WIth only three preseason games left, the bubble boys have precious time to try and convince Tom Renney to keep them here or receive, what is most likely a one-way ticket to the OKC. Depending on injuries, most of the remaining cuts won’t see the light of Rexall Place again this season, so they need to be at their best Wednesday and Friday.

The reality is that even their best won’t be good enough.

The Oilers were on the ice for just under two hours this morning at Millenium Place in Sherwood Park, and here’s how the lines look to shape up for tomorrow’s tilt v. Phoenix.

Ales Hemksky/Sam Gagner/Magnus Paajarvi
Dustin Penner/Andrew Cogliano/Gilbert Brule
Liam Reddox/Colin Fraser/Ryan Jones
Alex Giroux/Ryan O’Marra/Colin McDonald

Ladislav Smid/Alex Plante
Taylor Chorney/Tom Gilbert
Richard Petiot/Kurtis Foster

Jeff Deslauriers
Martin Gerber


Look for Deslauriers to play the entire game. He has only faced eight shots so far this preseason and the Oilers need to see how he looks. Renney liked how he played in his 30 minutes against the Canucks, but this will most likely be Deslauriers only chance to shine. He needs to play well tomorrow, but even if he does I still think it won’t be enough. Renney said he has tried to evaluate his goalies based on how they play this camp, so JDD needs to play well tonight of Renney will have an easy decision on his backup.

The top two lines seemed destined to start the regular season together, and don’t be surprised to see Brule and Penner take some of the draws in place of Cogliano. Brule will most likely take the draws on the right side of the ice, because he’ll be on his backhand, while Cogliano/Penner will take the draws on the left side. Renney will give Cogliano a chance to show he can win draws, but Brule told me today that he and Cogliano have already discussed some faceoff strategy that should put both of them in a better position to win draws.

It will be interesting to see how Reddox and Jones play. Only one of them will make the opening night roster, and maybe neither if Renney’s dresses Steve MacIntyre v. Calgary, but Jones and Reddox are battlling for the RW spot on the 4th line. Ryan Rishaug mentioned on my show yesterday that he thinks there might be a slight disconnect between the coaches and management when it comes to Reddox and Jones.

Renney really likes Reddox, while management picked Jones off waivers last year so they would like to see what he can do. Ultimately it will be Renney’s decision, but I can see how the politics/protect assets argument will come into play. Reddox is a better penalty killer, and at this point I’m not sure what Jones does better to be honest. He isn’t an agitator, he isn’t big enough to be a banger and he doesn’t fight. He might be better suited as a 3rd line winger, but that won’t happen on this team.

I don’t see Giroux, O’Marra (sorry LT) or McDonald being in the mix at all. Giroux hasn’t shown the offence needed to stick, while O’Marra and McDonald have just been okay. Neither one has stood out to this point, and I don’t see them sticking through the weekend.

The blue line has three pairings with guys who are locks to make the team in Smid, Foster and Gilbert, while the other three are longshots. Petiot played well with Gilbert last Thursday, and he needs to continue playing the same way. "He can play. If we can see some consistency in some of the things that have been lacking in the past, he’s got a shot to play in the NHL. I like his mobility, he passes it well, he shoots it well and I think what he has to do is be real confident and assert himself," said Renney.

Plante has shown lots of improvement since last year, but he is still a year away from really pushing for a job. Chorney, in my mind, has fallen down the depth chart and I don’t see him being a part of the future of this team. Jeff Petry has surpassed him as a puck mover, and Chorney isn’t big enough to play a physical game. You can never have too many puck movers, but Chorney hasn’t stood out at all in this camp and is probably 10th or 11th on the depth chart now.


  • Ryan Whitney didn’t skate today. He rode the bike for brief stint before practice, but he still has a slight headache from taking that puck in the face on Sunday. He doesn’t have a concussion, but they are going to ease him back in to the daily routiine. Renney expects him to be fine by the weekend.
  • Renney hinted that he’d like to give JDD, Khabibulin and Dubnyk a full game each in the remaining three. I wonder if he’ll play Khabibulin on Friday and if he plays well go to Dubnyk on Sunday, but if Khabibulin struggles maybe he’ll get a third start just to be sharpen up for the season. We will see.
  • Steve Tambellini didn’t want to discuss if he’s had conversations with Minnesota regarding goaltending, but Jim Matheson asked him so I wonder if the Wild are sniffing around now that Josh Harding is out for the year.
  • Renney is really big on leadership, so expect Jason Strudwick to make the team. It is an intangible that many don’t understand, but Renney loves how Strudwick can make the rookies feel welcome and comfortable, but also help the leaders lead.
  • Shawn Belle and Theo Peckham will most likely play Friday v. the Flames. Both guys need to play better than they have, but I still think Peckham has a slight edge as the number seven.
  • There has been so much focus on the rookies so far, and they have delivered, but I can’t help but think Gagner is a guy who needs to emerge this season. It looks like he’ll start with Hemsky and Paajarvi on his wings. He has slimmed down and looks quicker, but he needs to make an impact on the ice this year and he won’t get a better opportunity than starting with Hemsky.


I was scanning the blog world yesterday and came upon David Staples article that referenced this article on I’ve seen many bloggers question the thoughts of other bloggers or MSM guys, so I thought I’d chime in on Dellow’s idea to send down Hall and Paajarvi.

I had tried to go to his site this morning and read the article in it’s entirety but kept getting an error message saying that the bandwidth for the site had been exceeded. I guess writing a bunch of inaccurate statements and having it referenced at the Journal brought the house down.

Anyways, here is his opening line courtesy of Staples’ site.

 "I’ve made the argument about burning years off the entry level contracts of rookies before. It’s a simple enough proposition: you only get three years with these guys on entry level contracts and you might as well use them when the player in question is a stronger player.

As I’ve pointed out before, on teams like Detroit and New Jersey, teenagers virtually never make the team. There was lots of talk, when the Oilers installed Tambellini as general manager, that they were moving towards more of a Detroit model. I made this point then, but there’s more to doing what Detroit does than having a lot of people in your management group. They do smart things, like not forcing teenagers into the lineup and wasting their cheap years on 45 point seasons."

Comparing what the Devils and Red Wings have done with their kids to Hall and Paajarvi is inaccurate and completely off-base. Since 1992 the Wings haven’t had one pick in the top twenty, Jakub Kindl went 19th in 2005, while the Devils have only had one Zach Parise, 17th overall in 2003, top twenty pick since 1996. And FYI, Zach Parise spent one year in NCAA and then his ECL kicked in when he played in the AHL during the lockout. So I can’t help but think that  the Devils did the exact same thing with Parise that the Oilers are going to do with Paajarvi.

And come on – of course the Wings haven’t rushed any players, because none of them were ready to play in the NHL at 18. A perennial top-five hockey team is blessed with lots of talent and then can bring along players slowly. Bottom feeder teams don’t have that luxury.

Suggesting the Oilers send Hall down, and Paajarvi back to Sweden so they get a more mature player is nothing more than speculation. 

Sure players will be a year older, but by playing in lower leagues will their games get better and prepare them more for the NHL? I don’t see how Hall would be able to adapt to the speed and quickness of the NHL next year any better than this year. He needs to experience it first hand and adjust accordingly. And if he is ready now, let him play.

And can anyone name the last top-ten pick who stayed a year in Europe after being drafted, then came to camp as a 19-year-old, had a great preseason, but then was sent back to Europe, just to delay the start of his ELC? It doesn’t make sense on so many levels. You don’t send a player back to Europe who is better than the guy you would keep in his place, just to delay the start of his contract.

Another FYI…Datsyuk scored 35 and 51 points his first two years in the league. So even having him come over as 23-year-old didn’t prevent the Wings from avoiding wasting his "cheap" years on 45-point seasons. Zetrterberg was a 22-year-old rookie and tallied 44 and 43 points his first two seasons. Again those "cheap" years still garned around 45 points.

The last forward who was taken 1st overall who didn’t play in the NHL in his draft year was Eric Lindros. He didn’t play because he wasnt’ good enough, it was because he refused to go to Quebec. And playing that extra year out of the NHL didn’t make him realize he needed to keep his head up anymore now did it!

The reason first overall picks go straight to the NHL is because they can compete and are better players than guys picked late in the first round like or later rounds like the Wings have drafted. Not to mention the the teams that get the first pick rarely have more talented players to keep ahead of them.

Suggesting that the Oilers would get more bang for their buck by sending Hall and Paajarvi away just to delay the start of their contract in an attempt to stretch a dollar is just nonsense.

  • Ribs

    Why wait a year. What purpose does it serve?

    Did you not read the article?

    Shouldn’t we wait to see how they fair in 2010-2011 before passing this type of judgement?

    You don’t think they’re any worse off than last season?

  • Cru Jones

    To me, the issues of delaying the rookies another year and another year in the cellar to get another top pick have the same problem: at some point, you have to start trying to win, at since it’s not going to be instant, you might as well start it sooner than later.

  • Cru Jones

    I think that Dellow distracts from his main point when he brings up the question, WWDD (What Would Detroit Do)? Comment #5 is probably right, in that comparing Hall’s situation to Datsyuk’s is comparing apples to oranges (in a whole lot of ways, given that Datsyuk is probably the best forward in the conference). Detroit may very well have kept Hall in their lineup on opening night, had they drafted him.

    But (and this is a big but), that would not necessarily make it the right choice (at least according to the logic Dellow has set out). Forget about Detroit. Forget about New Jersey. This is not the point.

    The point is this: the team who wins the Stanley Cup is the team who gets the most value for every cap dollar spent. This is essentially an aphorism, one I hope we can all agree on. Probably the easiest way to accomplish this is to pay ELC dollars to a superstar.

    Dellow suggests (and I think he is right) that perhaps the best chance that the Oilers will have to win a Stanley anytime soon is the final year of Hall’s (and Pääjärvi’s) ELC, whenever that comes. The goal should be to have the rest of the team ready to win by that point. Hall’s development doesn’t matter all that much in this scenario (let’s assume that an extra year in junior neither helps nor hurts him — for the sake of argument, his third year stats are identical, whether he starts this year or next). The real question is whether the rebuild will be finished and the team ready to compete for a cup three years from now. No one around here really seems to think so, and management certainly seems to talk about this as an extended process. Dellow’s point, then, is this: why pay Hall (and Pääjärvi) more than we absolutely need to when we are finally ready to compete?

    We all know that (unless something goes seriously wrong) the second contract will be a fairly rich one. Why not try to push it back as far as possible? Why not try to get the most value?

    Of course, there are other ways to get value on a contract. Keeping Hall and Pääjärvi happy by showing ‘loyalty’ and letting them play now could perhaps eventually result in a hometown discount (but, to be honest, no one in management has shown themselves terribly adept at negotiating discount contracts: for Lowe, there are too many instances to name and for Tambellini, Khabibulin is such a stunning disaster that it is almost as bad as all those contracts Lowe gave out after the Cup run combined).

    If you’ve gotten to this point, you get to read me finally acquiescing to the majority opinion (sort of). We all know (Dellow too, I presume) that there is not really any way the Oilers can hold Hall and Pääjärvi back a year. The team (as a business) needs the positive press these players bring, press that the MSM seems all to happy to dole out (has there ever been more enthusiasm for a team that finished 12 points back of 29th?). And of course, hockey is a business first and foremost. What’s more, as Gregor says, no team will hold back for contractual reasons a player who is better than the other options available. This much is clear. But that doesn’t make it the right choice, not if the only goal is to maximize the team’s chances to win a Stanley.

    • Jason Gregor

      Interesting points, and well said.

      I just don’t see how in three years the Oilers will have their best chance to win. I just don’t see their backend being that good. Lots can change of course, but I still think the Oilers lack a true number one Dman, and in three years we have no clue who their goalie will be.

      To win you need two of three things. A great goalie, or a dominant 28 minute/night D-man, maybe two and of course three elite forwards.

      The Oilers could have the forwards, but the other two are big questions. And that’s why I don’t see them winning during the ELC of the kids.

      The key will be how they use their money in the next few years and surround the kids with solid pieces…

      • Jason Gregor

        I think that’s exactly it: in three years, the Oilers won’t be ready to win. If you give them another year (and give management another year to acquire that dominant goalie or d-man), they might be closer. Close enough? Who knows. Maybe not, and maybe it ends up making no difference.

        But, as many have said, there is a good deal of logic to Dellow’s post, even if it seems to go against so many of our assumptions about sport in general and the business of hockey specifically.

        DKO’s point gets at this: always ice the best team possible. We all can understand this mentality. Some might even say that this is the most fundamental responsibility of management (at any level of sport). The only issue is that icing the best team possible right now (when there is no chance of winning), might make it more difficult to ice the best team possible in three or four years (when the chance of winning is significantly increased, or so we all hope).

        • Jason Gregor

          What is so logical about it? It is a might, which is fine, but it is far from a guarantee to benefit the Oilers to send the kids down.

          Practical and theory rarely match in the end run. It is a theory, and one that has yet to be proven long term. Sure the Hawks won with two guys in their ELC, but they had lots of great guys around them. And quite a few of those guys were developed from within. The Oilers need to develop a dominant D-man, and no D-man is ahead of these kids at this point in my mind. I don’t see Whitney and Gilbert becoming Keith and Seabrook.

  • Chris.

    This whole debate is predicated on the assumption that all three young guns emerge as viable NHL players deserving of large contracts in three years time… God we would be so lucky to have that problem.

  • Chris.

    I’m not a huge supporter or Greggors’ opinions and in fact think he’s flat out wrong on many occassions.

    But you absolutely crushed that last argument.


  • DK0

    I completely agree with “Ice the best team possible at all times” with the exception of not icing Souray or a similar situation to that.

    As much as it rocked to grab Hall this draft, do you think our future would be completely bleak without him? Are Eberle and Paajarvi any less impressive without Hall? If we didn’t draft Hall, hey look Omark fits on the roster now.

    My point is that as long as you have a decent group of young players, and a scouting staff you can trust to grab some gems, there is no reason to tank on purpose in order to get a player. We were in a position that it made sense last season but that was due to Pendergast leaving a huge hole in the stream of useful players being developed, coupled with the insane man-games lost to injury.

    If we ice an exciting team that ends up pressing for a playoff spot or even falls and gets 5th pick overall, are we really completely screwed? Can we not trust the magnificent bastard to grab an Eberle or a Paajarvi quality player in those rounds?

  • rookie


    I have to commend you on your article and thought out response. You didn’t take personal shot and just laid out the facts. Your points carry much more weight that way. Even your responses to posters was legit.

    You’ve become a voice of reason and wanted to say thanks for all your input on here. I used to rip you and still disagree with stuff you say, but when you open up a debate and don’t call names like lots of guys it makes it great reading and educational.

  • BarryS

    Worrying about the cap and offer sheets in three years is like waiting three years to go on a holiday in hopes it will be cheaper, you might be dead by then.

    Assuming contracts, and cap limits will rise in three years is silly at best given how many players from last year don’t have contracts today and how many who took far less.

    Offer sheets are not common things and are never likely to be. First off a team has to have the money and room to make an offer the home team won’t match.

    In any event, it would be a wonder if all three commanded the same large contract in three years, their relative position and values will work itself out during the period. Current example Gagner, Gogliano, and Nilson. One signs two years at a raise, one signs one year at less, and one is gone.

    Play the kids if they can play and let three years from now look after itself.

    • Jason Gregor

      The inherent problem with that line of thinking is that you end up shooting yourself in the foot.

      If Chicago hadn’t of used that line of thinking, they probably don’t have Brian Campbell at $7mil and instead have Mark Streit at $4, which would also allow them to keep Byfuglin right now.

      That line of thinking caused Chicago to say, screw it, this is the guy we want and we’ll get him no matter the cost.

      3 years later it’s looking like a terrible contract and it’s basically hamstrung their team.

      If the Oilers aren’t looking 3 years into the future they are screwing up an awesome opportunity.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I have a feeling that Bobby Orr had anticipated this and as a power move, advised Taylor not to attend the world junior camp. On the agent side, he wants Hall to play this year and “burn” a year on the ELC, so he can demand more sooner. When Hall decided not to go to the camp, it pressured the Oilers brass to keep him on the team regardless…..

      ….not to mention he is NHL ready in his competition level and drive, and has nothing left to prove or accomplish in junior. What? Will he want to go back for a 3rd Memorial Cup, MVP and so he can score 130 points instead of 106?

      And Pääjärvi is very ready for the NHL.

      It is unfortunate that all 3 contracts will be up at the same time, but who knows what the league will look like at that time, as BarryS says. Will we need to pay Penner or Khabby 5 mil if the Regulators (Young Guns) are scoring at the clip they are expected to?

  • rookie

    Why does everyone act like hall, or any of the other talent, wont return after their elc? when you have the names, others will come, and then the names re-sign. 3 yrs from now is not our deadline.

  • Wax Man Riley

    PS. I know Khabby won’t be back, but just making a point that there is money tied up right now, and by then we hopefully will have to redistribute that money to keep the 3 or 4 kids. I say hopefully because if we have to pay them more, they have done well.

  • *Slow clap for the Final Word section*

    I did a write up on my blog on the 1st overall picks, who was successful going into the NHL right away… who was held back a year. Actually, that’s partly true. One of the other writers on my blog who is for sending these guys down did the research in hopes it would prove a point for sending them down, and it didn’t.

    Really, I say let them play. Especially Paajarvi. He is the most physically developed of the 3, and has been playing against other men for a few years now. He even seems to be well ahead of Hemsky’s development curve (at the same age). To send him down to the AHL doesn’t really make sense. Yes, it is nice to save a year of ELC, but I don’t think it’s doing anything other than delaying the cup parade (kidding on that part).

    Of course if this team has a blowout of injuries again, and we miss the playoffs, we’ll be sure to hear about it from those that say Hall should have gone back as though that was the root cause of the problem.

  • erixon


    The Wings actually did have a lot of players back before they were good, that started at young ages. For instance, that core group of players, who got them to the cup all those years, and allowed them to slowly develop prospects, all started at very young ages. Take a look at some of them:

    Steve Yzerman – Straight from Junior Hockey, to the Detroit Red Wings the same year he was drafted.
    Sergei Federov – 20 years old, from Russia straight to the NHL
    Brendan Shanahan – jumped to the NHL in his draft year out of junior, no it wasn’t with the Wings, but the fact remains it didn’t ever hurt his development (Oh, and it just so happens that team he played for when he was 18, is the other team in questions the DEVILS).
    Vyachaslav Kozlov – brief one year stay in the AHL, and was an NHL regular with the Wings at 21.
    Niklaus Lidstrom – Straight from the SEL to the NHL at 21 (and that is even a D-man)
    Chris Chelios – Straight from NCAA to the NHL
    Larry Murphy – Straight from Junior to the NHL in his draft year.

    While all these players didn’t start necessarily with the Wings, they all started their careers mainly out of Junior or European leagues. The ones that the Wings did draft, were started at the same age as the kids in Edmonton. When the Wings were faced in a similar situation as the Oilers, they basically did the exact same thing, all this extra development stuff is garbage. Totally different circumstances.

  • erixon

    I’m sorry but that article is comparing oranges to apples. His comments make sense for a hockey team which has been situated to make the play offs 8 out of 10 times in a decade. These teams are not in a situation where they’ve missed the play offs 4 straights years in a City which ONLY has hockey in their minds.

    The economics of his agruement does NOT reflect the real business model of a bottm team which is dependant upon selling out games to continue to success.

    Let me ask the writer this question as a professional accountant:

    What is worse for the hockey club’s finances?

    (a) The City having to spend MORE money on 3 players in 3 years taking into account a potential 6% impact on nominal dollar value (which may be considered material based on the fact we are talking 6 figure salaries)?


    (b) Keeping your players in the minors while the team is TERRIBLE to watch creating a significant decreases in both television viewing AND attendance at arenas. Sportsnet is likely selling advertising space on the fact that they guarantee a certain number of viewers each game – and not being able to meet this quota begs to ask the question HOW this will impact future potential earnings from TV contracts. Further, ticket AND jersey sales reach a 10 year low. Lastly, after another dismal season some of our current talent (Penner, Gagner and Hemsky) MAY chose to fly south of the border and at least lose hockey games in plus 30 celcius weather.

    Hmmm… I wonder which situation is economically worse for the City? This was one of the worse comparisons I’ve ever read based on the fact that opportunity cost of HIS proposal was not accurately accessed.

    • The Oilers have essentially sold out the season this year. Hall isn’t going to sell many more seats.

      Not only that, but they’ve got Eberle that they can use to sell those half price seats if it’s really that much of an issue.

      In terms of jersey sales, it’s a moot point because all merchandising revenues are split in the NHL.

      Sportsnet already has an agreement in place with the Oilers for their TV rights. Hall will not change that this year.

      The only place you could argue that the Oilers would be better off is in terms of PPV sales.

      Hall isn’t going to win enough games to keep Penner and Hemsky happy anyways. The Oilers aren’t a playoff team this year with or without him, so guys like Penner and Hemsky will fly south regardless.

      • Jason Gregor

        What else does your crystal ball tell you? You seem to know exactly how things will unfold. We will see.

        Enlighten us with who will score what this year, so I can make lots of money. You think everything plays out exactly like you think.

        Putting Hall and MP in the minors would have made Hemsky and Penner more happy is what you are saying, or you are taking a loser mentality and stating they have zero chance to improve as a team. I can tell you from speaking with Hemsky this is the most excited he has been about playing in a long time. He wants skilled guys to play with and he will get them. If he sees progress this year and half way into next year, why are you so sure he will leave??? Once again just a guess on your part.

        • Cole G18

          Really, this is the route you are taking?

          Why don’t you take that crystal ball crap and go after people talking about how Hall will be mad and not sign here again or demand a trade if the Oilers send him back down?

          Why not take it after the person I replied to who said leaving Hall off may make Hemsky and Penner not want to sign in Edmonton?

          Why not apply it to your own commentary “Suggesting that the Oilers would get more bang for their buck by sending Hall and Paajarvi away just to delay the start of their contract in an attempt to stretch a dollar is just nonsense.”

          Where’s your crystal ball? How do you know the Oilers won’t be better off cap-wise holding them back a year?

          Tell me so I can make money.

          If that’s the route you are going to take, go apply it to everyone, not just cherry pick stuff you don’t agree with. If that’s what you need to resort too, you should consider stepping back and reading what people are saying and think about your position.

          As for the stuff that wasn’t written by a 12 year old:

          The Oilers have nothing to do but improve as a team. You can’t get worse than a 30th place hockey team can you? And no I’m not saying not having Hall & MP in the minors would make Penner and Hemsky happy, what I was saying was in response to keeping them here will make them happy. That’s not necessarily true. If those guys want to win, having Hall here this year isn’t going to change how much they win.

          Answer these questions.

          1. Do you think the Oilers will make the playoffs this year?

          2. Will Taylor Hall be a better rookie at 18 than he would at 19 or 20?

          3. Do you have any evidence that suggests extra years in junior have a negative impact on the development of players?

          If you answer no to all 3 of these, is there any reason why the Oilers would benefit as a team by playing an 18 year old Hall in the NHL and burning a year off his contract?

          • Jason Gregor

            I never said it was a guarantee that the OIlers would be better off cap wise in four years, because no one can predict what they will do.

            Unlikely that they do, but if Hall and Paajarvi play here they will be better off next year.

            No idea about how good Hall will be one year older. Show me a guy who was that much more dominant at 19. How many first year 19 year olds put up big points. So what is the point of delaying him a year? Just to maybe be in a better cap space. That is a big maybe.

            No because no first overall pick who was a forward in the past 20 years have went back. Do you have any proof that suggests he would do?

            Why the worry about burning a year off his contract??? What proof do you have that saving that year makes the Oilers better in the long run.

            Hall learning the NHL game sooner has more benefit longterm, if he is physically mature enough to handle it. And every says he is. He likely won’t score 60 points, but he doesn’t have to become a better player at 19.

            As for your little rant about a 12-year old, give me a break.

            You wrote claims that it was a sure thing that the Oilers would be better off to send Hall and MP down. With no proof and since you, nor anyone, can predict what happens in two years, your theory seems based on no outside influences interfering, which is impossible in the sporting world. So if you want to give flack, be prepared to take some.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            You didn’t? Then please explain this statement (pulled directly from your post):

            “Suggesting that the Oilers would get more bang for their buck by sending Hall and Paajarvi away just to delay the start of their contract in an attempt to stretch a dollar is just nonsense.”

            If you aren’t saying that there is no chance the Oilers won’t be better cap wise, then what do you mean the argument that they could be is just nonsense? I’m curious to know. If it’s not a fact in your mind, how could the argument be nonsense?

            And yeah, you are acting like a 12 year old. Crystal ball? Really? Is that an argument a grown man should be using in a discussion? I don’t think so.

            I’m not sure I’ve placed anything as fact, it’s all been an opinion.

            As for not providing evidence, there’s been no “evidence” from either side, so I’m not sure why you suggesting it’s only coming from me.

            Here is the argument in it’s most basic form:

            Hall should be held back because there is little to gain for the club this year by putting him in the NHL. 18 year olds (as a rule) tend to struggle with some very rare exceptions.

            We good so far? I’ll continue.

            The evidence as to why it’s a good idea is as follows:

            If we assume he’s going to be as advertised (in other words a star), that means when is contract is up he’ll command salaries like Kane, Ryan, Getzlaf, Toews, etc… So after 3 years the Oilers could be paying him between 5-7mil/season.

            Am I using a crystal ball? No, I’m assuming a similar CBA will still be in place.

            So if Hall starts in the NHL at 18 years old, we are looking at paying him $6 mil (conservatively) at 21 years old.

            Because there is a whole history of players who don’t play in the NHL at 18 and who have gone on to be impact players in the NHL, there is no evidence to suggest that keeping an 18 year old out of the NHL stalls their development.

            So if we start Hall in the NHL at 19, that means he is 22 when the Oilers have to pay him $6mil.

            Extending that further, if the Oilers then play Hall in the AHL at 19 (he’ll be eligible under the Spezza rule), his ELC rolls over a year. Meaning that he’s 23 when the Oilers have to pay him $6mil.

            If Oilers management is smart, that gives them 3 seasons to make the roster into what they think will be a championship team, then 2 further years to tweak it using the savings in Hall’s (and MPS’s) cap hits to bolster the roster.

            If Hall and MPS are as advertised, I’d rather be paying them their $3mil at 20, 21 & 22 rather than $3mil at 18, 19, 20 and $6mil at 21 & 22. For one the Oilers aren’t in a position to benefit from a cheap year by Hall right now. Secondly, Hall should be a better rookie at 20 than he would be at 18.

            So what proof do I have that saving the year makes the Oilers better in the long run?

            I don’t have proof, I have an opinion. Hall should be better prepared to be a rookie in the NHL at 20 than he should at 18, which would give the Oilers a longer window to assemble the players necessary to make a run for the cup while Hall is on his ELC.

            And what is your proof that makes this argument, as you so eloquantly put it, nonsense?

          • Jason Gregor

            I don’t have proof, I have an opinion. Hall should be better prepared to be a rookie in the NHL at 20 than he should at 18, which would give the Oilers a longer window to assemble the players necessary to make a run for the cup while Hall is on his ELC.

            And what is your proof that makes this argument, as you so eloquantly put it, nonsense?

            And don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about your question. I will have your proof for you, but I have some more imporant things to take care of today. You’ll see why later…Cheers.

  • Jason Gregor

    Wow, by reading these comments, my belief that there is a large group of Oiler fans who can NEVER be pleased has been further reinforced. What kind of a message do you think you’re sending when you give a soft bumm like giroux a job by sending paajarvi and hall down/overseas to save a year on their ELC?! Haven’t the Oilers rewarded mediocre skills enough over the recent years, these kids are hungry, and they have players like Hemsky and Horcoff playing better and pushing themselves again. That attitude spreads and you would deflate everything by sending them down. Those two plus eberle and a renewed attitude in the room will make the Oilers a fun team to watch again and isn’t that what people pay to see when they go to a game? I bloody well hope thats the case, not these fantasies of stacking the team with more youth by purposely sabatoging this year, armchair Gm’s, please give your head a shake.

    Thankfully the likes of Tyler Dellow and his number crunching cronies who place no value on good people, intagibles (See Strudwick) and leadership are in no way involved in the decision making of this fragile team.

    • Cole G18

      Yeah, good thing we have the competent management group in place that has orchestraed 2 of the worst finishes in franchise history over the last 4 years instead. Strudwick may be a great guy, but he’s an awful hockey player and it would take more intangibles and leadership than one person could possibly have to make up for the number of games Strudwick cost the Oilers by not being a good hockey player.

      • Cole G18

        While I totally agree that yes, Strudwicks skills are mediocre, looking at the new found depth in our backend bottom pairing, i doubt he will have to be exposed the way him and Chorney were many times (the most memorable being “the shift” against DET). I think this year he, along with horcoff and friends will be able to focus much more on being a positive influence in the room and helping instill values and good attitude to hall/mps/eberle what moreau and co. seemingly failed to do during their time as the go to “leaders” of the room.

        Many people have said that they could maintain strudwicks positive attitude and people skills no problem if it meant they could be on the team and collect the mega salary seem to forget how tasking mentally and physically it is to live the life of an NHL player every day and strudwick is one of the best guys you’ll ever meet, certainly someone to give a little perspective. He didn’t cost us games, our poor drafting and development that led to no blueline depth for years forced him to be exposed in ways he shouldn’t have been. That falls on management, so I won’t argue your point there.

      • BArmstrong

        You sir get an attaboy for arguing your position – great debate fellas.

        Question #2 – Hall will most certainly be a better player at 19 than 18, at 20 than 19, at 21 than 20, etc. Stamkos was also a better player after one more birthday. The question is will Hall improve more in Windsor than in the NHL, and if not will he catapult further if held back a year.

        What scares me is Tambo’s pitch if he sends Hall down?

        “Oh sure, you’re gonna be a great player one day kid, maybe the next Gretzky, or Crosby, but we’ve got a real opportunity to save some money here. I mean, we can’t have you putting up big numbers too soon – hell, success can be expensive. Sure we could keep you on the big club and get you set up with some fine line mates like O’mara and MacDonald – that worked great for Cogs last year, just re-signed him for a mil, but I’d take to much heat in the press. Better you just go back to Windsor and (*makes air quotes*) develop.”

        *smiles that greasy smile like at the Pat Quinn presser when he let everyone know – including Quinn, “the plan”.

      • Jason Gregor

        Yes the number six D-man was the reason they stunk. Who would you have called up in his place that would have been so much better?

        Blaming a #6 D-man for the woes of a 30th place team is rich. Yes he played too many games. If he plays 35-45 this year, the Oilers are better off, but he played 72 games last year due to injuries.

        How many games did he directly cost them? I’d be curious what that number is.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Read the comment I responded too, then try again.

          Be less in a hurry to jump all over someone and spend more time following the conversation.

          He suggested that management was smarter than others in part because they understood the value Strudwick brought to the team.

          My response was above and it involved 2 points:

          1. This management group has put a roster together that has had 2 of the worst regular season finishes in Oilers history over the past 4 years.

          2. Whatever intangibles strudwick has is negated by the fact he’s a bad defenceman. Whether he plays 35 games or 72, he’s still not a good enough defenceman to do that. Playing him less doesn’t make him a better player in those games, it just exposes your team less because he’s playing in half the games.

          • Jason Gregor

            Hey smart guy…why don’t you follow along.

            Your exact line was, “but he’s an awful hockey player and it would take more intangibles and leadership than one person could possibly have to make up for the number of games Strudwick cost the Oilers by not being a good hockey player.”

            So how many games. Can’t you follow along, or do you forget what you wrote. Just answer the question.

            I didn’t jump on you Mr. thin skin. You don’t seem to want to back up your points. Just answer how many games. It was a serious question. Curious how you come to that conclusion.

          • BBOil

            I don’t have a number for how many games.

            He’s a terrible defenceman and has played a lot of minutes.

            Not only that, but whatever leadership he did have evidently wasn’t enough to overcome the rift that was generating in the locker room. So exactly what value does he provide?

            He’s not a good defenceman, so his on-ice performance hurts the team.

            His off-ice presence wasn’t enough to prevent what happened in the room (not his fault, no one could).

            So what does he provide that benefits the Oilers? His on ice play hurts them, so how much are his “intangibles” worth? How have they contributed to hockey games?

            Don’t get me wrong, you need guys who can show the young players the ropes, stand up for teammates, act as a mediary, etc…

            But if they can’t play hockey, they lose a lot of effectiveness because there are guys who can do that stuff and play the game.

            And for the record, there’s no thin-skin here. I just find it hypocritical that you choose to demand proof from me while you aren’t demanding the same from others.

            I also find it hypocritical that you demand answers from me, but choose not to answer the questions I’ve posed to you, especially seeing as you responded to the rest of the post.

            I guess it’s my fault. I should temper my expectations when someone comes at me with a crystal ball argument.

  • BarryS

    Completely agree Gregor. Not to mention the precedent that this sends out.

    “Bust you butt training and play your heart out in the preseason but because your contract can slide we’re sending you back”

    If that doesn’t deflate a young player I don’t know what will, especially with how well the trio have played. If they perform well enough to make the team they make the team. It’s that simple. And all three have been noticeable difference makers in the preseason. And the Oilers are short on those types of players as only Hemsky is the kind of player who can alter the momentum of the game with his skill.

  • eskimoilerfan

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Mike Modano choose to return to Prince Albert after he was drafted because HE felt he wasn’t ready for the show? Or was he sent back to Junior by the North Stars? Regardless he did mature with that extra year and posted 75 points in his 19 year old Rookie season, just food for thought.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Anyone have a figure to how much cap we have committed when the big three contracts expire?

    Less then 10mil or so is it not?

    I’d think that if all 3 of them are the players that people are predicting them to be that in 3 years there will be other changes to the roster and room will be made for them or one will be dealt for help on the blueline.

    People worry far too much about what is going to happen in 3 years from now.

    Are we assuming that all three are going to have a better first 3 years then Gagner and all are going to get that much more then he did after his ELC?

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Why wouldn’t you plan for 3 years down the road as a rebuilding hockey team?

      How can you build when you have no plan? Haven’t we seen this the last 4 years?

      Didn’t Chicago have to dump off some good players because they didn’t think far enough into the future when they signed guys like Campbell and Huet?

      Having less than $10 mil committed means there is an entire roster to fill, so you better know now how you plan to fill it.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        They dumped replaceable players that didn’t exactly have the best contracts.

        Even after all that dumping they did they are still considered a contender in the west.

        They moved Ladd a 40 point player for a 2nd a prospect. Bufflin, Eager, Sopel and Aliu for three guys and a 1st and a 2nd.Versteeg another 40-50 point for some prospects.

        It’s not like they got raped in the deals. Maybe they lose them all, but they added lots of prospect depth and picks that will be used to help them acquire guys at this years trade deadline.

        • BBOil

          Here, Here!!!

          That’s what I was getting at yesterday too. Of the guys the Hawks lost, they weren’t core guys. Valuable yes, but not essential pieces. When you have an abundance of assets, you can afford to lose some, and really they just ended selling their 3rd/4th line guys at max value, and restocking the shelf. A bad contract or two sure, but Campbell isn’t exactly useless. I watched a lot of Hawks the last couple of years, and they are a lot better team with him than they are without.

          Oilers are starting to build assets now too, which gives them the flexibility to choose who to build around. As long as they can keep contracts manageable, the potential to shed assets as needed is there. Cogs is the perfect example. If he does well this year and develops into a solid player, and they end up signing him to another 2-3 years at a 2-3mil, then its easy enough to find a trade partner if needed in order to shed money to sign someone else.

          Part of thinking 2-3 yrs down the road is making sure you have assets to work with, which gives you the option to make decisions on who you want and who you can part with.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            The thing that gets me about the 2-3 years is a lot can happen. Wasn’t it just not so long ago that we were suppose to be in cap trouble this year?

            Having too many assets is never a bad thing.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I don’t think a lot can happen is an excuse.

            I for one don’t want to be sitting here 3 years from know hearing about how “We didn’t know it would turn out like this”.

            I don’t know what is going to happen in my life in 3, 10, 25 years but I certainly have plans.

            We aren’t in cap trouble because we “lost” a player on waivers, bought out another one, downgraded our defence and managed to find someone to take Staios & O’Sullivan off our hands.

            Not really ideal, but it worked out. I don’t think I want to bank on “it worked out” too many times, because next time it might involve a good player we lose on waivers instead of Moreau.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            We have 10mil committed in 3 years from now. There is also the chance that if we are really that good that we waive Horcoff and eat his 4mil salary.

            Having 3 guys making 6mil isn’t going to be the end of the world for this team.

            The other thing is the CBA is most likely going to be revised in that time period too, so how do you even know what kind of rules we are going to be working with then?

          • BBOil

            Having only committed $10 mil just means there are lots of holes on the roster, which means this team has to factor in how the decisions they make today can impact down the road.

            The question is, will we only have 3 guys making $6mil? What about Penner & Hemsky? What about Gagner? What about the next shiney UFA that catches Tambo’s eye? What if instead of paying $6mil to both Hall and MPS we were only paying $3.75 and 1.525? Allowing the team to use an additional $6mil that year on a ringer?

            As for the CBA, I’m not sure how likely it is to be revised nor by how much. That being said I don’t think we should throw everything out the window. I think it’s prudent to prepare for the CBA as it stands now. The good news is if you do it right you have extra flexibility to handle anything.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            BBOil, Dustin Byfuglin lead the team in the playoff goals. He was not a minor piece to their team.

            Yes they dumped off 3rd and 4th liners but they dumped off guys who contributed. They also dumped a decent young goaltender and replaced him with an older vet who has been up and down since the lockout.

            Campbell may not be useless but they could have signed Mark Streit to play the same role at significantly less money.

            Do you believe the Hawks are stronger now than they werelast year?

            There’s no dount they good some good assets back in the trades, but they don’t help the Hawks this year. As much as good talent is an important key, depth is the deciding factor when the talent is a near wash.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Goaltending shouldn’t be an issue for them. Crawford has lots of potential and playing behind Turco will be good for him.

            The Hawks might not be as strong, but they are still a cup contender. No team is going to be able to keep their team year after year and compete for the cup. It is what happens with the cap era.

            As for Streit he was a one year wonder at the time and could’ve very easily flopped on the Isles.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Crawford has been average at best in the AHL. I don’t think that translates to much more than mediocre backup in the NHL.

            Turco is 35 now and has had up and down years since the lockout. He bounced back well last year (in a reduced workload), but was awful the year before. I’m just not sure what you getwith this guy.

            And you are right, no team will keep their team year after year but the Hawks could have been damn close this year. They are still one of the top teams in the West but they aren’t as good as last year. That can make a lot of difference in the playoffs.

            As for Streit, well we know he wasn’t a one year wonder and we know Campbell has flopped on the Hawks. We can what if until the cows come home and it’s not important.

            What’s important is to learn from the mistakes made. Chicago was able to overcome them but it doesn’t mean the mistakes were good. The Oilers need to learn how Chicago made those mistakes (not worrying about 3+ years down the road), and then not make the same ones.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I agree with your last part and the best thing the hawks learnt and we can learn is to let the GM make the team and not have an owner or team president making the calls for you.

          • BBOil

            Don’t think they are as strong as they were last year, but they also put themselves in the position to be awesome for that one year. Had a chance to win the cup, so they went for it, and won it, likely knowing they would have to dump some guys after.

            The fact that they had Buff, Versteeg, Ladd, etc… signed to reasonable contracts though, allowed them to essentially recycle them. They could have got rid of any of those guys a year or two ago seeing the trouble with the cap coming. Instead they pushed the limit, won the cup, then decided who was expendable and who wasn’t.

            Like it or not, in a salary cap world, guys are going to be lost whether you want to or not.

            In the end, I pose this hypothetical. Lets put the Oil in the position of cup contender a few years from now (stretch I know). Would you rather they get rid of some valuable assets earlier than needed (ie – Brule, Gagner, Cogs), thinking about the cap a year or two down the road, or would you rather they put the best team they can out for a year or two and go for a cup, then deal the same guys they would have had to part with earlier, after the fact?

            Me, I push the limit, go for the cup, and keep my core solid until the next time I can push the limit.

          • BBOil

            No doubt they build a strong team, I’m not denying that. Having guys like Buff, Versteeg, Ladd etc… on good contracts did help because it gave them added depth.

            The issue is they lost that depth, depth that was a key part in winning the cup. And they lost it because they made bad decisions.

            As for your hypothetical, I have a different scenario:

            Recognize where you are going to be in 2,3,4 years. Plan for it.

            If you know you are going to have to sign your good young players to $6mil contracts then make sure you don’t sign a UFA now to a 7 year deal paying him that much money, especially if you think it will cause you problems.

            Don’t sign a guy taking only into account today and saying “We’ll see where we are in 3 years!”. The Oilers have an awesome chance to do something special here, and I’m truely worried they are going to blow it.

          • BBOil

            I agree with you about not signing the big FAs now, in prep for the future.

            I agree about planning ahead too. I wouldn’t want them to go sign a big name FA next year. I’d rather establish that core of guys that you think you can win with, then maybe add that ringer as you put it with Ogden Jr after the fact, even if that means losing someone else after you make the push.

            Either way decisions have to be made on who we keep and who goes, but if two years from now we look like a legit contender in the upcoming years, I’d rather they sign Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, Brule, etc…. and go for it the next year, then shed who you have to in order to sign the kids you want. If you are not in contention 2-4 yrs from now, I get what I can for Penner and Hemsky, and start working on that valuable depth to go with the kids in the future.

            Really it comes down to balancing between now and the future. In the end though, if they want those kids long term, they’ll give them the contracts to get it done. When they do it, doesn’t matter. At some point a decision may need to be made between Hall and Hemsky, and for me you make that decision when you need to, keeping one eye on the future, and one eye on now.

            Guess what really gets me is the idea we shouldn’t play Hall or Magnus now, because we cannot win now. I see it as if this is going to be their team, give it to them now, because really there is only one way to become an NHL player and that is to play in the NHL.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Realistically if MPS, Hall and Eberle become these superstars, do you really see Penner, Hemsky, Gagner and Brule playing with them for much more longer regardless of when the rookies were brought in?

            Maybe you get an extra year by waiting a year with MPS and Hall, but long-term odds are the one year doesn’t make that big of a difference.

          • BBOil

            Confused. Think I’m on your side. I want them in now.

            Saying bring them in now, get a feel for what they are going to bring in the future. If they play well and we decide to build around them, then we make decisions on everyone else who’s contracts are up the year prior. If we have a chance to win sooner than later, I’d be more inclined to try to keep as much of that group as possible (keeping in mind the upcoming RFAs). If there isn’t a chance of winning, I’d be more inclined to get what I can for Penner and Hemsky, and continue building around young guys.

  • BBOil

    I have the solution. Play Hall, Eberle, Magnus now. When there ELC are up, assuming they have earned it, hopefully sign them each to big money, long term deals. In the meantime, make decisions on whom you will keep out of Gilbert, Whitney, Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, Brule, and Cogs. Also Souray and Khabby contracts will be up by the time it comes to pay day for the kids, so there will be money to go around.

    Point is, play them now. See what you have, and what it will cost to pay them. If they are looking like guys to build around, maybe a guy like Penner becomes expendable. Trade him at the deadline, for more young prospects/picks. Now there is money to go towards future signing of kids. Now you have a young core you can build around, and hopefully can sign them long term, then its a matter of bringing in a supporting cast for them. The kids ELC may be up a year earlier, but that isn’t necessarily bad either. Have to pay them sometime right, and right now 2013 doesn’t look like a bad year to do it.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    you have to be careful in sending a guy down just for the sake of saving a contract year. If he clearly deserves to be in the Show, but you send him down just to delay the expiry of his entry level deal, you could create some animosity with that player. I don’t get that sense from Paajarvi, but you better have a hockey reason. If Renney feels he needs to be better on the boards or better in defensive coverage, so be it. That’s something that a hockey player can understand. If he was bitter about money, he would either leave or make sure that the team paid him ‘extra’ in the next contract.

  • BBOil

    @ dawgbone

    Question for you.

    How many 40-50 point players coming out of their ELC have earned between 5-7 million on their second contract?

    I’m pretty sure it’s none.

    So if we waste Hall’s ELC on an non competitive team (as you say we will), what makes you think Hall will earn 6 million on his 2nd contract?

    Please explain

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

      Perry Put up 54 points in 07-08 and was signed July of 08 to his current deal (5 years 5.325 mil).

      Getzlaf put up 39 points and was in the middle of a season where he scored 58 when he was signed to an extension in Nov 2007 (5 years 5.325 mil).

      And just because the team won’t be competetive doesn’t mean that by the end of the contract he can’t put up good personal numbers.

      • BBOil

        So are those contracts good deals in your mind?

        So if Hall gets a similar deal to Perry, he’ll be about a 1.6 million cap hit more then his ELC is right now.

        So you’re saying that this team has a better chance of being a cup contendor because they will save 1.6 million 3 years from now if they hold Hall back?

        • BBOil

          What does $1.6 mil in cap space represent to you?

          That could be a veteran centre (similar to Madden in Chicago last year). Maybe it’s a deadline rental of a pretty good player.

          And if MPS is also as advertised (remember, the argument is to hold him back as well), that could be an additional $3.5mil or so in cap space.

          Going further ahead. What if Hall does way better than Perry? what if instead of $5.2 mil he gets $6.7 mil (ala Backstrom)? That’s even more money we are talking about saving here.

          Hey, if Hall is a 50 point player 4 years from now it’s a moot point. But if he is that franchise player, it can make a world of difference.