11-12 Questions about 11-12

The Taylor versus Tyler debate is a distant bell. Another long season in the L column is almost complete. Oiler fans have the draft lottery ahead of them, and then a spring filled with debates over this year’s #1 and a plethora of possible roster moves. Let’s get started.

We’ve already talked a little about some of the candidates for number one overall, and the debate will continue through draft evening. This is not a slam dunk for any of this year’s models, and unlike last year it’s a difficult race to follow because there are so many candidates. The debate will heat up after the draft lottery and the Oilers know where they’ll pick.

  1. Do the Oilers address defense, center or grit with the top pick? I think they’ll take Adam Larsson. Why? Well, Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor has taken a player "in the range" in the first round since becoming head scout: Jordan Eberle was selected 22nd overall in 2008 and all major scouting services had him in the first round–Bob McKenzie ranking him 29th (Redline Report had Eberle where he was taken, #22); MPS was chosen 10th overall (McKenzie had it pegged this time, #10 and Redline had the Swede #6) and Taylor Hall was #1 everywhere but Florida where a hanging chad made it unclear. Bob McKenzie had it Larsson, RNH, Landeskog and then Couturier in February and his final rankings are probably going to be similar. The smart money is on Larsson at this time.
  2. Do the Oilers stay with the NK-DD tandem in 11-12 or go shopping? Although Khabibulin has two more years on his contract and hiding him in the minors offers no relief, it’s likely the Oilers will add some insurance at the position. It may come in the form of another Martin Gerber or the Oilers might end up being (Viktor) Fasth enough to sign a veteran Euro free agent.
  3. Will the Oilers make a big move this summer, either in trade or via free agent signing? I think the Oilers will make a few major signings this summer, but it won’t be "big name" variety additions. They will sign Anton Lander and a few of the CHL kids, and I suspect a young man like Adam Larsson has an outstanding shot at an NHL job if he shows well at this fall’s training camp. Viktor Fasth might not look like a huge item the day he’s signed, but could go a long way to settling things in the cage. Should the Oilers begin next season with Dubnyk and Fasth as a tandem and Khabibublin deep in the heart of Oklahoma that should be considered a major move.
  4. Are the Oilers putting themselves in danger re:50 man list will all of these college signings? Edmonton has been active this spring, signing Tanner House, Taylor Fedun, Hunter Tremblay, Olivier Roy and Mark Arcobello. However, they have plenty of room for the Lander’s and Hamiltons, as Capgeek tells us there are 27 (actually 29 with Tremblay and Arceobello added) along with 12 restricted free agents. Even if the Oilers sign all 12 rfa’s–and they won’t–that would leave 9 spots open on the 50 mission cap.
  5. What are they going to do about the powder blue-line? The Oilers have Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, Jeff Petry and Kurtis Foster under NHL contracts for next season. RFA’s include Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham and Taylor Chorney. Minor leaguers in the mix include Alex Plante, Colten Teubert, Taylor Fedun and Johan Motin. I think the Oilers will look at bringing Jim Vandermeer back for another year and assume Foster will be much better next season. A top 4 of Whitney-Petry, Smid-Gilbert seems likely from here, with Foster, Peckham and Vandermeer rounding out the NHL roster. This leaves Taylor Chorney in something of a no-man’s land and I believe he may be dealt over the summer.
  6. What do the top 2 lines look like in the fall? I believe the Oilers will operate (as they have in the recent past) as if they can ice "three scoring lines" and the 9 names in play will be Horcoff, Gagner and Cogliano at center; Hall, MPS and Jones on LW and Hemsky, Eberle and Omark on RW. The wild card is that kid Hartikainen, who could be an ideal item in the ongoing effort to marry size, grit and brains to a skill line. His emergence late may impact the Ryan Jones contract.
  7. Will they spend a roster spot on Steve MacIntyre again this fall? Yes. The Oilers have invested money and minutes in developing a nuclear deterrent. Why stop now? He’ll play 40 games a year under Renney.
  8. Which of the kids outside the pro portion of the organization has the best chance of making the big team in 11-12? Anton Lander. The Oilers have Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano and Colin Fraser as NHL contracts and minor leaguers Ryan O’Marra and Chris Vande Velde at the top of the depth chart. Lander’s SEL experience should put him in the mix for that 4th spot, forcing Fraser to 13F (ahead of MacIntyre) or to OKC with Khabibulin.
  9. How will the Oilers handle round one of this year’s draft? They’ll pluck Larsson number one overall and make a trade up to around 15 in order to acquire C Mark McNeill from the PA Raiders.
  10. Is there an alternate universe on the draft? Yes. They draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and then trade up to get Duncan Siemens at around 15.
  11. Will they sign any free agents? I think they’ll make a push for guys like Viktor Fasth in Europe and Boyd Gordon (57.9 faceoff %) this summer, but heaven knows if they’ll be able to sign any NHL free agents. A year ago they signed Kurtis Foster and Gordon would fit into the "day 3" group of free agents so there’s always a chance.
  12. Which NHL Oilers will be dealt this summer? There’ s a difference between the men who are available and those who will be dealt. Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky might have been in play, but injuries might hold up deals in this regard. NOTE: I’m not suggesting the Oilers should trade either player, but in Hemsky’s case he’s outside the heart of the cluster age-wise and Gagner’s being sent away might be possible should they choose RNH. Men like Kurtis Foster, Gilbert Brule and Taylor Chorney could be in play.

Nation Radio hits the airwaves again today, Noon to 2pm on Team 1260 radio. Scheduled to appear are Corey Graham, play-by-play voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings; Tom Benjamin, an outstanding Canucks blogger; Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey; Lorne Molleken from the Saskatoon Blades; Jim Byers, play-by-play voice of the Oklahoma City Barons and Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note. I am overwhelmed by the number and quality of emails we get every week, and look forward to hearing from you at nationradio@theteam1260.com again this morning.

  • Hemmertime

    Would new jersey be willing to trade their top ten pick because they made that huge run. If we were to get a pick like that (and im not sure what it would take in addition to the la first) would we have the oppurtunity to snag a couturier who is sliding fairly far(like fowler). A steal like that could advance a year so i tgink we should go for that.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      if/when the “sophmore slump” hits the team next year, it will probably turn into another year of ugly..

      In my opinion, the oilers probably finish 10-12th in the west next year (baby steps), make the playoffs in 7th or 8th the year after and then the 13-14 season is when the rise begins..

      ***puts tin foil hat back on and starts chewing on a stick of butter***

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    This is my first post and I have been a diehard fan of the Oilers since their early days.

    On a positive note the “compete level” has been much higher this season. The addition of Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi and Petry have been solid and all these players are going to have successful NHL careers.

    The weaknesses on this team are glaring and need to be addressed. The veteran core on this team needs to be strengthened. It is unfair to the rookies and the young guys on this team to not have a solid veteran core. The veterans need to produce and support the rookies and this has been a huge weakness on the Oilers this season.

    I would keep Gagner for another season and see what he can produce. IMO Hemsky is a talented player, however I feel the time is ripe to move him. The Oilers have never had the right mix of players to complement Hemsky’s ability. He is a marketable asset.

    The players who need to go on this edition of the Oilers are Cogliano (great effort, but little in the terms of results), Brule ( talented, but a real enigma), Fraser (little contribution and Mcintyre (great fighter, but doesn’t contribute on ice)and Strudwick.

    As far as drafting, I would definitely take RHN. He has tremendous talent, which the Oilers need to upgrade. He may not play next year, but he is worth the wait. I would use the draft pick obtained from LA in the Penner deal and move up in the draft and obtain an offensive d-man.

    Free agency: I would be looking at a player like Scottie Upshall (Columbus). He is a great skater, good energy player and produces (close to twenty goals this season). He is also has Alberta roots. If Jones isn’t signed, this is a great backup plan. Signing a forward who can win more than 50% of his faceoffs is a must!! Watching Stoll completely dominate in the faceoff circle the other night reinforces the lack of a decent faceoff guy on the Oilers.

    Goaltending: Khalibulin is not the answer. Buy him out, or trade him. Dubnyk needs more game action, if he is the goalie of the future. Why not Gerber? He deserves the chance based on his performance on the farm and his performances with the Oil this season.

    Coaching: The powerplay is pathetic. Why not have an assistant coach who has some powerplay knowledge. Kelly Buchberger was a talented penalty killer in his day, but I think we need a coach who has offensive knowledge and acumen.

    The Oilers need to make some moves this off season. Maintaining the status quo is not working. Drafting a player like Taylor Hall was a “no brainer.” Management needs to be more aggressive and address the deficiencies on this team, otherwise it will be difficult to rid itself of the losing culture that fans have experienced over the past five years.

  • D

    LT, what would it take to get Seguin out of Boston? This team has wanted a fast, right handed, offensive, 6 ft centre for years…and it sounds like the guys in this years’ draft are probably not going to be as good as what Seguin will become.

    The thought of a “kid line” consisting of Hall-Seguin-Eberle gives me goose-bumps.

    Would trading our first overall pick this year plus adding a Cogs or Omark get it done?

    This is the “BIG” move I hope happens this off-season.

  • Peterborough

    I think you were closer in the “alternate universe”.

    Taking a D man that has never played a North American game sounds like a gamble with 1st overall. I am sure he is as talented and wonderful in the S.E.L. as they say he is but it’s a different world in the NHL. Comparing a undrafted teenager to Lidstrom is a long long long stretch. I would look at the best player available after the memorial cup. Take him, forward or winger and then try to trade up for another top ten and take the best D man available. D men drop in ratings. I wouldn’t be suprised to see the draft order closer to Landeskog, RNH, Couturier and then Larsson.

  • Iginla in Calgary, Nash in Columbus, Hossa and Kovalchuk in Atlanta. What’s the common link? Superstar wingers who didn’t have a #1 centre to play with. What else did they have in common? Perenial playoff bubble teams. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they don’t. No Stanley Cups between these teams.

    Hall is a superstar. But I want him to have a HHOF career. Horcoff is not a #1 centre. Cogliano is not a #1 centre. Gagner, well maybe. But he has a long way to go if it’s in the cards for him. Let’s increase the odds of finding Hall a #1 centre and draft RNH and cross our fingers on a guy like Marincin.