The Ugliest Problem Of Them All

The Edmonton Oilers have a major problem. Actually, given that they’ve been the worst team in the league over the last two years, and they have a solid track record of simply atrocious management since the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, they have a lot of major problems, but one of them towers above the rest: the defense corps.

While the Oilers’ forwards are still on an uphill curve, there is at least some major talent to work with. Taylor Hall is a star in the making, Jordan Eberle wildly surpassed expectations in his rookie season, and others like Mangus Paajarvi, Sam Gagner, Linus Omark and Andrew Cogliano could find roles going forward.

On the blueline, there is no such wealth of young talent. Theo Peckham had a good rookie season, but realistically he’s probably not a regular on a contending team right now, and the road to becoming a top-end shutdown defenseman is both long and uncertain. Martin Marincin had a slower second half to his WHL season, and is years away from regular NHL duty and even further away from being an impact defenseman – assuming that he ever is. Jeff Petry is the closest of the Oilers’ three to being a top-four defenseman; he boasts size and displayed a wide range of skills in his NHL debut, but it would be unwise to lean on him at this point, or do anything more than pencil him in going forward.

This leaves the Oilers with essentially two top-four defenseman. Ladislav Smid, Kurtis Foster, and (assuming he is re-signed) Jim Vandermeer all have good points, but all also have serious flaws that prevent them from being more than depth contributors. I still have some slight hope that Smid will develop into a player capable of complementing another defender on the second pairing, but as it stands he is in over his head on the second pairing.

Tom Gilbert was a popular whipping boy this year; style certainly played a role but I can’t help feeling the fact that he was thrown in way over his head as the team’s number one shutdown defenseman played a role. Gilbert’s been at his best in the past on the second pairing – in a role where he could focus a little more on offense and not have to handle the opposing team’s top lines all the time. Meanwhile, Ryan Whitney had a great year, but the planets aligned to make that happen and he will have difficulty repeating it. Not only that, but he got a disproportionate percentage of offensive zone starts – the point here is not to denigrate Whitney, but simply acknowledge that he wasn’t playing the toughest minutes.

Basically, the team needs an entire top pairing transplanted in, or if we make a pile of favourable assumptions (Whitney stays healthy, Gilbert rebounds, Petry, Smid and Peckham all develop) they might squeak by with just one top defender.

Where will they get that/those defenseman/men? I don’t know. I know Sheldon Souray isn’t the answer, and I have serious doubts that taking a player like Adam Larsson this year will get the job done (because of the typical development curve for defensemen, and based on some of the mixed reviews he has received). That leaves trade or free agency, though the latter has not treated the Oilers well the last few years and the former would require management to do something other than try to lose.

I may not know what the Oilers are going to do, but I do know this: the team needs to address the problem before they can seriously contend.

  • O.C.

    Defense lives or dies with team defensive play, puck control, and goaltending.

    If you have the best D talent in the league…
    And
    If you don’t work together,
    And
    if you give up bad goals,

    Your six elite D are basically useless to you.

  • CanaDave

    I don’t know why any veteran NHL player period would want to sign with the Oilers after seeing how they treated Souray. I don’t think that Souray handled his business very well, but Tambo responding how he did still strikes me as a purely egotistical move on his part.

    I still think that Tambo would actually gain respect around the league and in his own locker room by saying publicly that Souray is invited and welcomed to training camp to try and earn a roster spot, and if in the eyes of the coaches he’s one of the top 6 defencemen in camp, he’ll be on the opening day roster. Buying him out proves nothing to me except for that Tambo is unable to get over himself and slights towards him personally and that he’s willing to let the organization suffer for the sake of his own grudge.

  • Metal&Oil

    UFA Flames Anton Babchuk: just wait:
    still young:
    Age: 27
    Height: 6-5 Weight: 212lbs
    NHL Seasons: 4
    Good shot/35 pts w/11 goals +14

    This would rank 1 on the oil last year. Flames won’t be able to sign him, no cap room, hes played in alta, offer a longer term deal 4 year 7 – 9 million. he may turn into a great 3/4 d-man at a good price. And best yet he is off the radar right now.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    This is going to sound snarky but is meant as constructive criticism:

    You stated the obvious.

    That’s it. You have to add a punchline of some kind to the article – a new look at things, a look at future options, a detailed look at how the Oilers might have gone differently in the past, etc.

  • Metal&Oil

    @ Rem,

    Nice idea buddy, I like it. Stealing Babchuk from the Flameballs would be sweet. Not only would he be the best defenseman we’ve had since Whitney, we would pay them back for that whole Glencross saga.

    Good idea bud. Those are the kind of guys we should target, the off the radar types that we can overpay a little to get them here. Would help a tonne.

  • misfit

    If this team had even two or three decent vetran forwards capable of playing responsible two-way hockey, I don’t think the defense would look so bad.’

    Though I do think we could use one more top 4 defenseman (right or left, it doesn’t matter).

  • Chris.

    In Stu we trust. Although I do find it funny that some people point to Hedman as a reason why not to select Larsson. (Sure wish we had a solid 20 year old kid who could play almost 26 minutes a night in the conference finals). Of course I’d also like a top flight play making center…

    • Its all about what you think a franchise guy should do. To me a really good shutdown guy isnt enough to be labelled a franchise defenseman. So if he wont be a “franchise” player then its not good value at #1, even if he’ll still be very very good.

      • Chris.

        Yeah, that was one of my points. If the Panthers think RNH is the only Franchise type player this draft, maybe they would be willing to move a Gudbransen (solid shut-down type) and the 3rd for not too much additional compensation.

        BTW, If I’m Stu, and I believe RNH is a franchise center… I make the pick. You never pass on high end quality for quantity.

        The issue seems to be: does this draft actually contain a sure fire Franchise player? (Or will somebody luck into one in the later stages of the draft ala Shea Weber)

  • Hemmertime

    Historically I believe the cost to move up in the top 10 has been either a decent player + 4th and 5th or a 2nd/3rd. Sometimes both a 2nd and Third, Too lazy to look it up right now but comes to mind with a few Burke moves and others

  • justDOit

    Considering the way that Hedman has played this year, I don’t think that we should just assume that all defenders taken with high picks take several years to be NHL ready. I don’t know if Larsson is projected to be as good as Hedman, or better, but I wouldn’t mind having Hedman right now.

    As for NHL defenders who might be on the move, we might look a little to the south – our Flame neighbors might have to jettison Bouwmeester’s contract to be able to sign a full roster. IMO, I think he would be a better fit in Edmonton than in Calgary. Flame away…

    • D-Man

      Not sure if I’d take on Bouwmeester’s contract either though… He’s a $6.7 million cap hit for the next three years… With the need to sign Hemsky this year, the kids the year following – I’m not sure we want another Horcoff like contract on our books… What would you trade to Calgary in return? Draft picks??

      I agree – Bouwmeester would be an awesome addition to the team; but not at that price.

        • Metal&Oil

          Actually his point was that we do have good ppl here that will need to get paid lucrative contracts in the none too distant future. D-Mans point was about planing ahead so we can pay these players what they will command and not risking it all by trading for a player like Jay-Bo, who in my opinion is too big of a risk anyways.

          • Only if he doesnt live up to the expectations of a 7 million dollar contract.

            For a non-C Forward I would expect 35-55-90 (or close to it) annualy. Even then, 40 goals is probably more in line with a 7 million dollar cap hit on a winger.

            At least that’s how I would judge it. What would he have to be doing at 7 mill for you to be happy?

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

            He’ll have some years where no one will care, but struggle a few games and this town will be all over him for that $$.

            And I’ll be the Oilers to avoid a heavy front-loaded deal for him, if they give him one my head will explode.

        • D-Man

          Are you saying you’d pay Bouwmeester $6.7 million?? If that’s the case – I suppose you’d pay Chara $10 million?? Ryan Whitney – who is notably better than Bouwmeester – is getting only $5.0 million. I might get hung up on cap space and the $$$ when talking about FA’s but you can’t seriously say Bouwmeester’s contract is reasonable??

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

            I’m able to see the big picture, so to me it isn’t: Check the cap hit….and if it’s big “NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!”

            Term is far more important then cap hit, Bouwmeester is short enough that you would have alot of flexibility with it.

            If it was a 10 year deal I wouldn’t be interested, but on a three year deal I’d be fine with it.

          • D-Man

            I guess it’s how you look at the ‘big picture’… Right now – we have $19 million in available cap space… Bouwmeester would burn up about $7.0 million of that so for the short term – you’re right – maybe not that bad…

            However – let’s talk big picture… That $19 million doesn’t include Cogliano, Jones, JFJ, Smak, Vandermeer, Smid, Peckham and Chorney… For simplicity sake, I’m not including any AHLers… Out of that bunch, I’m signing Cogs – $1.2 million, Jones – $1.3 million, Smid – $1.4 million, Peckham $0.8 million and Smak $0.750 million… That ties up another $6 million or so – leaving us with roughly $6 million in cap space (with Bouwmeester on our roster)… Great, right? Wait – we still have 5 roster spots to fill to complete this years lineup.. One of them would be RNH and he’ll be a $1 million dollar cap hit for the season… For argument’s sake – we find 4 more skaters that make up the remaining $5 million… So arguably with Bouw., we ice a lineup that would be better on the backend, and we’ll have maxed out the cap (or close to it)… I’d also speculate that we’d be close to fighting for a playoff spot too, but I’ll have no money to take on any FA’s should I want to add a piece for a playoff push…

            My point?? Cap space is as important as term and NEEDS to be used when looking at the big picture… I won’t delve into year two or year three as there’s now way too much speculation on who gets good, who doesn’t, etc. IMO – Bouwmeester’s contract doesn’t add up especially as my big picture seems Hemsky, Hall, Eberle and MPS over the same time frame… Each player right now, has the potential to be a $3.0 million to $5.0 million cap hit, regardless of term. I want to keep them all and although, I’m getting $4.5 million back with Souray gone after next season – I don’t see any significant value in Bouwmeester’s cap hit… He’ll improve the team – but the guy hasn’t even won a playoff series – ever… There’s no veteran leadership to add asides from his experience as a professional… Heck – I’d go back to our previous debate and sign Smytty for the $4.5 million instead (if I had the choice – for the record I wouldn’t sign him either)…

          • Ender

            I agree with most everything you said. One tiny detail I’d point out, though, is that Souray’s $4.5M is currently salary only; as long as he stays off of the Oilers (and he will) he has no cap hit to the team. The only way that changes is if we bring him back up (snowball’s chance in hell) or if we buy him out.

          • Metal&Oil

            It’s a longshot but oes anyone think we could maybe now shop Souray to the Redwings who just lost Brian Rafalski to retirement and could also lose Lidstrom to retirement as well?
            I would not be asking for much on a return, just wanna clear him from our books! Maybe even just make him available to the Wings on re-entry waivers???

            If any team could make Souray work I would have to think it would be the Redwings. This would buy the Wings some time to develop a current prospect and/or draft one to develop.

          • D-Man

            I’d love that – but I don’t know if the Red Wings would want Souray… No one can question his talent (especially his shot); but I wonder if many question his attitude… IMO – Detroit has the ‘team first, person second’ attitude… I don’t know if Souray’s public rant will ever be forgotten in the eyes of a great GM like Ken Holland…

          • Metal&Oil

            Yeah that’s the thing I questioned about this possibility as well.

            On second thought about my original Souray post: I don’t even think re-entry waivers apply in the off season so it would probably have to happen in a trade and that trade would probably have to happen before the buyout period ends.

          • Ender

            I’d bet that Souray doesn’t play in the NHL again as long as he has any kind of contract with the Oil. Teams just aren’t interested in what he brings after his miserable showing in the minors last season, even at half the price on re-entry. The off-season isn’t going to make him any quicker.

            The only way he gets another shot at this point is as a try-out at someone’s training camp, and the only ways he gets an invite to one of those is A) Edmonton buys him out, B) He voids his contract and forfeits this season’s salary, or C) He waits until he’s a UFA a year from now.

            There is no trade for Souray. None. Not now, likely not ever.

          • Metal&Oil

            Yes it is unlikely that a Souray trade happens but the Wings have taken on outcasts before with much success.

            I think it would be the Wings not wanting to bring in his attitude that would stand more in the way of this then his season in the minors would.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            That’s just the beauty of it. Never thought i’d see the day when the Oilers get into a who’s balls are bigger match with Souray. The Oilers need to bring this to a resolution and end this embarassment. We haven’t seen the words common sense/rational thinking and the Edmonton Oilers used in the same sentence for 20 yrs now.

          • D-Man

            That’s right, I stand corrected about Souray… When I put my ‘GM’ hat on – I also think bottom line profit too; and can get the cap hit muddled with that in the details.. Thanks for the correction…

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

            Ya I’ve seen all the napkin calculations before.

            Cap and roster is in constant flux.

            Good teams like the Flyers are consistantly finding ways to open cap space, heck even the Oilers showed last summer how easy it is to free up space (remember the article talking about the “dire situation” the Oilers were in cap wise this time last year?)

            The goal is to build the best team you can for 60 million (soon to be rising) not collect the most “good contracts you can”.

            Bowmeester would be for sure our second best dman, maybe even our best.

            If he’s available without giving up alot of assets I grab him and adjust later.

          • D-Man

            True about building the best team you can – but ask the Flyers how many cups that $60 million has brought them over the past three years? The best team includes good contracts and that’s my point… When we talk big picture – we both want to have winning the Stanley Cup in mind… We can’t just grab the best FA we can and adjust later… The Flyers have done exactly that and can’t seem to get a decent goalie… Chicago was forced by San Jose into a bad contract and was forced to blow up their team a year later…

            But true enough – our debate is pure speculation on both sides of the fence… Over the next two summers, Tambo will be looking for stop-gap FA’s and not the players with the calibre of a Bouwmeester.. He won’t have too much cache until he shows that his build through the draft approach can show results on the scoreboard…

            You’re right about Bouwmeester though. He would be our 2nd best d-man and for the record, I’d love to see him in an Oiler jersey (for less $$) rather than that flaming C.

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

            You know who has won the cup the past three years? Hawks, Pens and Wings.

            All three follow the same basic strategy, they get as many good to great players and fill in the roster from there.

            Lets just take your 2nd paragraph for example:

            “However – let’s talk big picture… That $19 million doesn’t include Cogliano, Jones, JFJ, Smak, Vandermeer, Smid, Peckham and Chorney… For simplicity sake, I’m not including any AHLers… Out of that bunch, I’m signing Cogs – $1.2 million, Jones – $1.3 million, Smid – $1.4 million, Peckham $0.8 million and Smack $0.750 million… That ties up another $6 million or so”

            So we are worrying about guys like Jones, JFJ and Smak when the discussion is about aquiring an honest to goodness top pairing dman?

            Does anyone else see the problem in this line of thinking?

            Do you think Philly gives a $hit about losing Blair Betts or Jodi Shelly when theirs an oppertunity to add a high end player?

            If we can actually ever become a decent team we will be able to find new (better) versions of Jones and Cogliano for less money then what we are worried about keeping the currents ones for.

          • D-Man

            You’re right – we shouldn’t be worrying about Jones or Smak but the reality is that we need to still fill up our roster… Tambo is also pretty capable of doing two things at once – ie. trying to land a top D-man, talking to these FA’s, finding new ones and balancing the cap at the same time…

            You seem to forget that we’re a 30th place team… How many talented or even upgradeable FA’s will want to come here and be a part of a rebuild… Again – Tambo offered more money to Manny Malholtra, but he chose Vancouver (publicly stating he was honored by the offer, but didn’t want to be a part of the rebuild).

            Speeds has corrected my calculations though – the $19 million should have been $23 million to start – which would leave us a bit more breathing room (a full roster plus Bouwmeester) with a couple of million to spend; but the point of good contracts is sound…

            Philly also probably didn’t worry about Jodi Shelly – you’re right… Think they aren’t worried about not having any money to spend on a goalie though??

          • Metal&Oil

            But our pick probably won’t be on the team next year. I would say only Larrson will be NHL ready next year(and we still might put in the AHL). Barring a really good showing at training camp next year the prospect probably goes back to JR unless it is Larrson

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

            Filling out the roster is easy, finding a top Dman is hard. If one falls in your lap (which is what started this conversation) you take him.

            I don’t forget at all that this is a 30th place team… as a matter of fact thats why I’m so insistant that we take a good player whenever we get the chance, the 30th place team is in no position to be picky (nor do they need to be within reason based on the current cap situation).

            You see if we started collecting a couple of players the caliber of Bowmeester it wouldn’t be long before we were no longer the 30th place team and the mid tier FA’s would be willing to come here for a reduced $$. The only downside is that you wouldn’t be able to trot out the Malhotra excuse everytime someone mentions Tambillini inability to improve the roster.

            I don’t think Philly is worried at all. They have the balls to make the moves to get the job done.

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

            Talking Flyers?

            I think they seen the Wings do it with cheap tending so they tried to copy that.

            I believe Holmgren said they will have a #1 tender this year, I think it’s safe to say he will deliver.

          • I’ll believe it when I see it. While having a reputation for getting goaltending on the cheap the Wings have also went out and acquired premiere or former premiere tenders like Hasek and Cujo in the past decade.

            Either way, their goaltending has been a gong show forever and every year people think theyre gonna fix it. It hasnt happened yet.

          • Metal&Oil

            Detroit is very selective about the type of cheap goalies that they sign.
            They prefer goalies that have high first-shot save %ages and surround them with a system and players who both force the play to the outside very well and minimize the number and quality of second shots.

          • Metal&Oil

            @ OB1 Team RNH – F.S.T.N.F – The biggest issue currently facing the Oilers is timing for the type of move you mentioned re: a top d-man. They have so many holes and are so far away from being a playoff team, let alone a contender, that chasing a top pairing d-man right now will not do much. The team is hopefully only three years away from being in the position that adding one top end d-man will make that difference. When Philly was close to being ready to take that chance they did it, but they still have nothing to show for it since they did not address the goaltending issue as well.

            In addition, if you chase a top end d-man now and the team is not where it was hoped to be two years out you run the risk of another Pronger-gate situation.

            Right now the Oilers need to stay the course for another season, continue to develop the young players, and pray that Whitney, Hall and Hemsky can stay healthy all season (and maybe that Doobie starts 15 or so more games). This alone will lead to an improvement in the standings which would appease fans while allowing the “depth” youngsters like Harski, Peckham, Petry, and maybe Van de Velde (Pitlick, Hamilton, Lander, Marincin et al should stay in OKC) to develop in the show for another year. While it will tough to be patient for another year, the reality for us fans is that another draft and development season is exactly what is needed to put the team into the position to actually contend in the nearer future.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Not sure we can call it developing players when the team has crashed and burned as bad as Edmonton has. In order to bring these kids along productively there has to be an element of competitiveness on display every evening. There hasn’t been much at all of this the last three years here.

            The veteran leaders on this club are more often out of the lineup than they are in it the last couple years. Little if anything is being accomplished, the kids need a couple veterans in front of them setting an example of what it takes night in and night out, they don’t need American leaguers atleast full year away from fitting in filling in for the supposed leaders. Hemsky,Horcoff and Whitney failed these kids last yr, if they can’t stay healthy they need to be replaced.

      • justDOit

        Yeah, cap hit is high for Bouw, and I thought he had 2 yrs remaining at that. But I’d like to see him in an Oiler jersey – I think he’d play better than he did for the Sutters last year.

        Not really sure what we would have to give up to land Big Bouw, but I think that the Flames will be desperate to make some cap room, and they SHOULD be desperate for draft picks – both of which we have plenty of.

  • derrickhands

    I would take Gudbransen over Larsson in a heart beat. Gudbransen may not move the puck as good as Larsson, but he has a excellent shot, excellent leadership skills, and is down right mean. Most of the games he missed this years was due to suspensions, the spat he had with the coaching staff, and WJC. In the 09-10 he missed most of those games due to Mono.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    As much as i’d like to see Hopkins in and Oiler jersey, that deal with the Panthers is difficult to pass up. To have Gudbranson and Couturier would certainly go along way to help this club now and long term.

    I wouldn’t stop at this one deal, the Oilers should still remain aggressive and make every effort to move up into that top 7 again. Should still be plenty left to deal with as far as i’m concerned.

  • fuzzy muppet

    The way this team plays, having a D-man that doesn’t wilt under pressure and can make a tape to tape first pass is vital.

    Setting up Hall and Paajarvi screaming up wings in stride will be nearly impossible for teams to defend.

    That’s exactly why I love Larsson. Those are his assets to a tee.

    Remember, when you’re touted as the next great Defenseman at age 16, it’s extremely hard to meet those expectations and any mis-step will knock your value.

    RNH performed better than expectations and therefore jumped over Larsson and Couterier.

    If your expectations are nearly impossible to meet,should you really be dinged for it?

    The thought of Larrson stabilizing the backend for the next decade trumps hoping RNH adds enough strength to handle playing against men. Larsson already can handle it, and handle it well.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    So, just so we’re one the same page here. What is the concensus ON view on this, are we better off looking into Gudbranson or would we be better off pursuing Bogosian if the opportunity presents itself?

    I’d prefer Gudbranson, just feel he’d make a good #2 or 3 d’man.

    Taylor Hall signed for 3.75, Tyler Seguin signed for 3.5, what realm would Gudbranson be in…2.75- 3?

    • Depends what you want to give up. Maybe Florida gets told EG doesnt want to have anything to do with them and the 19th overall pick + a 3rd rounder gets it done.

      If you’re talking about moving roster players then I’d rather wait until he re-enters the draft and take him in the 2nd round.

      Bogosian is the same minus the draft re-entry bit.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I don’t think we can really be picky, I’d take whomever became available without selling for farm.

      Duchene drafted the year before at #3 has a cap hit of 3.4, so I’m sure that’s the max for that draft slot.

  • Cheesenaka

    Am I the only one who would like to see the Oilers pursue Eric Brewer?

    I realize we’ve been there and done that but he seems like a big minutes muncher for Tampa averaging 25:41 per game. He seemed decently solid and paired with Whitney I think would excel as an Oiler.

    *ducks and looks for cover*

    • Metal&Oil

      Not a bad Idea at all. Not too sure about this but wasn’t Brewer a lil bit bitter with the Oil at the time of his trade? Or maybe it was at a contract dispute before the trade. Anyways I seem to remember something happening but I could be wrong.

      Ether way though that would not necessary stand in the way of him returning here. Mike Comrie proved that.

    • Ender

      Yup, you’re the only one. I looked at that option a few times, even going back to when he was still in St. Louis. His numbers aren’t that good. As in, yikes sort of not good.

      Brewer brings leadership and experience. If that’s all it takes to play here, we could have just hung on to Staios.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Here’s a list of 4+ million dollar (salary) players some of the top teams have:

    Boston 7

    TB 6 (3 at 5+ million)

    Van 6 (5 at 5+ million)

    SJ 5 (4 at 6.5+)

    Based on recent past signings, good but not great RFA’s have been signed in the 2.5 – 3.5 million range so that should cover a good portion of our current crop of young guys.

    Factor in 5% – 10% cap growth and we’ve got more then enough room to add a couple of 5+ million dollar players.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    D-man:

    Where are you getting that 19 mil figure from?

    The Oilers currently have 35.75 mil in cap room committed to 2G, 3D, and 8F. That leaves them ~26 mil in cap room if the cap is 62 mil next year, and it may even be higher than that. Cogliano, Smid and Peckham can probably be signed for a combined 5 mil or so, which would leave the Oilers with 21 mil in cap room to spend on 2 D and 5F if they don’t make and roster moves with the 13 signed players + the 3 RFA’s mentioned above.

    • D-Man

      I got the numbers from NHL Numbers.Com… I took a look at the 2011/12 cap figures… When I run the numbers again – I get around $37 million; my starting number in my original post should have had the starting cap at about $23 million and not the $19 million I initially started with… I note that my original post incorrectly included Souray’s $4.5 million salary…

      Assuming we start with signing Boumeester – we would be sitting with about $17 million… We then resign the other players I previously mentioned – leaving us about $11 million… We would then have about five roster spots to fill the $11 million… Arguably, we’d need to chalk up about $1 million of that for an ELC for the #1 pick, leaving us about $10 million to spend on 4 roster spots…

      Now I must admit – that leaves us a bit of room to sign some upgrades at $2 mil a piece, leaving us in a better situation than I originally posted… My point though was the importance of cap space which I still stand by…

  • Mantastic

    i really think JayBow is hella overrated. what has he done outside his days in florida where there was no pressure on him? i rather have that money to throw at a FA then carry him on our roster.

  • Rogue

    If RNH is on this team this year, They better pick up someone who can ride shotgun and play on a line with him. At his size, I would imagine he will need protection.

    • Metal&Oil

      Jamie Oleksiak Dman, 6’7″, 244lbs Born: Toronto, Team: Northeastern University and 18 years old

      Got Chara Written all over him but probably less talent.

      Also projected by many to go at around 19th overall 🙂

      I hear he plays with a mean streak in him. If true then other teams players may have to start asking for permission to enter our zone when he is on the ice.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Arch I bet they walk away with one of Bryz, Vokoun or Nabokov, maybe a cosolation prize of Rolie this summer (or maybe a trade for someone of that caliber)

  • Metal&Oil

    Are the Oilers actively chasing other clubs with offers to sell them our first round pick (s) ? Are the Oilers even entertaining any offers from other clubs that might be coming in at this time ? In other words – are we persuing them , or any of them persuing us to try and get any of our picks ?

    Going status quo on last years backend personnel seems rediculous if we hope to get better . I don’t believe anybody, other than the Oilers,that would not take Larsson as their first pick !

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Ryan2 So we don’t want to pick up a good player because we need a lot of good players and/or we are afraid the good player would leave.