HAWKS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN OILERS

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to the greatest start in NHL history, 21-0-3, and they are less than three years removed from winning the Stanley Cup, yet many Oilers fans, bloggers and pundits have suggested the Oilers should mirror the Hawks success.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t see that happening, at least not right away, if ever.

Recently the buzz has been that since the Hawks rarely outhit their opposition then the Oilers don’t need to add any gritty forwards because hitting is overrated. I’d hope you don’t actually believe the Oilers are anywhere close to the Blackhawks. Side note, the Hawks don’t hit that much because they have the puck more often. They also are +4 in SF/SA ratio, while the Oilers are -6. That is a massive swing, and can’t be blamed just on the 4th line.

Most winning teams have a nice balance of skill and grit. Right now the Oilers don’t enough proven skill, and they have even fewer gritty forwards who can play in their top-nine. I’m not for adding guys with grit who can’t play, they need to find some who can.

The major difference is the Hawks best players are veterans, with at least five years experience, who play incredibly hard and vary in their skill sets. The Hawks also have players like Dave Bolland, Dan Carcillo, Brian Bickell and Andrew Shaw who play in their top-nine and get in the face of the opposition.

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It is unfair to compare the Oilers to the Hawks for numerous reasons. The obvious one is the difference in experience.

Jonathon Toews, 24 years old: He’s in his 6th NHL season and is one of the best overall centres in the game. At the 2010 Olympics he was arguably Canada’s best player. He’s extremely serious and doesn’t accept losing. He’ll do anything to win. Score, block shots, kill penalties and even fight Joe Thornton. One of the best leaders in the NHL. He’s had seasons of 54, 69, 68, 76 and 57 points. His two 50-point seasons came in 64 and 59 games. Incredibly consistent.

Patrick Kane, 24 years old. In his 6th season he is their consistent offensive scorer. Not physical, not great defensively, but a killer in the offensive zone. In five years he’s tallied 72, 70, 88, 73 and 66 points. He has a flair for the dramatics and he is one of the best SO guys in the league with 26 goals and a 42.6% success rate.

Patrick Sharp, 31 years old. In his 10th season he is very well-rounded. He’s had five straight seasons with at least 25 goals, 36, 26, 25, 34 and 33 and he’s a solid two-way player. Excellent at driving the net from the outside, beating the D-man and taking the puck to the crease. Very reliable and can play in any situation.

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Marian Hossa, 34 years old. In his 14th season he’s still a model of consistency. His last 12 years his goal totals have been 29, 32, 31, 45, 36, 39, 43, 29, 40, 24, 25 and 29. He’s an excellent skater, and at 6’1", 210 pounds he’s very strong on the puck. He’s the only player in NHL history to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup finals for three different teams.

Duncan Keith, 29 year old. In his 8th NHL season he’s already won a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal. Excellent skater with excellent hockey sense and one half of one of the best D-pairs on the league.

Brent Seabrook, 27 years old. In his 8th season he’s also won a Cup and Olympic gold medal. In his first seven years he’s averaged 32 points and has just enough of an edge to ensure opposing forwards keep their head up. Works incredibly well with Keith and excels on the PP, PK and ES.

Keith, 2nd round pick in 2002 (45th), Seabrook 13th overall in 2003, Toews 3rd overall in 2006 and Kane, 1st overall in 2007 were drafted by the Hawks. Sharp was acquired from the Flyers on December 5th, 2005 for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick. Turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades of all time. Sharp is a rarity because he ended up producing better numbers in the NHL than he did in the AHL or college. Hossa signed a 12-year, $62 million deal in July of 2009.

Supporting cast: Draft picks

Dave Bolland, 26 years old: 2nd round pick, 32nd, in 2004. Excellent two-way centre. Hard to play against and has a very high competitive streak.

Brian Bickell, 26 years old: 6’4, 225 pounds drafted in 2nd round, 41st, in 2004. Big power forward that rotates amongst top-three lines. Not flashy, but adds a different dimensions. Leads team in hits.

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Marcus Kruger, 22 years old: Drafted in 5th round, 149th, in 2009. In his second season with the Hawks, he’s their leader in PK minutes amongst forwards. Average size, not very physical, very good skater, leading shot blocker amongst forwards and very aware defensively.

Andrew Shaw, 21 years old:
A small, aggressive forward in his 2nd season. Drafted 5th round, 139th, in 2011. Not big, but very tenacious and plays 6th most minutes of all forwards. Quenneville uses him lots, but he protects him well and doesn’t make him face the top lines very often.

Brandon Saad, 20 year old:
2nd round pick, 43rd, 2011. Good size and a strong winger. He’s had luxury of getting to play a few games with Toews and Bolland. They can show him the intensity necessary to compete in the NHL. Nine points in 23 games for a rookie is nice.

Niklas Hjalmarsson, 25 years old:
4th round pick, 108th in 2005. Very mobile, good passer and a solid-second pair defender. Plays almost the exact same minutes as Keith/Seabrook on PK and ES. He doesn’t play any on the PP.  Good passer and this season he has faced the toughest competition of any blueline. (2.33 Corsi Rel)

Cory Crawford, 28 years old: After five years in the AHL he is now in his third full NHL season. He’s playing above his head at the moment with a ridiculous 1.53 GAA and 0.940 SV%, but he’s only had 1 game out of 14 with a SV% lower than .905. He’s been unreal on the PK allowing only 3 goals all season.

Supporting cast: Trades/Signings

Viktor Stalberg 27 years old: In his 4th NHL season the big Swede is strong on the puck and does almost all of his scoring at ES. 12 of his 13 points have come 5-on-5. He does play the easiest competition of any forward on the team, but he outscores them and that’s what matters. He was acquired along with two minor leaguers for Kris Versteeg and rights to Bill Sweatt.

Michael Frolik, 25 years old. In his 5th NHL season, the former 10th overall pick in 2006 who scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons has become a 4th line PK guy in Chicago. The Hawks can afford to have him on the 4th line, because they have productive sandpaper/grit guys in their top-nine. He was acquired at the trade deadline in 2011 for Jack Skille.

Daniel Carcillo, 28 years old. He was signed as UFA after Philly didn’t give him a qualifying offer in the summer of 2011. He’s rugged, emotional, at times undisciplined but his coach isn’t afraid to play on any line. He’s usually on the 4th line, but Quenneville will play him with Kane and Toews as well. He had Carcillo on the ice in the final minute of a 2-2 game last night, and Carcillo rewarded him by scoring the game winner with 49 seconds remaining.

Jamal Mayers, 38 years old. His best days are behind him, and he plays spot duty. Guys supposedly love him in the room and he’s good at giving older brother advice about opposing players. He’s only been on the ice for one goal against all year. When he plays he is reliable in his own end, but he doesn’t face high-end competition of course.

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Johnny Oduya, 31 years old. He was acquired at the deadline last year for a 2nd and 3rd round pick in this year’s draft. What a steal. Oduya plays with Hjalmarsson and his D partner is the only player who faces stiffer competition every night. Oduya moves the puck very well and fits perfectly in Chicago’s uptempo, push the pace style.

Nick Leddy, 21 years old. Another theft by Stan Bowman. The Hawks acquired the rights to Leddy (16th overall pick in 2009) and Kim Johnson from the Wild for Cam Barker in February of 2010. Three years later Leddy is in his 2nd NHL season on the Hawks 3rd pairing. Leddy gets more PP time than Seabrook and plays the softest ES minutes of any defender. When you have a top-four as strong as the Hawks you can have specialists in your 3rd pairing. He’s a bit of a liability defensively, but at 21 years old he can learn the game without having to face tough competition.

Michal Roszival, 34 years old and Sheldon Brookbank, 32 years old. Both were signed as free agents in September and July of 2012 respectively. They rotate as the 6th D-man, and some games Quenneville dresses seven. Roszival is a puck mover, while Brookbank is more of a banger. Rozsival averages about 5 more minutes a game when he plays, where as Brookbank is sheltered a lot more. Quenneville likes having Brookbank against bigger teams like the Kings and Sharks or aggressive teams like Columbus. It is nice to have completely different skill sets amongst your #6 and #7 D-men.

Ray Emery, 30 years old. Signed as a free agent last summer. Many thought Emery was done, but last night he became the first goalie in NHL history to start the season 10-0. Emery benefits from having a good team in front of him, but he’s played well with a solid .925 SV% and a solid 2.02 GAA.

RECAP

Amongst the Hawks top-four D Hjalmarsson has the least experience, and he’s in his 5th season and already won a Stanley Cup. They only have four players under the age or 24, and none of them have to play huge roles, except Kruger on the PK.

The Oilers have Gagner, Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Paajarvi, Yakupov andJ.Schultz  23 and under. And many of them are forced to play tough minutes.

The Oilers can’t play like Chicago because they don’t have the skill set, yet, or experience to play that way. But the major differences are the top-four defenders in Chicago compared to the top four in Edmonton and the Hawks have a better mix of skill, grit and size in their top-nine.

That isn’t a knock on the Oilers blueline, because Chicago has arguably the best top-four in the league right now, but it is a major difference in the make up of the two teams.

(Before you say Tom Gilbert would be much better, go look at his advanced stats in Minny. He’s playing less competition but with worse numbers. He isn’t in the class of Hjalmarsson.)

If you want to suggest the Oilers should strive to become the Hawks, I’m in complete agreement, but in order for that to happen Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish will need to make some astute trades or signings that bring in veteran players who can play in your top-nine forwards or top-four defenders.

The Oilers have drafted well in the first round the last six years, but outside of Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham (2nd and 3rd rounders in 2006) no other late pick has panned out yet since the lockout. Hartikainen and Lander might, but they haven’t yet. A big reason for that is you can’t have all young guys come in at the same time, but none in the last six years isn’t great.

They also need to win a trade. Oscar Klefbom might become the equivalent of the Hawks’ Leddy, acquired for a veteran who’s value dipped after the deal. But the Oilers need to win a trade or two, not just break even or lose.

The Oilers miss Shawn Horcoff terribly. He can battle against the tough competition, which would allow RNH and Gagner some easier minutes. The Oilers could use another veteran or two who could ease the tough minutes of the youngsters.

Petry, J.Schultz, RNH, Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, and Paajarvi all have less than three years of NHL experience, yet the first five are amongst the top 8 in icetime on the Oilers. They are learning as they go, but don’t expect them to be able to play like Chicago because they don’t have the strength, size or experience yet.

The Oilers are not close to being the Blackhawks, and right now few teams are, so the Oilers can either remain patient and let their young players learn how to play against proven NHL talent, or management needs to mix in some veterans who can play significant minutes, to lessen the learning curve and possibly increase their chances of winning.

The Oilers must find some more players who have the competitive drive necessary to win in the NHL. It is easy for the Hawks youngsters to follow behind Toews, Keith etc, because if they don’t match the work ethic and determination of their leaders, they’d hear about it.

It is a long process to become a legitimate contending team, and when you look at the roster of the Hawks it was built with solid drafting, key trades and some useful free agent signings. The Oilers haven’t done very well in the latter two departments.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR


  • Toro

    Well with another top 5 pick if not a top 3 pick, the Oilers will be able too secure another top line player , so maybe we can ship someone else out and fill the missing pieces

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    The Hawks were so bad for so long and made some smart moves to get two first rd picks, Kane and Toews. GM then got some good complimentary pieces and lo and behold the Hawks are good. Wish the Oilers could do that…Oh wait Tambo’s at the helm…I forgot

  • Is there anyone expecting the Oilers to ape the ‘Hawks this season? I personally can’t recall seeing it, but if so, that’s nutty.

    Ralph Krueger’s comment earlier this year that the Hawks are one of the teams that were where the Oilers are now, and that Edmonton hopes to follow in their footsteps is a more sensible take.

      • Not really. I like Schultz/Smid/Petry, but Keith/Seabrook/Campbell they aren’t.

        The evolution of Duncan Keith into a top-pairing defenceman was one of the things that took place separate of Chicago accruing top talent early in the draft. It would be nice if Petry could get there but realistically that seems like an extremely tall order. Probably the best hope is adding a few more highly capable guys and hoping Justin Schultz continues to improve.

        But if you look at a team like the 2007-08 ‘Hawks, the Oilers are arguably a little better in terms of raw talent up front.

  • Toro

    Is there any chance the Oilers keep Horcoff till his contract runs out then sign him too a better cheaper one? Or is he gonna be bought out at the end of the year? He’s perfect 3rd liner not his fault Lowe overpaid.

  • Toro

    Most of the arguments I’ve seen about emulating the Hawks is with respect to the 2010 team where the stars were younger and finishing up ELC. (Also, that team was even less “gritty” than this one.) I’m a Hawks fan so I haven’t read *everything* written about the Oilers, but I think the general argument has been “Oilers management has failed to provide an adequate supporting cast for the young stars.” The debunking of the “needs more grit” argument is just one isolated example.

      • Jason Gregor

        I guess I should have clarified, because ‘hitting’ as signifier of grit has been discussed lately that’s what I was referencing- the 2010 team was 29 in the league I believe and this team is much higher. I’d also argue that Ladd’s skills, not just his physicality, are heads and tails above the gritty guys this year.

        • Jason Gregor

          I don’t put hits as the only indicator of grit, far from it. I agree with you about Ladd, very good skill.

          But the Hawks grit show in other ways. They are dogged on the puck, don’t turn away from getting hit to make a play and they win a lot of puck battles. But mostly their grit comes from their relentless pursuit of the puck and when they don’t have it, they hustle their ass of to get it back.

  • Still trying to figure out which nhl team is willing to trade a young skilled power forward ..or young skilled bottom 6 gritty player?

    Limited quantity and not for sale?

    Can u imagine the package needed for Lucic?

    • Sox and Oil

      I’d try to dance with Anaheim. Theres history between the GMs when it comes to trades. The sexy target would be Getzlaf but the cost to acquire and then to retain would be too steep.

      The next Lucic just might be Devante Smith-Pelly. I wonder what the package for him would look like…

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    The fact that these teams were built differently is nice to see, but I think the difference is also in the physical nature of the team, not just the age. These two teams may have gone the same way about building their teams (ie: through the draft), but the Hawks didn’t need consecutive 1st overalls to do it (although Toews should have been the 1st overall in his draft). I think we’ve amassed a wealth of talent that will continue to grow and get better, so more patience will go a long ways. But I’m not going to just wait 5 years for Nuge to be the same age as Toews is right now before I expect results…in fact Toews has already won the cup and a gold medal at the Olympics. We can’t solve all our problems at the draft because you have to take the best player available, not drafting by position. So we’ve been stuck with a smorgasborg of talent at random positions. How do we build the Edmonton Blackhawks? Trades…plain and simple. It won’t happen this trade deadline, but the summer is the time to address these needs. I for one wouldn’t even buy out Horcoff, unless we can keep him with another contract or get someone better. While I don’t like the idea of trading one of our young stars, we have to accept the idea that they are assets, and as long as we get equal value in return, no one is safe.

  • Jason Gregor

    After four years in the NHL gutternIm getting impatient. Tambo needs to pull off a shocking deal to get it going, we sorely need size in the top 6. We need some competent defensemen and the closest we have to a hard competing centerman like Toews is little Sam Gagner. God bless Sams big heart but this guy needs a big skilled winger to give him room. Same with Nuge and Eberle, Hall is a great winger but the three of them always try to be way too cute in the offensive zone.

    I have no idea where the solution here is, with 3 1st overalls and Justin Schultz as our number 1 dman. Things should have gotten better but this team just seems to regress. I wonder if getting a guy like Corey Perry would be an option seeing as he hasnt signed yet in Anaheim. Maggie might be a nice compliation prize for the Ducks if they cant get Perry to sign soon. I know the Ducks are doing good but the ape in the room is that Perry hasnt signed yet.

  • Jason Gregor

    This whole thing has me thinking of the movie Bull Durham. Lots of the scenes can apply to the current Oilers team and their situation but the one scene that sticks out the most for me is where the skipper is wondering what to do because the boys are playing like sh*t. Crash Davis tells the skipper to scare them because they’re kids. He does. Here’s part of his spiel:

    Skip: What’s our record, Larry?
    Larry: Eight and sixteen.
    Skip: Eight… and sixteen. How’d we ever win eight?
    Larry: It’s a miracle.
    Skip: It’s a miracle. This… is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.

    lol Hockey is a simple game too.

    Keep it simple, boys. 110% tonight! Lets go Oil!

  • The Hawks were very astute at picking the dmen to cut loose when they still had some value. Barker is one that comes to mind.

    Another thing I will give them props for is being able to remove a lot of quality players and still improve, perhaps in adherence to a Sather type belief that a 15% roster turnover per year keeps a team fresh.

    Ladd, Burish, Eager, brouwer, versteeg, fraser, ebbett, byfuglien, sopel, barker etc. All contributing components of the 2010 cup team. All gone.

    So the nostalgia associated with successful contributions to a cup run never led them to the mistakes associated with the moreau, pisani, horcoff contracts that Lowe forked over. Perhaps they learned from the Oilers over valuations.

    or not

  • Looking4Kovy

    I was going to propose you carry out a similar analysis on the Islanders or Blue Jackets, but I fear that the Oil will have more in common with those teams and that just depresses me.

  • A-Mc

    As fans we scream about firings and demand trades all the time. Expressing ourselves is part of being a fan and it’s what keeps us interested. The part that bugs me, is that i sense a disconnect between what management says are its expectations, and the product on the ice.

    Last year, Tambolini claimed that management feels the team is a playoff team. The team flunked hard and finished 29th. Again management stated that they feel the team is a playoff team, and that a coaching change was in order to get the team there. Now we’re into this season and the team is still struggling. Some parts are doing well, other parts are falling flat for what ever reason.

    The on ice product doesnt look like a playoff team. The standings and statistics are saying this team isn’t a playoff team. Yet management says it is.

    so again: Regardless of what Tambolini and Lowe have done in the past, The part that i am hung up on is this very real disconnect between management expectations and the on-ice product.

    My hope as a fan is that, while publicly management needs to feed us the koolaid, Internally they realize that this team needs some serious fixes with regards to the roster. I just want management to be honest with the fans. Tell us you’re unhappy and you’re looking for trades or UFA pickups. Tell us that you think your guys are under performing. BE REAL with us. If Management is real with us and they truly are on the same page with regards to having to bring in a few more pieces, then at least we’ll know that our Armchair GM’ing is coming from excitement for the future and not from frustration of the past.

      • justDOit

        Copied from TSN:

        Ansar Khan of mlive.com states that while the Detroit Red Wings will wait until closer to the deadline before they make a move, but if the club does act, they will be targeting a top-four defenceman or a top-six forward.

        Khan lists Jay Bouwmeester of the Flames, Ryan Whitney of Oilers, Winnipeg Jets veteran Ron Hainsey, Lubomir Visnovsky and Mark Streit of the New York Islanders, and Buffalo Sabres veteran Robyn Regehr as players that the club could target.

        • A-Mc

          Ya, so that says DET is possibly interested. That, i believe. DET needs a decent D to fill a hole.

          Its funny, i emailed gregor yesterday during his show and part of the email suggested that the Oilers should try to pickup Regehr for 4-5M/yr for 2 years. Gregor responded by saying Regehr isnt what the oilers need: essentially sayin he’s washed up and the Oilers need what Regehr was 3 years ago.

          NHL.com says Regehr is still a minutes eater (~18-19m) and as far as i know, that’s exactly what the oilers need. Not to mention he’s fairly big at 6’3″ 225 and threw 171 hits last season….

          If Regehr is good enough for Detroit (A perennial playoff team) why isnt he good enough for the Oil? just sayin.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Certainly didn’t take long to put a label on Mr.Lowe and Tambellinis efforts during this rebuild. No longer is it fair to the Chicagos and Pittsburghs of the world to compare the Oiler efforts to their organizations.

    It’s rather obvious to us all now the task at hand was far greater than all of us fans realized. The whole was far deeper than most thought. It appears as though it’ll be yet another 5 yrs before our Oilers appear more regularly in the top half of the league.

    *UCK YOU DARYL KATZ FOR PILOTING THIS GONG SHOW!

    * wow, that went off the rails quick, eh?

    • ScottieA

      Tambi can now definitely be placed amongst the illustrious company of the likes of Farwell, Button, McPhee, Ferguson Jr., Pleau, MacLean, Waddell, Pulford, and Milbury.

      • Newj

        I knew Russ was involved with acquiring Lindros, but you’re right, upon checking…the Flyers under his 4 year term as GM was abysmal. The others on your list – without question & it takes years to undo that poor management.

        Add Howson to that list me thinks.

  • CaptainLander

    I think it is undervalued the role that Hossa plays on the Hawks. Yes he alone is a heck of a talent and excellent at all ends of the ice. But I think what he brought the young Blackhawks team a few years ago is getting a top skill player with experience to help with guys like Kane. I think this type of player is so needed at this point by the Oil. Would love to see Jagr in Oiler silks next year.

  • justDOit

    Nice job Gregor! You nailed it. Excellent analysis by way of comparison. Best article in a while to give us our bearings on where we are really at in this organization.

    You’ve gotten right to the heart of the matter. It’s consice and neither overly emotional not overly statistical. Well done.

    Your summary nails it and is worth repeating and committing to long term memory:

    “The Oilers are not close to being the Blackhawks, and right now few teams are, so the Oilers can either remain patient and let their young players learn how to play against proven NHL talent, or management needs to mix in some veterans who can play significant minutes, to lessen the learning curve and possibly increase their chances of winning.

    The Oilers must find some more players who have the competitive drive necessary to win in the NHL. It is easy for the Hawks youngsters to follow behind Toews, Keith etc, because if they don’t match the work ethic and determination of their leaders, they’d hear about it.

    It is a long process to become a legitimate contending team, and when you look at the roster of the Hawks it was built with solid drafting, key trades and some useful free agent signings. The Oilers haven’t done very well in the latter two departments.”

  • justDOit

    For the ‘3 points out’ crowd, some sobering math.

    If the Oilers play out the next 26 games like they’ve played their last 10 (3-5-2, or 8 points out of a possible 20 for 0.8 points per game), they will finish with about 42 points. This should be good enough for at least 28th overall in the league. (side note: if the Hawks lost EVERY game for the rest of the year – 45 points)

    If they somehow convert all their energies into a winning percentage of 0.75 (1.5 points per game, or win 3 lose 1), the result would be about 60 points – good for maybe 7th in the west and a first round matchup with the Ducks. Not very likely, but those are the numbers.

    More than likely, they’ll end up somewhere in between, at their season-long ppg pace of almost 1.0. If they win one, lose one for the next 26 games, they’ll be at 47 points – about 10 shy of the playoffs, and closer to the bottom of the pile than the post-season cut off point.

  • justDOit

    Ok, you young Bucks, look up to the grizzly veterans on the team, and follow their leader ship. Keep your eyes and ears open on every shift, game or practice!.

    Your Captain: Horcoff… injured more that playing the last few years… other than his face off skill.. not much else to watch, can’t win to many puck battles and not tough enough in front of the net.Lost a step in speed.

    Whitney… often injured, often benched, often sulking…

    Off Side Hemsky… great moves, good puckhandler,
    terrible on defense, and wont shoot… fly by player, why stop to much like work… Ok we got it, learned all that.. next?

    Smyth…Look what happens when you hit 37, your hands are gone, your speed is down to 2 nd gear, and every goalie now knows about the sneaker from around behind the the net…

    Gagner.. weird to call a 22 yr old a vet.. but hes OK to watch. except not on defense.. and Please dont get the same PeeWee stick he uses.

    Belanger… please dont even look at him on the ice…. well maybe in the FO circle.

    Better still… watch the Hawks, Hab, Penguins, even Leafs.. on the tube.

  • justDOit

    A great article for debate Gregor.

    A couple of key statements really stuck out for me.

    1. “Side note, the Hawks don’t hit that much because they have the puck more often” – I think we all expected Oilers skill to be at this level for more puck possession and its not. It’s a result of not enough maturity in the front end and our Top 4 are not at the quality we need (don’t have to be Chicago like but needs to better than this). I would also say we expected 1 of our Top 4 to be playing like a Top 4 (Whitney) – he’s not, and by a large margin.

    2. “The Hawks also have players like Dave Bolland, Dan Carcillo, Brian Bickell and Andrew Shaw who play in their top-nine and get in the face of the opposition”
    – And look at their ice time! Bolland – 17:36/g Shaw – 15:07/g, Bickell – 12:07/g!!! This has two benefits:

    1) Confidence as the coach knows you are responsible and the pucks not going to be in the back of our net. (all of these have +ve +/-)

    2) Your Top 6 is all that more effective in games, more rested, opposing Top D are probably more worn down as these guys press hard and make every play hard so guys like Johnson in Minny is worn down by 3rd period and our Top 6 should have way more time and space. Oilers similar forwards with this roll do not get (deserve?) that ice time on a consistent basis.

    3. The Big Trade to Done. Gagner, Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Paajarvi, Yakupov, Hemsky. 3 of these players will need to be dealt to “get the pieces we need”. Which ones?This is where we are but I am not sure I want Tambo/Lowe pulling this deal or we could be on the wrong end of Patrick Sharp deal. Perry or Getzlaff does not matter either will be fine but depth at center thus I feel the Ducks will feel the same. For character I like Ladd – won a cup, solid and big player and gives you more than Horcoff. Lucic would be awesome too as he is a very nasty player. How is that for a line Lucic-Hall-Ebs!!!

  • justDOit

    Honestly, this article seems a bit premature considering the young on your team. In my opinion in regards to the size/grit issue, that really depends on your team identity. If your GM is going for a puck moving style of play then size isn’t as huge an issue. What I really notice the Oilers lacking is team defense. The hawks really seems to be helping out their goal tenders when it comes to limiting shots and clearing out the slot after rebounds. Also, as a few days ago the hawks lead the league in takeaways with 230, next closest was 178 which to me is HUGE.

    You guys have plenty of time and seem to be going in the right direction otherwise.