cure all. We're 12 points out though, so the way I see it, the team might as well try and clean this mess up and grab a good player in the process. At this point, I see no reason to salvage dignity and make a push up the standings when in all likelihood it will result in maybe 9th or 10th place at best.

    There are several mid-range contracts – Nilsson, Pisani, Moreau, Staios, O'Sullivan – that should be moved or waived (exclusion: Pisani, as his comes off at the end of the year). There should be no excuse for these guys lingering around another year.

    Horcoff's contract will be near impossible to move, but if Tambellini pulls it off, I'll completely forgive him for making the second worst signing in Oiler history (signing a 35+-year old, to a 4-year contract – although I do like Khabi for 1 or 2 years).

    The Oilers have a big opportunity to start the 2010-11 season very fresh and on a higher note than they did this year. And maybe this time around Tambellini will stop chasing after the big names and listen to those of us that suggested a Betts/Malhotra type player, a shutdown/bruising d-man, and a goaltender who is still in his prime.

    edit: oh yah, one thing to add.. this isn't a complete re-build, the way I see it. We have several "core" players here. We just need to dump some dead weight and sign some CHEAPER complementary players, and move a couple/few of the small skilled guys.

  • Arby

    "Then, I call a news conference to tell fans exactly that."

    I honestly think this part is the key. I think the worst part about this whole mess for me personally, is the glaring lack of direction shown from the management over the last 4 full seasons. I will happily extract what little joy I can out of the remaining games, if they just outline a plan, and assure me it will be followed through to fruition. I'm not looking for a timeframe, I don't even need to know all the details!

    Just show me (not to mention your younger players, prospects and potential free agents)an effin plan is in place. Thanks

      • I'd share that opinion, yes.

        That's why I don't think Gagner (or any NHLer on their roster for that matter) is untouchable. Its rather simple. If Gagner can get you a young player of similar offensive skill set (more of a scorer though) that is a better fit, then you do it. It's not like you're saying they should actively be trying to rid themselves of him, but if there's a deal out there that makes sense, well, like Ted Dibiase used to say… "Everybody's got a price! HaHaHaHaHaHa". Same goes for Cogliano, or any other player (ie: Dubinsky for Cogliano).

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        I wouldn't put too much stock in RossCreek's opinion of players. After all, it landed him lower than me in the draft as of today.

        254. RossCreek Renegades 493 -43

        216. Team Discovery Channel 497 -39

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F


          Ryan may be slightly better than Gagner at this point and that's debatable. If Ryan was playing here would he have those numbers? Ummm, I doubt it.

          Gagner will pay much bigger dividends in the years to come than Bobby Ryan will IMO.

          Trade for Bobby Ryan? maybe…but not at that price

          • Str8 up, I'd make it. Isn't Hemsky some kind of incredible playmaker looking for a goalscorer to feed (next season)? Ryan should be able to manage 35-40 easily then, no? No one's selling Gagner short here, he's a decent player. But Bobby Ryan is a better fit IMO.

          • swany

            Fair enough we agree to disagree and I'm quite sure Gagner will prove me right when he reaches the age Ryan is now.

            Hemsky should soon have guys like Hall, Eberle and Svensson to feed…maybe even Sharp

            Ryan might be a better fit at this very moment but going forward, I don't think so…

            If I can get Ryan in a trade without including Gagner then I welcome it.

  • Would Slats have an interest in Ethan Moreau? Afterall, it was he who brought him here. All the Oil would have to do is take Chris Higgins back IMO. He's a UFA at season's end, and the cap hits are basically a wash.

  • I agree on all points… except Vishnosky.

    Besides a few lapses recently, he has been everything we could ask of him. If one good defenceman could win a game, he would have done that for us a few times.

    He makes the right decision most of the time, and can skate/stick his way out of most trouble. Expensive? Yes. Effective? Yes.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I would look at getting bigger, adding faceoff prowess, and creating a better balance.

    I would do everything in my power to get rid of Horcoff's contract.

    I would chase D. Steckel and Z. Konopka for my 3rd and 4th line centers. Both big bodies with 60%+ faceoff percentages.

    I would start the AHL season with Eberle, Svennson, Lander and Omark in my top 6. Let them get used to each other and bring them up as needed between next years trade deadline and the beginning of the 11-12 season.

    I would build my defense around Visonovsky and Smid.. Try and move Souray for Clowe or something like that. They'll need to replace Blake soon.

    Gilbert and Grebeshkov would both be on the block, Smid needs a new contract, and there is no way we let him go.

    Chase A. Sutton in the summer to replace Souray's presence.

    Moreau and Staois go.

    O'Sullivan goes.

    Cogliano and/or Gagner are shopped for bigger players. Horton/Carter/Stafford etc. Even if we have to add something in some cases.

    Hope for Taylor Hall.


    • swany

      Eberle won't play in the AHL he's that good, Bob just said that all the experts say he's the best offensive talent at the JC better than Hall. As for Omark he won't play in the A either he has said he will come over and try out if he makes the Oil great if not then he wants to go back to the KHL. everyone else maybe but i would bet MPS has a great shot at making the big club. He's a great skater and can really shoot

    • Cleetis

      Hey RC, or anyone who listened,

      What were the coles notes of that caonversation? I didn't get a chance to listen, but did anything enlightening come out of it?

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        Horcoff was a great interview…he understands about the situation with the best player and goalie being out but mentioned how a players career is short and how they always want to win and try to get in the playoffs. He praised the fans of Edmonton for being knowledgable and said Rexall is the best place to play during the playoffs…he understands why the fans are down on the team right now and him in general but talked about how this is one of the great things about the fans here. That they are passionate and know the game. He understands the frustration and mentioned that the passion of the fans during the bad times is equally passionate in a good way during the good times and that's why it's a great place to play….

        He was definitely classy all the way and I'm one who believes he should be our 3rd line center

  • swany

    I would keep Gagner he is only 20, but we must move a couple small guys at least. I would try and move Cogs, Nilsson(after how he's played there must be a market for him now) and PattyO. I keep Brule and Gagner adding to them Eberle, MPS, and Omark that's alot of skill on the small side then try and move Souray for picks prospect, and move one of Gilbert, Grebs, Grebs being easier to move because his contract is done at the end of the season. the no brainers are Moreau, and Steve. Keep JFJ, Storts for the bottom six and add from there. If we get into the bottom 5 how big is Taylor Hall? My top six next year are Penner, Gagner, Hemmer MPS, Horc, Eberle, and if you can move Horc (next to impossible) put Hall into the middle Then have Brule centre the third line with JFJ Potulny (he's a keeper can replace Pies) fouth line of Storts, (a good faceoff guy and PK'er) Stone. On D Vis, Smid, Gilbert, Chorney, Pecham and a big shut down guy.

      • swany

        Thanks he should hit 200-210lbs over the next couple year he would fit in at centre. If we go this way it would be nice to have the kids come up and grow together.

          • swany

            I'm NOT comparing the old days with now but when we first got a team, Sather let the kids play and grow togwther if we want to build a winner it just makes sense to let these guys play and grow up together 2 years from now they will know where each other are before the other guy knows a pass is comming, and this is what i'm talking about having a plan. If the plan is to have Eberle, Omark, MPS, Gagner Penner, Hemmer, Brule, Hall(Hopefully) all play together start next year and do it. Make the trades you can and start this as soon as next year bring the guys up you know can play here and let them play. If the Pats don't make the playoffs can Eberle come up and play here?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            That's because Sather had multiple hall of fame talents. This group of prospects/young players will be lucky to yield 1/2 regular all-stars.

          • swany

            To build chemistry you don't need hall of famers. What I'm saying is let them play together so we don't have 10 foot passes that are missed. This is not the old Oilers but no team is, it was a refrence to the old days on how to let the kids play, by no means did i try to say the Oilers now could be the Oilers past never will be. If you totaly go rebuild I think the only way this team ever wins is if they learn from each other they can't mix in guys that will be gone a year or 2 from now They should play the guys they have marked for this team long term and get rid of the rest.

          • swany

            If what we are talking about is a full rebuild we should have little turn over for the next 4 years. Plus the guys I'm talking about will be 8-10 guys that will make up the core of forwards most of them will be cheap to keep around as well. Look at the Avs do you really think they will have alot of turn over they did it last year they might add next year but it will only be 1 or 2 tweeks. If the Oil go with Penner, Hemmer Eberle, MPS Omark Brule, Gagner, Hall? as the core there won't be a big turn over they should be able to play together for the next 4 years easily.

          • swany

            Hey Swany just wanted to reply to something you asked earlier…yes once the Pats get knocked out of the playoffs and their season is over Eberle can come here if he is under contract.

          • swany

            Great that should be the first thing they do bring him up for 10 games ans see what he's got up here, isn't he under contract or was that just on a try out contract last year.

          • swany

            You have absolutely NO way of knowing this…why would you say it?

            Hemsky already is…why can't Eberle, Hall, MPS, Gagner possibly become stars? or more….

            It's not a given they won't

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I don't believe Hemsky has ever been to an Allstar game.

            It's called reality, the odds of all 4 of those guys becoming "stars" is next to nill.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            People have it in their heads that just because something can happen, it's not only possible, but likely. That's why people buy lottery tickets, and it's the only reason why I touch Sport Select.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            The whole prospect thing (and their expectations) always irks me. Check back to the mock line-ups people were drawing up 5 years ago.

            Stoll Torres Brewer Schremp MAP Trukno Miknov Goulet

            Were supposed to lead us to the promis land.

            Each draft year theirs roughly 20 – 30 guys that have an NHL career of 300-400 games or better, half of those 20 – 30 are are picked in the first round.

            In other words for every 25 guys drafted in the 2nd round or lately, typically one has a career. How many "stars" would you say their is league wide? 50? 60? And were are supposed to have 4 waiting in the weeds?

          • swany

            You are right but this year we are talking about the 1st or second pick overall, people are comparing Hall with Stamkos I would take that right now. MPS is already playing pro Eberle is the best talent in the WJHC and adding Hall to to this mix looks good.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            You can run the same modle over the 09/10 version of the Oilers. Lots of talk of competing, new coaching, new system, new attitude.

            … it's still a bubble roster. Take away the best forward and the goalie and it's a lotto roster.

            Yet you see dozens of angry posts like people are suprised where the team sits right now?

          • Chris.

            As Stauffer said today…take away most teams best player and number one goalie and you would be looking at a bad hockey team.

            How about Calgary without Iginla and Kiprusoff

            Or Vancouver without Luongo and one of the Sedins

            Jersey without Brodeur and Parise

            Buffalo without Miller and Vanek

            Etc…i think you'll find most teams struggle to make playoffs without their best player and goalie

          • Chris.

            Did these teams go on seven game losing streaks? Did these teams drop to 29th? I'm tired of excuses… and Stauffer must have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. It must suck to be the mouthpiece of an organization that will pay out over $60M to finish dead last in the west.

          • No these teams didn't lose their best player and goaltender or they may have 7 game losing streaks…instead of being on the cusp of slitting your wrists look at this opportunity of the team missing their best player and goalie as a chance to get a coveted top 2 pick. The fact that we are as bad as we are without Hemsky and Khabby should be a clear indication to everyone just how important and good those 2 are.

          • Important yes but at least as far as Khabby is concerned it is indicative of the boneheaded GM moves that have been made by this organization. Khabby's injury highlights how ludicrous signing him to a 4 year deal was. Remember that this is year one and he's already broken down.

            Hemmer is great but I'd be beating the drum and saying that Penner 2.0 (the slightly less fat and considerably more motivated version) is the best player on this squad by a goodly margin even if Hemsky was healthy.

          • I like Penner and always have right from year one when he lead our team in goal scoring…I never understood the mass distaste for him and I agree he's having a great year but make no mistake about it….Hemsky is this teams best player

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            How could you not understand the mass distaste for him? The fact that people called him a lazy pile last year was largely due to the fact that he was a lazy pile last year.

          • GSC

            Not really interested in another long Penner discussion but it's been well documented the success of the Oilers over the last 3 yrs when Dustin Penner is on the ice…

            Near as I can figure and my take is that MacT didn't like his easy going laid back personality and decided to rag on him and then many of you decided to get on board….I do think maybe he could have performed at a bit of a higher level last year but given his treatment by the coach and the free ride the coach gave to his fav's who weren't performing (ie: Horcoff, Moreau) I could see how he may have been discouraged and his confidence was shot. But even given this fact and the fact that under MacT last year Penner was 7th amongst forwards in even strength and PP ice time he still managed 17 goals and was the teams top +/- forward. In his first year here he lead the team in goal scoring yet everyone decided to crap on him…I could never figure this out when there were so many more qualified players that should have been receiving this treatment.

          • Chris.

            You're so far off it's funny.
            If you want to rag on people for issuing free passes to the Oilers front office when it comes to criticism, then set your sights on the beat writers, columnists and TV and radio reporters who don't say boo, not the fartcatchers.

            I can tell you this without any doubt because I travelled around the NHL a long, long time and I'm not guessing — Stauffer is more critical of the Oilers than any broadcaster for a rightsholder I have ever heard.

            Stauffer might not be ranting and raving to the degree you might want, or to the same level he did on Total Sports, but he's way more honest in assessing and commenting on the team that pays his salary than any colour guy in the NHL. That's a fact.
            Framing what he said today with the injury factor isn't letting the Oilers off the hook. That's as case of you being pissed off and only hearing what you want to hear.

            It's up to the columnists in town to kick some ass, but until Dan Barnes took his run today that piece hadn't been written by anybody with any juice.

          • On a side note…

            Just curious (if its none of my bee's wax, just tell me so), what your relationship with other writer's in town? Barnes in particular I guess. If I'm not mistaken, you guys were competitors at one point in the paper wars (you may have touched on this on Just A Game a few months back).

          • GSC

            as much as I believe DFF it'g good in the long-term, I can help asking you this:

            what on earth happened to the team that won 5 in a row? what changed between 5 wins and 7 losses?

            or was 5 in a row just a fluke? 'cause I do remember hard work, come-from-behind, hang-on-to-the-lead….

            do we have any indication what changed in that locker room so dramatically?

            my bet is on recent thecaptainethammoreau's comments in the media…

            so, for what's worth, i'd consider gutting this team for a total re-build AFTER i change the leadership and see what that does.

          • Chris.

            You misunderstood my take. I believe that though Stauffer is glad he works for the Oilers, he would probably be having more fun if he were still ranting on Total sports… At least this season.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Hmmmm don't see anywhere in any posting people saying we are winning the cup…or that we have certain expectations…

            We have some prospects that are making their marks and are hopeful that it will translate into a good team sooner rather than later ala Colorado with Mat Duchene

            I don't see too many hanging their hats on Omark, mostly hoping to get a top 2 pick this year along with Eberle, MPS and Gagner

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I'm not and I don't think most are saying it's likely, where does it say that. OOB talks like he knows already that it won't happen.

            Why can't we have 4 waiting in the weeds? Who is to say it can't happen and yes Hemsky has been this teams best player and only star for quite a few years now despite OOB's way of deciding he's not a star.

            Is it not possible for Eberle, MPS and Taylor Hall to become stars?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I know every year their are dozens of hyped prospects that fail.

            I know that some years the draft class will yield better results then others, but over a 3-4 year period the results always come back to average.

            Anything is possible, I'll side with the most likely outcome vs the least likely outcome.

  • Bucknuck

    If we could play dumb and dumber for a moment how about trading unmoveables for unmoveables with Philadelphia.

    Horcoff, Cogs,Khabibulin,Moreau and a D man or a variation thereof to the flyers for Briere, Gagne, Carcillo, Emery or a variation of and a bag of pucks. Something that makes sense financially…….atleast change the curtains on the outhouse will ya.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I concur! It sucks but lets just tank the season get a high draft pic get rid of our terrible defence not including Vishnofski, Maybe Get rid of Kevin Lowe this is all his doing anyway! Food for thought maybe. But what do I know I am just an Oilers fan in hard times.

  • Hemmertime

    All the comments and even RB saying move Visnovsky… doesnt make sense to me unless we are getting a great return. Dumping Souray or Gilbert, fine. But Vis is signed through 3 more years and will allow our kids to grow and cover their mistakes. If we want 2-3 years of lottery picks, by all means, trade him. If we want to be decent after next season we keep him. Grebeshkov has youth but he will NEVER be what Visnovsky is.

    • GSC

      I have to agree…if you're going to keep someone around to show the youngsters how it's done, Lubo would be it.

      Sheldon would be nice, too, but at this point he's trade bait. I still would rather see Staios, Gilbert, and Grebs replaced with a veteran shutdown man, Chorney, and maybe Peckham than to continue with the current D corps.

  • Hemmertime

    "I said a week or so ago my philosophy for the DFF is that landing a 2010 draft lottery pick should be considered an aside to a proper rebuild, not the focus of it. I'm sticking by that because I don't believe a Taylor Hall or a Tyler Seguin is the cure-all for the Oilers, even if it is a start."

    it would suck to get that #1 pick and find out hes a flop, patrick steffan anyone? i agree with the above statement but it is a start. im not big on giving up on o'sullivan just yet but even im getting a little choked with his lack of interest. untill they wake up and get rid of horcoff which would take a miracle, this team isn't going any where, hes not a first or second line centremen on any other team so i think it would take quite a bit to get rid of him. i would call getting rid of horcoff a "good start" and going from there…

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      You should check out the 2nd line centers around the league. I'd be Horc would step in as the 2nd line center on more then half of them.

      • Chaz

        but for the amount of money he makes? im sure he could do alright on another team but i don't know to many gm's who are willing to pay 7 mil or whatever it is hes due to make for a "second" line centre for the next 2-3 years. i don't know, i'm just not sold on the guy myself, never really have been. if he was 2/3 line centre and making considerablly less, maybe 2-3million range(which i could justify for him) i don't think people and sports writers would be bringing his name up in these blogs/articles/etc. i don't know, oilers should do sumthin though

        • Second line centers cost more than 2-3 million.

          They generally seem to fall in 2 categories.

          1. Young players who are not well paid but will get raises soon. ie. Duchene

          2. 3.5-5.5 million dollar players. This is the most common pay bracket for 2nd line centers. Usually the better teams are right around 5 million. ie. Mike Ribeiro

          There are a few outliers who play on really bad teams and don't fit either category, but the above seems to be the norm.

          At 5.5 Horcoff would be on the top end of the 2nd line pay scale, but not out of range, and likely his numbers would get a whole lot better playing on a good teams second line.

          • BarryS

            ya if he played on another teams second line, im sure he would do good, not great but good, even 5.5 seems much for this guy but if he produced…money well spent, but not in e-town, just don't see it happening here and i think people are starting to see that

    • swany

      He's already playing pro , don't see him going to the WHL for sure but the A is an option, but then again he might want to be on the big club or go back and play pro over there.

  • Bar Qu

    Great article. Good to hear a few more voices realising how bad this team is, even with injuries factored in.

    The one thing I would argue with, is that the drafting side of things has been really good the last few years. Leave them alone to do their thing and keep doing it well.

    Trading everyone who can be for whatever you get (bag of pucks included) is imperative. Everything else hockey operations needs to go up in a January Christmas tree bonfire.

    • swany

      Like I said before if it's a full rebuild you trade away everything that's NOT in the plans 3 or 4 years from now, again look at the Avs they traded away guys that weren't part of the rebuild ie Smitty, Lappy. We may suck next year to but the dividends from this could build a team that's in the top 4 for 5 or 6 years.

  • Chris.

    Why do I keep hearing about Linus Omark? Do the fans of this organization really need to pin their hopes on an extremely small, one dimensional, "EuroShremp" that's scoring at a mere 0.7 ppg pace in the KHL? Do you really expect him to arrive in Edmonton and put up more than 40 points without being a total defensive liability? Isn't this the same Linus that is refusing to learn the North American game in the AHL? ~Yeah. He's someone I've got slotted in my top six moving forward.~

  • The Menace wrote:

    I also read Tencer's report about Comrie's "twirl". Umm, I'm not sure what's going on with MC anymore. a twirl? Sounds a bit faniciful to me. I wonder if he put on his Oilers' "silks" before taking his "twirl"?

    Maybe that was just Dan's influence poking through.

    Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

    He should be tickling the twine in no time.


  • Perhaps Omark has some value in a trade. They could use him to 'top up' a deal. I don't imagine his value would be all that high, but who knows.

    I'd see if Detroit was interested in him. If so, I'd keep him. If not, see ya Linus.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    this "rebuild" idea should have happened immediately after Pronger left – but the Butt Faced Fans of the city took 3 SEASONS to start to stomach that the roster was garbage. Kevin Lowe just tried to appease the fools of Bread and Circus with the Penner signing and these last attempts at high end UFA's. the UFA's were smarter than the fans and said "F-OFF Edmonton. you think im getting tricked into your piranha bowl with 23 fish that holds about 2?"

    Penner, Lubo and Hemsky are the only players on the list that dont get looked at as trade bait. sorry, Gagner blows. 20 or not, hes never growing anymore and hes not going to gain much speed. he cant do anything on the ice against NHL defense unless hes picking up vulture points. Potulny is always going to be a borderline AHLer. he has no pressure to perform right now. same old Oiler cycle of inflated points when the pressure is gone. same formula with the kid line.

    everyone else on your list is trade bait under the right price. Brule is questionable because of the season – but again – under the right deal, hes gone.

    and to think, this whole time it was "coaching" that was f-ing everything up.

    and the comment about Quinn turning to GM is so hilarious its not even funny. who didnt see this coming? we hire 9 coaches, name one some goofy title and then hope a near 70-year old man wants to yell at Nintendo Generation dick heads for 82 games a year? half of them he didnt even seem interested in learning their names before he was hired. "yeah ill take the job. who is this Hamsky guy? he plays center i guess. who cares. just let me yell for a while and then put me in charge."

    MacTavish part II with Renney will really woo the fans over during this "rebuild". prepare for Oilers hockey of the late 90s and 2000s to come whop your socks off in a possible new Arena for a poopy team.

    ill predict right now, if they Oilers admit to a rebuild right NOW – the turnover will be 4 years or OVER before the playoffs are seen again.


    • and the comment about Quinn turning to GM is so hilarious its not even funny. who didnt see this coming? we hire 9 coaches, name one some goofy title and then hope a near 70-year old man wants to yell at Nintendo Generation dick heads for 82 games a year? half of them he didnt even seem interested in learning their names before he was hired. "yeah ill take the job. who is this Hamsky guy? he plays center i guess. who cares. just let me yell for a while and then put me in charge."

      True or not, thats one funny a$$ rant. LOL

      • swany

        Don't think anyone is rating any prospect…we are looking at what they are doing in development and are hopeful that they bring the hope to the big club. As well we are looking at many of the 1st overall picks in the league and are hopeful that it could be a huge piece in helping the team be competitive sooner rather than later if we were to land a 1st overall.

        • Chris.

          C'mon Crash. Rating… overvaluing… whatever. Mowzie and Swany have Omark in next season's top six. Chorney is being bandied around here as a regular starting defender next season even though he's a minus 54 in less than a hundred games since turning pro. I argued with people last offseason until I had carpal tunnel sydrom that were convinced that Cogliano was on the cusp of being a thirty goal scorer. The Falcons have lost 15 in a row. Magnas WTF Svensson has just nine goals in 31 games in the SEL of all places… And Taylor Hall. Sweet Taylor Hall. The new messiah should we aquire him by destroying what little respectability this franchise has left… Is Taylor Hall going to walk straight into a bad situation and singlehandedly elevate team scoring, while stemming the huge amount of turnovers? Will he fix the PK, win all the faceoffs and improve our ability to defend down low? I don't think so.

          • Where did you have Colorado slotted this year? Has Mat Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly made a difference there? Has the emergence of Wojtek Wolski not made a difference….can't the same thing happen here?

            How is John Tavares doing this year? Seems to me he's leading all rookies in scoring. Couldn't Taylor Hall do that?

            Is it possible that having Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Svensson here next year could make a difference?

            Why not? Is it bad to be hopeful? I don't think it takes 4 yrs to become a playoff team….although the goaltending situation could make it tougher if Khabby remains on long term injury every year.

            Since when does finishing last overall destroy respectability? This team has never done that. Washington has, would you say they have no respectability? Didn't think so…that's how you get players like Ovechkin. No one is calling Hall the Messiah other than you in your thread…just an important piece.

            Why couldn't a couple of trades be made to obtain players like Barker or Seabrook or Sharp or Hartnell or Horton or Carter or insert names here?

            Magnus Svensson is only 18 yrs old playing with men in a pretty good league on a bad team over in Sweden and I do believe he is second in scoring on his team…not bad for an 18 yr old with little help.

            Relax Chris…things aren't as bad as you may think

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        Here we go. This is what I was trying to say. I fall into the same trap every year, even with our current players. It makes it difficult to temper your expectations when you have a hard time getting an accurate idea of how good your team is.

    • Your rant works on a lot of levels — enough that I'm not going to dissect each and every argument, even though I could. And your Quinn stuff is funny. Wrong, but funny.
      Quinn is 66, not 70, and he's got a better rapport with his players than a lot of younger and supposedly more-in-touch coaches do.

      Likewise, he's got a better record of team-building than anybody who has occupied a front office seat here since Sather hit the lottery with his first three years of picks.

      As for the "Hamsky" reference, who gives a whiz? You want to hang your whole opinion of Quinn on him mis-speaking once? Some of your posts read like you're on some pretty wicked bennies, but I still recognize you've got a pretty good handle on this team. So give Quinn a break on Hemsky.

      And you're right about things taking 4-5 years, which is a timeline that will coincide with the opening of a new building. If I'm a fan, I'll take my licks for the next few years if means opening up a spanking new barn with a team that actually has a hope of being more than mediocre at best.

      • Chris.

        You wrote: "And you're right about things taking 4-5 years, which is a timeline that will coincide with the opening of a new building. If I'm a fan, I'll take my licks for the next few years if means opening up a spanking new barn with a team that actually has a hope of being more than mediocre at best."

        Unless people like me pay to watch crappy hockey for four more seasons only to be squeezed out of the picture by exhorbitent seat license fees. (Oilers still have not denied this persistant rumor… a rumor that is starting to grow legs) Is it the Katz vision to hand a shiney new downtown building complete with a shiney new team over to the corporations? I can't write off fees… and neither can many of the small fish like me who helped keep hockey in Edmonton through the 90's.

      • Chris.


        I agree that a proper re-build would take, perhaps, as long as 5 years, but do you really think Oilers' fans would tolerate this duration?

        It seems to me that this town puts so much pressure on the organization each year to have a winner, that the Oil would be forced into making quicker moves to give the illusion of being closer to success than we actually are. Then again, I suppose that's how we got into this mess to begin with, taking the quick, appease the fans fix of signing Pisani, Horcoff, Penner, et. al, instead of rebuilding slowly and properly.

        • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

          Fans can either tolerate it — assuming there's an actual plan to do a rebuild properly and team management lays its cards on the table — or they can shut the hell up about always having a mediocre team.

        • GSC

          A little history lesson from the American Civil War is in order for those who feel that the fans are the problem…

          If Abraham Lincoln would have caved to the demands of the numerous Northern dissenters during the war, you would probably be looking at an entirely different map of the United States today (both geographically and demographically). Instead, Lincoln understood that conceding defeat to the South meant the destruction of a nation and continued injustice as a result. Had he listened to the Northern populace, the Confederacy would have won and emancipation would have not occurred. Considering how long it took the US to desegregate the South, that's not a wild claim.

          The same can be said for General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy. One theory (and I tend to agree with it) is that after two years of defensive warfare fought mainly in Virginia, and despite several great Confederate victories, the Southern populace and several influential men in their government demanded a decisive, offensive victory from Lee's army. They were tired of fighting in their own backyard, feeling like Lee and the Rebel army had to take the fight to the North.

          Feeling the pressure, Lee marched his army across the Potomac Maryland in the summer of 1863 hoping to secure their support (MD was neutral), and then into Pennsylvania where he met the Union front at Gettysburg on July 1. Despite a decided tactical disadvantage before the battle even began (the Union held the high ground), Lee pushed his army into the heart of the Union corps, hoping his soldiers would find a way. He did this because he felt that this would be decisive blow that the Confederacy craved. Against conventional wisdom, the battle commenced. By July 4, Lee's army was in retreat back to the Potomac, and the Union found new life after the first two years of the war brought them to their knees.

          The point is simple: those who are smart enough to stick to conventional wisdom rather than listening to public opinion usually come out victorious in the end. If Kevin Lowe caved to pressure from the EIG and the fans, then shame on him for not knowing better. That goes for Tambellini, or any executive for that matter, who fears the fallout from a rebuild might piss off the fanbase.

          • GSC

            No need to apologize, that's what makes history great. Always a wide range of theories.

            Sure, Abe did buck conventional wisdom to a degree in advocating freedom for the slaves. At the same time, however, Lincoln did so because he needed something to bring the Union together for a common cause against the South. By the time he was elected in 1860, everyone saw the writing on the wall. Secession was imminent. Not to mention, the train was set in motion for emancipation during the war long before the proclamation actually came to pass, thanks to several congressional orders for the Union army to protect fleeing slaves, etc. A lot of it occurred before Lincoln could actually put pen to paper.

            Again, just one theory but a pretty good one in my book.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            I apologized because I largely agree with what you wrote, and I didn't want to come across as confrontational.

            I definitely agree that conventional wisdom is often the way to go. This is why people stop at stop signs – because there's usually a good reason for it being there.

            Every once in awhile, though, there are revolutionary thinkers that challenge conventional wisdom. Sometimes they're right and they change the world (see Galileo's Dialogo), but sometimes they're the street corner preacher slurring something about the end being nigh.

            People tend to assume they fall in the former category rather than the latter. This is the reason why I lose in hockey pool every year – I picked Columbus to beat Detroit in the first round of the playoffs, because I'd be way ahead of everyone that loaded up on Detroit if the Jackets actually pulled it off.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    crash wrote:

    Hmmmm don't see anywhere in any posting people saying we are winning the cup…or that we have certain expectations…

    How soon we forget. Take a look in the article archives to about August. How many people were expecting a cup run out of this team?

    It was the same story last year.

    @ Original Ogden Brother:

    These passionate fans that Horcoff was talking about aren't interested in what's rational. That's all I'm saying.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I think most fans are interested in a top 2 pick, that sounds pretty rational to me…

      I'm not going back to read August postings but I can't imagine a vast majority expecting a cup run…

  • I'd suggest their recent draft record looks ok. How long has Stu MacGregor been in calling the shots at the draft. It appears perhaps he's one guy the organization should hold on to? Just a thought.

    (KP should go in my books.)

  • There's no sense hoping for a Low-firing, when all that would do is avenge for prior crimes, such as being able to keep the Oilers afloat in a non-cap era.

    Hitting Tambo with a pink slip would at least address This Year's f_cker-upper.

    Prendergast too. He's a zero.