Vande Velde Van Gogh In the FO Circle


Chris Vande Velde arrived in pro hockey with a reputation for being a quality performer in the faceoff circle. He’s performed well in the discipline in college, the American League and now in a small NHL sample. How valuable is the skill? Will it secure the Dutchman NHL employment?

When he was a junior and then college player, Vande Velde was a go-to guy in the faceoff circle and played the center position with aplomb. His draft day scouting report implied quality, and the earliest glimpse of the type of player we’ve seen recently in Edmonton:

  • Redline report: He has an incredibly long reach and is uncanny playing in traffic. When he got his skating legs going, he was nearly impossible to push off the puck, in an almost Keith Primeau–like fashion. Like Oshie, North Dakota has VandeVelde slated for the fall of 2006, and until then, he’ll skate for the Lincoln Stars.

When Vande Velde turned pro last fall, I felt he’d be the first of the new pro’s to emerge (based on age). However, Vande Velde’s numbers (62gp, 12-4-16 -17) are not good and the number of minor leaguers recalled ahead of him (Reddox, Omark, O’Marra) suggested there was much to learn.

Doritogrande will be a well known name to Oilogosphere readers and he offered some exceptional insight into Vande Velde in OKC here. Quoting a portion of the post:

  • Chris VandeVelde was pegged as the de-facto checking center tonight, and was given the linemates befitting a player that the coaching staff wants in a defined role. He was able to saw-off the Moose top line of Hodgson-Volpatti-Shirokov with a little help from his friends. He showed good hustle, average speed and good skills in the faceoff dot.

This fits with Todd Nelson’s (OKC’s coach) viewpoint on the player:

  • His adjustment was learning the pro game. Up until Christmas, he was okay for us. But after Christmas he took it upon himself to play well in his D zone. Along with that, with the more responsibility he got, he began to improve offensively. He’s been good for us, he’s been excellent in the faceoff circle. He’s 1-2 every night, it’s either him or O’Marra.  

The entire interview is here. Vande Velde’s rookie AHL season has him tied for 105th among rookies in that league, so he’s going to have to bring other elements to his game. And that’s where we can talk about his size (6.02, 204) and his ability in the faceoff circle.

In a very small sample size (8 games), Vande Velde is 56.7% on the dot (in 97 sorties). He’s also gaining the confidence of the coach.

  • Tom Renney: “He’s very reliable. To a point, you expect what he delivers and he does. He’s a little bit predictable in that way, which is a good thing. I’m just tying to give him an opportunity to play in a number of different circumstances and he’s done well.”

The Renney quote (along with more on Vande Velde) is here.


Vande Velde is building enough of a resume to be “in the mix” for NHL employment in 11-12. A good bet would be more AHL time but perhaps an earlier recall when injuries or slumps force roster moves. I’d estimate he fits this way into the center depth chart at the pro level:

  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Sam Gagner
  3. Andrew Cogliano
  4. Colin Fraser
  5. Chris Vande Velde
  6. Ryan O’Marra
  7. Anton Lander (unsigned)
  8. Milan Kytnar

There are all kinds of things that could change (drafting RNH, moving Hall to center) but as it stands that 4line job should be an interesting contest during TC in the fall. Vande Velde’s spring audition puts him in the mix, and his faceoff ability–in a small sample size–may make him a favorite.

  • Steve Smith

    Do you have an original thought of your own? Do you just come on and read someone’s post and slam there opinions is that your deal? Why don’t you astonish us with your hockey knowledge then?

    • Steve Smith

      This isn’t a good place for knowledge; I find that it’s a much better one for slamming others’ opinions, because there’s a high concentration of slamworthy opinions here.

      Don’t believe me that this isn’t a great place for knowledge? I just sorted the comments in this thread by props: the top one is “i SECOND that!”, followed by one whose main point is “I’m so happy we beat the Canucks last night.” A couple of mine are up next, but mostly because I propped them myself.

      Now’s the part where you ask me why I bother coming around at all: it’s to read Willis and Lowetide (and very occasionally Brownlee or Gregor, if they appear to be imparting knowledge obtained from their press passes). I usually manage to resist the comments sections, but they’re right there so sometimes it’s hard, especially when procrastinating from papers. Besides that, I figure it’s incumbent on all of us to take the occasional shift making fun of the “Do you even watch the games” types in Willis’s threads; we’ve all gotta do our parts.

  • Mitch

    Forward lines next yr could look something like this
    1.Hall Horcoff Hemsky
    2.Pajarrvi Lander Omark
    3.Hartikienen Cogliano Eberle
    4.Jacques Vande Velde Jones
    1.Whitney Trade
    2.Vandermeer Petry
    3.Peckham UFA
    I see 3 centres that are very good in the faceoff circle. I see more balance in the 3 and 4th lines. Gagner is not there because I would use him to acquire a dman. Maybe I’m crazy but I would also move Gilbert and Smid out on the backend.

    • Peterborough

      I like Smid and Gilby way more in the second slot. They were excellent at containing the Sedins, who in no way took a night off. You think Lander steps into a 2C role? I like the kid but that would be a miracle. Gagner at 2C Larrson with Whitney. Petry with Peckham.

      • Steve Smith

        The Sedins and the entire Canucks team were in cruise control after clinching the President;s Trophy.

        If Lander is your second line centre, he can deal with Kesler.

        Good luck with that.

        • Peterborough

          “If Lander is your second line centre, he can deal with Kesler.”

          what do you mean by that? Deal with him like a rape victim deals with a 6’4″ 260 bls escaped convict?

  • LT said:

    “When Vande Velde turned pro last fall, I felt he’d be the first of the new pro’s to emerge (based on age). However, Vande Velde’s numbers (62gp, 12-4-16 -17) are not good and the number of minor leaguers recalled ahead of him (Reddox, Omark, O’Marra) suggested there was much to learn.”

    Then we add, “very small sample size” to his NHL FO resume (bearing in mind he was 42% in the circle last night against a team missing its best faceoff guy) and we come up with Van Gogh?

    How about Mario the Housepainter?

  • Bucknuck

    Nice Article LT. I wish Vande Velde had bigger potential, but if he can be a fourth line centre with size that wins faceoffs and doesn’t give up much I would be a happy camper.

    We wouldn’t be able to afford a whole team of Superstars anyways. It is good to have a decent plugger or two.

    I wonder if Glencross has his name circled on Tambellini’s list for this summer (provided he stays as a UFA).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    ARE WE HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION TRYING TO REBUILD AROUND THE DRAFT ? If this year is any indicator of the future we may be headed down a path to perpetual bottom feeder . All the older veteran squads are running atop the Eastern and Western divisions , while those clubs trying more along the draft line occupy the basements of both . Are our eggs in to few baskets of the marketplace to help our club become competitive any time soon ?

    Maybe we should be looking at adding more valuable veteran talent this year by way of giving up so many draftees that we keep accumulating ? I see we gave up Penner and Souray will also be gone , can we really afford to let any more go when we have little veteran talent to begn with ?

    Three years ago it seemed as though the young talent was taking over the landscape of the future of the NHL , but that has taken a huge reversal for whatever reasons , and veteran presence now seems the way to build a contender ?

    Maybe we should see, by sacrificing some of our youth and this years draft, what it would take to get a Malkin or Thornton , etc.? Those clubs relying heavily on the draft no longer seem to be making any ground on the more veteran squads that occupy almost exclusively the playoff spots in both divisions !

    • Peterborough


      Madjam: We do lack veteran Presence. However, that is result of the draft.Your veteran core should be ages 25-32. Prime physical and mental development period for atheletes. This core group should have come from drafts 8(2003) to 14 (1997) years ago.

      Of those drafts 16 players would be have played more than 2 years game totals. Of these 5 (horcoff, hemsky, Comrie, Stoll, Greene) could be considered top 6 FWD, top 4D, starting-Platoon Goalie. So we have 2 veterans and whitney (trade) from those drafts.

      Dumping youth for veterans at ahigher cost does not cut it. we sadly have to wait for the draft to build a vetern core.

      Luckily we have Stu the Magn……. to get us that core since 2007.

      Picks rolling to age 25 (not with ORG):
      2011: Dubnyk, (Schremp), Reddox
      2012: Cogliano, Chorney, Vande Velde, Omark
      2013: Petry, Peckham
      2014: Gagner, (Nash)
      2015: Eberle, Hartikainen
      2016: Pajarvi, Lander, Rajala, Roy
      2017: Hall, Pitlick, Marincin, hamilton, Martindle, Blain, Bunz.
      2018: ……………..

      It will be about 5 years from now we will have the Organization depth to start dumping replaceable veterans and prospects.

      Ps. Think how Calgary’s future is. They better dump Iginla and Kiper for good prospect depth so the next 10 years are not misery.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Calgary remains competitive every season despite the draft and one cannot count them out just yet for this season . Their chances are slim , but like most veteran squads need little to get them back in contention for next season . Oilers on the other hand have a huge gap in player imbalance and quality between good NHL veterans and youngsters . Erixon -teammate of Larsson , looks like he’ll be a good one for Flames as early as next season . Flames shouldn’t have to worry about gutting their team to remain competitive in other words . The quality of our veterans is also not very high or even acceptable by last two seasons finishes .

    I wouldn’t be worried about the veteran squads as they have far less to worry about the draft than we do . There comes a point where we have to many youngsters and little space left for veteran balance . I am beginning to wonder if we are to oversaturated with youth already ? Veteran AHL talent is not helping an awful lot in comparison to clubs with a solid NHL caliber squad core .

    We found more what doesn’t work , but when are we headed toward a balance that seems to be working every where else ?

    • Peterborough

      Remember when we started this tear down and everybody said we had to rebuild the farm first and get a stock of prospects??? Well after this draft we will have the deepest propect pool and Well stocked AHL club. Thats phaze one and its almost done.


      We have never tried to build though the draft before, now you want to give up after one year???

      Do me a favour sell me your Oilers gear and go buy some flames stuff. You sound like a flames fan already!!!

      Or be patient and build a winner like Chicago did like Pittburge did like. . . or we could say $%#* it and be Columbus. . .

      Thank God its not up to you!!!!

      • Steve Smith

        By what measure is the plan working? We’re going to get a high pick this year, yes, but if that’s your goal it’s a pretty difficult thing to mess up.

        I’ve got no objection to the rebuild, but there’s a joke about the ’93 provincial election. The voters, frustrated as all hell with the deficits the P.C. government ran up, fumed up the ballot box and said “Those bastards got us into this mess, it’s their job to get us out.”

        If you’re laughing and you support the Lowe/Tambellini regime, I feel some cognitive dissonance coming on.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      You do not get it. Short term give me my pleasure now guy is the folly of fools. We are were we are because we selected:

      1996 Devereaux 6th
      Descoteaux 19th
      1997 reisen 14th
      1998 Heinrich 13th
      1999 rita 14th
      2000 mikhnov 17th
      2001 hemsky 13th
      2002 Ninimaki 15th
      2003 pouliot 22nd

      Fraser and Pendegast were brutal.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The draft is only on component. Trades were always important to the Oilers in the past and still remain so. (Roulston, etc.) Adding veterans from free agency are also good moves. If building a team from the draft was so easy we would have 30 stanley cup winning teams every year.

    We fail to forget that Klowe has been terrible (Perry, etc.) and I doubt he will become a remarkable manager any time soon. Tambelli has duffed more than he has won (Habbi, etc.) and I doubt he is going to become a good GM anytime soon.

    So while you all drool over Stu, you still have to have a clue how to build a winner. Klowe and Tambo will fail to manage, and as always our future stars will be traded away for more draft choices.

    We are screwed until we get some hockey sense running this show. We are even back to unsettled times with a new arena and the threat to get it done yesterday or trouble is coming. What a sad state of affairs the leadership has created.

    and mantain a team going forward.

    • Peterborough

      No one had Perry becoming what he became with his kating comming out of Junior. Do you feel the same way about the Pronger trade with ST. Louis???

      You tweak with trades you don’t build with them. And you lose again next year and get another stud. Thats how you build a winner.

      It not about next year. This isn’t the NFL its about the year after and going forward from there.

      If your too old and can’t wait that long hurry up and die.

      . . .

      no one loves you anyways

      • Peterborough

        Are you stupid? So no one knows Perry’s upside, yet you think all the Oiler drafts are gold. Lose for another stud, give me a break. It’s stupid people like you that got this draft thing as our future. Your future buddy is to pull your head out of your a$$.

        • Peterborough

          . . . So not wanting to abandon the “plan”, that virtually everyone agreed was the best choice of action after one year; after its done exactly what it’s supposed to do: That makes you stupid?

          Do me a favour go to this site:

          Take a good look at our kids. Then take a look a the guys who are new to it since this whole “Oil Change” started. Now take a look at the other 30 teams and what they have. Add to that no team has a better group of picks than we do in the draft.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            All kids look good until they are 5 years older. Hell, Sam Gagner is already trade bait because half the fans think he’s no good, and he’s what, 21?

            The problem with the build through the draft philosophy is that for Every Chicago there is an Atlanta. For every Pittsburgh there is a Florida.

            The problem with building through the draft is that you are picking an 18 year old to play in a league dominated by 27 year olds. The best 18 year old isn’t always the best player 7 or 8 years down the road.

            Part of “the plan” should include adding players to make the team better in the short term. There’s enough decent NHL players floating around every summer that you should be able to go from a lottery team to playoff team in a season or two.

            Providing the Oilers only look at the draft option, they are going to miss out big time.

          • Peterborough

            Are you really comapring the programs they have in Atlata and Florida to those in Pitt and Chitown??? Thats just plain irresponsible and surface skimming. Why has Atanta failed repeatedly??? Trading away prospect like Coburn for vets like Zhitnik in a “win now mentality”

            Show me were Chicago or Pitt did that or traded away they’re top picks like Florida did. To build by the draft right you need a good system to develope the kids we have that now. Those successful draft builders did too. The failures did not. Get where this is going?

          • Chicago had 9 players over 30 play at least 25 games during Kane and Toews rookie season.

            During their, what you would have us believe was a completely draft based rebuild they signed players like Campbell and Huet because of their “win now attitiude.” Not to mention other promising youth such as Handzus, Perrault and Lang. They traded for Pahlsson around that time as well.

            The year before Kane they carried more youth on their roster like Bondra, Smolinski, Cullimore, Aucoin and Lapointe. This ignores a few other vets too, but you get the idea.

            The point is that they didn’t sit on their hands waiting and praying that their draft picks were going to all pan out. Don’t pretend they did.

            This so called “strategy” is nothing but an excuse for losing so they can all keep their jobs for another 4-6 years without doing anything to earn their keep.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Atlanta is failing repeatedly because they traded Coburn for Zhitnik?

            Florida picked in the top four 3 years in a row and didn’t trade one of them away for 7 years and still never made the playoffs once.

            And what on earth do you mean that we have a good system to develop kids? What on earth gives you that impression? Has there been anything done that suggests this system is Chicago/Pitt style rather than Florida/Atlanta?

          • Peterborough

            You mean like have a real AHL affiliate and a comprehensive developement programs that are expensive and cutting edge. the Cats and Birds down South have been using the same cost cutting measures we did as a franchise for years to our our doom. Developement. Patience. Like Detroit was and now look at them. Build a system that works and go from there. This isn’t about next year or the year after. Its not about 6-7 years away either. Its about a legacy of sustained excellence. Like Detroit.

          • Peterborough

            The proof is in the playoffs. Despite an ungodly number of callups, the Barons are poised to make the AHL post season, a notable achievement after last years debacle in Springfield. Its always difficult to project but the Oilers draft crop from last year looks promising. Hockey people around the world are approving of the Oilers prospects, in comparison with other franchises. The plan,(and yes there are a lot of intangibles and unknown unknowns) is in place, and already showing results at the junior and minor league level. The next few years will tell the tale if these results trickle up to the big team.

          • Peterborough

            I didn’t use the expression “cutting edge”, Peterbororough did. But,yes, making the playoffs is preferable to not making the playoffs (or sucking unmercifully like Springfield did last year) wouldn’t you agree?

          • Steve Smith

            I thought you were responding to TUG’s post questioning what was cutting edge about the Oilers’ development program. If you weren’t, my apologies.

          • Steve Smith

            No worries. As to what is “cutting edge” about the Oiler development program, I do know that in the post lockout era, the only real edge you can get is in that very area – spending money on salaries guarantees you nothing(eg Wild, Jackets, Flames). So that leaves spending on scouting and player development which doesn’t show up in the cap, takes years to bring about results, but is the thing that Detroit has done better than any other franchise – they were doing it before the lockout and it is the one place Katz can spend his billions usefully (he of course was making the rookie mistake of bidding for the Hossas and Heatleys of the world until he somehow was converted to the Chicago doctrine-I assume by Tambo and Lowe)

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            This is a great example of setting the bar set low for years.

            Going with no AHL team for years suddenly means we are “cutting edge” because we have an AHL team?

            I can’t claim to know alot about our various levels of player development, but I’d bet heavy they aren’t much different then 60% – 70% of the rest of the teams in the league.

            Sorry, but having an AHL team doesn’t scream “legacy of sustained excellence… like Detroit” to me.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Nah, I’m confident you are foolish enoug to think aquiring an AHL team is “cutting edge” just like you were foolish enough to think Kubina was a re-up.

          • Atlanta and Carolina also have real AHL affiliates.

            What new development programs do we have that are expensive and cutting edge?

            In terms of Development and Patience like Detroit, are we displaying that at all? Every first round pick the Oilers have made since 2006 is currently playing in the NHL. That’s not patience, that’s just pushing kids into the NHL as soon as possible.

            Hey sure, building a system that works is great, but is there anything that suggests the Oilers are actually doing that?

          • D-Man

            Signing Giroux and leaving Plante, Teubert and Petry (even though he was in the 2nd round) in the minors shows that the Oilers are at least attempting to develop that system.. Asides from Plante – one could argue that Gagner, Eberle, MPS and Hall were all NHL-ready. You also forget that Pitlick, Hamilton, Marincin were all sent back to juniors to continue their development.

            I think last year Tambo did well to at least improve the AHL affiliate to compete. OKC is in a dogfight for a playoff spot and potentially has alot of talent to push deep with Omark, MPS, Ebere, Reddox, Petry, Chorney, etc.

            One could have argued that this should have been done two years ago; I place alot of that blame on K-Lowe….

          • Wax Man Riley

            Good point, I was seriously asking because I didn’t know. It hasn’t seemed to work out so well for Colorado this year though.

            Tampa is pretty much doing it. I don’t want to look up all the stats, but I wonder what they did differently (trades, free agents etc…), because it seems to be working for them.

            Drafting a player that turns into a 50-goal scorer helps I’m sure. I’d bet if Hall scores 50 next year, the Oil are close to the playoffs.

          • Wax Man Riley

            You aren’t breaking bad news if I ask the question.

            Here is a conversation to think about:

            Agent – “So you’re on the UFA market and people are getting signed quick. You can go to Edmonton or Florida.”

            Player – “Is Tampa Bay the second least desirable team to play for?”

            Agent – “No”

            Player – “Both are losing teams, but one has St. Louis and a 50 goal scorer and is in Florida? Hmmm…”

          • Steve Smith

            Tampa’s doing it this year. Toronto has an outside chance of doing it in one year, just as Colorado and L.A. did last year.

            (Though you could always disqualify the Leafs on the basis that they didn’t actually have a lottery pick.)

          • Peterborough

            Tampa is an interesting example. They had two top two picks in a row improved signifgently the next season, then made it. Big difference is the support. Tampa has the core vets that we don’t St. Louis and Vinny are miles ahead of Horcoff and Hemsky. We simply have more needs and have no, repeat: no realistic chance of aquiring the 1D or 1C we need other than developing them ourselves.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Fill in the blanks role players is what they did this year and the last 30 posts have been bashing them.

            I’m still torn as to whether this is the year for an RFA offer sheet. I’d give it one more year because those are a lot of picks to give up. It could be 4 first round picks. Sounds pretty expensive.

  • Why do people keep saying that patience = using the draft as our one and only source of player procurement?

    Why does trading a pick for a 22 year old player who is 4 years further along the development path and has proven he can play equal “giving up on the rebuild?” It doesn’t.

    Why does signing a veteran to a 2 year deal to show all the kids the ropes equate to abandoning the plan? It doesn’t.

    There are more ways to build a team than “draft and pray.” Good teams figure that out.

    You all want to be Chicago and Pittsburgh, well guess what…both of those teams had vets to play with their kids. Both of those teams signed players to free agent contracts. Both of those teams made trades to try and improve.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I agree that they need some capable veterans. It is hard to find those players though, through free agency especially. Those young promising players won’t sign with the 2nd least desirable team in the league to player for.

      Trades are arguably a better way to do it, but how has that worked for the Flames or Leafs?

      There does seem to be a plan in place and it started with establishing an AHL team and stockpiling draft picks.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Yet over each of the last 2 summers capable vets have sat at home waiting for a contract well into the summer.

        I love how you list the Flames and the Leafs. What about all the playoff teams that have made trades?

          • Wax Man Riley

            Thanks for the link, but what players are you signing off of that list? Modano? Madden? Marleaau? Jason Williams?-His 25 games he played this year would help out.

            Plekanec? for 5 mil a year?

            Primeau? His 8 pts in 59 games would help this team win a cup this year.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Again, though. See the above post with the agent talking to his player. Players do not want to come to a rebuild. No player says:

            “Hey, you know, I want to go to an inexperienced team that is in a rebuild and is going to lose for the 2 years that I sign. The poor performance of the team could possibly hurt my chances at another good contract since my stats will suffer.”

            These are real people that we are talking about with real egos and real feelings of entitlement.

            This isn’t NHL ’09

          • Wax Man Riley

            Speculation maybe, but no lie.

            A lie would be claiming that The Oilers’ management have no idea what they are doing and that they are running the organization to the ground on purpose.

            Do you actually think that is what is happening? That they hate Katz and this city so much that they want to waste his money and embarrass Edmonton?

            Even me, in my limited hockey knowledge, would place a call to every agent on July 1st. Claiming that Tambo and Lowe looked at who is available and decided to go to the bottom of the list is rediculous

            Sometimes I just feel like this in here

          • Steve Smith

            I think only the most conspiracy-minded think that Oilers management is running the team into the ground deliberately. The rest of us adhere to the old “cock-up over conspiracy” view.

            (Actually, most of the people who think they’re doing it deliberately are the ones who assure us that it’s all part of the plan.)

          • Wax Man Riley

            I have never heard that expression before. It just reminds me of the Robert Burns (who is, it’s not worth noting, is a Scott) poem “Johnny lad, cock up your beaver”

            Best. Title. Ever.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Lie probably wasn’t the best word, grasping at straws probably fits better.

            You said:

            “Players do not want to come to a rebuild”

            History tells us that isn’t correct.

          • Wax Man Riley

            2 sides to every coin because history tells us that it is correct. Just 2 tiny examples are Malhotra and Guerin.

            Something about a kettle being black needs to go here when talking about straws.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Your 2 examples show that not EVERY FA would sign with rebuilding teams, however no one is saying otherwise.

            Enough FA’s DO sign with rebuilding teams to show that your excuse is weak at best.

          • Losing to pick high is not a plan, it’s failure. Chicago missed the playoff 9 of the 10 years before they drafted Kane. It took 10 years for enough draft picks to pan out to contend. Do you believe thus was their plan?

            Pittsburgh needed to win the Crosby lottery to turn it around.

            “Hey, you know, I want to go to an inexperienced team that is in a rebuild and is going to lose for the 2 years that I sign. The poor performance of the team could possibly hurt my chances at another good contract since my stats will suffer.”


            “Hey, you know my role and playing time were partially limited on that really deep team I played for last season. Maybe a rebuilding team will give me a good chance to get more ice time in a more prominent role so I can demonstrate my value, increase my numbers, and get myself a better contract.”

          • Steve Smith

            Foster’s actually a good example (Fraser isn’t, because he was acquired by trade). Now the Oilers just need to apply the same philosophy to players who i. fill a team need, and ii. don’t suck.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Yes! Players like that!

            Only those two were clossal failures, which means the guy whos job it was to identify and bring them in also failed.

      • I agree that they need some capable veterans. It is hard to find those players though through free agency especially. Those young promising players won’t sign with the 2nd least desirable team in the league to player for.

        I’m not sure how to respond here because it’s a bit disjointed. Are we talking about veterans or young players?

        There does seem to be a plan in place and it started with establishing an AHL team and stockpiling draft picks.

        So finally doing what other teams do and getting a farm team and then planning to lose as much as possible to get high picks and then hope they all work out counts as a plan to you?

        • Wax Man Riley

          I meant that finding those promising free agents is tough because of…

          I’m not going to defend the idiots that decided they didn’t need their own farm team. That is a choice that I could never understand. They had to get an AHL team, and they want to stock picks in order to make that farm team an actual farm team.

          You state it quite dirty, but you know what? That’s kind of the plan.

          Here is how I would state it:

          1. “Not having an AHL team has damaged this organization. We need to establish a farm team in order to be able to use it as a development step for our players. We need more picks so we can produce a competitive atmosphere where players must fight for their ice time. We have a few prospects coming up, but to help this team long-term, lets stock up on prospects. It will be a tough few years as our existing prospects develop, but that will help in our goal of getting more prospects.”

          “As those prospects learn and grow, we will look to possibly trading some of our picks/prospects that we have been building up, or try to sign the bigger free agents to ice a competitive team. As that team competes, we will have the farm team stocked up already so if/when the injuries come, we will have capable players to fill in as well as an avenue for our picks that weren’t first overall.”

          Arguably a different way of saying:

          2.”Uhhh… lets plan to lose as much as possible to get high picks that we hope will work out.”

          The first option sounds like a plan, and I’ll bet is closer to what is happening than the second option.

  • Peterborough

    No one is saying that. Its the lets trade picks and prospects talk thats crazy. We’re not there yet. A couple of UFA on two contacts would be lovely. Scotty Upstall to play with Hemsky would make me crazy happy. But we are at a add value or trade at max value point in the process. Who can we get max value for??? With the the injuries have gone this year the answer is no one right now. So make a trade a make us weaker??? No one short of Bob Flanagan: Super Masochist is going to like sucking next year . . . However the alternative is to become the next Toronto, is that what you want?

    • Its the lets trade picks and prospects talk thats crazy.

      No it isn’t.

      A rational debate about the merits are fine, but when someone suggests moving the number one pick for a well established prospect or good young player people react like they suggested trading it for Ethan Moreau.

      We have never tried to build though the draft before.

      This is absurd. Are you suggesting the Oilers have traded away all their picks until now…or do you just mean that we haven’t been so bad that we had top 5 picks before?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The Pens did move one of their higher end picks, they sent 5th overall Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Kunitz and Eric Tangradi, so they aren’t completely without sin.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      As a side note:

      “Voracek is seen by the organization as the player with the most upward potential, but he’s a restricted free agent and contract talks with agent Peter Svoboda could get sticky.”

      Might open up a deal centerd around Hemsky for Voracek.

  • Steve Smith

    The Oilers pursued Manny Malhotra, which is exactly the kind of thing that they should have done. The trouble is that their plan B was Colin Fraser, which is sort of like finding out that you can’t afford the filet mignon, and in response going out back to gnaw on something from the dumpster.

  • Wax Man Riley

    My point to all of this is not to defend TambaLoweni. It is to highlight the challenges of trying to sign players to a rebuild. It isn’t as easy as just picking the name and clicking the button.

    Once again, we are dealing with real people, with real egos, and real feelings of entitlement.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Yet lots of other rebuilding teams are able to do it.

      Identifying and signing the proper players is a huge part of his job, thus far he’s been a colossal failure at it.

    • That’s nonsense. You’re using the fallback of everyone without a valid point – “it’s not NHL 2010”.

      Every year players sign with rebuilding teams. The half dozen guys who said no to the Oilers does not count as history. The problem is that Tambellini targets a player and if it doesn’t work out he falls to pieces.

      When players say no it’s not because of the rebuild, it’s not the weather, it’s because of Tambelini and Lowe. Even then there are options, and we can count on our management to choose the worst ones.

      • Steve Smith

        I don’t think we can generalize about why some players (more than for most other NHL cities) don’t want to sign here. I’m sure that for some it is the city (by most accounts that’s why Pronger’s wife wanted out and Nylander’s didn’t want to come at all). The travel sucks. Guys near the end of their career probably aren’t enthusiastic about signing on for a rebuild.

        But my guess is that you’re right that the biggest problem is that the Oilers suck and are managed by the same guys responsible for them sucking.

        • This is essentially what I meant. I was not at all clear. Obviously individuals will have individual motivations.

          I meant that plenty of players will happily sign up for a rebuild, just not one with the distinct possibility of continuing in perpetuity.

          This has everything to do with management.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Who blamed it on Tambellini or Lowe? That is some first-class speculating right there. I would say you are reaching farther than I.

        So what you are saying is that TambaLoweni is tanking this team on purpose for kicks and giggles? They actually went down the list of FA’s and said “These guys are too good, we need some really bad ones.”

        Foster looked like a pretty good option being 6’5″, having a big shot and scoring 42 pts last year.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          I think Tambellini *may* be tanking on purpose.

          If that’s the case, I can somewhat excuse him for the 2010-2011 abomonation. (even though I wouldn’t agree with the steps he’s taken I still see the value in trying to land one more elite player via the draft)

          However I am afraid that he didn’t do this on purpose… which would mean he’s incompetent.

          • Steve Smith

            That’s not compatible with trying to sign Malhotra, or with signing Khabibulin, who was acquired on the mistaken belief that he was good. This is ineptitude.

            I mean, he obviously wasn’t trying to contend for the Cup this year, but I don’t think there’s much doubt he was trying to improve: that’s why he attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a bottom six centre and attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a top-four defenseman.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I’m talking this year only, last year he certainly was trying to compete so I through out Khabibulin for this discussion. That said though, theirs certainly confilcting messages.

            I’m not 100% sure what he’s thinking, but I am leaving it open that the tank was on for this year IMO.

          • @Steve – C’mon. You were around back in the ‘sphere so you know Khabibulin was signed to entice Heatley, back when he (Khabby) still had some street cred.

            And the Oilers made a pretty big “show” of the Malholtra attempt (on Oil Change – an Oilers production wouldn’t you know), despite the fact those kinds of things are state guarded secrets by this team. Funny how that just happened to slip by the PR department censor crew huh? It was a rather obvious plant to prove “we’re trying” – a nice PR diversion tactic.

            We tanked it this year. Everybody knows it by now. There’s way too much evidence for it to even be questionable. In fact, if you assume we we going for 30th and the #1 draft, almost every bizarre move that was/wasn’t made makes sense.

            Pro sport is just as much (or more) theater as it is reality. This season we got Macbeth.

  • Wax Man Riley

    After taking a look at where some UFA defensemen signed last year, I don’t see many signing with bottom-feeders or rebuilders.

    Zidlicky re-signed with Minny.

    Gonchar signed with Ottawa. That is one there.

    Aucoin re-signed with Pho

    Klesla re-signed with CBJ

    Eaton signed with the Islanders. Would he have been a good signing? 34 games and 3 pts. say no.

    Leopold was a big signing by the Sabres, but they were 45-27-10…pretty good record.

    Ference re-signed in Boston……

    …should I keep going? I have seen 1 D-man sign with a different team that isn’t a contender.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Kubina signed with TB (24th last year)

      Corvo signed with the Canes (23rd last year)

      Randy Jones with TB (24th)

      Klesla signed with CBJ (27th)

      Robidas signed with Stars (20th)

      Jurcina signed with the NYI (26th)

      • Wax Man Riley

        Kubina would have been a great signing, I agree, but given the choice, I would rather play in Florida with St.Louis, Gagne, and Stamkos.

        Corvo may have been a good signing. I have no rebuttal here an don`t know enough about him as a player to speculate. Could have been a good signing though.

        Randy Jones coming fresh out of the AHL does very little for this team than what Foster or Petry haven`t already done. Foster has more pts, penalty minutes and games played this year.

        Klesla re-signed with his team.

        Ditto for Robidas

        Jurcina has played 46 games this year. Had this been for the Oilers, it woulld be more fuel for the Fire Tambo Fire.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          It shows these guys were willing to sign with weak teams.

          I also don’t think Foster was a horrible signing. The problem was he was signed to be a top 4 guy when he should have been signed to be a #6,#5 at best with PP time.

      • Peterborough

        Jurcina is poop in human form. Randy Jones is the only signing the rest are re-ups.

        Do some fact finding . . . or do you enjoy publicly humiliating yourself and making us a little dumber as a group?

        Also I think anyone could see TB was clearly on the cusp last year. Data context will help you if you let it.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          Good one, delusional homer.

          Corvo went from the Caps to the Canes

          Kubina went from the Thrashers to TB

          Jurcina is playing 18+ min per night on a superior team

          Maybe you better double check your own fact finding.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    The goal is to win the Cup, not beat your brains out down the stretch to finish ninth, get a middling draft, and do it all over again year after year while your team gets older and slower. The Oilers are paying for the sins of their past, like trying to get by without a farm team or a comprehensive scouting system. They now have an AHL farm team that is stocked with enough talent to possibly make the playoffs, a far cry from last years embarrassment. They have competent scouts. They have a core of potentially elite players that they will add to this year. Come on, boys, have a little faith. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I’m just of the opinion that I have been a hockey fan for 30 years, and these guys have been directly involved with the NHL for 30 years and have a team around them. If you or I have thought of it, then you can believe they have too.

    Being a university student, no matter what degree or doctorate you may be studying for does not give you direct experience to what happens at the desk of the GM.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Whew… debating with you guys is some pretty exhausting stuff. Now that you have seen to it that my work day has been completely unproductive, it’s time for me to go home.

    Will be back to argue the challenges of a rebuild soon.