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.

  • GtK

    RNH current wingers:

    Andrej Kudrna 6’2 200lbs
    John Persson 6’2 195lbs

    RNH future wingers (if drafted by the Oil):

    Taylor Hall 6’1 195lbs
    Jordan Eberle 5’11 185lbs

    RNH is currently playing JUNIOR with 15lbs and 4″ more that he will be in the NHL playing against men….

  • Omg if the lineup looks like this next year:

    Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Fraser or _______, Hall, MPS, Jones, Hartikainen, Eberle, Hemsky, Omark and _____________.

    Smid, Gilbert

    +Either Lander, or RNH

    I will not watch that team, its the same team as this year + another lotto pick (if even that)

    Screw it.

  • Coco Crsip

    Lowtide, enjoy your blogs and your radio show.

    To DRock…
    At the risk of being called a troll or a douche again…

    then don’t watch and hop on the Vancouver band wagon until the Oilers are good again then you can jump back here. Either you are a fan or not, sounds like you are not.

    To Madjam, “How many of the new draftees last year and this will actually make Oilers roster next season ,anyways ? Maybe none ?”

    Not sure if I understood, are you suggesting that Hall may not make the team next season?

    To D, that was the same thing they said about Hedman but I don’t think he has been an impact player yet.

    Pick RNH, use the LA pick and Cogs or Hemsky to pick in the top 5 if possible then take GL IMHO

    • LA pick plus Hemsky for a top 5 pick in a weak draft year?

      No thanks. I’ll keep brittle Hemmer rather than flush more players for potential.

      You’re essentially giving up Penner and Hemmer for a top five pick (Colton Teubert notwithstanding). FAIL.

      • When you put it like that it looks terrible:( haha. But looking at it from the other side if Penner and Hemsky were both gone as UFAs then in 2 years time it would look good. And its a weak draft year as in there is no clear cut #1 and I think the later rounds is a major drop off but I think a top 10-15 pick gets you a pretty solid player, if the Oilers went into the draft with two top 5 picks I would be thrilled! Even if it costs Hemsky or Gagner, A cobo of RNH and Hamilton or Larson and Strome/GL would be solid. If we came out with RNH and Hamilton I don’t think you would hear one complaint. I think Hamilton will be the better NHLer over Larrson…bold statement but I think he will be a sure fire top paring defenseman.

    • I was being sensationalist. Vancouver is not an option. I hate them more than any other team, always have, always will.

      What I really meant to say is: I wouldnt go out of my way to watch that team. I certainly wouldnt pay 200$ for a seat. If anything slightly entertaining is going on, im doing that first. Heck if an exciting game of “bounce the ball against the wall” comes up it will be more exciting than that team again.

      Heck, everyone is talking about seeing “improvement” next year, I’m not sure what that is. Id setting for “trying for improvement” that roster discussed is not even that.

        • Ehhh i know how you feel. I am always going to be an oilers fan, ALWAYS. But the reasons for watching sure have changed.

          They went from hoping we would win to hoping Hall or Eberle would come up with something fancy.

          While I can always catch Hall or Eberle highlights on the news the one reason I will sit down to watch a game is that it is always fun to sit down with family or friends pound back some wings and enjoy hockey.

          p.s. complaining and arguing about the team with my father and father in-law always keep things interesting too.

          • Mike Krushelnyski

            Completely agree, I feel the same way. I watched games live for the first bit of the season, then it changed to PVRing the games and fast-forwarding through, only stopping to watch Hall and Eberle’s shifts. Since Hall has been hurt I haven’t voluntarily watched Oilers hockey.

            I’m sure I’m going to take some heat about being a fair weather fan for this too, and I think that’s the attitude that lets the management get away with this garbage. Tambo knows he can trot out a team that stinks like dead ass indefinitely and fans are still going to turn up and watch. It’s a real shame because you see how discouraged guys like Eberle are becoming at getting waxed night in and night out. I wouldn’t blame Eberle, Hall or any of our young guys for wanting to jump ship if this team continues to be an also-ran for 4-6 years.

            The other shame is I think we might actually have a pretty good coach in Renney but no amount of coaching can make an AHL team win in the NHL. Too bad for him he’ll get the axe before Tambo does.

            Lowetide’s projection of what the team will look like next year is probably pretty accurate but is honestly the most depressing thing I have read on this site in a long time. It would be great if I could bring myself to cheer for another team because I miss NHL hockey.

  • Hemmertime

    Are Hemsky and Horcoff set to take the next step and have the breakout year I’ve been hearing about since second grade?

    LT-6th pick next year? I say top 3 with the current line-up. Remember Penner is gone now.

    So many holes.

    2 more years of suck, at least.

  • Coco Crsip

    I hope to the hockey lords, we drop colin fraser as well as kurtis foster. Give some one else a go, because i cannot watch another year of Kurtis Foster / Fraser. Toss Teubert in there. As well as VDV

    Mac will be back, hopefully. Renney seems to like where he is going, as do I. Why not have the best in the league at what he does.

    Draft larson, hopefully couturier slips into 8th or lower so we pick him up.

    Cogliano is our third line center. I like his 2 way

    Someone tell me, Is Benjamin Conz available ?

    • Hemmertime

      Not to start an argument because I really am beginning to think the Oilers “NEED” the D-man. Also a the “NEED” for a center man is obvious too, and is why I think the Oilers need to be aggressive at this years draft, but I hate to harp on this guy but,
      where is Horcoff going to play if Cogliano is your best 2 way center?? Doesn’t make sense. Cogliano is the odd man out and should be moved provided the Oilers realize there need for a top center man

      • Coco Crsip

        I hope they are aggressive this year at the draft. Everybody does.

        You point of Horcoff, that statement could be correct if ganger starts at center. I doubt next season, at least in my opinion Sam starts down the middle.

        • Gagner has had success as the 1st line center with Eberle and Hall, he also had success with Omark and MPS, I don’t necessarily think the Oilers need to give up on Gags, I do think Horcoff needs to be that 3rd line center/shut down guy, which leaves the second line to fill between Cogliano or Gagner. I am simple saying Gagner gives us better all round player, provided the Oilers draft a center. Just saying.