When will the Oilers become Kings?

After watching the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup Monday night I had to take a good look at how they got there. It didn’t happen over night. Was it good drafting, free agents or luck that got them to the top of the NHL? It turns out it was all the above!

The Kings were a team that was struggling and so brought in a new GM in 2006, Dean Lombardi. Dustin Brown was on the team already and Lombardi was lucky to already have had Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick drafted the year before. Other then that, as far as I can tell the whole team has changed since he took over. In six to seven years he totally overhauled the team! Wow!

Lombardi made some great draft picks that include Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez. Along with those two, six more picks played on this year’s team. Two others, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were traded for Mike Richards. Not too shabby!

He solidified the holes in his lineup with trades and free agent signings. Getting Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene from Edmonton added a lot of character to the team. The same goes for free agents Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi. How many holes would those four plug in the Oilers lineup next year?

He did get lucky with the improved late season play of Dustin Penner and a rebound year for Colin Fraser. Making the trade for Jeff Carter from Columbus was a big gamble because he was giving up a blue-chip defenseman in Jack Johnson but that deal came up aces for him as well. Carter chipped in with some timely goals.

Having the nuts to bring in Daryl Sutter for a mid-season coaching change might have been his best and luckiest move. It seems like he was meant to coach this group and he did push all the right buttons!

There are many comparables between the Kings and Oilers. Both teams decided a total rebuild was required to restock their clubs. Good drafting positions helped retool the teams with some talent. So far, that is where the similarities stop. The Kings went on to sign solid free agents, make bold trades and a critical coaching change.

If the Kings are the poster team for rebuilding a club then by that standard the Oilers are half way through their rebuild. I think the second half is much harder to do but at least the Oilers are now half way home and it is proven to work!

Playoff Beards…

I love that many of the Kings rolled through the playoffs with full on beards! Why is that tradition starting to fall away? I love seeing those beards! There were some great ones – Penner – and then some pretty weak ones like those sported by Brown and Kopitar.

Not much fun…

I feel terrible for Steve Bernier. We will all be talking about that hit for years. Yes, I think it was dirty but that is the defenseman in me talking. Maybe it shouldn’t have been a major but with Scuderi lying on the ice the refs didn’t have much choice.

Previously by Jason Strudwick

  • Good read.

    The Oilers need better pro scouting for sure.

    Then the GM has got to be aggressive take a chance on a trade or two this summer.

    My feeling is that’s why they brought Mac-T in, to help Tambellini acquire the proper players. The Oilers can feel the pressure to get better.

    There not far off, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Lets be brutally honest here, Kings were good down the stretch, but if Quick did not play the way he did. They would be one round and out. Congrats to them regardless.

  • O.C.

    I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid yet. Just because LA did it this year, doesn’t mean that their style is the beat all, end all. On a run to the championship, some teams match up better against others. But one team’s makeup isn’t perfect against everyone else.

    We don’t know how LA would have fared against say Boston or Pittsburgh. That’s what makes the game great.

    A quick gritty sniping team has a good chance against the LA team.

    Vancouver learned what they are missing, as did St. Louis. Watch for them to improve, in a different way.

  • Lexi

    In the salary cap era, it looks to me like the cup winner is pretty much a crapshoot of one of the top 10 teams who gets the breaks. It looks to me like LA and Phoenix made the final 4 because their $2Mill goalies played like $6Mill goalies and Pittsburgh and Boston lost in the first round because their $5Mill goalies played like $1 Mill goalies.

    I think the last time the best team won was Detroit in 2008. Pittsburgh won in 2009, but they were probably a much better team in the subsequent years. San Jose’s ( who might go down as unluckiest franchise in hockey history) 2010 team probably would have won the cup this year. Vancouver can now legitimately claim that the Stanley Cup was decided in their first round series and if they had a healthy Sedin could have flown through the playoffs.

    I think my point for the Oilers, is the sooner they can make the playoffs the sooner they might have the magical year where everything goes right for them. I’m not saying mortgage the future, but the losing part of the rebuild is over and they might as well finish 15th instead of 23rd. Get two more NHL top 5 D and hire the right coach and I think they have a shot.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Tambellinis rebuild plan revolved around the having these new players committed here for their first 7 yrs. This could be cut to 5 yrs in the next CBA if the owners introduce a form of non gauranteed contracts to the league. Edmonton still won’t be competitive 5 yrs into Hall and Eberles careers. These players will be free to come and go earlier than planned.

    Steve doesn’t have as much rope as he thought in this unique market. We may soon find ourselves in the early stages of an Infinibuild here in Edmonton if/when that 7 yrs gets cut down to 5.

  • John Chambers

    The Oilers are moving in the right direction. They now boast some serious elite talent that they haven’t had in a while.

    Once the talent base is there (which it is now), UFA’s become easier to attract, while lesser prospects and picks can be afforded to be traded away for impact players.

    Let’s not forget that the Kings actually drafted really poorly … picking Thomas Hickey and Colten Teubert early in the first round. The Oilers are actually faring far better than LA in this regard.

    If we can make the playoffs next season (big if), we’re about 3 years behind the Kings but with better draft talent. It’s a good place to be.

    • DSF

      This is just horse feathers.

      Especially “Let’s not forget the Kings drafted poorly”.

      You obviously haven’t taken a close look at their lineup which, by the way, is the second youngest in the NHL.

      Anze Kopitar – 1st round pick

      Dustin Brown – !st round pick

      Drew Doughty – 1st round pick

      Trevor Lewis – 1st round pick

      Jonathan Bernier – 1st round pick

      Slava Voynov – 2nd round pick

      Kyle Clifford – 2nd round pick

      Jonathan Quick – 3rd round pick

      Dwight King – 4th round pick

      Alec Martinez – 4th round pick

      Scott Parse – 6th round pick

      Jordan Nolan – 7th round pick

      That’s 12 players on their active roster that were drafted by the Kings and, in fact, they had drafted so well they were able to move two other drafted players, Braden Schenn, 1st round pick and Wayne Simmonds, 2nd round pick, for Mike Richards.

      In addition, they picked up Dustin Penner by moving yet another first round pick in Tuebert.

      Suggesting the Oilers are “far better in this regard” is just utter nonsense.

      How many players drafted by the Oilers in the last 10 years were regulars on the Oilers last season?

      The answer is 6 and 2 of those were no brainer 1st overall picks.

      The Kings have done a tremendous job of drafting and developing all while adding major pieces through trade and free agency to build a winner.

      The Oilers are at least a decade behind them.

      If you want a primer on how a great team is built for now and the future, James Mirtle broke it down in the Globe and Mail this morning.


  • John Chambers

    Bringing MacT. on board seems to indicate Oilers are finally going to piece together a core for our young stars so as they don’t look to go elsewhere because of poor standings . The shift is on this season or heads will roll rapidly . Yakupov might be insurance incase one of our untouchables decides to look elsewhere . Defence and goaltending are unlikely to be dealt with thru the draft at this stage – a little late for that. Vasilevski perhaps drafted as long as we retain Khabby for next season , otherwise i think they move before season to rid themselves of him .

    Oilers should be able to work a deal with T.Bay in paticular and /or Buffalo for an additional first round pick . A player and swap of next years pick could be intriguing to all parties .

    Not a fan of having Klefbom going back to Sweden one more year . Prefer he plays more games over here than the limited games they play overseas .

  • DSF

    So, following on from “the Kings have drafted poorly” comment from John Chambers, I though it would be interesting to see who the Oilers selected in the same drafts that built the Kings.


    Kings – Brown – 13th overall

    Oilers – Pouliot – Oilers traded down and picked him 22nd overall (bust)


    Kings – Parse – 4th round (Lauri Tukonen drfated 1st round (bust)

    Oilers – Dubnyk 14th overall, Shremp 25th overall (bust)

    Kings – Kopitar – 11th overall, Quick – 3rd round

    Oilers – Cogliano – 25th overall (busting)


    Kings – Bernier – 11th overall, Lewis – 17th overall

    Oilers – Petry – 2nd round


    Kings – Hickey – 4th overall (busting?) Wayne Simmonds – 2nd round, Martinez – 4th round, King – 4th round

    Oilers – Gagner – 5th overall, Plante 15th overall (bust), Nash 21st overall (bust)


    Kings – Doughty – 2nd overall, Teubert – 13th overall, Voynov 32nd overall,

    Oilers – Eberle – 22nd overall


    Kings – Schenn – 5th overall (traded for Richards), Clifford – 2nd round

    Oilers – Paajarvi – 10th overall (busting?) Lander – 2nd round


    Kings – Forbort – 15th overall

    Oilers – Hall – 1st overall


    Kings – No first round pick (Dustin Penner trade)

    Oilers – Hopkins

    Based on the above, it appears to me the Kings had a better draft than the Oilers in every year except the last 2 when the Oilers drafted first overall.

  • John Chambers

    @ DSF

    Despite you having a way of misconstruing everyone’s argument, I’ll elaborate for yours and everyone’s benefit:

    From the time the “re-build” began, which I’ll say was ’07 with Gagner, we’ve drafted:
    Gagner, Eberle, Paajarvi, Lander, Hall, Pitlick, Nuuuuuge, Klefbom, and Musil. Most if not all of those guys will have an NHL career of 300 or more games. In 3 years time this will probably be as good a crop as the one you cite with LA, and my bet is that it will be even better.

    Assuming we add Yakupov into the mix, this is arguably a better set of drafted players, especially with the 1st round & lottery picks, if you accept that Hall > Kopitar (in time), while Nuuuuge, Eberle, Gagner, Paajarvi, and Yakupov > Brown, Teubert, Hickey, Doughty, and Schenn.

    If the Oilers boasted a top-flight defenseman to match Doughty, this wouldn’t even be a contest.

    Remember, we’re 3 years behind the Kings. They missed the playoffs several years prior to the lockout, and every year after the lockout up until the spring of ’10.

    The Oilers are on the right path, and once they become a playoff team the UFA’s and talent acquired through trade will (or should) make them a top-10 team.

    • DSF

      You’re jumping to an awful lot of conclusions based on hope rather than reality.

      Hall will likely never be better than a 6’4″ 220lb two way PPG centre.
      You don’t find those guys in the bargain bin at Walmart.

      Hopkins is likely not even in that class.

      I like Eberle a lot but Brown can do everything Eberle does and is also an elite defensive plater, who kills penalties, blocks shots and hits like a truck. You don’t find first line peer forwards with his leadership skills almost ever.

      Gagner is Kyle Wellwood…who was drafted in the 5th round. Nothing more.

      Paajarvi can’t even hit AAA pitching and, although he may turn into a decent third line player, picking him 10th overall was a huge mistake when players like Holland. Kulikov, Leddy, Rundblad, Kreider and Johannssen were still on the board. (FTR, I cursed at my television when the Oilers selected Paajarvi and didn’t take Kulikov.)

      You’re already counting Yakupov as a plus for the Oilers even before he’s drafted and of course you didn’t address the fact that LA also came away with Quick, Bernier, Simmonds, Martinez, King, Voynov, Schenn, and Lewis from that period.

      You know what?

      They’re all ACTUAL NHL PLAYERS.

      As for being three years behind, I think you’d better figure out where 2 top pairing defensemen, a big two way second line centre who can score and two above average goaltenders are going to come from.

      They are the gold standard of NHL players and the Oilers don’t have even ONE of them.

    • DSF

      Also, your statement that “The Oilers are on the right path, and once they become a playoff team the UFA’s and talent acquired through trade will (or should) make them a top-10 team” is very misguided.

      You should be aware of how the Kings built their team.

      They have only three players on their roster (Mitchell, Scuderi and Gagne) that were acquired as free agents and they are all support players.

      The rest were acquired through the draft or through astute trades.

      But to make those astute trades you have to have the assets to make them.

      Lombardi traded Visnovksy, Johnson, Schenn, Simmonds and Teubert to acquire Stoll, Greene, Carter, Richards and Penner,

      Other than Hall, Eberle and Hopkins, what assets do the Oilers have to acquire that quality of player?

      All I see are a devalued Hemsky, a disappointing Gagner and a bunch of never has beens.

      What assets do you see?

    • oilersplumber

      If the Oilers are three years behind the Kings, the Oilers in 2011 should have had a season similar to the Kings in 2008.

      In 2008 the Kings went 34-37-11 for 79 points giving up 27 more goals than they scored.

      In 2011 the Oilers went 32-40-10 for 74 points giving up 27 more goals than they scored.

      Totally incomparable.

      The Kings already had 2-way studs like Doughty and Kopitar who both went -17 in plus/minus. The Oilers had comparably crappy 1-dimensional players like Hall who had -3 in plus/minus.

      Not even worth discussing.

  • Wax Man Riley


    If you look at where the Kings were drafting compared to the Oilers, Edmonton is doing not bad from 2006 on.
    Pouliet was a terrible.
    Schremp – a risk that didn’t work. He was rated quite a bit higher.
    (the last two years are the only years Oiler’s got higher picks).
    So while Lombardi may be doing very well, I think the Oiler’s are not far behind.

    • DSF


      In the 2006 draft, the Oilers picked Petry, a potential second pairing defenseman. The Kings drafted an NHL goaltender and a big third line centre, Trevor Lewis who just scored 9 points in 20 NHL playoff games and got his name of the cup for his troubles.

      In the 2007 draft, the Oilers had 3 first round picks and blew chunks.
      The Kings walked away with TWO actual NHL players in Simmonds and Martinez, both of whom I would trade Gagner for in a heartbeat.

      In 2008, Eberle was a very good pick but the Kings walked away with TWO actual NHL defensemen, one of whom (Doughty) is elite and the other, Voynov, is ahead of Petry who was picked two years earlier.

      In 2009, the Oilers whiffed on the Paajarvi pick. The Kings walked away with TWO actual NHL players in Schenn and Clifford.

      In 2010, the Oilers picked first overall.

      In 2011, the Oilers picked first overall.

      So, since the lockout, the Kings have bested the Oilers in every draft except for the past two where the Oilers drafted first overall.

      While Eberle was a great pick at 22 in 2008, the Kings walked away from that same draft with Doughty and Voynov.

      This isn’t close kids.

  • oilersplumber

    Jay…………with all due respect………..look whom they beat to get to the mug……..

    Vancouver……..More talk than team…regular season foes…playoff joes
    St. Louis……….C’mon…really…….nuff said
    Phoenix………Some grit…..short on skill set and work ethic in most cases….
    New Jersey……Bad series start……stupid penalty to end……….

    This all warrants a case of self analysis ?

    Really boys……….really !

  • John Chambers

    @ Randall Shermer,

    It’s not even worth discussing.

    After that ’08-’09 season the Kings drafted Brayden Schenn, and went on to sign Rob Scuderi. With their key players a year older, the keys to the net handed over to Jon Quick, and more veteran presence on the back end, the Kings made the playoffs the following season, bowing out in the first round to Vancouver.

    Although it’s totally inconceivable for us to expect any of our one-dimensional forwards to learn to play defense, and for the team to improve with Dubnyk as a bona fide starter, or for idiot management to add a serviceable defenseman, we would seem to follow the Kings’ arc if we ended up as a bottom-seeded playoff team in ’12-’13.

    But it goes without saying that it’s not going to happen as long as Sam Wellwood is our #2 Centre.

    • Eddie Edmonton

      Should be interesting to see if the Oilers can pull out a 101 point season like LA did in 09/10.

      That was Drew Doughty’s break out season when he scored 16 goals and 59 points.

      Maybe the Oilers can find a Doughty in free agency…or maybe not.

      If you want to follow the Kings “arc” that would seem to be Job One.

      Adding serviceable defensemen, while important, hardly vaunts a team into the elite.

  • Eddie Edmonton

    It is great that the Oil are drafting forwards that appear to be elite NHL talent , however they are still many D-men and goaltending away from being a contender. And they also need to add bigger and tougher 3rd and 4th liners who can skate , forecheck and win faceoffs. And then comes the problem that MOST established NHL players rank Edmonton near the bottom of the pile of NHL cities to live and play in. So after another 2 or 3 years of losing they will have to face the probability that Hall , Eberle or The Nug will want out as well.