NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY

The Edmonton Oilers are building some reasonable depth on defense in terms of quantity, but it seems to me there’s still room to add quality and that’s why it seems likely GM Steve Tambellini will make another move to bolster his blue line this off-season.

Even after added prized unrestricted free agent Justin Schultz to a blue line that includes Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz, Corey Potter, Andy Sutton Theo Peckham and Colten Teubert, Tambellini is open to adding another proven piece. Tambellini said so today.

"If we have a chance, regardless of who we have, we’re going to do it," Tambellini told Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now on 630 CHED. "There’s no question about that."

Tambellini’s take, given how lack of depth on the back end – particularly as it pertains to defenseman ready to play in coach Ralph Krueger’s top two pairings — has been exposed the last couple of seasons, is welcome. You can’t have too many real NHL defensemen. You can, as we’ve seen, have too few.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

While every one of the players I’ve listed above is or projects as an NHL defenseman, it seems to me there’s two tiers in the group the Oilers have in the fold and under contract now.

Petry, Smid, Whitney, Nick Schultz and Justin Schultz, if all the hype has merit, are legitimate options for top-four duty, although the extra body count does hinge on how Whitney’s troublesome ankle rehabs and if Petry doesn’t go sideways after making big strides at the end of last season.

As a group, the foursome of Potter, Sutton, Peckham and Teubert looks capable of rotating through the final two spots, with one in the press box. That said, it’s hardly an untouchable bunch, given Sutton’s age and that Teubert has yet to prove he can play beyond spot duty. Not a lot of margin for error.

It makes all the sense in the world for Tambellini to pursue another top-four guy. While that won’t be big deal UFA Ryan Suter – the Oilers won’t get near his short list of U.S. teams – he might be able to move some of the usual suspects up front to get what he needs. If that bumps somebody in that first group of five down, so be it. If either Schultz, for example, is in Krueger’s third pairing, the Oilers will be in pretty good shape. Tambellini will be taking calls and making some.

Sort them out later.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ glenn schwarz

    I don’t think many people would consider the first round pick from the defending champion of 1st overall picks a spare part.

    Also, a top pairing Dman doesn’t mean an allstar, it means on of the 60 best defensmen in the league, I’m pretty sure PRV + next years first would land us someone in the 40 – 60 range.

  • @ Glenn Schwarz

    We would be in the same boat as them. We would have to give up a star to get him and then we would be at every bit as much risk as them in losing him in a year for nothing.

    I would not touch Weber unless he was signed long term, to a reasonable cap hit. If he signed a 5 yr deal at a cap hit of 7 million or lower (Not going to happen judging by the fact he will probably get around 10 million per year in free agency)

    If he was signed to this type of contract then you try to work out a trade. I would look at Eberle but would probably try to offer Hemsky, one or 2 prospects (other then Klefbom) and our #1 draft pick next year. If neither of those deals got it done I would walk away even though it would hurt to do so.

  • @Mrcondor I agree that it would cost a lot to get a 1st pairing Dman. Most likely more than we are willing to give up. If you look at our current top 5 and some of the prospects I disagree that we need a top pairing Dman. Obviously in an ideal world you have a Pronger, Lidstrom, Chara, or Weber that plays close to 30 minutes a night, but these are franchise players, and usually to get a franchise player you have to give up a franchise player. I think with one more top 4 shut down Dman all of our D pairings looks very tough to play against, and we could rotate them fairly evenly.

    I would be looking at a 3-4 Dman that is a large, tough, shut down guy with good foot speed.

  • MrCondor

    Pollie must be crapping his pants about now. He lost Suter for nothing he could lose Webber for nothing, I listened to Bobs show today and Webber was brought up (also by Matty). Matty thinks one of the top 4 must go the other way that’s tough but for a top 5 D man in the league i think you have to look at it. How would our d look if Webber was an Oiler is he worth loosing Hall or Ebs? it’s a real tough call but one Tambo might have to make.

  • I would not go hard after Jagr, but would not be sad to see him sign. I am sure it won’t happen. That being said if it did there is no way you put Yak with a defensive centre on the 3rd line.

    Would have to change you order to

    Harti/Paajarvi-RNH-Eberle

    Hall-Gagner-Yakupov

    Jagr-Horcoff-Hemsky

    Harti/Paajarvi-Belanger/Lander-Jones

    Obviously Jagr is a big body with skill. The problem is I see him being an overpay for one or 2 years that stops one of our young guys from progressing properly.

    • Wax Man Riley

      How do you have either Harti or PRV on the first line?

      There is no way they come out ahead of Hall, Hemsky, Yakupov, or even Smyth. Maybe with some time they will be top line players…..maybe.

      If I see them on the top line this year, then they have made amazing strides, but I think you put to much value in their current abilities.

      They may spot in on the top line to shake things up during a tough night, or a losing streak, but that’s about it. If they start the year in the AHL, it will be fitting.

      No sense in rushing them. Earn the time, fellas.

  • MrCondor

    How do people realistically think we are going to get a top pairing D man for spare parts? It’s going to take a lot more than Paajarvi and a draft pick.

    I’m betting Hemsky + Paajarvi + prospect or draft pick to get the type of player we need.

  • Mitch

    I don’t think a roster player like Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky, or Magnus Paajarvi would be ridiculous at all. If anything, depending on the RFA being considered, that 2nd round pick might need to turn into a 3rd round pick.

    Obviously tweaking would be necessary, but IMHO it is not as out to lunch as you seem to suggest.

  • Mitch

    Robin I can see Edmonton holding on for a while, maybe until christmas before they move on a dman if they choose. Many good young up and comers I was very impressed with Klefbom. I think that it would be in EDM best interest to have him in NA, even if it means just to get used to the culture.

    Yakupov and Klefbom are on a much differnt level then any other prospects, I will put Justin Schultz in this catagorey just on the basis of how many teams pursued his services,as well highlights I have watched.

    Marincin I feel will also turn out as well but it will take time.

    If I was most worried right now its on the wings. I don’t like how the 3rd line projects and the 4th line won’t see enough ice to be a factor most nights. So if I could have a wishlist it would be a heavy body to play left wing with Hall and Yak or Hall and Ebs. Maybe Eager takes the odd turn up there or maybe Pitlick gets a look. Its just the grind of 82 games and trying to make the playoffs that concerns me when I look at the top 6 guys and I know Gagner will get alota time at centre on 2nd line as well.

  • oops, took forever so I hit submit a second time.

    Why would we want PK Suban? All I have heard about his character is negative and he is not great as of yet. May still pan out, but if he is a cancer keep him far away from this team.

  • I personally think J Schultz, Whitney (if healthy) and Petry give us plenty of offensive depth on d. For their shut down partners I think Smid and N Schultz are great. The last spot is the one I am concerned with and Sutton isn’t way over his head in that role.

    D looks much better this year, and it sounds like Klefbom is very close to NHL ready. This means without any changes I would say we are ok this year and strong the next on D. If they decided to start Klefbom this year this is how I see our D.

    Petry-Smid,
    J Schultz-N Schultz,
    Whitney-Klefbom,
    Sutton

    I am hoping both Paajarvi and Hartikainan are ready to move up as well. This would add the size we need on forward. I would still love to see them add 1 power forward but the group is improving.

    Paajarvi-Nuge-Eberle,
    Hall-Gagner-Yakupov,
    Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky,
    Hartikainan-Belanger-Jones,
    Hordichuk

    A lot of the same guys or their AHL backups in the lineup, but this lineup looks a lot stronger then what they actually iced last year.

  • dietflannel

    I’m sorry, but some of these trade proposals are ludicrous.

    Bouwmeester: with that contract and given that we’d be sending something CGY’s way, no thanks.

    PK Subban for a roster player, some RFAs and a 2nd rounder? MTL isn’t on bath salts.

    Trading for Weber with one year left as an RFA? I wouldn’t give up half of what it would take to get him out of there for one season. Too short sighted.

    In all reality, the Oilers should be looking at a guy like Yandle: he’s 25, signed for four more years at a reasonable 5.25, has played 164 games in the last two regular seasons, and has put up a lot of points. Couple this with the fact that PHX is financially constrained and you have the ability to trade prospects for a legit top pairing d-man.

    • John Chambers

      Well said. I think the fans should just simply forget about PK Subban, and Weber. I mean, ok so Weber is going to maybe be a free agent, but his contract will be the largest one awarded to date, guaranteed. And PK Subban, the guy’s a franchise player, especially now that his Brother is on the Bruins. That would be like us trading Smid, I h=just don’t think that after all the time and effort we’ve put into him it makes sense to trade him.

      Good call on Yandle, I have been drooling over the thought of seeing Yandle on our blue line for a while. The guy is defensively responsible, and offensively gifted. He would bump everyone down in our group, be a better replacement for Whitney (whom if not recovered will likely not be qualified next year), and provide us with another durable d man.

      I guess the question is what do you trade for him?

      Outside of him, however, I think our blue line needs a hard hitting shut down defender, basically another Smid, or Seabrook like player. Sutton said it best on the last episode of Oil Change, “Smid has become this nasty defensive defender. He blocks shots, is hard to play against, and is just mean to guys.” That way we’ll have a puck mover and a stay at home on every pairing. Plus we’d have a bit more grit without giving up penalties. Yandle – N. Shultz / Smid – Petry / J Shultz – Mystery player.
      I do think Tubert, Peckham, or eventually Klefbomb or one of our other prospects could fill this role, but why not have a legit guy here, and let our prospects develop at their own pace, getting call ups during bouts of injury (which alway, always always happen) and time as the number seven defender (as Sutton is done next year, and it feels like Peckham might be gone as well)

      It feels like a very offensive and less physical defensive core, but also incredibly solid and deep with few holes.

      • dietflannel

        Those guys are pipe dreams that are too expensive.

        Well, Whitney will be a UFA, not an RFA, so there is no qualification process; however, if we improve our blue line and he sees a future, we may be in a better position to actually retain him rather than keeping the cap space right now.

        I’d be comfortable in a MPS + Gagner (potentially +) for Yandle. If it takes our second-rounder next year, I do it. If it takes a prospect like Musil, then PHX needs to beef up with something else on the other end. The fact of the matter is, if it works out to be a fair trade, then some fans on both side should be whining about it. You need to give up quality to get quality, hence why I refuse to include Omark in this proposal.

        The Oilers’ blue needs this top pairing dman, because, if everyone can shift down one pairing, we look significantly more impressive than the current state of affairs.

  • I personally think J Schultz, Whitney (if healthy) and Petry give us plenty of offensive depth on d. For their shut down partners I think Smid and N Schultz are great. The last spot is the one I am concerned with and Sutton isn’t way over his head in that role.

    D looks much better this year, and it sounds like Klefbom is very close to NHL ready. This means without any changes I would say we are ok this year and strong the next on D. If they decided to start Klefbom this year this is how I see our D.

    Petry-Smid,
    J Schultz-N Schultz,
    Whitney-Klefbom,
    Sutton

    I am hoping both Paajarvi and Hartikainan are ready to move up as well. This would add the size we need on forward. I would still love to see them add 1 power forward but the group is improving.

    Paajarvi-Nuge-Eberle,
    Hall-Gagner-Yakupov,
    Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky,
    Hartikainan-Belanger-Jones,
    Hordichuk

    A lot of the same guys or their AHL backups in the lineup, but this lineup looks a lot stronger then whatthey actually iced last year.

  • Old Soldier

    I read on another site that Philly has the highest cash offers submitted for both Parise and Suter. Looking at their cap situation, if that were to happen I wonder if they would be even remotely interested in moving Scott Hartnell and Andrej Meszaros for non-roster prospects and picks to free up money.

    Hartnell gives us skill and size in the top 6 and the definitive option to move Hemsky/Gagner. Meszaros is a relatively young defenceman with good offensive instincts, size and average defensive skills and a reasonable cap hit.

    With those additions we could package any of MPS, Omark, Lander, any of the defence prospects and Anaheims 2nd round pick next year. Hemsky and/or Gagner could then be moved to get us some serious bottom 6 help and we could look at dumping Belanger, Eager and maybe even Hordichuk.

    Just a thought

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Why not go for the big prize and wait for Webber?

    Poile must be hurting now with the Suter situation, and may lose this player very soon. He is not going to make that mistake twice, and lose Webber next year,…….. so the deal has to be made this year and waiting for the trade deadline next year, is risky.

    Webber to the Oilers for what ever it takes outside of the fab four!

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Alternatively, I don’t know what PK Subban’s status is with Montreal, but if we could flip a roster player plus some of our RFA’s and a high pick (2nd 2013?) for PK, I think we would have nailed our needs in the top 4 with the freedom to continue to pursue whoever is on the market.

  • DieHard

    If we need to overpay to get Matt Carle, we should do it. He is at the right age and when the Hemsky/Smyth contracts expire we will be glad we did it since the cap is going up.