WEEKEND WRAP

Claude Giroux is the poster boy for how quickly things can change in the NHL playoffs. Giroux was unreal in the Flyers six-game victory over the Penguins, racking up 14 points, and becaues of that he was getting rave reviews from everyone. It was well-deserved, but now the Flyers are down 3-1 to the Devils and Giroux has only one goal in the series, and he might be watching game five from the pressbox after hid hit on Danius Zubrus in game four. And suddenly many of the same people who were raving about him are now saying he’s a predator and his actions represent everything that is wrong in the game.

Such is life in the hockey.  You can be revered or hated in a very short span of time.

Giroux’s hit was clearly late, and that is the big issue. You can’t hit a guy that late after he delivers the puck, but I’m not suddenly going to declare Giroux a travesty to the game. Emotions run high, especially at the pace of the playoffs, and I will never expect players to act correctly all the time.

I find it interesting how many media, bloggers and fans will rip on players expecting them to "respect" one another, yet many of these same people show zero respect in the comment sections or even in person. And trust me, we have much more time while we type out a response to make the right decision, than the players do in their split-second situations. The game is incredibly fast and some players will make wrong decisions. Realize that, punish accordingly, if actually necessary, and move on. You can’t expect the game to be fast, tough, rugged, but incident free. It will never happen, and we shouldn’t expect it to.

I want to see the best players on the ice. I’m not saying they should be allowed to do whatever they like, but Zubrus wasn’t hurt and I’d give Giroux one game at the most. Nothing in his past suggests he is a predator.

**UPDATE…The NHL has suspended Giroux for one game. He’ll miss game five.**

QUICK HITS

  • Got some clarification on Justin Schultz. The Ducks have until June 1st to sign him, but if they don’t he won’t become a UFA on June 1st. He become a UFA  after he informs Wisconsin that he isn’t returning for his senior year. If he does that prior to the draft, then he’d have to go back in the draft. He likely won’t declare that he is leaving school until the week after the draft, so then he’d be a UFA starting July 1st. There is some other criteria that goes into it, but this seems to be the correct timeline. My info was wrong on the June 1st date. Apologies.
     
  • Hands up how many of you are sick of listening/reading/watching to the people who want every hard hit analyzed over and over. The Ovechkin hit on Girardi was clean. There was nothing wrong with it. What is becoming an epidemic is the amount of beat reporters/analysts of teams who become cheerleaders in the playoffs. Tweeting endlessly about how a hit on a player that you cover was dirty is rather unprofessional in my opinion. Especially if a week or so later the team you cover delivers a borderline hit and you say nothing. You are paid to cover the team, not cheer for them.
     
  • What term and length would you sign Devan Dubnyk for? I’d go two years at $2 -$2.5 million/season.
     
  • What about Sam Gagner? He is two years from being unrestricted. Would you go two years at around the same money he made last year, $2.275? I could see a two-year pact close to five million.
     
  • Jeff Petry is an intersting case. He’s only 24 and entering his 2nd full season with the Oilers. He’ll be a top-four D-man next year for the Oilers, and he made $850,000 last year. If I’m the Oilers, I try to lock him up for three years at around $3 million/season. That is a big raise, but if he keeps progressing the Oilers could have him for a bargain price for the final two years of his deal.
     
  • This is an awesome promotional video for the Canadian paralympics team. I love it. 

  • Edmonton Rush forward Ryan Ward might be the Daniel Briere of the NLL. Ward had five goals and 11 points in the Rush’s 19-11 upset in Calgary on Saturday night. In two playoff games v. the Roughnecks Ward has 20 points. Ward averages around 4 points a game in the regular season, but he’s been unreal in the playoffs for the Rush. They are in the west final v. Minnesota this weekend, and they have a legit shot to win that game and play in their first NLL championship. I don’t expect Ward to put up 10 points every game, but if he can pot six or seven this weekend they should win.
     
  • I think the NHL is just fine. I don’t think we need to outlaw shot-blocking or any other asinine suggestion to improve the game. It is fine. Of course, they need to cut down the headshots, but overall it is fine. I know that isn’t very confrontational, but I’m getting tired of every day someone coming up with some zany suggestion that will "better" the game.
     
  • Don’t forget to spoil your mother this weekend. Mother’s Day is on Sunday.
  • 15w40

    If the Oilers think Schultz is the real deal, then trade for his rights. ANA would likely agree to get something as opposed to having him walk away for nothing. Do it before the draft so that you can plan your draft accordingly. It sounds like the Oilers have a few defense prospects coming up so I don’t know if selecting a Defenseman 1st overall is in cards.

  • 15w40

    The only call to eliminate blocked shots I heard was from some dude from the Hockey News. I enjoyed his idea because it was so totally stupid. One more reason why the Hockey News is basically nonsense with the exception of the Entry Draft Guide.

  • canucknnv

    Dubnyk I’d try and get him for 2 yrs at 1.5 to 1.75 per yr. I just don’t think he’s proven he’s worth more than and that’s already giving him double his current salary.

  • Ei8HTYSE7EN

    2-2.5 a year for Dubnyk?! What has he done for that!
    I’m definitely thinking under 1.5mil and letting him be the legit #1 starter
    would be enough to sign him. Sorry but 2.5 money is what I’d want to give to a proven goalie, Dubnyk has shown he can be solid but also shown he lets some soft ones in.

    As long as Gagner is under 2.5mill and traded for an upgrade on D or packaged for a bigger second line center, I’m happy.

    3Million for Petry!? From 800k?! Do we really want to take a chance at reliving the Tom Gilbert problem, what have we learned from over paying players after one good season. 1.5Mill should be enough of a raise to sign Petry and I’d get him at two years.

    I agree I’d love to trade for Schultz rights to get this going faster.
    Give them Omark, since we will be low balled on offers anyways since everyone knows he wants out.

  • Ei8HTYSE7EN

    I think people are getting in a tizzy over hits, precisely because the media is whipping it up. I remember when TSN used to be highlights, but now there’s so many analyst shows, and there’s even more media out there analyzing everyhting, that they have to talk about something.

    It really is getting almost as bad as tabloid press creating these stories that otherwise wouldn’t even be there. Back in the day, big dirty hits were penalized, and potentially extra disciplinary action was taken, and that was it. Reems of stories and videos weren’t created dissected every detail that would make the hit clean or dirty, it was just a hit back then.

    Unfortunately TSN has good reason to talk about nonsense like this because their ratings are up, people watch the draft day coverage for some reason. People are eating these stories up. My hope is that the NHL maintains their own agenda and keeps the game from degenerating further.

    As for Dubnyk, give him something to play for. A contract that says you are our number one going forward, here’s a contract reflecting that, so be confident and help our team win, because you’re the guy.

    As for Gagner, give him the contract that makes his average point total attractive for trade. Do not over pay him because from what I can tell, he’s our only tradable asset that could return something decent (assuming we’d never trade Hall, Eberle, or Nuge).

  • Banger

    You are absolutely out to lunch on the contract proposals.

    There is no way Petry takes a huge raise from 800k to 3 million. Sounds an awful lot like Tom Gilbert, and no we don’t want to relive this situation and contract.

    Dubnyk? What has he proven besides being a reliable back up goalie? He does not demand starter dollars. Hrudy said it best, he’s unproven, and his streaky play of letting in bad/soft goals cannot outweight whatever good strides he made in the stretch of the 2012 season. He needs to prove consistency.

    Gagner isn’t even going to be an Oiler in 2 years, so this is a non issue. Good riddance.

  • Ei8HTYSE7EN

    Re: Gagner… in the past 5 yrs. he has played 366 games and scored 220 points -avg. 44 pts per yr.
    Hemsky in the same 5 yrs played 284 games, and scored 237 points – avg. 47 pts. per game.

    Gagner can take face offs,[ when he’s not thrown out,which is often,] plays a better defensive game than Hemsky… is 6 yrs younger.

    How can the team paya Hemsky $5.mil per yr, and want to offer Gagner, $2.5 mil. I not suggesting GAgner should get $5.0 mil, but sure as heck Hemsky’s not worth the $5.0. Why that deal wen t down I dont know, I would keep Gagner over Hemsky any day of the week.

    • toprightcorner

      What calculator are you using? Hemsky has averaged .84 points per game not .47 and same as Gagner.

      So twice the pts per game for double salary, funny, sounds about right to me.

      With common sense, without looking at the numbers, any average Oilers fan shouldknow that Hemsky out scores Gagner by a huge margin!

      You basically made an argument to agree with Gregors suggestion while trying to disagree with it.

      Gagner didn’t improve much over last year so should be paid in the same range! Depending on length.

      As far as Dubnyk, Quick signed a 3 yr $1.8 cap in 2010 after a 39-24-7 season and 21-18-2 the last 2 years. Duby is no where close to the same level as Quick after 2 seasons. I don’t think any goalie should make over $1.5 million if they are not the bonafide starter of the team and I don’t think he is guaranteed to be our #1 yet. I say 1 yr at 1.5 million and if he proves himself again, give him a longer term at 2.5 mill cap hit.

      Petry is worth a cap hit of $3 mill over 4 yrs. start at $2mill and work up to $4 mill. In 4 years, he will be a great deal as a #3 or possibly #2 dman

    • book¡e

      What kind of math did you do in school??? Recheck those numbers cause that’s embarrassing. Also, why would you feel the need to compare contracts when our very own captain has the most albatross one in the league ????

  • Banger

    Hand is up!

    There is a reason why i scrapped facebook and will never sign up for twitter. I do not care about uselss crap.

    I find the media today just like the friend that would post the ridiculous status just to get some attention*. They want to change the game every 4 hours with something new and just throw endless crap at the wall until something sticks and gets legs. And you cant really blame them. We have two playoff outlets in Canada on for hours every night during the playoffs and they need something to talk about i guess. I personally have just changed the station during intermission (other then when Cherry is on) because its the same old crap over and over.

    *i realize there are some very good media members out there.

  • When Gagner is negotiating his deal he can point out a lot of players who arent nearly as productive or who are similarly productive but make in the 3.5-4 million dollar range. It would be incredible to get him at 2.5 mill. It really would.

    Regardless of what anyone thinks of the guy, the market really does dictate a higher salary for him.

  • John Chambers

    Gregor, given that Gagner is just two years from being unrestricted, don’t you think the team that owns his rights should spend a bit of extra caysh to secure him longer term?

    I could see him get Matt Stajan money, or something in the neighborhood of $15M over 5 years. Petry too.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Logan Couture is getting 2.8ish on his new two year deal that he signed last August which doesn’t take effect until next year. Yes there are other comparables, but on a 2 year deal I don’t know that he can be getting all that much more than Couture.

  • On your question re: Gagner

    I would sign him to a 1 year deal or a deal that pulls in some free agent years. The two year deal allows Gagner to waffle on re-signing a long term deal next summer, as he is under contract. If you sign him to only a 1 year deal, then both parties are forced to declare thier long term intensions next summer. If the Oilers want to keep him long term at this time next summer, and he does not want to re-sign, then you need to deal him.

    otherwise you risk a situation where the discussion drags on all year and then end up selling for pennies on the dollar at the deadline in year 2 of the deal if you can’t work something out.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    @ John

    Interesting point about being a UFA after two. Problem is if you are Gagner why do you sign 5 years at so little? Stajan at least was being offered twice what he was making. That and Sutter had a brain fart to lock him up to that long of a deal.

    • John Chambers

      There are all kinds of tools a GM can use to get a player to commit to an extended term. Overpayment works, and in the case of Gagner $3 or $3.5M in the short term might represent enough of a bonus to have him sign up until he’s 28 years old. Another tool is front-end loading, which with a wealthy owner I’d like to see the Oil employ more frequently.

      Ex, you could pay Ryan Suter $25M over the next two years, and if you only paid him $4M a season over the final 4 you arrive at a total cap hit of under $7M. Front end loading also helps a team rid themselves of the contract once the big money has been paid out as your trading partner only asses the cap hit but not the actual dollars – non cap teams love this scenario – see Campbell, Brian.

  • John Chambers

    We fans need to stop using bad overpay contracts as comparables. The numbers being tossed around casually for average players are mind numbing.

    The idea is to get good value for the money. I’m turning into a cranky old man. I know people have been complaining about the player salaries for 20 years now, but they are really out of hand.

    It seems like the league has regressed right back to low scoring games and ridiculous salaries.

    Thank gawd the playoffs have been soooo good, otherwise things would look kind of bleak with a work stoppage potentially around the corner.

    I’d like to see Dubnyk signed for 2 or 3 years, but for a bit less dough than Jason suggests. Gagner I like, but this was the make or break year for him and he didn’t break out. Time to move him if there is some good return, otherwise resign him for the same money and hope he produces more.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    But when it’s only 15mil over 5years what do you suggest? 5,5,2.5,1.25,1.25? I guess it could work, that is if I didn’t break the CBA.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Smid money/term for Petry makes most sense IMO: $2.25M/year, 2 or 3 years.

    Gagner, apart from one spectacular game and a follow-up SIUTBSOHC game hasn’t earned much of a raise in dollars or term: 2 or 3 year deal at $2.75M cap hit tops. He’s a keeper though.

    Dooby played well down the stretch, but remains unproven. Anything over $2M is an overpay, same for term, two years tops.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Gagner 1 yr @ 2.75. Dubnyk 1 year at 1.5 and Jeff Petry 1 year @ 1.75.

    Keep the term short and your options open. Plenty of changes coming to this roster in the next 12 months, let alone 18-24 months.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Gregor. Your question: “What about Sam Gagner?”

    This squad is almost completely out of balance, especially the forwards. Depending on what Kevin Lowe permits Steve Tambellini to take action on, what Tambellini does with his forwards in the off-season will predict how long the Oilers top brass expect the team to reach the playoffs.

    If he hangs on to Gagner, we can predict it will take at least two more seasons. The same time the illogical Hemsky contract expires. If he deals Gagner now (his best tradeable asset), which I believe he should, then the time-line to the playoffs is shorter.

    As bad as the defence has been, the lack of real NHL forwards to complement the rising young stars has been deplorable, or worse. The veterans on this team do not represent any viable core. This is where the culling should begin if there is any hunger to make the playoffs, and compete.

    • 24% body fat

      The timeline to the playoffs is shorter by trading our best all around center? (nuge isnt there yet) and replace him with who? Also who is the upgrade in D that you think we will get?

      Lack of real NHL forwards for support? Besides Eberle (and yes Hall was good) who scored at a star rate for this team, who else was an allstar for scoring? 40-50 points believe it or not is a second line center and coming in at under 3M, lots of teams would take this.

      The timeline to the playoffs only gets shortened by adding a quality defenceman or 2, not by trading away the only secondary scoring (that you seem to be bitching about) that the oilers have.

      Unless he can sign some big name effective dman, sorry oilers fans we will have to wait. We dont have a back up plan for a number 2 center and we are not getting Jordan Staal. Gagner will produce when playing with Yakupov or Eberle (majority of nuges performance came with Eberle aslo).

      Could be worse we could have JVR and his 40pt best season and be paying him 4 million.

  • book¡e

    Just a few comments. Firstly, Gagner hasn’t proved much either. He had a great two week span but other than that, he didn’t do much more scoring. He had lots of good ice time too. We need to get bigger and tougher so in my mind, he is the one to trade for some needed help both on the forward lines and defence. Secondly, although this comment has noting to do with this article, I want to express how disgusted I am with the Oilers lack of announcing Renny’s future whether it be with the Oilers or not. They are leaving him hang like a dead chicken. They are showing no class at all. If you have plans to replace him there is no need to keep him on the rope. Let him have a chance at making a deal with another team. Show some class for a change Oilers.

  • SiD

    Dubnyk over the last 3 seasons has average 2.98 GAA .906 SV% and has gone 36-43-13. The interesting thing I’ve noticed is his goals against is decreasing over the last 3 seasons and his save percentage is going up, all this playing behind a spotty defensive core. $2 million or $2.5 million over 3 years could prove to be bargain if he continues to improve as he has. The average wage for starting goaltenders is about 3 million so I don’t see an overpay here by any means. Get a defence in front of him and dubnyk could be a very impressive signing at those prices.