HARSH REALITY

As teams drop from the playoffs, we slowly start to focus more on the draft and free agency. The Nashville Predators swung for the fences at the trade deadline, but like most teams who take a risk on deadline day, they came up short. The Preds traded away their 1st and 2nd round picks for Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill, in hopes of a long playoff run as well as increasing their chances to re-sign Ryan Suter.

They struck out on a long playoff run, and right now no one really knows if Suter will stay. What I do know is that the Oilers won’t be in the running for him.

Of course the Oilers would love to sign him, if he becomes a free agent, but there is no way he signs in Edmonton. It has nothing to do with the weather or geography; it has to do with winning. The Oilers aren’t close to being a championship team, and while the future looks brighter, Suter will sign with a team that is competitive now, not one that might be in a few years.

When the Oilers have actually made the playoffs, that is when the team can start to look at making a serious move to fill a need, but now is not the time, because they have too many needs to fill.

I’ve noticed a lot of talk amongst Oiler fans recently about going after Suter, and while I agree he’d definitely help, the reality is he won’t be sign here, so focus on more realistic options.

It will be very curious to see what GM David Poile does in the next few weeks. You know he wants to re-sign both Suter and Weber, but it is clear they need some offensive help if they are to advance past the 2nd round of the playoffs.

I don’t see any way he lets Suter walk away for nothing. If he can’t sign him, then I fully expect him try and move him at the draft for a 1st rounder. Keep in mind that team that trades that pick will want to be granted the chance to negotiate a contract with him before trading for him. So we’ll see what happens.

Just thinking out loud, but I wonder if Poile will try to mirror what Paul Holmgren did and deal two veterans for four very good young players? The difference is the Preds don’t have a D-man that can step up replace one of Weber or Suter, like Giroux replaced Richards in Philly. That was the key to the deal. The Flyers knew they had a guy who could take on a bigger role, so they were able to trade Richards. The Preds don’t have anyone on their team who could step in and fill the void of Weber or Suter. So it would be extemely gutsy for Poile to move both, but he ultimately might have no choice.

The only way the Oilers could land Suter is if they grossly overpay him. He might come here for $8-9 million/year for seven years, but that would really hamper the Oilers cap-wise in a few year. It doesn’t make fiscal sense to sign Suter at this point in their rebuild.

It is obvious the Oilers need help on the backend, but overpaying a free agent rarely pans out in the long run. The Oilers would be better off to make a smart hockey trade, rather than overpay a player who will never produce enough to live up to his over-inflated deal.

QUICK HITS

  • Many were upset during last night’s Oil King’s game on Shaw, when during OT the channel suddenly switched to a Vancouver City Hall meeting. This lasted about two minutes, and unfortunately for Edmonton viewers you missed the OT winner by the Oil King’s Rhett Rachincki. If you were watching the game on HD, 301on Shaw, the game wasn’t interrupted. Turns out the glitch came from a Vancouver feed. Shaw has guaranteed it won’t happen again. Game 5 goes Thursday at 7 on TEAM 1260 and Shaw.
     
  • Will Alexie Ponikarovsky be this year’s Joel Ward? He’s a UFA, and I wonder if a team looks at his size and skill and gives him $9 million over three years? I could see it happening.
     
  • Other potential UFAs who could benefit from a long playoff run include: Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner from the Kings, Ray Whitney, Shane Doan, Michal Rozsival, Daymond Langkow and Adrian Aucion from the Coyotes, Bryce Salvador and Ryan Carter from the Devils, Brandon Prust from the Rangers and Dennis Wideman from the Capitals. GMs are always swayed by a decent playoff run, and some of these guys will undoubtedly earn more due to their playoff run.
     
  • Zach Parise will get a big deal regardless, but he could earn $1 million more a year if he really lights it up in the next two rounds. Even Alex Semin could garner a big deal because of it. I’d be stunned if anyone offers him $6 million/year like he is getting now, but someone will likely take a risk and give him $25 million over 5 years. Gotta love the insanity of free agency.

ULTIMATE SPORTS FAN PACKAGE

You can win a great sports fan package and help find a cure for MS. I am riding in the 190km MS Bike Tour on June 09th and I’ve come up with a pretty good package for the diehard sports fan.  Click here and donate $100 and you will get one entry into the draw. If you donate $200 you get two entries and so on.

We only take 100 entries, and we are already at 30 in less than 20 hours. Awesome.

The winner will win a prize pack that includes:

  1. A pair of tickets to the Oilers home opener in October.
  2. A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets.
  3. A signed Jordan Eberle stick.
  4. Pizza for a year from Boston Pizza and a special "all meat wings" package.
  5. A beer fridge and beer for a year from Big Rock Brewery.
  6. Four Edmonton Rush season tickets.
  7. And more surprise prizes (something involve Wanye) to come in the next few weeks.

We will add a new prize every few days leading up to the draw on June 07th, and keep in mind this sold out in two weeks last year. So if you want a chance to win and help end MS get in the draw today.

Thanks for your support and good luck.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Not big on Suter but beggars can’t be choosers. If he were to come here it would have to be on an extended deal to get the cap hit down to around 5.5 – 6 per.

    Going into the summer the Oilers should be focusing on 4 guys. Suter,Schultz….Gudbranson and Weber via the trade route. If none of these are possible then sit tight and play the waiting game with what’s in the system already. Garrison,Wideman,Jackman are all plan B, or duplicate what’s here already.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Jason Gregor

    The hardest (and most expensive)pieces to find are top 3 forwards and top 2 defensmen… you can almost always find the rest for relatively resonable deals on free agency.

    We’ve got arguable 4, top 3 forwards already… and are likely to have another one in 6 weeks.

    Suter gives us one top pairing dman for sure, it would be nice to have a second one (and may if Whitney returns) but it isn’t the end of the world to fill in the blanks with 3’s and 4’s

    5 key players, most of the great teams have roughly that, and then fill out the rest. With the addition of Suter and Yakopov we’ve got 5+

    • D-Man

      Reasonable deals and free agency are an oxymoron… You almost always overpay – especially when you’re a bottom feeding team like we are right now… Suter would shore up our defense – agreed… But now where/how are you improving our goaltending?? Where is that 3rd line that can chip in a bit of offense and crash and bang to take pressure off of the kids in our top six?? Even if you miraculously sign them – what happens when Hall and Eberle’s ELC’s are up and they are worth $5 million each?? What about the Nuge??

      There is a lot of uncertainty with the CBA right now… Suter, as good as he is, is not our immediate answer…

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man

    Feels like we go over this every year.

    You can get middle 6 forwards and 4/5 dmen for 3 million or less every summer, look it up.

    Top teams keep loading up on good to great players, yet Oiler fans are scared to sign a guy that fits it’s biggest need because other guys need to get paid as well.

    The weakest argument is “it isn’t the right time”. What happens when “it is the right time” and theirs no one available, or if he is another team gets him?

    How many top 15Dmen hit the open market every summer? Maybe 1 (if that)? If you actually have a chance of getting one now, you don’t pass it up… because when “the time is right” you might not be able to get your man.

    • D-Man

      First – we won’t get the chance for Suter… Get that thought out of your head… Second – even if we could, you miss the point… You overpay for a player like that if he’s the final piece… Suter would be the first piece of many that are required… I saw your other post – there are still question marks about Dubnyk – he hasn’t played more than 45 games in any season, the most he ever played is the last… Are you 100% confident he’s the long term answer?? He’s improving no one can deny that, but is he as good as Kiprusoff, Lundqvist or Rinne?? That’s what you’re asking if you expect him to play 60 plus games…

      Next – do you think Horcoff/Smyth/Jones put fear in any opposing team and are ‘hard to play against’?? You’re right when you say that the line could maybe chip in 50 goals and give some offense – but do they add any ‘size’ to our top nine?? No..

      Finally – top teams can load up on good to great players because they win.. 20 years ago did FA’s want to go to Detroit?? 10 years – Pittsburgh?? Chicago?? No… All of these teams got the pieces they needed through the draft started to win games and could in turn promote a winning culture…

      You also forget that when that ‘right time’ does come – that’s what draft picks are for – for trading…

      At the end of the day, this debate is a moot point as Edmonton would be the 29th location on Suter’s wish list… I admire your passion on wanting to win now – and next year we will.. We’ll win 37 – 38 games and sit around 12th in the west… We’ll get more flexibility to improve with our youth, find decent quality FA’s and then see playoffs the year following…

      • there are still question marks about Dubnyk – he hasn’t played more than 45 games in any season, the most he ever played is the last… Are you 100% confident he’s the long term answer??

        Good cheap free agent goalies are available every year.

        He’s improving no one can deny that, but is he as good as Kiprusoff, Lundqvist or Rinne??

        How many cups do these three have?

        Next – do you think Horcoff/Smyth/Jones put fear in any opposing team and are ‘hard to play against’?? You’re right when you say that the line could maybe chip in 50 goals and give some offense – but do they add any ‘size’ to our top nine??

        Instead all these guys did was play against the toughest possible opposition when they played together. You’re right, opponents 3rd lines will probably kill them. (can you feel my eyes rolling?) These three players would make a very good 3rd line.

        Finally – top teams can load up on good to great players because they win.. 20 years ago did FA’s want to go to Detroit?? 10 years – Pittsburgh?? Chicago?? No… All of these teams got the pieces they needed through the draft started to win games and could in turn promote a winning culture…

        Each of these teams had plenty of pieces they acquired outside of the draft, even before they drafted their high profile players. These teams are NOT examples of building ONLY through the draft.

        We’ll win 37 – 38 games and sit around 12th in the west… We’ll get more flexibility to improve with our youth, find decent quality FA’s and then see playoffs the year following…

        At which point we can start over with a new rebuild because our younger players will have lost faith in the team. There is no defensible reason not to try and win as much as possible next season.

        • D-Man

          It certainly looks like I’m on the other side of the spectrum with Gregor when it comes to the Suter debate… Fair enough – that’s the joy of this website…

          Name me one good (cheap) free agent goalie that we’d get?? I doubt you’d find one – remembering that you’ll need to resign Dubnyk for about $1.5 to $2.0 million…

          If Horcoff and Smyth were 5 years younger – you’d be right… Although there’s a bit of offense, there’s no additional size and grit we need in our top nine… Yes – you need skill, but we already have a ton of that in our top six… If you listen to the experts – we need to be ‘hard to play against’… Sorry – Smytty doesn’t bring this to the table…

          The young players won’t have much of a choice even if they lost faith in the team… All of our kids are RFA’s… That means unless they refuse to sign a new 2nd contract (which would still keep them as RFA’s) they’re not playing in the NHL… I don’t see that happening as all three have said they’re seeing the improvements around them…

          I’d like to win as many games as possible too… Realistically, even if Suter came over, he’d maybe improve our team by 2 wins (on top of the five more that we’ll get by natural progression)… I want a team that will win 45 plus games… Suter would definitely help us get there, but we’ll also need better goaltending and a better 3rd line than what we can ice now… Tying up $9 million in one player right now might help initially in the short term, but makes no sense long term…

          • 1.) I didn’t mention Suter, partially because I don’t care one way or the other. I just think your reasoning is a disaster. 9 million? Where did you come up with that number? What is “natural progression” supposed to mean? Do nothing until BAM Stanley Cup? ridiculous. All the teams you want to follow did a lot more than simply draft players until they magically won a cup.

            2.) Free agent goalies are available every year for cheap. This summer will be no different. There are too many goalies to fill the available jobs.

            3.) Are you trying to tell me that no RFA has ever forced his way off a team he no longer wanted to play for? Sure, those guys are happy now, but what happens when they finish lottery again next year and the year after? Being perpetually terrible is what “natural progression” gets you.

          • D-Man

            The $9 million is a number that I would consider realistic considering the fact that Erhoff made $10 million (cash) last year… You can use $8 million if you want, doesn’t really matter – that’s around the area Suter will be demanding… Wishnewski (apologize for the spelling) got $5.5 million, remember??

            Natural progression is essentially improving upon the last year… I expect the Oil to win 37 – 38 games next year – a 5 game improvement from the last… And barring major injuries and the development of the defenders in our pipeline – I expect another 4 to 5 more wins the year following… In order to make the playoffs we need to win at least 10 more games this upcoming year… Not too many teams make that type of improvement over a year.. St. Louis did that, but they’re significantly deeper than we had..

            Name me one free agent goalie that will come here cheap – that will give us about 25 to 30 quality starts?? What are you basing your opinion on??

            I didn’t say a RFA wouldn’t force his way off the team and yes – we certainly could lose a talent to an offer sheet, but if your argument was valid – explain John Tavarres in NYI?? NYI has the worst rink in the league and has spent a decade in mediocrity… We aren’t perpetually terrible, we are getting better – just not as quickly as you’d like…

          • The $9 million is a number that I would consider realistic considering the fact that Erhoff made $10 million (cash) last year… You can use $8 million if you want, doesn’t really matter – that’s around the area Suter will be demanding… Wishnewski (apologize for the spelling) got $5.5 million, remember??

            Cap hit is the only number that matters. The are only 3 players in the league with cap hits near to or over 9 million dollars. Suter will not become one of them.

            Natural progression is essentially improving upon the last year… I expect the Oil to win 37 – 38 games next year – a 5 game improvement from the last… And barring major injuries and the development of the defenders in our pipeline – I expect another 4 to 5 more wins the year following… In order to make the playoffs we need to win at least 10 more games this upcoming year… Not too many teams make that type of improvement over a year.. St. Louis did that, but they’re significantly deeper than we had..

            In other words, do nothing and hope one day we are a contender.

            Name me one free agent goalie that will come here cheap – that will give us about 25 to 30 quality starts?? What are you basing your opinion on??

            I’m basing my opinion on the simple fact that EVERY SINGLE YEAR CAPABLE GOALIES SIGN CAP FRIENDLY DEALS BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH GOALIE JOBS.

            I didn’t say a RFA wouldn’t force his way off the team and yes – we certainly could lose a talent to an offer sheet, but if your argument was valid – explain John Tavarres in NYI?? NYI has the worst rink in the league and has spent a decade in mediocrity… We aren’t perpetually terrible, we are getting better – just not as quickly as you’d like…

            What are trying to say here, that we aren’t as perpetually bad as the Islanders? How wonderful for the Oilers. Do you believe that an offer sheet is the only way a player gets out? All Taylor Hall has to do is ask for a trade, it’s as simple as that. As for Tavares, they had better do something soon or he will want out. Simple as that.

            You’ll notice that “natural progression” hasn’t done a whole lot for them yet.

          • D-Man

            You miss the point of natural progression… I never said not do anything… I said we rely a bit more on our youth to improve to win more… Tambo should be looking at deals like what we did to get Nick Schultz to improve and fix the holes you seem to disagree with me and Jason Gregor on…

            Capable goalies… Name me one?? There aren’t enough ‘tending jobs but you still haven’t named me one that would be willing to come here, for a reasonable cap hit?? Why is that?? Now of course you and I aren’t educated enough to know what player agents are saying to their players but if you were a goalie, and were capable to be a legitimate 1A or 1B, would you look at Edmonton right now, knowing that we’re still at least two years away from contending for the playoffs?? Even if they did nothing but sign Suter?? If you were smart – you probably wouldn’t…

            Okay – Taylor Hall asks for a trade?? If my understanding of the CBA is correct – we say no and the only way he plays for another NHL team is via trade or an offer sheet… Would Hall be willing to do that?? I don’t know – but I would think a smart agent would say to him – make sure your 2nd contract is as short on term as possible, play your ass off and reap the rewards of being a UFA?? And Tavares signed a 5 year extension from his ELC…. The NYI will have enjoyed his skill until he’s about 27/28… Now don’t get me into the trials and tribulations of Garth Snow as a GM, but I’d certainly like to think that even if Tambo is marginally better – he’ll continue to surround the likes of Hall with younger talent, pick up a decent (reasonably priced) vet here or there to encourage him to stay…

          • You miss the point of natural progression… I never said not do anything… I said we rely a bit more on our youth to improve to win more… Tambo should be looking at deals like what we did to get Nick Schultz to improve and fix the holes you seem to disagree with me and Jason Gregor on…

            That trade improved nothing and was a step backwards.

            Capable goalies… Name me one?? There aren’t enough ‘tending jobs but you still haven’t named me one that would be willing to come here, for a reasonable cap hit?? Why is that?? Now of course you and I aren’t educated enough to know what player agents are saying to their players but if you were a goalie, and were capable to be a legitimate 1A or 1B, would you look at Edmonton right now, knowing that we’re still at least two years away from contending for the playoffs??

            FFS. There are only 30 starting jobs available in the NHL. Why do you think goalies are running around picking destinations based on which teams will contend? I don’t need to name a goalie. Go look at the free agents list. Go look at who signed FA deals last year, the year before, and the year before that. Then look where thy signed. Why do you think we all knew Khabibulin was a terrible deal before he even played a game? Because you’d have be a complete idiot to look at the market and think it was good. OHAI Steve Tambellini.

            Okay – Taylor Hall asks for a trade?? If my understanding of the CBA is correct – we say no and the only way he plays for another NHL team is via trade or an offer sheet… Would Hall be willing to do that?? I don’t know – but I would think a smart agent would say to him – make sure your 2nd contract is as short on term as possible, play your ass off and reap the rewards of being a UFA??

            This is because you’ve seen some history somewhere of players being told no when they ask for a trade? What do you mean would he be willing to do that? If he demands a trade obviously he would accept a trade.

            And Tavares signed a 5 year extension from his ELC…. The NYI will have enjoyed his skill until he’s about 27/28…

            …and this is because no players have ever asked for a trade while still under contract before?

            Now don’t get me into the trials and tribulations of Garth Snow as a GM, but I’d certainly like to think that even if Tambo is marginally better – he’ll continue to surround the likes of Hall with younger talent, pick up a decent (reasonably priced) vet here or there to encourage him to stay…

            Why do you believe this? Tambellini has already assembled multiple lottery teams. He has already finished last with a team HE BELIEVED would compete for the playoff. Why do you think he has an clue how to build a team at all.

            I just came to the conclusion I am being punked. So little of what you say makes any sense that I have to assume Gregor would be offended at your constant attempts to group yourself with him. It doesn’t help your case in the least, and I have no idea what you are getting at with your references to education. It makes no sense.

          • Bucknuck

            How many goals were caused by Peckham or Barker running around like a chicken with his head cut off? A really good defenseman that can play 20 minutes a night will add more than 2 victories to your cause when there is so much room for improvement.

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

            After having a look at a few of the top teams known for their depth I wouldn’t be suprised if Horc/Smyth/jones would be top 5 league wide for teams 7/8/9 forwards.

            ~now if only we can teach them to be scary~

    • Bucknuck

      Props!

      It’s worth a phone call at the very least.

      If you have Suter in the bank and nice shiny new #1 pick it might be an easier sell to make a trade with someone who has a no trade clause.

      The player I want them to drop their pants for is Justin Schultz, who should be their first call. I say this and yet I’ve never even seen the man play.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-man

    Horc/Smyth/Jones all produce at solid 3rd line rates, MPS probably could too.

    Play DD 60+ games solves most of our goaltending issues. A back-up can that can give you a .900SV%+ save percentage can also be picked up cheap if they’d actually throw in the towel on Bulin.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man

    Such an irrational argument

    First piece, final piece…. it doesn’t matter. If you have the “overpaid” piece now and add five more to it… or have 5 pieces and add the overpaid piece latter you are still in the exact same spot…. 6 high end players… the order you add them doesn’t matter.

    I know it sounds really good, but “putting fear in your opponents” is basically irrelavant. You win by scoring more goals then the other team, not by scaring them.

    If you insist on carrying this on, at least bring something tangible.

    • Jason Gregor

      You win by winning battles in all areas of the ice, not just scoring goals. I’d suggest you need to allow fewer goals as well to win.

      Suter would help, no doubt, but he won’t sign here, so dreaming about won’t accomplish much.

      Even if he did, that wouldn’t make the Oilers grittier up front, nor would it address their lack of size.

      You are right that you need elite forwards, which is looks like they have, but they don’t have much grit, and we don’t know if the goalie can be a legit starter. I think he might be, but that’s just a guess.

      I’d say the Oilers are 8 players away from being really competitive.

      • D-Man

        I couldn’t agree with you more… We can have all the skill in the world up front – but without the size and grit – we’re not taking any steps forward..

        I have to admit I like the ‘armchair’ quarterbacks (such as myself) who continually look for the quick fix… Unfortunately with the salary cap – there is no such thing… Teams improve through the draft, developing the talent they have and making savvy trades… One could argue Tambo might not be up to the task – but that’s another debate to come…

  • Bucknuck

    I think I am with D-Man in thinking that the Oilers aren’t as far away as a lot of people think. Every year there is a team that does far better than the experts suggest. Phoenix and Ottawa stand out, as well as Colorado a few years back. Maybe it’s time the Oilers SIUTB of their critics.

    A 1B goaltender to go with Dubnyk and a big minutes Defenseman to fill the gap when Whitney inevitably gets hurt, and the Oilers could win 10 more games, and that would get them in the playoffs.

    If the Oilers could turn one of their midgets and/or draft picks into a gritty player, that wouldn’t hurt either.

    EDIT – this is all a pipe dream, though. Since Tambellini will stick with Khabibulin, then spout off about accountability after the Oilers lose a bunch of close games by one soft goal.

  • Bucknuck

    I’ve heard the rumours of Suter signing with the Rangers in the offseason. Let’s say that the Rangers lose on Saturday and feel the impetus to add blue chip experience to their blueline. So adding Suter would be a no-brainer. But this may also create the need for a trade. I think moving Del Zotto or McDonough to a 5/6 pairing is a mis-casting. So move one of those two for assets to improve the depth of the Ranger team. Maybe add to the depth of your forward group so somebody other than Richards and Gaborik is doing some scoring. Add a hard-nosed 5/6 Dman. I think the Oilers would be well positioned to be the counterparty of this trade.

    So, even though I love the Rangers, Slats and Messier, I just might cheer for O.V. to pot a hat trick.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The stars are aligning for a shot at Shea Weber next summer.

    Suter will be a fine addition to an already good team this summer. Ryan will make an established blueline even better when he signs with Detroit. Weber could play a more significant role and help turn a whole team around if Edmonton measures up to his desires next summer.

  • DSF

    Suter wants to play for a winner…in the short term

    Otherwise, he’ll re-sign with Nashville.

    The Oilers are years away from Nashville’s level.

    That’s the harsh reality.

    • This is likely the truth. We can’t know with any certainty what Suter is thinking, but this is most likely.

      I just find it absurd to hear people claim that signing him would be some sort of mistake because the team isn’t ready for good players yet apparently, or that obtaining players by any means outside of the draft isn’t organic enough for a proper rebuild.

      • Agreed. Remember when the Oilers signed Chris Pronger and Michael Peca?…. And then added Dwayne Roloson? Ya those guys did nothing for the Oilers ins 2006. *End sarcasm.

        Over paid or not you’re signing a proven high end NHL defenseman arguably top 3 in the league. The kids want to win so why not add anyone we can to help them actually want to stay in Edmonton. Its not like its unheard of for other NHL teams to sign players to insane contracts; Iyla Kovalchuk anyone?

        For whoever said Suter would only get the Oilers an extra 2 wins…. you’re out to lunch. I don’t think him alone would get us into the playoffs but he’d definitely help us get more than 2 wins. At the end of the day all I’m saying is it wouldn’t hurt to give him a phone call and see what he wants, no?

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Jason Gregor

    Actually you win by scoring more goals then the other team, that’s it, the one and only thing that actually matters.

    The other stuff is only relavant in how it leads to scoring goals or preventing goals.

    This isn’t a discussion if he would or wouldn’t sign here, everyone knows it’s a long shot. It’s a discussion about whether we should sign him if he would sign here, and then how much of an affect he would have on the team.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Jason Gregor

    Assuming Yak is just average in the group of say the last 10 forwards drafted 1st overall, we’ve got a 2nd liner right off the bat, with decent odds of another 1st liner in just his rookie season.

    Top 6 or RNH/Hall/Ebs/Yak/Hemsky/Gagner is solid… very solid… those are the hardest holes to fill. those 6 should be good for 135ihs goals…would would be very competitive with the leagues best top 6’s.

    Smyth/Horc/Jones as 7-8-9 is very strong as well… don’t believe me, check out other teams 7/8/9 forwards.

    Belanger might have been a bust as a 3C, but he’s a heck of a 4th C.

    With any luck we sign someone that can push Jones to 4W (or maybe MPS pushes him down)…. either way, we need one, maybe 2 4th line wingers…. that’s about the easiest task you could ask of a GM.

    Defense is a mess, but Suter would fill that #1 roll…. I think we can all agre that is by far the hardest to fill.

    Smid is top 4 for sure, Shultz/Whitney/Petry would all be in the running for top 4…. add one more #4 dman and all of a sudden the defenese looks pretty good.

    cut bait with Bulin and sign a 1B… again, an easy fill.

    The only tough target is the #1D…. a second top paring dman would be nice too, but I’m comfortable running with one elite Dmen and then decent depth behind him.

    If that all comes together and we’re still hard up for the all important “grit” I’m pretty sure we could trade a guy like Eberle or Hall for a banger that can get you 55 points

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Dman

    Glad you brought up Erhoff!! who cares if he makes 10 million, his cap hit is 4.

    Suter can make the 9/10 million or whatever it would be… if we get him for a cap hit in the 6.5 – 7 range we’d have a great deal!

    • D-Man

      That would be a spectacular deal, but with the CBA looming – it sounds like those types of contracts will be the way of the dodo… But then again rumor has it that there may be an ‘amnesty clause’ too – dump Horcoff’s albatross contract and replace it with Suter?? Sweet…

      Granted – if Suter would consider coming (which he won’t) here and we’d get him for a cap hit less than $7 million – I’d pretty much would retract most of my statements.. I don’t think he’d make as much of an impact than 2 – 3 more wins (than the 5 more we’ll get this year), but locking him for that amount would definitely work for the next 3 to 5 years (when in theory we should be a legitimate playoff contender)… Unfortunately, after those 5 years are done and we have to watch his play decline from when he’s 32 to 37, and wonder why we signed him to one of those crappy long term deals to begin with…

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-man

    Quick fix? That’s hilarious. we’ve been 30/30/29 the last three years, theirs no more crying about “quick fixes” we are far beyond that point.

    • D-Man

      There is crying for a ‘quick fix’… You seem to forget that we’ll need to win 10 more games this year to even compete for 8th place… Current management has been barely average to mediocre over the past five years which has driven us to this spot… We can’t just magically snap our fingers and expect everything to change overnight…

      As Gregor has highlighted on numerous occasions – we have at least four glaring holes on our forward line, two on our point and one for a goaltender.. There’s no quick fix here…

      Now one can argue whether Tambo/Renney/Lowe are the right people to steer this ship, but the fact remains that there are so many problems requiring a fix, that one player will not solve all of these problems…

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man

    Four glaring holes on your forward lines? What on earth are you talking about?

    Who on our forward lines are in over their heads?

    We need a couple fourth liners…. or even better one third liner to bump Jones to the 4th and then another 4th liner.

    • D-Man

      Our entire 3rd line needs a overhaul… Again – you miss the fact that the teams that are competing in the cup right now are ‘hard to play against’… We need a couple more bodies on the wings that can crash and bang – sorry Smytty doesn’t cut it, Hartikinen is still a question mark (but shows promise) and Jones is a bonafide 4th liner… Eager has potential but needs to screw his head on straight first…

      We also could use a bit more size in our top 6 as well… Currently we have Hall, Eberle, RNH, Gagner, Hemsky and presumably Yakupov in our top six… Highly skilled but not one of them over 6’2″, 210lbs…

      So yes – there are a ton of holes in our top nine…

      • Our entire 3rd line needs a overhaul… Again – you miss the fact that the teams that are competing in the cup right now are ‘hard to play against

        Please tell me which of the teams remaining in the playoffs has a 3rd line that would outplay Horcoff-Smyth-Jones. The coaches of those teams would yank their 3rd lines almost immediately if lined up against those three.

  • There is this weird idea floating around that we can’t get good players until we have a good team. Can people really not see how absurd this notion is?

    You get a good team by obtaining good players however and whenever they are available. Not by waiting for some magical moment when you determine that your team is suddenly ready to have them.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man

    All I can say is wow. Ya all the teams in the PO right now are sure well known for being such big strong teams.

    You aren’t listing holes, you are listing attributes and pretending they are holes.

    Go ahead, look up some of the best team in the league and their 7/8/9 forwards, you’ll quickly see that Horc/Smyth/Jones are amoungst the best.

    And if we really are that hard up for “size” in our top six, do you really think we couldn’t trade Eberle for a 6’3 guy that can score 45 – 55 points?

    • D-Man

      There’s a difference about trading for size and drafting for it… Why do you think we’re taking a close look at Hartikinanen?? Why do you think educated sports men like Robin Brownlee and Jason Gregor suggest we try to look at getting players like Chris Stewart in an Oiler uniform?? Because of his skill alone?? No – simply we need skilled players that won’t be pushed off the puck, who can stand up for themselves and go to the hard areas while minimizing the risk of injury (that smaller players have)…

      If Smyth/Horcoff/Jones were among the best 3rd lines – why did we finish last?? Sure – weak AHL defensemen and poor goaltending definitely are attributable to the problems, but do you seriously think we’ll get any better with those three?? Will those three get better with one more year of age??

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man

    You’re honestly just making things up to try and fit your narrative. Thiers no magic formula to win a cup, no special amount of “grit” or “home grown” players.

    Go look at the rosters of the teams still in the PO and you’ll realize just how wrong you are.

    • D-Man

      And yet experts that are more educated than you and I are on my side of the fence… We already finished last with Horcoff/Smytty/Jones as our 3rd line… You’re right that they aren’t the only reason why we haven’t improved, but they are one of the reasons…

      I don’t need to look at the other rosters… Smytty is not going to all of a sudden score more than 15 goals/season… Neither is Jones… Neither player is going to sudden re-emerge and provide the size and grit we need… Again – you’re right – there is no magic formula, but being hard to play against is one of the pieces… As is goaltending, as is defense.

      We need to fix all of these holes in order to be competitive… We need to rely on our youth to get better and continue to build from within… As we improve, more FA’s will want to come…

      • And yet experts that are more educated than you and I are on my side of the fence… We already finished last with Horcoff/Smytty/Jones as our 3rd line…

        Wrong. They finished last with those guys on the first line. That is the whole point/problem.

        If Smyth/Horcoff/Jones were among the best 3rd lines – why did we finish last??

        Because they were used as the first line.

          • D-Man

            No – the first line is the line you send out to score and has your most potent offensive threats… Your third line is the line you send out to negate your opponent’s first line…

            If you have one of those two way centers that can do both – you’re laughing.. Horcoff was out for key faceoffs and to shut down the opponent. Jones was never on our ‘first line’… Smytty saw top six minutes at times, but that was with RNH or Gagner…