Around the Blogosphere: April 6th

Harding/Backstrom

Below, you’re going to see a link that takes you to an article arguing that the Oilers should sign Josh Harding to an offer sheet. The article argues that this is in the best interest of the Oilers, but what about Josh Harding? Is it fair that he continue to toil behind Nik Backstrom despite his own exceptional talents? Look how crushed he is in this picture. I’m sure it’s all he can do to put on a smile and congratulate Backstrom – all while carefully hiding his eyes from the camera, lest someone should see his real feelings.

Alright, so that’s probably out to lunch, but the article isn’t:

– Tyler argues, and argues well, that the Oilers should sign Josh Harding to an RFA offer sheet. I’ve pointed to Harding’s availability before (as have commenters here) and I don’t disagree with Tyler in the slightest. This would be a relatively cheap way to address the Oilers goaltending problems for the foreseeable future.

– David Staples has an excellent article out this morning; a long look at a single photograph from the Rick Rypien/Zack Stortini fight the other night. It’s a piece that only David Staples could have written – whether you agree or disagree with him, few people ennoble the game like he does.

– Sam Gagner continues to close in on his numbers from last season, and for the second year in a row looks like a very different player over the back half of the season.

– Relatively new blog The Church of Kurri has a strategy for NHL GM’s that he’s surprised hasn’t been used yet – dual offer sheets. I’m not going to get into it (read the full article) except to say that it’s a really good idea as far as offer sheets go, as long as you aren’t worried about the possible reprisals (like, say, if you have two hot-shot rookies who become RFA’s in a year where the cap is supposed to fall and you already have too many players under contract for too much money).

– On the other hand, it’s possible that the salary cap may not drop as much as expected (or at all!), and if so there are few teams that will benefit as much as the Oilers.

– Linus Omark has absolutely no interest in “farmarhockey”. While online Swedish to English translators produce some funny results, I’m pretty sure that means he’s not willing to sign anything other than a one-way NHL contract. Is that a good idea for the Oilers?

eberle

Oilers prospects currently in the CHL, and where Alex Plante and Jordan Eberle project going forward. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the upside to Eberle is probably not as high as Oilers fans (or for that matter, The Hockey News) seem to believe.

– The good folks at Oilverse still believe that there’s a glimmer of hope. Just embrace the end already, you poor optimists.

More debate on what the Craig MacTavish stick call means for his future. I can’t disagree that the stick call is probably not the right reason to fire MacTavish, but on the other hand it’s the kind of obvious symbol that’s easy to point to. Meanwhile, BDHS is another who feels that the coach will resign.

– The Oilers latest win (and some losses by a few other teams) mean that their best possible slot at the draft this summer is 8th overall.

– There’s been a lot of talk about the possible divide in the Oilers’ dressing room, and Bruce takes a look at the demographics of it. There’s a very clear divide; clearer than I expected.

– The Edmonton Oilers have been named a 2009 Great Place to Work. Quick, somebody pass the word along to Marian Hossa.

  • Hippy

    Jon K wrote:

    @ Robin Brownlee:
    I would argue that a losing record paired with a 0.932 SV% and 2.15 GAA indicates the offensive bounces not going Minnie’s way while Harding is in net rather some deficiency in his abilities.

    I think this is where I ask you to provide some numbers to back that up. And he's got a losing record for his career not just this season. I'm not gambling on bounces when I'm handing out offer sheets.

    How do you know Harding isn't playing like gangbusters 55 minutes a night, but has a penchant for giving up bad or untimely goals?

  • Hippy

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    I would argue that a losing record paired with a 0.932 SV% and 2.15 GAA indicates the offensive bounces not going Minnie's way while Harding is in net rather some deficiency in his abilities.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:
    No.
    I'm not putting out an offer sheet, quadrupling a player's pay, giving up a draft pick and losing Deslauriers when Harding's got a losing record in the NHL.

    "Easily" worth sending Deslauriers on his way? And if the "kid stumbles" after you've done all the above, you've made another move that was as unneccesary and ill-conceived as overpaying for mediocre Dustin Penner.

  • Hippy

    Unfortunately Omark can only be given a two-way deal for entry level contract. What's he probably looking for are assurances that he won't be spending the whole season in the AHL.

    With the state of the team currently I don't necessarily think it is a good decision to give any player those types assurances. Especially a player whose skill set is redundant on the roster.

    If he wants assurances let him get them somewhere else. He's still young and that means he's still going to be getting playing time. Obviously retaining his rights is important so perhaps a token deal which allows him to be released to a Euro club if he doesn't make the team out of training camp might be the best solution.

  • Hippy

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    I guess if you argue that Backstrom’s numbers were jazzed up by playing with Minnesota, then the same holds true for Harding.

    Very true.

    So, what is it about a goaltender with a losing record and good, but not great (considering the Minnesota factor) numbers like a 2.48 GAA and .920 saves percentage that make it worth quadrupling his pay, giving up a second-round pick and shit-canning Deslauriers?

    Harding and Deslauriers are the same age. Here's a quick comparison of their career AHL numbers (since we agree that Harding's .920 NHL SV% is a little suspect)

    Deslauriers – 137 career AHL games, .906 SV%
    Harding – 118 career AHL games, .924 SV%

    Even without the .920 SV% in the NHL (which, Minnesota or no is damn good), a shot at Harding is easily worth sending JDD along his way.

    And it's the perfect time to do it, while Roli's still around in case the kid stumbles. Wouldn't you agree?

  • Hippy

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    It’s gotten to the point that everything is blamed on MacT…. I’m starting to think he sabotaged Lubo’s shoulder.

    He didn't? Damn my theory is shot, back to the drawing board!

  • Hippy

    I guess if you argue that Backstrom's numbers were jazzed up by playing with Minnesota, then the same holds true for Harding.

    So, what is it about a goaltender with a losing record and good, but not great (considering the Minnesota factor) numbers like a 2.48 GAA and .920 saves percentage that make it worth quadrupling his pay, giving up a second-round pick and shit-canning Deslauriers?

    Best option? No.

  • Hippy

    Rick wrote:

    CurtisS wrote:
    Ill tell you why. Mact has started both seasons now not knowing where to play him. Last season he was a 3rd and 4 th liner for the first 30 games.
    This season he was a winger for the first 20+ games.
    Macts fault not gagners.
    You must be joking, MacT started Gagner in the exact same spot he had the most success last year.
    Second guessing is fun and all but wholly molly use some grey matter.

    It's gotten to the point that everything is blamed on MacT…. I'm starting to think he sabotaged Lubo's shoulder.

  • Hippy

    CurtisS wrote:

    Ill tell you why. Mact has started both seasons now not knowing where to play him. Last season he was a 3rd and 4 th liner for the first 30 games.
    This season he was a winger for the first 20+ games.
    Macts fault not gagners.

    You must be joking, MacT started Gagner in the exact same spot he had the most success last year.

    Second guessing is fun and all but wholly molly use some grey matter.

  • Hippy

    That article on Sam, is it so hard to figure out why it takes him 35 games to get going.

    Ill tell you why. Mact has started both seasons now not knowing where to play him. Last season he was a 3rd and 4 th liner for the first 30 games.

    This season he was a winger for the first 20+ games.

    Macts fault not gagners.

  • Hippy

    Josh Harding was my first order of business in the off season. Him or Hiller.

    It is a pretty good sign that Gagne is a better second half player than a first half player.

  • Hippy

    Hmmmm age gap. That creates a problem in any organization. I can see much more clearly now that this would create a problem in an organization the will not succeed unless it is as a team.