Trades, Now

The 2010-11 Edmonton Oilers were a team built to fail. From the opening faceoff, obvious roster problems were left unaddressed. The goaltending was a question mark, the defence a haunted wasteland, and the forward pool young, talented and terribly shallow.

The 2011-12 Oilers cannot enter the season in that kind of disarray.

Why talk about this now? The answer to that is simple: the Oilers moves approaching the trade deadline are going to have a direct impact on how competitive they are next season. Additionally, with the Oilers locked in an ugly ‘battle’ for 30th in the league with the underwhelming Islanders and somehow inferior Devils, there’s no incentive for the Oilers to hang on to their useful but not long-term parts, and there’s clearly a market for (even barely) useful but not long-term parts. Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos had interest from (multiple!) NHL teams, heck even Ben Eager somehow commanded a fifth round draft pick, despite being freshly returned from an idiotic four-game suspension and having spent a good chunk of the season in his coach’s doghouse.

I take that to mean that the Oilers might never have a better time to get some value in exchange for some of their more marginal players. Teams are desperate – 10 points separate fourth and 14th in the West, and even in the East teams like the Lightning and Rangers have already started to make moves to solidify their place in the standings.

Personally, I’d be looking to move a bunch of spare parts. I’d start with Ryan Jones: he’s got 10 goals, 15.9 shooting percentage, ugly scoring chance and underlying numbers, so I’d suggest it’s time to sell high. I believe he’s a fourth-liner, but that others will think much more of him and pay accordingly. The fact that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent doesn’t hurt the case to move him either.

Colin Fraser’s got another year on his contract, but given the attention the marginal forwards listed above have received, I tend to think somebody will pay something for him. Further, I’d argue he’s easily replaceable on the free agent market come summertime. Along with Fraser, I’d move Reddox and Jacques if anyone was willing to send a draft pick back. I’d also offer Brule & Cogliano, in the hopes of getting a reasonable offer on one of them, though I fear the trade window has passed for both of them and the Oilers may be better off hanging on to both.

On the back end, Jim Vandermeer and Kurtis Foster are expendable, as is Jason Strudwick. I don’t think that this is a particularly controversial take. 

Lowetide has argued that both Zack Stortini and Ladislav Smid might be on the outs with the organization, and while I think he’s right I wouldn’t move either of them, were I sitting in Steve Tambellini’s chair. Stortini’s a very capable 12th/13th/14th forward, he’s close to dirt cheap, and to be honest I like him. As for Smid, his player-type takes a long time to develop, he isn’t expensive, he’s a capable third-pairing option as-is, and there’s still a decent chance that he emerges as a physical second-pairing guy who makes a good first pass and handles duties in his own end with aplomb. That’s exactly what a team like the Oilers should want in a third-pairing guy.

Readers may differ on exactly what the Oilers should do; certainly, I’d be surprised if there was unanimous agreement with the scenario I’ve sketched out. I invite people to submit their own deadline plans. Either way, the time to move is now, and I think the immediate goal is clear-cut: to contend for a playoff spot next season.

  • This isn’t really time to blow up this team, realistically speaking. No one thought this team would be a contender for at least another two to three years. We got so much young talent that it’s sick. Guys who might be ready to take over the NHL in that time frame. I think going out and changing a whole bunch of things over night because of another bad season would be too quick on that gun.

    Guys like Cogliano and Jones were bubble players at the start. But these guys are quickly earning a role on this team. I like Cogliano’s hustle and mean streak and that makes him valuable. Jones is a rolling dust devil who seems to have his nose in every scrum. Teams win championships with these kinds of players. Molding Cogliano into a checking agitating forward might keep him here in Edmonton. He has more than enough speed to keep up with anyone in the NHL.

    Two guys of value who should be shopped around are Gagner and Hemsky. I like Gagner’s compete level but his size tells me that he’s the second coming of Comrie. He doesn’t have the strength down low to dominate any game, his passing skills are good but what we can’t get rid of in Horcoff we can do with Gagner. Trade him while his value is high. Hemsky’s unwillingness to shoot has me getting annoyed with him even more. This team needs a new look and his skill is perfect for a guy with the scoring touch and so far he hasn’t had any chemistry with the kids. Hemsky and Gagner are guys who have the value to bring in something good in return. I’m guessing a hulking center with good faceoff ability and shut down d-man should be on our shopping list for next season.

      • Gagner’s size as a top centerman isn’t really what we need. Cogliano has a mean streak and his speed makes him more valuable as a utility penalty killing forward who can shut down other teams top trios with the right amount of seasoning. His size means he isn’t going to win many battles down low, but he can beat people to the puck or get there fast enough to break up a lot of plays.

        Gagner has a good skill set but I think he isn’t going to top out at more then 60 points a season. I think it’s time to trade and get that faceoff winning big centerman. Hell with Eberle and Hall dishing the puck all the guy has to do is stand in front of the net.

  • WHAT IS THIS??? Rip on Tambo day?

    Whats wrong with licking chode? With Mr.1.2B, the oil can spend to the cap. Whoever thinks Tambo is icing his top team in his mind is not seeing this correctly. Were $16M under the cap if you take away Souray. Souray will get some return next year.

    I agree, give Tambo his top 3 pick again and he gets his judgement next year. Remember that we were a cap team last year that finished 30th. With 16M we imagine our team with 4, 4M players….suddenly fills alot of holes, doesnt it?

  • Ducey

    JW,

    I agree with much of what you have said although I think you are overstating the value of some of the Oilers players. Many will be untradable.

    Eager has a good history with CHI. This year has not been good but his new team is taking a chance they might get the 2009/10 version. Wellwood and Svatos are attractive because they cost no assets. There is no downside to picking them up.

    I wouldn’t trade Cogs but would boot Stortini. I think Cogs will eventually be Matt Lombardi – a very good checking/ PK center. He is not now, but who cares? This process is about 2 to 3 years from now.

    Finally, this comment:
    The 2011-12 Oilers cannot enter the season in that kind of disarray.

    Why? The rebuild is on for another 2 years whether the fans like it or not. The development of the kids is not going to follow a straight line. No decent freeagents are going to come here and Tambo should not be trading assets of any value. In other words, this team is going to improve when the kids improve it. Not because Tambo picks up some bargain FA’s off the kill floor to fill the bottom 6.

    As for disarray, this team is right where it should be. There are the makings of 3 decent lines and some young D men developing.

  • I think Vern Fiddler & Scottie Upshall are free agents this summer. If we let Jones go, because we could get value out of him I would hope we would take a serious run @ Upshall.

    Fiddler could probably solve our 4th line, face-off, PK energy guy. These are the kind of guys we need, energy players. The price point could probably work too, Upshall is currently around 2.2 & Fiddler 1.1, so we wouldn’t be breaking the bank for either of them.

  • @ Ducey:

    The team can’t enter next season in this kind of disarray because it takes time to come out of the cellar.

    They can’t be content to flush another year, they need to start pulling out or next year we’ll again be saying they’re three years away.

    One other minor point (more general than specific to you): if this team is three years away from playoff contention, why are Hall and Paajarvi on the roster this year? So they can get expensive right before hte team gets good?

    • Jonathan, I could not agree with you more. In fact, I’ve been hinging my thoughts along the lines that our management team isn’t a collection of village idiots. IF that’s the case, then your strategy would seem to be the logical course. We should theoretically start to see some activity leading up to the trade deadline, with continued chess piece movement this summer.

      Personally, the bottom part of the roster and D are my major areas of concentration. We’re starting to assemble a decent top end, the quality of which should accelerate as our young guys mature and we prune the marginals.

      Better role players (“actual NHL’ers”) who can handle special teams play and a D upgrade would get us into playoff contention, which I firmly believe is a necessity for next year. We’re not getting rid of Khabby (for obvious reasons), so the only change in goal would be executed if Dubnyk is deemed lacking. Our young squad needs to learn what the next level is, and that can only be accomplished with playoff experience.

    • D-Man

      They won’t be content upon a cellar finish, but we can’t expect the rebuild to be complete in a short year… There’s another top draft pick (whether it be Larrson, Couturier, RNH, Landeskog) to be developed. I don’t think we’d be fair to Tambo to expect him to be able to fix all of the obvious holes (weak backend and faceoffs) without overpaying FA’s – which is senseless considering we won’t be challenging for a playoff spot next year.

      Hall and MPS are on the roster as they were the best players available to fill our roster. Whether we like it or not, we won’t be ‘good’ until the 2012-2013 – hence the discussions on the merits of trading Penner or Hemsky for picks…

      My belief is that we’ll be competing for a playoff spot 2012-2013.. We all seem to forget that there will be 11 contracts up for renewal at the end of the year. Now if Tambo blindly resigns all 11 FA’s, then yes, he’s an incompetent idiot. I foresee him resigning 7 (Cogs, Jones, Smak or Storts, Smid, Peckham and Chorney). That leaves at least four more roster spots to be filled by a couple rookies and a couple of FA’s.

    • Ducey

      Sorry, I don’t see this team contending for Stanley in 2 years. I see them barely making the playoffs in 2 years, with next year being another developmental year.

      But lets say you are right JW, what would Tambo need to do to improve this team in a substantial way for next year? He likely needs a goalie (DD is not going to stay at .920 save% and you say Bulin is done), 3-5 quality guys for the bottom 6, 2 mid-range Dmen (assuming Petry, Peckham, Whitney and Gilbert are here).

      No quality FA’s are going to come here (its Edmonton, for a rebuild), and you don’t want to trade picks or assets.

      How are you going to fill all those spots with quality better than Tambo did? And will that team make the playoffs? I doubt it.

      You may feel that the Oilers winning a few more OT games next year and finshing 23rd is going to lead somewhere. I don’t. It just means worse draft picks.

      Wings coach Babcock, when asked about the Oilers season, said that they were right on track, that they should be going for lottery this year. He then said: “If you try to get too good too fast, you don’t get good enough”.

      I expect Mike Babcock would have done things this season very much like Tambo has.

    • BarryS

      And your assumption they will get expensive when the team gets good is based on what? Economic forecasts on the future? Hall might get a big payday, the others likely not so much.

      Hall and Paajarvi are on the team to keep butts in the seats. Same with the First next year. Hockey, like farming, runs on hope. Players on the farm do not contribute much to hope on the big team. If they are so good, why are they not on the big team now?

  • My proposal for the rest of the season…

    1. Trade Penner at the deadline. No, I’m not taking crazy pills. He’s still got a year left on what has nicely developed into a “value” contract so the Oilers might command some value back in a trade and I have to believe a contender will find use for him (could he be the long-needed winger for Crosby?)

    Plus, I still believe that there’s no friggin’ way he re-signs with Edmonton. I think a year from now, he’ll want to get back to a market that isn’t a fishbowl. Not sure where he’ll go, but I think if he signs anywhere, it’ll be a city that also has NBA and NFL teams.

    2. Try to deal away guys like Fraser and Vandermeer. Petry is obviously better than Vandermeer and Fraser might actually have some value because he’s been on a winner. You’ll notice I left Strudwick’s name out of this. I don’t think he’s got much value in a trade. I don’t know what to do about Strudwick. There’s no delicate way of telling a guy that he’s not good enough to play in the NHL anymore.

    3. Don’t panic on Foster. His contract isn’t overly onerous and if you’re going to get rid of someone for not performing well on the power play then we’d probably have to turn over most of the roster. On a good team, he’s probably a 4-5-6 defenceman. That’s no great-shakes, but the Oilers aren’t good enough to be throwing guys like that away just because they’re missing the net a lot on the power play (but wow has he ever got accuracy issues, though)

    4. See if Jones would re-sign before anything else. Mr. Willis has made a compelling argument for trading him away and I respect his opinion, but I believe that if you’re rebuilding a team, it’s a bottom-up rebuild just as much as it’s a top-down rebuild. That means you’re also developing third pairings of defencemen, backup goalies and third- and fourth-line forwards.

    If you trade Jones away, you’ve basically got to go out and find a guy just like him to replace him. Are those players easy to find? I’m not so sure – the Oilers haven’t managed to find many of them. But if he doesn’t seem like he’ll re-sign, trade him. Can’t argue with Willis’s reasons otherwise.

    5. Find a faceoff man. Getting tired of watching Stoll and Brodziak take big draws for teams we’re gonna be chasing in the conference. It might hurt for the Oiler brass to admit the fan base is right about this one, but, for the love of God – find another faceoff man already and hang onto him this time.

    6. Draft by position/need at the entry draft, as long as that player speaks Swedish. If they end up with the first pick overall, they grab Larsson and run. If they pick second, they hope that either Larsson or Landeskog fall to them. If they pick third or fourth, same thing – hope one of those two Swedes is still around. If I can, I steer clear of Couturier (iffy skater, so-so WJC, not overly physical) and Nugent-Hopkins (size), if I can.

    7. Send Cogliano home this summer with a bunch of game films of Todd Marchant and instructions to emulate him. I think Cogs is finally starting to realize that those comparisons between him and Opie weren’t an insult. If you’re all wheels and no hands, it’ll keep in you in the league for a while … if you’re willing to play defensively.

    8. Take a chill pill. Things are pretty much where they were expected to be at this stage of the rebuild. We’re now halfway through Year 1 of a three-year plan. The holes that are there are not unexpected.

    • D-Man

      Agreed with everything you said, except for point 6… You should draft best player available… From what I’ve heard that would be Landeskog, although RNH had a great game at the Prospects game… I don’t necessarily agree with your statement about Couturier – he was 17 playing in a 19 year old tournament… Nash when he played saw only 3 minutes a game and Tavarres was buried on the fourth line when he was 17 as well… Assessing him now based on that tournament wouldn’t completely be accurate. Larrson was ‘okay’ at the WJC and wasn’t overwhelming…

      You also have to consider what you get back from dealing Penner… Since you’re probably not getting a 1st line center; the focal point on that trade would be a ‘shutdown’ defenseman. There’s still a bit of a log jam down the middle, so a Cogs/Brule might also need to be packaged as well.

  • Aitch

    Stay next season Hall – Eberle – MPS – Omark-cogs-gagner-jones
    trade- penner-hemsky-brule ev. gagner if lander arrives.

    get rid of the rest fw for a late pick!

    Get larsson if possible and a big c for the tradepieces.

  • Cosmo

    Jonathan,

    Excellent article on the trades. I think you pretty much lay it out as you mentioned. Other than Hall, Eberle, MPS I don’t think anyone is un-tradable. I think it’s divided into 3 categories:

    1) guys that you actively shop,
    2) guys that you don’t actively shop but will listen to offers from other teams
    3) the guys that you won’t trade.

    Most of our team is into categories 1 and 2. Draft picks would be preferred in my opinion simply because I think we should be drafting and developing our talent rather than looking for someone else’s prospects

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    you dont build Stanley Cup teams with dudes like Stortini getting major PT. sorry. you build smart, fast, mean bottom 6 lines that cause chaos. Stortini is a step behind the play constantly and has taken it upon himself to act like hes some Supreme Crap Talker now but is more of an embarrassment than anything.

    and Smid is basically Balki from Perfect Strangers. ultimately passive to the point where its ridiculous but people love his silly “foreign” personality and fun loving spirit. hes a real paradox. he can skate, he has stick skills but for some reason he plays like an absolute WUSS when it comes to playing a complete game of hockey. passive. passive. passive. he’s so far in the tar pits of being passive to help the team win a game that its just become sad. he cant shoot either.

    speaking of another player to toss on their way to this Magical Cup, Gagner has to go as soon as the Center spot is figured out. if they cant upgrade over that dudes Tiny-ness and inability to create anything for himself its going to be a wasted “re-build”.

    • Quick question for you – without looking, which of these players scores the most points (relative to ice-time) at even-strength this season:

      1. Gagner
      2. Hall
      3. Eberle

      Given that I’m bringing this up, you can probably guess the answer.

    • Oilers4ever

      I respectfully disagree, Jonathan.

      IMHO, I think the “rebuild” started sometime around the middle of last season when brass realized things were way worse than they thought.

      I don’t remember any talk of “rebuild” at the start of 2009-10. “Rebuild” talk only started when it looked like they were headed to last overall – right around this time last year, I reckon. And really, I think we can all agree that the moves late last season were more of a “teardown” (like the first 15 minutes of Holmes on Homes) than a “rebuild” (like the last 15 minutes of Holmes on Homes). OK, the Whitney trade is the exception.

      If you asked the Oiler brass what year the rebuild is in, they’d probably say we’re halfway through Year 1. After all, the “Oil Change” mini-series didn’t start in the summer of 2009 …

      (Note to Jonathan: Thanks for humouring this bit of extreme nitpicking. I don’t expect you to glorify it with a response).

    • Whitney27

      “I’ve been waiting for tomorrow all of my life”
      The The

      Really, the Oilers have been in rebuild mode since Messier left.

      When has this team not been young, up and coming, exciting and weak, missing key pieces that never seem to get found.

      Well, Lowe built one veteran version, had a good lucky run, and blew it up.

      Good GM’s asses the team’s strengths and change the weaknesses. Pheonix has become a much better team because of trading pieces to get a roster that works, keeping a very small core and evaluating players well.

      Phoenix has only 3 players I consider too small, two are well established veterans so weren’t a great risk. No superstars, just big and balanced.

      My core is Hall, Eberle, Penner, Horcoff (contract), Petry, Peckham, MPS, Smid (if his head is ok) and Dubnyk.

      We can live without Hemmer, Gilbert, Cogs, Brule, Gagner, Whitney, Omark. I would load up on lottery picks (get two more) and it can be done by moving 2 of Gagner, Hemsky and Gilbert without question.

      I would then target Zack Kassian, Gudbranson (or any other premium young D), any premium young centre with size and speed, a tough that can earn his check.

      I would overpay to get what I want because targeted top 5 picks and player acquisitions that fill a specific need will make a much better team (and clear roster spots) than hoarding a bunch guys that don’t fit the bill and aren’t succeeding because of it. It does not matter to liquidate excess assets for an improvement if that’s what it takes to get a deal done. This team doesn’t work as it is, and it’s about more than just being young.

      There is no point drafting the best available player regardless of need if you don’t trade them for what you do need while they have good value. It is actually damaging to the team, like it might get really unbalanced and be terribly ineffective.

      Phoenix turned into a playoff team pretty quick after a few smart deals. Tambellini can turn this thing into a few year process from a many year process as he is going now. The precedent in Oil Country has been set – 5 years to be as good(lucky) as Sather.

      Long suffering Oiler fans deserve prompt, decisive and correct action for a change.

  • VMR

    Any interest in trying to sign a Handzus in the offseason? I think his value has fallen greatly but he’s still a big center that would fit on our 3rd line and step in when/if Horcoff goes down to injury. Might be able to sign him for not to much. His faceoff % isnt that great this year but it has been in the past.

    On defence I think we could use a depth guy that is a step up from Strudwick/Vandermeer. Ideally we’d get a second pairing guy that could support our prospects but I think those guys will cost a lot. Teams are shelling out big bucks for those guys and they head towards the contenders.

  • VMR

    As far as the Tambo debate goes, I’m not convinced that he’s the GM who will pull it all together for this team, but I agree that I ought to reserve judgment until I see what he does from here through to the end of the summer.

    I also acknowledge that Lowe left him with a mess, and that needs to be factored into any evaluation of what he has done/been able to do to date.

    I also think he deserves some credit for AHL pickups he made and getting a competitive farm team going – all important for development.

    Having said all that, I am definitely not sold on him – he still needs to convince me he’s a decent GM, and I think it’s fair to give him until the end of summer to do so. You can’t give him credit for drafting good players when he admittedly just followed MacGregor’s advice, and he only had the draft picks in the first place becuase the team veered into the gutter.

  • O.C.

    Whoa.
    You don’t trade to get better now.
    And you don’t trade when demand is low.

    People aren’t lining up to buy 3rd and 4th liners off a last place team. I dont see anyone gushing over Toronto or NYI or NJ 3rd and 4th liners. Or their bottom D.

    Last years team was hopeless. This year it has strong hope and potential. But let’s blame ST for not fixing everything at once, or when we think it is the best time?

    Wrong. Make trades at Trade deadline and at FA deadline… That’s when the Burkes and Sutters and other trigger happy GMs make their questionable moves.

  • BarryS

    Fraser was brought in as the 3rd line faceoff and, to a lesser extent, PK man and has shown poorly in both of them. He is my biggest disappointment of the year.

    I think I can blame Tambo for getting a poor player fresh off a cup winning team, but not for lack of trying to solve the FO situation this summer.

    I still can’t believe tha he got rid of Staois and got a draft pick with it.

  • Oilers4ever

    Have to disagree on this being year 1.5 of the rebuild… You can’t tell me going into last season that they were going into it thinking rebuild.. Hell, at Xmas in the 2009-2010 season they were battling for first in the division.. and then they went down hill from there because of injuries, illness etc… So to think this is 1.5 of the rebuild in my mind is assinine. The rebuild started at the trade deadline last year, but more specifically the draft. I’d give you 1 year tops, but still more like half a year. One year complete will be the draft this June.

    Either way, I don’t expect much at the deadline from them this year. Maybe move some minor players like possibly Jacques or Storts. You’re a nimrod in my mind if you trade Jones. He’s one of the only guys who shows up game in and game out with energy every night, just like Reddox. Those guys should be 3rd and 4th liners for next season, and they are cheap enough. Jones may have 10 goals and could get close to 20. But he’s done it for one year, that’s it. Give him a 3 year deal with bonus incentives for increasing his goal total from this season.

    Hemmer and Pens won’t get traded because:
    1) The Oil will want too much and no one will give in.
    2) Hemsky has proven this year he’s too risky with 3 injuries already this season alone, let alone his past. Although I wish they would trade him, as great as he is, you are useless if you are spending more than half of every season on the IR and spend 20 of the other half of the games available getting back to playing ability from being injured only to get injured again.

    If anything, trade the Bulin wall (like that could ever happen) and play Dubynk and Gerber. We’re a much better team goalie wise without the ole Drunk Tank in net…

    • D-Man

      I do think Hemmer or Pens (or both – mostly likely one) will get traded as they will be the players teams might think will push them over the top for a Stanley Cup. They also both have one year remaining on their contracts which would also be favorable for managing cap space.

      I think they’ll most likely be traded next year though – when they’re at the last year of their respective contracts. Assuming they’re healthy, they both have enough offensive upside to help a team push for a Cup/playoff spot. They’ll also be FA’s and teams have the luxury of passing on offering them anything, should they be experiencing cap issues.

  • BarryS

    Smid an Visnosky were a lights-out pair, they had text book plays all the time as a pair.

    Smid needs a player like Vis, it would be like getting a 2 for 1 deal.

  • @ Ducey:

    Tambellini’s stuck with Khabibulin unless he can deal him for somehting, so the Oilers will just have to live with the Dubnyk/Khabibulin tandem. That’s on him.

    On defence, half the problem is the absence of Souray, which is also on Tambellini. I’m not going to talk much about that now – there’s an article coming – but they need to get value there.

    On forward, quality depth free agents are available every summer. The Oilers let one guy – Pisani – go this summer who they should not have, and who got signed dirt cheap. Konopka got signed dirt cheap. Moore waited, waited, waited, and finally signed cheap. Torres signed cheap. These guys are everywhere.

    Which makes it more confounding that the Oilers can’t seem to find them.

    • Crash

      The goaltending tandem is not a problem, other than Dubnyk should play more. That’s on the coach.

      Are you kidding me? Half the defense problem is the absence of Souray? The guy is done, he is mediocre in the AHL, he is always hurt, he is all about himself and would not be good for the Oilers room. Sheldon Souray would have ZERO impact on this defense core in a positive way. His career is virtually over. If he was that good, why did he pass through the entire league….TWICE, with no takers?

      It was time for Pisani to go…he is not what this team needs. Reddox is Pisani, works hard, isn’t overly talented, is soft and can be used on the PK. And Reddox is not the injury risk of Pisani. This team needs more punch in the bottom six, not Pisani or anyone like him. For the record, I’d also let Reddox go.

      I’ll give you Konopka as this team needs 2 or 3 Kenopka’s but Moore? Is this a joke? What was Moore going to bring? You are talking about Dominic Moore I assume. Is this the Dominic Moore who is in TB? The one with 16 points on the season and who is a solid minus 16 on a pretty good Tampa team? Was there a reason he waited and waited and waited while no one jumped up to grab him in the summer?

      Really JW, these are your ideas that would have made the Oilers a better hockey team? The Oilers went out and tried a Dominic Moore type by getting Fraser, didn’t they? Didn’t work out it seems, probably like Moore wouldn’t have.

      Having Pisani, Moore and Souray was going to turn this team into a playoff contender and not a lottery team? Right, sure, ok. Didn’t this team have both Pisani and Souray last year when they were last? There would have been no difference to this team under your scenario whether you want to believe it or not. I will say, this team could use a Kenopka, an Eager and a Chris Neil (or something similar) to give it some push back, some bite, some in your face along with some ability to play. Were they available to the Oilers? Tough to say, maybe, I don’t know how many of those guys would be willing to sign here? I hope Tambellini can add a couple of these guys.

      As far as your article goes, I’m not sure you’re going to get much in return for much of what you are wanting to dump….so if you do manage to dump many of these players for 5th round draft picks or whatever I’m not sure how it translates into a playoff team next year. All that may be available to the Oilers next year to sign is more of the same. The Oilers will challenge for the playoffs when and if the prospects are good enough to make it happen or at least good enough to attract other players here.

    • Ducey

      What Crash said.

      And I think you missed my point. Complaining about Tambo is one thing. Determining what should be done next year was the point in discussion.

      They are stuck with Bulin. Rather than saying its Tambos fault, you take that into account and realize they are not going anywhere no matter how many Dominic Moores they sign.

  • @ Scott:

    Most important part of the rebuild so far: Taylor Hall. Therefore, last season was part of the rebuild, whether the Oilers planned it that way or not. Hall’s critical, and Pitlick/Marincin/Hamilton/Martindale are all important pieces in the pipeline.

    Another thing, again more a general comment htan directed at you: if Tambellini the Assessor seriously believed last year’s 30th-ranked squad was a playoff team, after more than a year at the helm and three lustrum in the division, isn’t that a firing offence in and of itself?

  • D-Man

    @ Jonathan…

    Agree on Taylor Hall. And, the truth is, I don’t know if any of use need to bother arguing about when this rebuild started. It’s probably more important to speculate on when it will be over.

    As for what Tamby thought he had at the start of 2009-10, well, good question. Honestly – I think he thought had a team that he thought might be on that 10th-11th-12th playoff doorstep. IN other words, one that might be a deadline deal away from sneaking into the playoffs.

    We can all laugh at that notion now until our sides split, but I really, truly think that’s what he thought he had.

    So, does that constitute a firing offence?

    Dunno. Maybe.

    It didn’t last summer, so the ownership probably realized a “sea change” (to borrow from Melville) was required in what the organization’s philosophy and outlook was going to be going forward.

    And here we are…

  • Cervantes

    You know, as much as I’d like to make a lot of moves for players, I think that it makes sense to move players for picks instead.

    Look at who we have coming up. Hartikainen. Lander. Vande Velde. Pitlick. That’s 4 guys vying for a roster spot next year, and on a young team looking to learn together, I can see them getting it. What’s better, they’re all pretty much bottom 6 guys, at least to start. O’Marra got sent down mostly for waiver eligibility reasons (and thank $deity someone on the Oilers finally noticed that), but he didn’t look out of place as the #4C either. Reddox has shown he can play up here.

    Would I like to get Malhotra or Torres or Reasoner or a pile of other vets? Yes. But in terms of the 2013/14 Oilers, it’s probably better to develop these guys and let them gel as a group. And thanks to Stu the Magnificent Bastard, these guys represent 4th line jam and crust, good PK, winning faceoffs, and leadership. Exactly the things we’re needing. I’d rather groom a kid than bring in a vet for 2 years.

    On D things are a bit thinner, but Petry is looking great, Chorney doesn’t suck suddenly, I still like Belle and Petiot, Marincin seems like a nice mean SOB, Peckham has taken huge leaps, Gilbert is playing 30 minutes a night and Top10 in the NHL in blocked shots…. there’s a lot of promise there too. Add in a Whitney, subtract Foster, Vandermeer and Strudwickc, and add in a free agent signing of a Top4 D (or trade for Bieksa), and we’re not too shabby there either.

    Frankly, were I Tambi, I’d be moving people for picks. Don’t care if they’re 5th rounders. Just get em off the books. Fraser, Foster, JFJ, and Brule would all fit needs in various teams around the league and could be had cheap. A healthy VDM at the trade deadline would be a smart insurance pickup for a playoff bound team. Our sudden unwillingness to play Zorg could see him moved to a team looking for toughness. Gagner could actually pull a real nice return from a team looking for a 2nd line C and 2nd unit PP playmaker. And then the only things Tambi has to do over the summer is (a) find a good anchor for the D, (b) Maybe pick up one vet to take some of the pressure off the sophomore slumping kids, and (c) Dump Khabbuy in the minors.

    Next year we could have:

    PRV – Horcs – Ebs
    Penner – Hall – Hemmer
    Cogs – Pitlick – Omark
    Hartikainen – Lander – Reddox
    VV

    That’s not a bad set of forwards to start a year. Faceoffs in Horcs, Penner, Hall, Pits, Lander, Reddox, VV, and somewhat in Cogs. Defensive responsibility on almost any line. A middle 6 that can move up or down based on play. Flexibility if someone gets hurt or cold. There’s worse things to go into a season with, and we obtain it by doing nothing. Move a few guys for some mid-round picks, let MBS work his magic, and that’s really not bad.

    If a down-and-out team is looking to dump good parts, I’d for sure look at it… but frankly, things are going to be so close come the deadline that I expect almost every Western team to be a buyer, and most East teams too. If we’re lucky, the Rangers are selling and we get Boyle, or the Penguins are looking for help on the wings and we wrestle Staal out of them for Penner/Hemmer, but for the most part, I see this trade deadline as being the Season Of The Pick. Played right, the Oilers could go into the draft with an easy 10-12 picks. Add in some smart summer pickups with more luck than this last summer, and things aren’t that bad at all.

  • You trade Hemsky if you can get a high pick and a very good prospect (preferably a D-man) for him.

    You keep Penner, because someone has to help this team start to win when they’re ready to. You can probably get him inked for an extension at five million. Some people get on him for playing poorly, but Penner playing poorly is better than Hemsky not playing at all due to injury. Plus, they could use his size.

    Gagner, Hall, Omark, Paajarvi and Eberle all stay for obvious reasons.

    Jones you trade if you can get a good offer. Maybe a second round pick from a desperate GM, or a third round and a later round pick.

    Jacques isn’t going anywhere, except to Oklahoma City.

    Horcoff stays. We will need to start winning in the next two seasons, and we don’t have many players capable of doing what he does yet.

    Reddox stays. Actual bottom six player. They need more guys like him.

    MacIntyre stays because… well, because you have to pay somebody to be the 14th forward. And I don’t think he fetches anything.

    Cogliano goes. They’ve spent too long trying to babysit both Brule and Cogliano, and if we have to suffer through a young player with an identity crisis, keep the one who A) shoots and B) plays physical. Then again, I once reasoned that the Oilers should keep O’Sullivan over some of their other smurfs because he shot the puck. So what do I know?

    So yeah, Brule stays. For now.

    Stortini stays. Why create another hole? Young enough to play it for another five years.

    Fraser goes if anybody will take him. Anyone have a problem if we see O’Marra take the spot and see if he has a future as a utility/4th line forward? I don’t.

    Gilbert goes if anybody will give you value. I think he’s a valuable, minute-munching two-way defenceman. If there’s a GM that will give full value for that, move Gilbert out. There better be a first round pick in the deal for starters, though. If nobody’s paying that much, you can keep him and have him lead the next group of defencemen.

    Whitney stays. Not that he can be traded, but long-term, they need him to hold down the fort on the top pairing until somebody shows as the heir apparent.

    Petry and Peckham stay. Obviously.

    Smid stays. He might never be better than a #5, but we might not need him to be better than that, with Petry, Peckham and Marincin in the system. Either way, we can use his physicality and size.

    Foster goes, if anybody will take him. He was a reasonable signing as a hold-over until the next generation of powerplay options arrive, but with Petry and Chorney looking competent at this level, we can move him as soon as there’s a taker for him.

    Strudwick goes. If anybody will take a player that is a #7 defenceman on a bottom-feeder team that has already suffered injuries on the back-end.

    Vandermeer goes. A depth defenceman with an expiring contract that has done reasonably well this season? Yeah, that will probably fetch you something nice from a contending team concerned about their depth at the position.

    Khabibulin stays, I guess. I don’t see anybody taking that contract. He’s an awful goaltender with two and a half more years on his contract. Can we send him to the minors yet?

    Dubnyk stays.

  • Oilers4ever

    And Jones proves yet again my point I made last night that if you trade him and don’t resign him you are just a complete moron.. Best player on the ice by far last night along with Magnus…

  • JoeyCardine

    Trade Jones and keep Stortini. lol. As for the shooting percentage comment…I’ve seen this a bunch lately and wonder if people ever think further than just looking at a number. Watching Jones you can see he doesn’t just fire the puck from anywhere on the ice like say a Hall would do. He shoots from high percentage areas and mucks for goals. This is why is % is high. And a quick look on his stats shows he had a 13.2% in Nashville last year. And in his rookie AHL season scored 13goals in 25 games and had a shot percentage of 18.8%. When you actually research things the truth comes out. Jones shoots when he has a chance to score. Saying his shooting percentage is too high and therefore he’s performing better than he normally would is lazy and narrow sighted.

  • Whitney27

    I can definatly agree about getting rid of Strudwick and Vandermeer and well Foster im still up in the air about.
    I disagree about Smid & Stortini they both should be shipped out of town as fast as possible, i’ll give them both credit they have heart and dedication but neither one helps the team. Smid can be good but cannot stay consistent and makes countless mistakes with the puck in his own zone.
    As for Stortni he is just not useful even as 13th forward, I mean he was brought in to be the tough guy and he can’t even do that, and yes he might have grit but hard to hit someone if you can’t catch them.