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.

  • Now, for Katz: He promised he'd "spend to the cap every year". Well, guys he delivered. What the H_ll!! He gets double bonus points.

    Brownlee suggested he ought to clean house and hold a press conference. Not going to happen.

    If we're lucky, he might truly come out of his shell and send a text to Tencer someday that says, "Snorcoff's not going anywhere." That would prove to be the kiss of death for our shoulder-injured, lame-skating, star lobster.

    I always liked Penner, really I did.

  • I've never played defense. 5 on 5, is there some utilitarian value to having a defenseman sort of play the low-to-middle slot area and circle around a bit whilst poking his stick at just about everything?

    Or do I not quite "get" Gilbert?

    (not rhetorical)

  • TSN's Darren Dreger just listed off names we've been hearing around these parts on That's Hockey!

    Moreau, Pisani, Staios, Souray & Nilsson were all mentioned as being available.

  • @ Crash

    "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"

    Ya I agree (except those teams move from playoff locks to bubble teams without their best forward/goalie)

    That's what I'm saying though, why are people shocked about a 15th place team right now?

    • I don't think people are shocked, I do however think there are some that are really angry that not much was done going into this year.

      I do believe most of us want and have wanted since we found out Hemsky went down is a top 2 pick in this years draft.

  • RB,
    Let's get one thing straight about Stauffer, he likes to think he's critical but when has he ever acknowledged Lowe's ineptitude? MacT was an easy target & wouldn't ever hurt his chances of landing that plum Oiler's gig. I'm tired of hearing (mostly from him) how he's the most critical guy but the truth is, the media here are a bunch of bootlicks who don't say boo so that's faint praise. Is Lowe going to ground him if he speaks the truth – that is, that Burke was completely right about Lowe?

    • Really? Guess again.
      Bob went after MacT because he saw him as the problem. Obviously, the problems with this team went well beyond the coach, so if Bob is guilty of anything it's of putting too much focus on the coach.

      Landing the Oilers gig? The Oilers came to Bob, not the other way around. He never tempered or shaped his criticism of Lowe or anybody else based on the hope he'd one day land a job with the team. That's a bogus accusation.

      Is Lowe going to ground him? You're going to take on Stauffer because he's not leading the charge to have the president of hockey operations for the team that pays his salary fired? Get real. That makes him an ass-kisser?

    • Chris.

      Also. The Oiler franchise does have more respectability than Washington. Fans older than twenty know this. Five cups, multiple hall of fame inductees, a very high playoff win percentage… What has Washington ever won? What did they ever do that was so great aside from picking Ovechkin by finishing last? The fact that so many people will scoff at what I just wrote is proof of the kind of damage recent years have done to the image of the Oilers.

      • Chris.

        How about Pittsburgh then and Detroit who really sucked back when the Oil were winning their cups? Have they no respectability?….the Oilers this year have really been decimated with injuries and sickness and are currently missing their best player and goalie…finishing last overall is much better for this team than finishing 9th or 10th in the west…no respectibility lost

        • Chris.

          We used to openly laugh at Pittsburgh as they were bottom feeders for years and years. Detroit as an original six got a free pass. Gretzky once called New Jersey a "Mickey Mouse operation". Nobody talks about the Islanders as ever being a good franchise anymore. Their four consecutive cups are forgotten. Oilers beware.

          P.S. There is nothing worse than finishing last. It's embarrassing. Good managers can improve their rosters without having to tank it. Respectable managers that is.

          • no one's laughing at Pittsburgh now and yes there is something worse than finishing last…it's finishing just out of the playoffs every year and picking somewhere between 10th and 15th every year….granted you can find some diamonds in the rough but a couple of really bad years can sure help build a winner…it's quite widely known that the best way to build a winner now is through the draft..

            Speaking of which Taylor Hall just scored a beauty his second of the game…cmon last overall

          • Chris.

            The DFF will happen whether I want it too or not. It's still not a good thing. I fully argued this point already with Ogden from comments #33 and on the Oilers vs Flames post game blogroll (one string back). Tanking for better picks is not a respectable way to build a franchise. Not a single Oiler hall of famer was picked in the top five. In thirty years the Oilers finished in the bottom five just once… and Bonsignore did nothing to help us then.

          • Chris.

            I covered my displeasure with aiming for the lottery in the Calgary Edmonton post game blogroll. Sure having Hall would be a benifit… but there are also negative consequences to finishing last also. When Lowe killed the season in 07 by moving Smyth at the deadline it marked the first time I could ever remember Oiler management clearly giving up on a season midstream… That blow to the Oiler reputation and identity did way more damage than the absence of #94. So how has that worked out so far?

          • The team is already in the basement. Now it's up to Tambi/K-Lowe to get the Oilers out of it for the long-term. The plan to retool every year has proven to be greatly flawed.

            Take a look at the situation the Oilers are in. I honestly think that this might be the only viable route to winning.

            You cant tell me to discount the success that many teams have had after drafting from the top 3. Just look at the teams that have selected in the top positions since 2003. Almost all of those teams have become dominant, many of them have gone on to play in Stanley Cup finals.

          • Chris.

            I'm not saying that being crappy to grab picks wouldn't work. I just don't like it. It's not in tune with a proud Oiler history. It should not be celebrated.

          • That proud Oiler History is getting in the way of the Oiler present. It kept MacT here several years too long, K-Lowe apparently has diplomatic immunity, and now its keeping the Oilers from admitting that they arent that good anymore.

            What shouldnt be celebrated is the constant battle to be a fringe team that the Oilers have been in since the early 90's. Al Gore hadnt even invented the Internet the last time the Oilers were a truly good team. So instead of paying 56 million to miss the playoffs the Oilers should be dumping the fringe vets and salary and acquiring the players that will actually make this club proud again.

            The fans cant will the Oilers to be good. They need the players and they need them long term. So instead of signing every 36 year old Russian with spinal issues to fat long term contracts they should be acquiring quality prospects and inexpensive role players.

          • Chris.

            We should be happy about Calgary, they kind of do the same thing every year…

            Every year media and Calgary fans alike always for some reason believe that they have this powerhouse team with the self proclaimed vaunted best defense in the NHL. I understand why their fans might but I could never figure out why the media guys do, even the ones here in Edmonton. Every year the Flames only go as far as Kiprusoff can drag them. By playoff time Kipper is burnt out and the team has managed to crawl into one of the bottom 2 playoff spots…I've never seen a more overated team year to year than the Calgary Flames. What happens next is the inevitable first round exit and a 20th or so overall draft pick…

            Does Calgary have any prospects anywhere that are a standout? Not many if any. So things may look bleak here but actually in Calgary things are much worse.

          • From HockeysFuture… NHL Organization Prospect Rankings

            21-Edmonton Oilers

            Strengths: Balance and depth with a healthy dose of scoring Swedes Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Anton Lander and Linus Omark represent a new era in Edmonton, a franchise that has historically failed to draft and develop well out of Europe. Add Finnish junior sensation Toni Rajala and SM-Liiga scorer Teemu Hartikainen and the Oilers have the best crop of Euro potential they've perhaps ever had. Sniper Jordan Eberle impressed at training camp and is poised to dominate the WHL this year. Defense appears strong with collegian Jeff Petry, AHL rookies Alex Plante and Johan Motin plus NHL bubble defender Theo Peckham. Weaknesses: The Oilers have quality netminders in Devan Dubnyk and Olivier Roy, but neither holds the sure-fire NHL starter label. While the Oilers have a few strong defense prospects, they could use more depth in this area. Edmonton did not improve themselves as much in the 2009 draft as some other teams.

            Top five prospects: 1. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW, 2. Jordan Eberle, RW, 3. Riley Nash, C, 4. Linus Omark, LW, 5. Theo Peckham, D.

            25-Calgary Flames

            Strengths: An often under-respected array of blueliners has the Flames well positioned for the future. WJC gold medal winner Keith Aulie is supported by Matt Pelech and John Negrin, who both made impressive NHL debuts in 2008-09. Newly-drafted Swede Tim Erixon was a welcome addition to an already strong prospect defense. Netminding is rarely an issue with Calgary and Leland Irving silenced most doubters with a solid year in the AHL last season to get back on track as a bona fide blue-chipper. Forward Mikael Backlund brings an offensive dynamic to the mix after finally arriving in North America midway through last year. Power forward Greg Nemisz had a strong year helping the Windsor Spitfires capture the Memorial Cup. Weaknesses: Outside of Backlund, and perhaps Mitch Wahl, Calgary's forward group could be considered blue-collar, hard-working players, but there is a definite lack of true offensive talent. Goalie Matt Keetley struggled in the AHL last year and will need a much better campaign in Abbotsford.

            Top five prospects: 1. Mikael Backlund, C, 2. Greg Nemisz, RW, 3. Keith Aulie, D, 4. Leland Irving, G, 5. Tim Erixon. D.

            The cupboard is not entirely bare in Calgary. They don't have a big-time offensive weapon coming up, but given recent performances, the Oilers should be able to be more than 4 spots ahead of the Flames. And the Oilers don't look to be so great (although a top draft pick this year should widen the margin between the two teams, as the Flames are without a 1st round pick because of *sigh* Olli Jokinen).

          • right on cue, i knew you would bite…ever notice

            Due to years of dealing draft picks for established players, GM Darryl Sutter's Calgary Flames are currently relatively light in terms of junior level prospects. That said, a number of Calgary's most promising offensive futures currently reside in the WHL and OHL. The majority of the six junior prospects currently play in the WHL, which is where the organization tends to concentrate its scouting and draft picks. Mitch Wahl and Ryan Howse are the most potent offensive weapons from the West, while Greg Nemisz and T.J. Brodie of the OHL continue to be noteworthy contributors in the East.

            Due to the Flames' dearth of high-octane forward prospects, their minor league club is once again being led in scoring by AHL veterans and fringe NHLers. Combined with a very young defensive corps, the result is a mediocre Abbotsford Heat team, placing fifth out of seven North Division clubs with 16 wins and 36 points in 34 games.

            Right from the Future Watch you seem to use as your bible.

          • I actually rarely check the site out. Just thought it'd be the easiest place to look. I never claimed for them to be as good or better than the Oil. Fact is, there should be more than 4 spots between the two clubs. How are the Heat compared to… oh say… I don't know… the Springfield Falcons?

            So… Edmonton's team is worse, their farm team is worse, and their prospect pool (sans Taylor Hall at this point) is not a whole lot better.

          • Last season's Hockey News Future Watch issue (before MPS in eTown & Tim Erixon in cTown) had the Oil pegged at 21st and the Flames at 23rd. Given where those 2 players were drafted, its safe to say the margin would be a bit wider now. Perhaps instead of a 2 spot difference, maybe a 4 spot difference? Maybe 5 or 6?

          • Relax, it's just one year of tanking. No one ever tanks games on purpose. When Hemsky and Khabby went down there was no real hope so this is for the best…

            You can't really compare how to build a team now compared to how to build a team in the 80's or 90's…everything is different…there is a salary cap now and in the 90's it was just basically the rich teams being able to buy the spare parts that were needed to push the teams over the top. Gretzky most certainly would have been a top pick but was never part of the draft. Coffey was a 6th.

            Anyway, I just hope the proper retooling is done after this season

  • Yeah at least our draft picks are lighting up the WJHC this year. MPS has three points and the goal he scored was pretty, same with one of the assists.

    And we all know about Eberle, this kid could be Canada's all time scoring leader at this tournament by the time the gold is won. If in four or five years we could be the next Chicago Blackhawks with MPS and Eberle leading the way, I'm on board. No matter what the next few years are like. I want a Stanley Cup before I die.

  • GSC

    It's been apparent for quite some time that Lowe has done an incredibly bad job. Stauffer's a smart guy – he keeps reminding everyone of his 8 years of post secondary education. Why hasn't he ever been critical of management? Lowe or Tambellini? If you're going to describe yourself as being critical of the Oilers, you can't start & stop at MacT. As you have said today, this is all on management & their ineptitude. I surely hope Katz sees this because apathy is taking hold.

  • Chris.


    With less than 16 hours until Brent Seabrook is named to the Canadian Olympic team, I decided to do some reminiscing 😉

    Good times, good times. You me & Arch… my first memorable ON fight. lol"

    Ha-ha, I've thought about that one a few times (and hoped you would have forgotten). I'll stick with one of my points from that dust up though, before last season Seabrook was considerd a minor disapointment, so I think he would have a little of the "one hit wonder" syndrom dragging down his trade value a bit at the time. he's come along way (and Cogs and Gilbert have dropped along way) making my side look rather ridiculous. :0

  • FYI (meaningless stat of the day): The Oil are batting .833 when they pick 6-8 overall

    1980-Paul Coffey, 6th
    1981-Grant Fuhr, 8th
    1993-Jason Arnott, 7th
    1994-Ryan Smyth, 6th
    1995-Steve Kelly, 6th
    2007-Sam Gagner, 6th

    EDIT: ooops, missed 1996-Boyd Deveraux, 6th

    … batting .714 when drafting 6-8. And the two flops came in back-to-back years (coincidence?).

  • Chris.

    I can't believe how almost everyone is openly embracing defeat and humiliation with a smile. None of you would be on my hockey team.

    Few people on this site are more openly critical of the entire Oiler mananagement structure, prospects, heck even game day presentation than me… But you will never ever hear me openly celebrate an Oiler loss.

  • RE: Gagner vs. Ryan

    Sure Ryan's ahead right now. Doesn't mean he will be in five years.

    Two years after he was drafted, Bobby Ryan failed to match Gagner's OHL scoring in his draft year.

    In the summer of 2008 – when Ryan was five months older than Gagner will be this summer – he had all of 23 NHL games to his credit and was a point-per-game guy in the AHL. We're not sure where Gagner's going to be, except that he'll be past NHL game #200.

    Point being that it isn't remotely fair to compare Gagner to Ryan until the end of next season – because at the end of next season, Gagner will be as far removed from his draft year as Ryan was as he finished off his first real NHL season.

    I wouldn't trade Gagner for Ryan today.

  • RE: MacTavish lost the room/was here to long.

    Given the performance of the Oilers this season, under a shiny new coach with an unimpeachable resume, is there any reason at all to believe that MacTavish needed to be fired?

    And if you cite Penner, feel free to glance at Cogliano and Gilbert.

    There was all this talk about how he'd lost the room and that an all-star coaching group like Quinn and Renney would turn things around. The fact that MacT did as well isn't just a reflection on the poorness of the roster: it's a reflection on his ability as a coach.

    That's not a pill the really rabid anti-MacT crowd will ever swallow, but I can't believe we're still arguing he needed to go. He could have taken this team to the cellar as easily as Quinn & Co. are right now.

    • Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think MacT ever had to go basically the entire season without his best player. Also IMO MacT didn't treat everyone the same..he would only single out certain guys…Quinn doesn't seem to care and doesn't play favorites…with him it doesn't matter who you are you can get called out…

      Didn't MacT have 8 yrs to mold the team into what he wanted? I think Quinn should be given some time to mold this team into his own.

      • Well, I could be wrong too but I'm pretty sure the Oilers never finished 15th in the West under MacTavish either.

        Pre salary cap, this team wasn't a contender. They moved Guerin and Weight and countless others because they couldn't afford to ice a contender. Blaming MacT for that would be wrong.

        2005-06 turned out fine, once they got goalies.

        After that, I don't think we can blame MacT either. This has been a crap team bleeding veterans since 2006-07. Sometimes by force, but more often by choice.

  • RE: Kipper's burnout.

    Courtesy of FlamesNation's Jean Lefebvre:

    During Keenan’s two years at the reins in Calgary, Kiprusoff’s cumulative regular-season numbers in October and November consisted of a 3.01 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. The corresponding figures in March and April for those two years are 2.95 and .900.

    Urban legend.

    Kiprusoff traditionally stinks to start the season, not end it. If I were a cynic, I'd say he generally plays himself into game shape but decided to keep fit this summer.

    No proof of that, of course, but at least it's possible – the idea that he fatigues is completely unsupported by the evidence.

      • You're not one of those guys that says you'd rather be out of the playoffs to begin with than getting bounced in the 1st round year in, year out. Are you? Clearly they haven't had much success, but it beats missing the playoffs each of those years instead, doesn't it?

        • No I'm one of those guys that wants a perennial top 4 team…not happy with the same ole same ole. No first round exits are as unacceptable as just missing the playoffs, maybe worse…I guess if you're in the dance you have a chance but after awhile of the same ole same ole it gets rather frustrating

          • And I am frustrated. The Flames had a run of bad luck last season. They suffered many injuries down the stretch, then had to play a Chicago team that was even better than where they finished. Had the Flames been healthy and played the Blues, I'm confident they would've won… that round. There's no way to know that for certain. And they DID lose in the 1st round. That's all that matters.


    • Who said that?
      The Avs are coming off a 69-point season. They've made a significant step forward after looking like they'd be garbage. The Oilers would be sitting pretty if they could improve by 21 points.

      What, you're going to start getting hinky with language as well as numbers in the span of a few posts? That 85-point pace can of corn was, well . . .

  • @ crash:

    Did you even look at his numbers in the playoffs? Kipper as Flame, post-lockout:

    2005-06: .921
    2006-07: .929
    2007-08: .908
    2008-09: .884

    That's three years where his post-season numbers were better than his regular season numbers.

    As for the numbers chosen, they were picked by Lefebvre, not me. Not that it makes a difference, as the playoff numbers you requested show.

  • @ Robin Brownlee:

    Sure it looks like a big step forward. Fact remains that they're probably a bubble team.

    Here are the goal differentials for the top eight teams in the West:

    • Chicago: +38
    • San Jose: +29
    • Colorado: +4
    • Phoenix: +15
    • Calgary: +12
    • Los Angeles: +1
    • Nashville: -2
    • Vancouver: +27

    It's up to you, but I have trouble seeing them as much more than a bubble team, and I certainly wouldn't be basing my franchise rebuilding effort on their model.


  • @ Crash:

    Today's challenge: find where I said they have a powerhouse team. I don't recall saying it (although they've certainly been better than Edmonton /enddamningwithfaintpraise)
    but if you can find that quote I'd be happy to explain it.

    Otherwise, you don't have much right to claim that I ('you all') have been telling you that they're a powerhouse outfit for the last few years.

    • Not you specifically but I hear constantly from media in Edmonton and across the country….I'd be willing to bet that you claimed them to be a top team but I don't have the actual statement.

    • Although I get what you're saying, to say "it's cost them" is a bit off, no? Technically, they'd have to get to overtime to be able to lose in overtime. Therefore, if they'd lost any of their ot games, they'd be even further back.

      But that is a wierd stat (and I know what you meant).

    • Found it, I see you place them sixth but your statement was that they are a very good team hampered by poor goaltending yet now you say Kipper is solid…so which is it? Are they a very good team hampered by poor goaltending or in fact are they only as good as their goaltending?

      Jonathan Willis' Predictions

      San Jose
      Los Angeles
      St. Louis

      These predictions were extremely difficult to put together. However, that’s not going to stop me from starting at the top and working my way down through the flawed reasoning and poor assumptions that I used to create them.

      Detroit’s obviously a very good team, and while most people think San Jose will be better they’ve really done a number on their defensive depth over the summer and I think they might be in some trouble when injuries strike. I almost did something really wild and slotted Vancouver up top, but the Canucks are a little ways back of those first two teams. The other thing worth mentioning about Detroit is that I see Osgood as being significantly better in the regular season this year.

      Chicago’s in the same range as the top three teams, but I’d peg them just a little lower than the Red Wings. Anaheim underachieved last year, something that won’t happen again, and Calgary’s a very good team hampered by lousy goaltending. Columbus rounds out the best of the West; I’m banking here on an improved powerplay and no disappearing act from Steve Mason.

  • Mitch

    Clean house from the top down starting NOW (kinda). Lowe gone, Prendergast gone, scouting staff gone. Tambo deserves a extra lifeline, but he better start to ship some roster players out. Quinn could move into the Player Development/ Assistant GM role although I feel he's doing a good job as coach. Rob Daum forsure could use a bigger role within the organization. In Edmonton we have to begin to restore the pride (tired of listen to the leadership cores excuses, Moreau is most guilty "Edmonton is a tough place to play")the leaders have been horible in every aspect. Every player on the roster is TRADEABLE. In Edmonton we were preached at for years about the new collective bargaining for competitive fairness, now that it's been in place since 05/06 we have done nothing but fail! (oh I forgot the 06 run sorry Kevin). No need to sugar coat this any longer, we need to develope players, draft correctly, sign free agents at oppurtune times. Let the rebuild start NOW!

  • Chaz

    Thankyou Robin for this article. I like how you tell it like it should be. Hopefully someone within this oil Brass can see this and start making something happen. I'm tired of listening to all the excuses on oiler radio land. They must think we have no hockey sense at all but rather deep pockets who would continue to support these clowns running this organization no matter what. You are right the time is now. No more excuses. We have been dealt hhis losing hand far to many times. There needs to be accountability amounst all aspecsts of hockey ops. If draft picks don't pan out. Someone has to go this just one example. What is the state of our farm team ? We have nothing of value down there and are basically icing an ahl rooster here in edm. For all these years of drafting top 10-15 we have nothing to show. To date there has been no fall guy for this medicoracy. Who has fallen for the outrageous contracts?? If I recall a Gm was sent walking in Chicago for lesser evils. I commend you Robin for article like this. Keep up the good work. This city needs to hear your words and this organization needs to not turn a blind eye. My only fear is that Katz has you on his payroll so that these sorts of opinions are not made public. Katz has already hired one of the oilers biggest critic. It's really sad to listen to him now. I think you know who I'm talking about.
    Great piece Robin-keep the heat up !

  • Interesting read RB – early for prospective trade suggestions? Moreau to ATL for Thorburn. That's an early tire-kicker I'd try. Maybe it's a bad idea to get speculative this far from the deadline.

    • I'd try moving Moreau ASAP, Souray around the Olympic break, and Staios, Pisani, Comrie, etc. at the deadline. Perhaps you make a 'hockey' deal involving Gilbert/Grebeshkov somewhere along the way.

      • Mitch

        Somehow I suspect most if not all deals will happen near the deadline when management is done thoroughly "assessing" the team – whatever the hell that means at this point. The course of action will be the one that allows Oiler management to continue to pretend they have a plan in place.

  • @ crash:

    Good stuff. I was way off on some of those, but Calgary's one I got right.

    +12 and four games over .500 (four real games over .500) at the midpoint of the season in the West is pretty much definitevly a "very good" team. They were only +6 at the end of last season and they're on pace to quadruple that goal differential by the end of this year – thanks to the improved goaltending.

    That's actually one of the few predictions I like 😉

    As for why they've been held back by goaltending before, here are Kiprusoff's numbers from the past two years: .906 and .903. Those are average numbers because Kipper's been an average (to even below average) tender the last few years. This year he's at .930.

  • @ RossCreek:

    I think so.

    It may not be, of course, but I haven't seen anything that really convinces me Keenan was to blame for Kiprusoff's miserable save percentage. IIRC, Keenan handled Kiprusoff with kid gloves, regardless of how he played, in terms of both spoken word to the media and playing time.

    Do you suspect he was the cause of it?

    • OK, I didn't find it exactly, but here's some comments from 'LawrenceS' over at M&G from Dec. 7/09…

      Oh, and if there is reason to crack a beer and cheers tonight it’s this: Kipper for the first time in about 2.5 years is in the top five in every measured goaltender category on the NHL.com stats page. He is also IMHO, due to games played, the league leader in ev sv% at .942. Ultimately, the only goalie who is outplaying our man this year is Super Miller, who is having a nearly unbelievable season-to-date.

      However, by value…with Miller making 6.25 cap hit, Kipper at 5.83, and Vokoun at 5.7, we arguably have the best goalie in the league again. I wonder how ol’ Mike ‘the goalie-killer’ Keenan feels about that.

      Actually, I was curious about my own statement and wanted to back-up the “goalie-killer” claim. For our collective knowledge looking at Miikka Kiprusoff’s 6 season’s with Calgary including this one:

      With Keenan: 2899/3174 sv/sa = .913 ev sv% over 2 seasons (07/08-23rd & 08/09-49th)

      W/O Keenan: 4022/4289 sv/sa = .938 ev sv% over 4 seasons (T-1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st now)

      By even strength sv% Miikka has never been worse than 2nd in the league without Keenan behind the bench when he plummeted to 23rd and 49th. To put that into context, in the other ‘4’ seasons, which by shots is more like 3 complete seasons, Kipper has averaged a better evsv% than both Brodeur, who many think is the best ever, and Luongo, who many think is the best of the decade, have ever attained in a single season!

      Brodeur’s best evsv% – . 933 in 08/09 – low .917 in 01/02

      Luongo’s best evsv% – .937 in 03/04 – low .925 in 02/03

      Those are just a few numbers to give us the confidence that perhaps this string of play is higher than we will see throughout the whole year for Kipper, but we have no reason to think it can’t last. Without Keenan, Miikka has been the best evsv% goalie in the league since he came to Calgary.

      I mean, it can get even more provocative if we really want to stretch it. NHL.com started keeping track of even sv% as we know it today in 98/99. This also happened to be the best statistical year for Mr.Hasek. 1.87GAA and .937sv%. If you take his next four years (cause I don’t have access to earlier years) his shot totals are 4381/4709 which are similar to Kippers over the four year non-Keenan stretch. What isn’t similar is the ev sv% average – .938 for Kipper, .930% for Hasek. All of Hasek’s years where evsv% has been tracked from 98/99-07/08 he averages .931%. Now, these weren’t his ‘prime’ years, but it’s fun to look at those numbers anyway, and imagine.