The Edmonton Oilers have some tough decisions to make this summer. Example: their 8 wingmen. Add up  the NHL contracts, the solid prospects knocking on the door and the #1 overall pick and something’s gotta give.

As spring gives way to summer, we can talk about things like moving Taylor Hall to center–and that may become the plan sooner than later depending on how things go at the draft. Having said that, this team has a lot of talent on the wing, so much that it is likely the club deals off a player or two before fall.


  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Jordan Eberle
  3. Ryan Smyth (UFA, but they are talking contract)
  4. Ales Hemsky
  5. Nail Yakupov (#1 pick according to most sources)
  6. Ryan Jones
  7. Ben Eager
  8. Lennart Petrell (UFA, but could return)
  9. Magnus Paajarvi
  10. Teemu Hartikainen

Plus of course the team will want to add an enforcer to the group and there are 5 centers in the mix for next year (RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander).

The Oilers may also want to add a veteran 2-way RW in order to free Hemsky and Eberle for the offensive work. There are a lot of options in-house, including Paajarvi and Hartikainen who are doing good things in OKC.

We should also allow for the possibility the team runs with 8D next season, meaning only 13 forwards.


Time to wish him well in his new city. Omark’s timeline was not a match for the Oilers, and despite doing some nice things during his one season in Edmonton (10-11) the club felt better options were available. The best case scenario has him being traded to another NHL team and find a home in the world’s best hockey league.



Ideally, the Oilers could trade Ben Eager and or Eric Belanger over the summer. The depth chart at forward might look like this:

  1. RNH
  2. Hall
  3. Eberle
  4. Gagner
  5. Yakupov
  6. Hemsky
  7. Horcoff
  8. Smyth
  9. Jones
  10. Lander
  11. Petrell
  12. Paajarvi
  13. Hartikainen

I don’t think that will happen, though. And we’re assuming the club signs both Smyth and Petrell, and don’t add another veteran winger. Someone is likely heading out of town, my guess is Gagner for blue.

Which would open up center, possibly for Taylor Hall.


The Oilers are a conservative bunch. Betting on the song remaining the same is probably the right thing to do. Meaning the club will choose between Hartikainen and Paajarvi with the extra man finding his way to OKLA CITY in 12-13.

Nation Radio is back on the air at noon today, Team 1260. We welcome your questions and comments on this blog, via email and you can send me a tweet @lowetide_ if you like. Scheduled to appear:

  • Julie Veilleux will help us understand the season past in Montreal and what the Habs are doing about it. Montreal’s ownership over the years has been mostly stable. The current group (Molson again) appears to be reaching into their own past with Serge Savard’s recent emergence and we’ll explore some of the similarities between Edmonton and Montreal in this area.
  • Gabriel Desjardins from behind the net. Gabe will be by to talk about the Jets season, the electric start to the playoffs and answer your questions about advanced stats, etc.
  • Corey Graham, voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings. We’ll talk about the incredible run for this gifted young team and discuss another long layoff. We’ll also discuss some of the prospects eligible for this year’s draft.
  • Tom Lynn is a player advisor, agent and attorney, certified by the National Hockey League Players Association. He has acted as General Manager and Assistant General Manager of the Minnesota Wild and we’ll talk about the playoffs, the draft and other subjects. I’ll also ask your questions so make sure to pass them along.

Hope you tune in, should be a fun day.

  • Stack Pad Save

    Why is everyone projecting Yakupov to play on the right wing? He is a left hand shot, why can’t he play the left and have your top 6 forwards be as follows:

    LW C RW

    Hall Nuge Eberle

    Yakupov Gange Hemsky

      • Stack Pad Save

        I would love to see Gange traded away for a D-man and a legitimate 2 way center take his place, but I don’t see Oilers Management having the gumption or skill to make that happen. So I am working with what we got, and I really think Yakupov should be able to play either wing. Everyone is worried about having to many RW or LW, we should be more worried about quality centers and quality D

  • Stack Pad Save

    this just shows the deep depth of the current roster when it’s suggested that a 40+ point player like Gagner does not fit into the equations.

    Remember the object of hockey is to outscore the other team.

    The defense will come along in due course, for now the Oilers should focus on scoring as many goals as possible.

    • TLHansum

      On one hand i agree with you wholeheartedly.

      On the other hand, there’s the postseason, where outscoring your opponent while they beat the crap out of you physically works for a few games until the injuries start adding up.

      Everyone is focused on getting to the playoffs, but you’ve got to take into consideration winning a few rounds.

      Unfortunately the NHL rulebook caters to the (clean) hitter. You can knock someone out for the season with a clean hit, have everyone pounce on you immediately, and walk away with a powerplay. Which is retarded. If i was the other team id be going around looking to line Eberle up for a massive (clean) hit. I might be able to hurt Eberle AND score a big powerplay.

      I don’t want any of Hall RNH Eberle having to defend the other with fisticuffs. Yakupov Gagner and Hemsky same same. Gagner is the only one out of those 6 that fights, and usually gets his bacon handed to him.

      Which leaves the defense. Ideally you should have someone on the D on the ice at all times with the aforementioned 2 lines that can give physical retribution. Two problems with that. 1) We don’t have those kind of defensemen (other than Pecks who will probably not be here next season, and 2) For the reason i outlined above, players will throw big hits against talent regardless.

      The Solution: Draft only bigger players, or, Mark Messier. Some of you might remember Mark’s first couple years in the league. He got a lot of elbowing penalties. If someone tried to run him, he got the elbows up. In his 20+ year career he got run for the first 2ish and then everyone learned and he got left alone for the rest of his career. Hall needs to be running around the ice like a chicken with his elbows up whenever someone lines him up. Let him take a few dozen elbowing penalties over the next few years. People will stop running him and try grinding instead.

  • Lowetide

    I wouldn’t put hall at center. I know he can but i think he fits lw better. We need another option on lw in the top six anyway and thats yakupov. I would bring eager back in hordichucks role and run someting like this.
    Yakupov rnh eberle
    Hall gagner hemsky
    Smyth horkoff paajarvi
    Hartikainen lander jones
    I would be interested in going younger with our bottom six starting as early as next year. Theres lots of good bottom six players bubbling under no sense bringing them all in at once. Belanger has to go (though i still like the signing it just didn’t pan out). I would also be in favour of bringing back penner, and give paajarvi a chance to redefine himself in okc, and playing upwards of 40 games on recall.

  • vetinari

    This is Tambi’s time to move some of the surplus second tier forwards for some defensive help… He better pick up a couple of top 4 defencemen and a 1B goalie to replace Khabibulin, otherwise, it’s going to be another long season for Oiler Nation… I may have to take up smoking the gange.

    Also, what’s up with Elizabeth Taylor’s eyebrows in the last picture? It’s like two caterpillars are racing to meet in the middle.

  • Dipstick

    It has been suggested that Paajarvi might be an option at center. I would think that his speed and defensive capabilities would be an asset. Are his passing and possession skills lacking to play there? Whether he plays at center or wing, he certainly needs to learn to use his size more effectively.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Bring back Penner and let him and Smytty battle it out for that spot on the LW2 and LW3.

    Should be able to find some decent help for the blueline with 91,83,89,28,55,6, etc and the first in 2013 up for grabs.

    edit: someone must’ve hacked my account. If Penner can’t cut it in LA on their third line. How’s he supposed to do it here. There’s no way i would have said this. Someone from Calgary’s probably responsible.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    People are forgetting about some other very fine prospects in the Oiler chain & jumping ahead of themselves! By all accounts, Pitlick is rounding into a very good two way center at OKC (just turned 20 late last year) & might not be ready at the start of this next year but certainly will be introduced to the NHL sometime during the 12/13 season! He’s 6-2 200#, right shot, fast & plays with an edge! Oiler fans need to be patient & let this rebuild come full circle!

  • What did Desjardins project for Hall and Nugent-Hopkins in the NHL?

    My sense is they both easily outperformed what many predicted, even with both of them missing a fair chunk of games in their respective first seasons. How close/far off was Desjardins system?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One of the concerns I have about moving Hall to centre next year is that it puts a lot more strain on his shoulders and that might not be the best plan after having had major surgery on one of them. I would like to know what it would cost to pry Johansen out of Columbus or Huberdeau out of Florida with some sort of Gagner plus package.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Why don’t they try mps at center. He is big strong defensively minded and as fast as you can get. He makes nice passes and would look great moving the puck up to yakupov and hemsky. I don’t think it’s a good idea right away but some time playing center in the ahl would give the oilers a chance to see how he looks.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Why don’t they try mps at center. He is big strong defensively minded and as fast as you can get. He makes nice passes and would look great moving the puck up to yakupov and hemsky. I don’t think it’s a good idea right away but some time playing center in the ahl would give the oilers a chance to see how he looks.

  • 24% body fat

    The Lines should be

    Hall Gagner Yakupov, –
    Paajarvi RNH Eberle,-
    Hartikainen Horcoff Jones, –
    Eager Belanger Smyth

    Sell off Omark and Hemsky. This has Gagner and Magnus breakout written all over it. Gagner needs a finisher as seen playing with Eberle. Ebs is now married to RNH, but Yakupov will be there.

    Horcoff Can stick around one more year till his contract may be tradeable or CBA allows a freeby, Than Lander should be ready to step in.

    If Tambo thinks Hall is the Class of the group leave him where he is and dont move him to center. He is pure offense and Gagner shows you that it takes till your about 23 to learn the defensive side of the game which is critical for a center.

  • 24% body fat

    When Matt Millen kept drafting wide receivers because each one was the “best player available”, the fans and media were screaming for his head. He was stockpiling one of the least important positions in football while failing to build the defence or pass protection needed to set the team up for success. Why does Tambo keep getting a free pass for doing the hockey equivalent of Millen? I’m looking for the two top centers, a blueline anchor and a starting goalie to carry this franchise and so far all we have is one center (Nuge).

    By the way, I thought the Oilers already tried experimenting with playing Hall at center and it didn’t work out. Why put one of your best players out of his natural position? The team should be building around Hall and setting him up for success, not forcing him into a position that would downgrade his performance. The last thing this team needs is another underachiever. Center may be the more vital position, but center is more than just taking faceoffs and skating in a different lane; it takes vision, play-making ability and a much different mindset than what wingers are trained to do.

    If Gagner is not the answer, then sign a free agent, make a trade, or try some other players who have nothing to lose and a lot more to gain by converting to center (Hemsky?). Let Hall be Hall.

    • Lexi

      Because in football there are at least 8 different positions, while in hockey there are only 4 and as has been well documented only two of those position are relatively easy to project when players are 18.

      Trust us, if Tambo doesn’t improve the D he will be compared to Millen.

  • misfit

    LW: Hall, (Smyth), Paajarvi, Hartikainen, Eager

    RW: Eberle, Hemsky, Yakupov, Jones, (Petrell)

    We’re deep in wingers, but not overrun. If you move Hall to center and Smyth doesn’t return, your top 2 LWs become Paajarvi and Hartikainen. I think you’d REALLY have to be against Gagner as your #2C to justify moving Hall to the middle.

    I really don’t get why the topic of moving “winger-X” to center keeps coming up.

  • Lexi

    The Oilers cannot trade Hemsky, I know they technically can but if they trade him in the summer that is the dumbest move the franchise can make, he resigns with nothing attached (i.e. No trade clause) and the Oilers trade him in the summer when he hasn’t even played a game with his new contract. Sends a bad message to every Oiler and around the league.

    This franchise is on the verge of being a legit contender and bringing in legit talent fro UFA but in order to do that you have to build a classy and well run organization that people respect and want to play for. Trading Hemsky is not that way to go.

  • Lexi

    The Oilers best plan is draft Yakupov and keep the top 6 wingers as is. I don’t understand everyones fascination with moving players around and trading proven guys, we are entering the stage in the rebuild were the Oilers might compete for a playoff spot (with some additions) Adding Yakupov solidifies the top 6 for 2 years (Then Id assume Hemsky is gone but we have someone to replace him), if the Oilers think RNH and Ebs are ready to take on the toughs then put Hall with them and let them go if they would rather Gagner Hemsky and Hall take the toughs then play those guys together and Yakupov with Eberle and RNH.

    I think Yakupov is better suited for LW in the NHL because of his speed he can drive wide on his forehand, he might have troubles owing down the RW and trying to cut into the middle his first few years.

    Fill out your bottom 6 with a shutdown line Smyth Horcoff Jones, I think with less minutes that line could be successful, and then you could have a development line or a speciality line for guys to play limited minutes EV and play either PP or PK.

  • db7db7db7

    I can turn the Oilers into a Cup team next year. The following moves would all but guarantee a cup run:

    – Trade Hemsky, Gagner, Whitney and 1st round pick in 2013 for Shea Weber BEFORE THE DRAFT.(Nashville would be crazy not to take it, considering they’d probably only have him for one more year) He’ll resign with the Oilers no doubt once we make the said cup run.
    – Draft Yakupov (move Hall to Center)
    – Getting Weber and Yakupov will sway both Suter and Schultz to sign with us.
    – Even though he just dissed us, sign Schneider to an offer sheet.
    – Resign Horcoff to a 2 M/yr deal after the new CBA allows us to write off one contract.
    – Sign Smyth to 2.25M/yr deal
    – Trade Belanger for Jody Shelley
    – Qualify and Trade Omark for a 3rd round pick or prospect

    2012-13 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers





    • Lexi

      First things first, you traded away the 2013 first rounder so you don’t have the compensation for Schneider, secondly you used the amnesty clause on Horcoff and by doing so you can’t sign him after using it.

      Thanks for coming out though it was fun!

      • db7db7db7

        Ok, minor adjustments needed then. Instead of the 2013 1st rounder, make it the 2013 and 2014 2nd rounders. Sign one of fifty other gritty centers in the league instead of Horcoff.

      • db7db7db7

        Also, it would only cost us a 1st round pick for Schneider if we offer him more than $3,134,088. I’m not so sure that would be necessary. Under that amount, it’s only a 2nd rounder.

  • db7db7db7

    That line up of forwards would make a good pond hockey team-sorry not going to work in the NHL. BTW playoffs are currently on should anyone wish to watch the make-up of playoff teams. I note Tambellini doesn’t need to see this he’s off to Europe. Well he’s been watching a toliet bowl team for the last three years he’s surely leaned a tonne from that.

  • db7db7db7

    Have you examined the Predators roster and cap structure and come up a convincing argument as to why a pile of 29th place baggage for a Norris trophy finalist makes sense to a legitimate cup contender? If not, then keep your wet dreams to yourself.

    • db7db7db7

      Because that Norris trophy finalist doesn’t want to be there anymore. Last summer he held out and would only sign a one year deal. I wouldn’t expect anything more this summer. I think the Preds will unload him before they lose him for nothing next summer. If you’re going to unload him, the package that I suggested will be difficult to match. Also, Ellis is about to demand big minutes from the Preds anyway.

      • db7db7db7

        Weber is an RFA. That means, by definition, Preds can’ lose him for nothing! He would need to be presented with an offer sheet, and as he is already earning 7.5 million, he would be expecting a raise, taking him likely over the 7.8 mill threshold meaning Oilers would owe Preds 4 (count ’em -FOUR) first round draft picks as compensation. Preds will not be trading him now, and will almost certainly be matching an offer sheet, as Buffalo did when Kevin Lowe was insane enough in 2007 to offer Thomas Vanek 50 million over four years, which would have cost us Ebs, MPS, Hall, and RNH. Furthermore, Gagner is also an RFA, and will likely be looking for 3 mill plus, requiring a first and third round pick for compensation if another team signs him, which seems like a lot for any team to surrender for a 40-50 point per year smallish center. Whitney and Hemsky are injury prone, and would account for a 9 million cap hit to a team that does not spend to any where near the cap. They won’t be doing this. Not now. Not ever.

        • db7db7db7

          Dude, you are misreading my post. I’m not saying they could lose him this year when he is still a RFA. I’m saying that after he only agrees to a one deal again this summer, he will become UFA next summer. They won’t want to lose him for nothing in the summer of 2013, so they’ll want to get something for him before that time.

  • db7db7db7

    ST has many options including moving Gagner and Hemsky and MP. A trade for another pick this draft so that we can draft a dman too would be wise. ST signed Hemsky because nobody wanted a player with a bum shoulder with an expiring contract. If Hemsky had been healthy…

  • db7db7db7

    Oilers should try and get ahold of Chris Stewart from the Blues in the off season. Perfect big rugged skilled winger that has had a brutal year and is now scrathed in the playoffs. It has to do with the depth of the Blues and not having any confidence. His value cannot be any worse than it is right now. Omark and picks for him? Probably wont get it dont, how about MPS and picks for Stewart + a roster player. I would look into him if I was the Oilers.

  • db7db7db7

    Oh and before I forget! Lowetide you still havent done an in depth look into the Predators like you said you would do. The one you did on the Red Wings was awesome and I am really looking forward to the Predators edition.

  • Talbot17

    I could see management not dealing away Magnus and using him in OKC again, bringing him up here and there. Yakupov is a must to draft as well. Ideally though like everything has stated numerous times on this site we definitely are needing a high quality D man and it’s going to take trading assets for assets. As much as I have enjoyed Gagner’s improvement, they won’t trade Hemsky so selling off Gagner may have to happen while moving hall to center. Hall is the perfect center anyways, guy flys all over the ice as it is let him do so even more now.

  • db7db7db7

    Many people tend to compare TH to a very young Moose. LW’s, tremendous competitive spirit, skate like the wind, on and on. Sather converted the Moose to center, not sure how many years in. Renney, or whomever, could quite easily do the same. The transition would likely be easier in that TH grew up a center; it was only Windsor’s lineup that dictated the club would be better served, to Boughner at least, that he’d be best at LW. I can recall Boughner’s comments whilst the commotion surrounding the Taylor/Tyler thing was going on, when need was more a center than it was a wingman. He said simply: “So play him at center.”

    It’s a good idea.

  • Lowetide

    FASCILITATION ! What will it take to pry Iginla away from Calgary without giving up any of Nuge , Eberle , Hall or Yakupov ? Then use others to perhaps get Nash and a good 1-2 more defencemen ? Perhaps our first pick the following year , but not this years ! Bowmeester part of blockbuster trade or perhaps even O. Jokinen ?

    Hall , Iginla and Eberle . Nuge , Yakupov Hemsky or Jokinen . Nash and Bowmeester would be nice to add to that squad as well . I think it is doable without throwing away Yakupov or other top 3 youthfull stars . Any better trade scenarios others can come up with this group ?

  • Lowetide

    Question for you CBA people. With an offers sheet it has to be your own draft pick correct? So you can’t trade away your pick for a player and get a first round pick from someone else then use that in an offer sheet correct?

    So when people say (I did too until I thought about it) Vanek would have cost us Ebs, Paajarvi, RNH and Hall it actually is (Myers) Paajarvi RNH and Hall because EBerle was the ducks pick right so he couldn’t have been included in the offer sheet?