TRADE WINDS….

The 2013 NHL trade deadline is next Wednesday at 1 p.m. MST, and the next week will be great for those who love trade rumours. One rumour got squashed yesterday when it was reported that Mikka Kiprusoff would not report to his new team if the Calgary Flames traded him, which of course was met by laughter amongst Edmonton fans.

Thankfully there are many other rumblings, rumours and potential deals floating around.

What will the Oilers do?

Nikolai Khabibulin made Doug Maclean’s suggestion that he could fetch a 2nd rounder seem realistic after his 43-save performance last night.

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The tougher question is are the Oilers better off having Khabibulin as a $1.2 million back up next year, or moving him for a draft pick?

So let’s look at some of the options the Oilers have to trade. These thoughts are a combination of my views as well as what I’ve heard and read as far as pros and cons for each player from pundits and fans. I don’t agree or disagree with all of them, but respect the differing views.

KHABIBULIN

  • Would he want to play for $1.2 million?
  • He turns 41next January, and age catches up with most players.
  • Unreliable due to injuries.
  • His history of injuries is the main concern. The interesting thing about Khabibulin is that he works incredibly hard to stay in shape. He’s in really good shape, but you wonder if his body is breaking down. Maybe he pushes too hard, because he seems to tweak something every few weeks.
  • When he plays he’s played very well. In six starts he has a sparkling 1.93 GAA and a .941SV%. Those numbers are unattainable over a long period, but we’ve seen that when he plays he can still win games.
  • He works well with Dubnyk. They have a healthy and respectful relationship.
  • I don’t see the Oilers being able to overhaul the blueline in one summer. It would require three solid moves, and while it is possible, I’m not sure it is realistic. If the Oilers don’t land highly touted college prospect Danny Dekeyser (who is good, but far from a saviour or lock to be a top-four), and another D-man via a trade of UFA signing (weak pool) then their D won’t be much better next year and they will need a reliable back up.

RYAN WHITNEY

  • The free agent list isn’t very good, especially for D-men under the age of 30.
  • Justin Schultz would be the only excellent puck mover remaining. The Oilers need D-men who can move the puck quickly and accurately to their skilled forwards.
  • The Oilers recent history of signing UFAs to come into Edmonton isn’t great. There is no guarantee they will find a better replacement. There is also a good chance Whitney performs well in another environment. Being comfortable and feeling confident is a huge factor in how a player performs on the ice.
  • The advanced stats show he’s struggled.
  • He will never be able to turn due to his surgeries.
  • It is clear the coaching staff doesn’t have a lot of confidence in him. When that happens, usually it is hard to change it. If a player is worried about making a mistake and getting benched, usually they make more mistakes.

RYAN JONES

  • For a team that struggles to score ES, at least he can score 5-on-5.
  • He goes to the net regularly and scores garbage goals. Oilers don’t have a lot of guys like that.
  • Jones is a complimentary player. He won’t be a key cog in winning, but he’s shown the ability to produce. While surrendering scoring chances doesn’t look good on paper, scoring goals trumps that.
  • He is on the ice for way too many scoring chances against.
  • Teemu Hartikainen is bigger and can replace him.
  • He isn’t physical enough on a team that desperately needs some guys who are harder to play against. He’s a solid NHLer, but if needed they can find a veteran UFA to replace him.

I suspect those three would make garner the most interest, amongst players the Oilers would consider trading.

There are some other names that have been tossed around for the Oilers…

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Ladislav Smid

  • I think the Oilers would be foolish to deal him. I outlined the available free agent D-men yesterday, and no one on that list looks like a potential upgrade to Smid. Smid knows his role and he’s good at it. He plays hard and is the most physical D-man who plays every night. I still believe the Oilers and Smid will come to an agreement prior to April 3rd. If they don’t we can chat about then after the 3rd.

Ales Hemsky

  • If you trade him at the deadline you are likely only getting picks and prospects in return. At this point in the rebuild the Oilers need to move him in a deal where you get a proven NHL player back in return rather than picks. He’s played much better now that his shoulder issues are behind him and I suspect there would be more interest in the summer.

Sam Gagner

  • Gagner has been the lightning rod for years in Edmonton. He’s had a great start to the season and will get a raise on his current $3.2 million contract this summer. His trade value is much higher now than it was last year, so the return would be better. Gagner is very popular in the dressing room, he has worked hard at improving his game and no one questions his desire. I don’t see any reason to move him at the deadline, and if he they consider moving him in the summer they have to get a solid D-man of big, skilled forward in return. I don’t trade Gagner for anything less than a proven player.

LOOKING AHEAD

No one knows what the future holds, but at some point the results have to match the "potential"and "patience" that has been talked about for years in Edmonton.

For me there is one obvious conclusion coming for the Edmonton Oilers. They won’t be able to move forward with all six of their young 19-23 year-old forwards. They don’t have the right combination of size, skill and sandpaper needed to succeed in the NHL. That doesn’t mean they all won’t be successful NHL players, it just means I don’t see all of them developing with the Oilers.

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will make $6 million next year. Gagner is in line for a raise that will put him close to $5 million next year and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins likely gets a contract similar to Hall and Eberle starting in 2014.

The Oilers still haven’t found a recipe to win, and when they do they won’t be able to afford all of their young stars, even if you believe they can win with six skilled forwards.

The Oilers need to get some size down the middle, improve their blueline and get some productive veterans into their lineup. The issue is many think they can do this without trading any of their young skilled players. Reality check, that isn’t going to be possible.

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The way I see it the Oilers will end up moving two, maybe three players amongst Hemsky, Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov. You might not like that reality, but I don’t see any other way this team will be able to improve and afford their lineup if they don’t make those types of moves.

There is a good chance that the Oilers trade those guys and they put up decent numbers on another team, and likely more than the players coming to Edmonton, but that doesn’t mean the Oilers will lose those trades. If they acquire a strong, steady defenceman for one of them that makes them more competitive.

If they acquire a skilled forward who plays physical, scores, is a good puck retriever and goes to the net that will make them better. The Oilers will still have three very good skilled players remaining, in Hall, RNH and Eberle and one or two of 64, 89, 91 and 83.

You can’t expect the Oilers to have six forwards score 55+ points regularly. It just doesn’t happen in today’s game. You need a good mix in your lineup. You need some some skilled players with size and grit. Suggesting you don’t doesn’t jive with teams that win championships.

Here are the top scorers, with at least 34 points, of the last four Cup winners: 

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LOS ANGELES          
Player  Pos  GP  G  A  P
Anze Kopitar C 82 25 51 76
Justin Williams R 82 22 37 59
Dustin Brown R 82 22 32 54
Mike Richards C 74 18 26 44
Drew Doughty D 77 10 26 36
Jeff Carter L 55 21 13 34
           
BOSTON          
Player  Pos GP  G  A  P
Milan Lucic L 79 30 32 62
David Krejci C 75 13 49 62
Patrice Bergeron C 80 22 35 57
Nathan Horton R 80 26 27 53
Mark Recchi R 81 14 34 48
Tomas Kaberle D 82 4 43 47
Zdeno Chara D 81 14 30 44
Brad Marchand L 77 21 20 41
Rich Peverley C 82 18 23 41
Michael Ryder R 79 18 23 41
           
CHICAGO Pos GP  G  A  P
Patrick Kane R 82 30 58 88
Duncan Keith D 82 14 55 69
Jonathan Toews C 76 25 43 68
Patrick Sharp L 82 25 41 66
Marian Hossa R 57 24 27 51
Kris Versteeg R 79 20 24 44
Troy Brouwer R 78 22 18 40
Andrew Ladd L 82 17 21 38
Brian Campbell D 68 7 31 38
           
PITTSBURGH          
Evgeni Malkin C 82 35 78 113
Sidney Crosby C 77 33 70 103
Chris Kunitz L 82 23 30 53
Jordan Staal C 82 22 27 49
Bill Guerin R 78 21 27 48
Petr Sykora R 76 25 21 46
Ruslan Fedotenko L 65 16 23 39
Miroslav Satan R 65 17 19 36
Tyler Kennedy C 67 15 20 35

Do you honestly believe the Oilers top-six resembles any of those teams?

The reality is the Oilers will need to move some of their skilled forwards.

The difficult question will be when and who?

THINKING OUTLOUD…

Yesterday on my radio show, I asked Jason Strudwick if he’d deal Nail Yakupov for David Clarkson. Of course the deal would hinge on Clarkson having a new contract and the Oilers getting something else in return. It wasn’t a one-for-one deal.

The point of the question was to point out  that the Oilers will need to trade away a skilled player; one who likely will produce points elsewhere. (Yakupov was just an example. Not saying he is the 1st one I’d trade) And by trading one or two of them away, that doesn’t mean they are bad players. It just means the Oilers need to alter their lineup to become more successful.

The difficult decision for the Oilers GM, whoever that is when the time comes to trade one of them, is making the right move. The move won’t be made solely on statistics. They will have to look at other things: contracts, attitude, competitive nature, size, etc.

It won’t be easy, but it you believe it won’t happen I think you are fooling yourself.

The reactions to the Clarkson topic ranged from "You’re an idiot," to "Yakupov could be like Stamkos."

Both made me chuckle, but the latter really stuck with me. Stamkos is the best goal scorer in the game, so of course it is realistic to compare Yakupov to him because they were both #1 picks and because Yakupov has a good one-timer. I hope for Yakupov’s sake he becomes like Stamkos, but Stamkos has more to his game than a great one-timer. Stamkos has incredibly high hockey sense, and he’s excellent at anticipating where the openings are in the offensive zone to get himself in good scoring areas.

Yakupov might become a very good scorer, but suggesting he’ll be like Stamkos is the ultimate best-case scenario. It is unlikely, however. Just like it is unlikely that the first overall picks taken between Stamkos and Yakupov, John Tavares, Hall and RNH, will score as often as Stamkos.

Many people want the Oilers to acquire good players, but they aren’t willing to give up anything of substance. Instead they want to offer up spare parts, usually players you feel are junk, to get players like Clarkson, Lucic, Clowe or others.  

If the Oilers are going to improve moving forward they will eventually need to change the mix amongst their top forwards. It will be a difficult decision, and the organization has to ensure they have the right guy calling the shots. Based on recent decisions, it is fair to question whether the current regime is prepared and able to make the right choice.

This type of trade will occur in the near future, and when it does, the Oilers must make the correct decision and they need the right man calling the shots.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR


  • Spydyr

    A pretty balanced and informed argument which is nice to see.

    I wouldn’ trade Yakupov for Clarkson because this team isn’t ready to compete for at least 2 years. It’s kind of the equivelent of Toronto trading 2 firsts for Kessel. We have Yakupov, who is only an RFA after his entry level deal. These players can get a ton of return as they mature. Selling Yakupov for Clarkson is selling low, and buying high….and all at a time where we are not ready to compete.

    That’s why I am not a fan of trading young talent for older players at this stage.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Are you talking about the same Toronto Maple Leafs that are solidly in 6th in the eastern conference and 9 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings?

      Looks like the Kessel trade isn’t working out too badly for them.

      • Yep, the same Leafs.

        Kessel has worked out for them pretty well, but you forget what they gave up. The picks turned into Tyler Sequin and Dougie Hamilton which are both playing pretty amazing for the Bruins. They could have had these guys on entry level deals, instead of Kessel who becomes a UFA before the Leafs are even a contender.

        • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

          You’re missing my point.

          If the season ended today, Toronto’s in the playoffs and the Oilers aren’t. If you want to find an example of a team trading futures for “win now” and falling flat on their face, you have to look elsewhere.

          • HockeyBoss

            We are arguing different things then. My goal for the team is not to hurt the long term health of the team, just to squeak in the playoffs. Sure, we could trade Hall and Eberle right now, probably get Ovechkin and Backstrom. How this helps the team going forward is the question.

            If we are about throwing our eggs in one basket to make the playoffs next year just seems impatient. When what we are building for is to build a constant contender, not just a 1 year or 2 year window, where the deal itself might get us into the playoffs, but not make us a legimiate contender.

          • Yes and what about next year?

            The leafs could miss the playoffs next year, with this year being no guarantee either.

            Obviously, if you’re going to trade it needs to make sense for now and in the future.

            I’m not sure the Kessel trade falls in that category, I think it was horrible deal by toronto

            if such a deal wins you a cup then it’s worth it, toronto winning a cup in the near future seems very unlikely

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Jason….So these are cup winning stats right? Why dont we just wait until our young bucks grow up and then take a look at the stats, I am tired of hearing under sized, no grit etc. Lets get behind the core quit talking about trading them, cheer for than to keep competing for a playoffs spot (isn’t that what we were expecting?) and 2-3 years look at these stats again

    • Jason Gregor

      Did you not see the part about waiting until they are all veterans that you won’t be able to afford them all? I think that is pretty realistic outcome.

      Why makes you believe that in two years that a few of them evolve into into Brown, Richards, Kopitar, Ladd, Hossa, Brouwer, Horton, Lucic, Marchand, Malkin or Guerin.

      • Good point on the evolution of personnel, however, if the team continues to hire these
        “Philosopher Kings” as coaches, then yes, I would not expect too much development.

        I bet my last buck, that if someone like Carlyle,
        Quinville, or Therien, were coaching this same team, you would see different and better results.

  • OilersBrass

    No way Yakupov is moved in the next two years. I agree that there will come a time but trading away a first overall pick after his first season is Milbury.

  • If you trade a 1st overall pick 1 year removed from the draft you are getting pennies on the dollar.

    I understand that the Oilers need a different mix in the top 6, but moving a guy 30 games into his NHL career is foolish.

    If (and I say IF) the Oilers ever decide to move this kid, it shouldn’t be until AT LEAST after his entry level contract is over. At least give the kid a chance to grow into something before you’re ready to send him off.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    We just need to stay patient for a few more months. If we have to make a trade, make it spare parts for picks. The landscape in the NHL has change because of thenew CBA, there will be some talent available this summer. Play the virtual trade game here if you must, but hold the booing, grin and bear it for a few more months. Katzs’ chequebook will do the talking this summer.

  • OilersBrass

    I think trading Jones is a good idea, Hartikainen is the better of the two.
    It’s definitely going to suck being the GM for this team, there’s a lot of tough decisions to make.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Khabibulin is there for Yakupov. You need a Russian in the room to bring him along and so he can talk in his own language. I would keep him for his 1.8 million. He has adapted to his role as a backup and Dubynk is still fairly inexperienced. He has also has a ring on his finger which most of the other oilers don’t.

  • Ogie Oilthorpe

    I love that Gregor is actually posing the tough questions. I see constant comments here about lets move Jones+Whitney for Horton, or lets give them MPS+Whitney+Jones+Teubert for Dustin Brown, and can hardly contain my laughter. There are some vets we could move for picks, but those picks aquired should be used to sweeten up the trade pot when management finds their effin phone and decides to fill some needs.

    It is going to be tough to part with any of the young guns, but I agree that is has to happen. I hope its not Yak, I think his upside potential is very high. But trading Gags and Hemmer in the offseason coupled with a couple picks (I would even be up for a first unless there is a chance at Jones) for a solid top 4 d-man and a power forward would improve the ability for the team to compete. Well written article Jason, I think it was a very good assessment of the situation.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Jason . Couple of exceptions to your blog . If they let Magnus go there nuts a 20 year old over 6′ & 200lbs that they should sign for $2-2.5 mill. Not $5 or $6 mil. Agree that you must give to get but a package of say Hemsky/ Marachin ( I like both ) for a top “D” or big winger should be possible . Thet also need to buy out Belanger & Eager say goodby to Petrell, Hordichuck and Tuebert & Plante .Part of what’s needed is a change of character in the room . Last is a decision on Ryan Smyth ??? . Agree on Whit , Jones , Habby .

  • Carlos Danger

    If Dubnyk is our starter next year – and he will be – then we need a reliable backup who can play between 20-30 games.
    Or maybe even a young backup who can seriously challenge for the starter role if Dubnyk falters.
    With Khabbi’s injury history and age, he’s neither of those, and thus should not be re-signed.

  • Carlos Danger

    When the rhetoric matches the fashion. The sport coat with the hat.

    Everything is much clearer now, it makes sense. Maybe just maybe he’s the Cat in the Hat.

  • HockeyBoss

    You don’t trade recent 1st overall picks for non-elite 30 year old players, especially not impending UFAs. It’s the type of deal you could take right out of “Don Waddell’s Guide on How Not to run a franchise”. It simply not logical, and most definitely not a reasonable scenario.

    The Oilers have plenty of other players that should be moved before they look at trading part of the high potential futures(Hall/RNH/Yak), and the above 3 should only be moved if if we are talking elite or near elite players – not overrated, exiting their prime, 30 year old complimentary 2nd/3rd liners.

    • John Chambers

      Why theres any discussion on.trading Yakupov bewilders me. Yakupov for Clarkson don’t happen unless Larsson comes with which of course doesn’t happen. I am just making a point, this stuff is just speculation. Talk around the water cooler. The ol’, “did u hear…?” There is no substance cause Tambo is asleep at the switch and even Garth Snow would not of traded Tavaras for Glencross straight across in his rookie year.

      If you trade Yak its for a proven top 2 defencemanor top 6 center. Thats it, thats all, thats the end of this silly diatribe.

  • HockeyBoss

    Gregor –

    Whats the point of trading YAK now ??

    Do you honestly think moving him now to bring in grit/size/Dmen/etc will do ANYTHING to improve the teams chances significantly to make a run for the playoffs next season ?

    Sure you need size to compete but get “size” when the core kids mature and improve NHL play. This isnt a temporary band-aid solution.

    If you’re interested in trading away the future – start with the 1st round pick & add to that – rather than Yak..

    You don’t trade 1st overall picks – unless you cannot afford to keep them…Which is not the case – yet.

    • Jason Gregor

      Never said now, I said in near future, likely before his extension comes up. Whether it is him or two of the others, someone needs to move for this team to win.

      Doesn’t have to be Yakupov. Just used him as example.

      • HockeyBoss

        Fair enough.

        We agree that “in the near future” somethings gotta give..The Oil have an “embarrassment of riches” at FWD as they say..One can make the arguement that it takes talent to get talent..So i get your point..But disagree
        that we’ll need to move one of the core kids to get tougher….

        This is where I think a new GM – someone who can work multiple deals, has the nuts to pull a trade needs to come in…

        Move future draft picks…Add a decent roster player (such as a Hemsky)and you get the tough fwd (or Dman) the fill any other void the oilers have.

        Make moves now so you don’t have to move the core in the future.

  • HockeyBoss

    Jason,

    The players those 6 forwards are now are not the players they will be in 2 or 3 years. It is way too early to decide the “mix is wrong”, before waiting for the players to develop. Is the Paajarvi you see today the same player you saw a year ago? Well, 3 of the forwards you’re talking about are even younger than him.

    People talk about patience, but apparently they don’t know where to apply it.

    I have patience all day for the younger players, that doesn’t mean the team has to sit around and be happy with the D and the rest of the forwards. Work on improving that for the next two years, and if things still aren’t looking as you’d like among those 6 forwards, maybe you do something then. But now? Way too impatient.

  • Newj

    Jason: A well constructed assessment of where the Oilers are today and some opinions of what is needed in the future.

    Your statement “The way I see it the Oilers will end up moving two, maybe three players amongst Hemsky, Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov. You might not like that reality, but I don’t see any other way this team will be able to improve and afford their lineup if they don’t make those types of moves.” I believe truly summarizes what needs to be done at some point in the future. That may occur before the upcoming trade deadline or as you pointed out maybe its better at looking at deals this summer. Nonetheless we at some point will have to sacrifice some talent to get some talent & the players you mentioned should certainly afford the Oilers the players they need and want.

    We’ll see how well Oiler management are able to accomplish the above.

    • 106 and 106

      Good explanation on your point, Jason – The last post was getting out of hand and over-blown – someone will have to go out of the big 6, but after reading LT’s article about what management has done under the reign of the current management doesn’t give me much hope that anything will materialize.

      We wait, and hope.

  • 24% body fat

    Not enough depth on Left or Center, Have to trade a Right Winger. I go Hemsky, he is creating his own offense but is killing the offense of the rest of the players he is playing with.

    Eberles contract is not good so he would be my number 2, and due to his Canadian fan honeymoon his value is higher in retrospect to his actual worth.

    Do not trade Yakupov. He seems to have more desire and try than a lot of our other top 6 players.

    Hemsky for a solid third line center with size would be my trade.

    Eberle, Gagner are still somewhat young, and the others still have cracks in their voice. It takes time. No excuses for no playoffs next year.

    Also can we please stop calling them the kid line, we have two kid lines if you add up the age. Our true kid line would be Hall, RNH, and Yak.

  • My 2 cents:

    Khabi: I’m one of few people that likes Khabibulin. Great guy, superb team guy. However, he’s only been in 8 games this year (one he came on in relief.. although he stole the win) and already is showing serious wear and tear. It’s disappointing and sad to see.. I think fans have been severely critical of him. For me, I’m just more disappointed in what could have been had he had a 28 year old body. But he doesn’t. At this point he’s a backup’s backup with how many games he should get in. Would love to see him take on a coaching role one day though. Right now though he is good until fatigued and that seems to happen faster and faster now. Khabi is a great backup for a guy that plays high 60s-70 games a year, not for someone who is good for 40-50 games.

    Whitney: He’s looked quite good in half a dozen recent games, and was quite awful in many of the games this year, and the past two years. The short display of awesomeness tells me that we should stay the course with trade plans and ship him off somewhere. We likely won’t get a great return though. But I would prefer the Oilers try to replace him either by trade or UFA signing. Addition by subtraction here..

    Hemsky: I think he should be moved, whether it makes sense to do that now or in the summer, I don’t know. But I don’t think he’s irreplaceable and I think we’ve tried to find guys that work with him for far too long.If the return sucks though, I wouldn’t be upset to see him stay as an Oiler.

    Smid: Just friggen sign him long term already.

    Gagner: Sign him pleeeeaseeee.

    Jones: I would keep him too, because if we cut him loose, we’re back to looking for our “Glencross” again (although Glencross is better imho).

    Yakupov: I can get behind moving him (Although I consider him to be a good piece to have here.. so no slight against him), but I think moving him for a big winger is the wrong idea. If moved, it should be for a big center (in which case maybe Gagner then also becomes a moveable part). However, big centers aren’t pieces that other teams want to trade. But Yakupov should have huge trade returns, so you swing for the fences. Might have to then pad OUR side to get a good 2-way center with size, but it would be more worth it.

  • 24% body fat

    So keep Smid Hemsky Habby and trade one of the kids instead? Laughable stuff.

    We need to shed the old guys with no talent for picks and prospects first. I know people don’t like that thought but it’s what is needed for a rebuild of this magnitude.

    That’s what Florida is doing. They got hit hard on the injury front this year so it’s not really showing this year. They will be a playoff team in 2 years and it will be because they built through the draft and used their farm system properly.

    If we don’t trade, waive, buyout Hemsky Whitney Jones Smid Smyth Belanger Petrell Habby and they are here next year we will never get out of this hole!!

  • HockeyBoss

    The whole idea of “Trade Yakupov for grit” because the last few cup winners have size is foolhardy.

    The league is both cyclical and copycat. If we copycat Boston, we’ll be left behind when the game shifts back to the speed/skill teams winning cups.

  • Jason Gregor

    Worst. Trade. Ever.

    Trading Yakupov for someone like Clarkson isn’t simply a bad idea, it would be one of the worst trades in NHL history.

    It would make the team both worse on the ice and more expensive, thereby making impossible to improve the team later. Incredibly bad idea.

    Instead of trading emerging young star on value ELC and RFA contract, the Oilers should sign an underappreciated UFA forward like Matt Cullen or Vinny Prospal, for $3M or so and keep all their young stars. That’s how you get better.

    If you trade the best player in the deal you lose every time. If you trade the best player in the deal who also happens to be cheaper, you are committing suicide.

    In today’s NHL it is simply not true you have to give up something to get something. You can trade your bad players for good players (see Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson trades) and you can make good free agent signings vs. bad free agent signings. There is simply no need to sell the best player in the world of his age group for anything less than equivalent value.

    If you trade Yakupov it has to be for a franchise defenseman on a RFA contract, someone like OEL. Anything less and you are giving away the farm for no reason.

    • Jason Gregor

      You seemed to miss the entire point. It doesn’t have to be Yakupov for Clarkson and something else. It was an example.

      But two of the young players will move. If adding Matt Cullen is the solution, then I think we are asking different questions.

  • Jason Gregor

    Another spin at this. If we are trading one of our top picks like Yakupov, it should be for a defenceman.

    I say that because the free agent class this offseason is almost BARE in quality defenceman but is LOADED with big forwards.

    David Clarkson
    Nathan Horton
    Victor Stalberg
    Brad Boyes
    Ryan Clowe
    Dustin Penner
    Brendan Morrow
    Eric Fehr
    Nik Antropov
    Bryan Bickell
    Clarke MacArthur
    Jarome Iginla

    Now not all of those forwards are necessarily as physical as we’d like, or may not have as much of a scoring touch as we’d like, or may even be available come July 1, but they do all have size and most create room for their teammates and some will remain unsigned.

    Seeing that they wouldn’t be any cost to us as far as assets, I think it would be wise to preserve our valuable assets for accquiring a defenceman, and go the free agent route for some size in our top 9.

  • GVBlackhawk

    You talk of trading one or two of Yakupov, Hemsky, Gagner, or Paajarvi.

    Why isn’t Eberle on your list?

    He is small, skilled, doesn’t have a lot of grit — everything you want to get rid of. And his contract is a big one.

    He is established, therefore should be able to get back a better return than the others you have mentioned.

    Is it because he is western Canadian? Or because he scored clutch goals in the World Juniors? I don’t understand — Yakupov projects to be the superior player. And to my eye, he appears to bring a more consistent effort than Eberle or Hemsky.

      • How old do you think you average reader is? 10? 11?

        First and foremost, you’re trade proposal is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the fact that you just won’t admit that is is a stupid idea to begin with.

        If I was to consider your reasoning as truth, I would conclude that you never had a point to begin with. I can understand how some people would miss the point, and have you accuse them of that: it is very easy to do when no point exist in the first place.

        You say that Oilers will need to get one of their young guns, I agree. Then, you don’t include Gagner in your list(obvious choice) and go on to call him a lightning rod. Laughable.

        If you were trying to make the point and come up with a scenario; why did you only come up with that asinine one? Why only consider Yakupov? Why not something more reasonable, like Gagner? Or for someone who might actually be available instead of Clarkson?

        Jones good at 5v5. Again, laughable. He has one goal all in 14 games. Whattathreat.!.. The only thing softer than Jones on the ice during the game is Smyth’s shots. Jones was a flash in the pan, at best.

        • GVBlackhawk

          No doubt. Ryan Jones is awful 5v5. The only thing he is good at is falling down.

          Have a look at the Blues game from yesterday. Jones has the ultimate ‘Jones’ shift in the second period where he falls down three times. The third time, at 5:27 of the second period, he falls wildly and looks like Bambi doing it. Then he gets up, skates to the bench, and gets ROCKED. It’s comical to watch him.

          He skates around and does nothing, but because he is trying so hard, some people think he is good/effective.

      • GVBlackhawk

        I am shocked that you have to ask that question.

        Yakupov projects to be a better player because he was putting up the same numbers at age 17 that Eberle was doing at age 20. Their age by age comps all favor Yakupov — and it isn’t even close.

        Yakupov’s skill set is at a higher level than Eberle’s (if not everyone on the Oilers). Better shot, better skater, better passer, better vision. There is a reason why he was coveted as the 1st overall pick.

        Eberle stepped into the NHL in his 21 year old season and did well on a sheltered line with cherry minutes. In his 22 year old season, he played lights out on a sheltered line with cherry minutes and an incredibly high shooting percentage. He is regressing now that he has to face tougher competition.

        Yakupov is playing NHL in his 19 year old season, not playing sheltered minutes and doesn’t receive the power play time that Eberle did in his rookie year.

        Regarding the ‘consistency of effort’ comment, that is difficult to quantify, which is why I said ‘by eye’. From what I have observed, Yakupov will engage the body at any time. Eberle rarely engages physically. Yakupov is also more inclined to backcheck and make a defensive play (versus Eberle in his rookie season).

        Yakupov is the better player. Ignoring this is just blatant western Canadian homerism (and I was born and raised in Saskatchewan).

        • Wax Man Riley

          Is the question “Who is the better player?” or “Who projects to be better throughout their career?”

          If it is “Who is the better player?”, then an additional question is “Who would you rather have on the ice with 1min to go?”

          Eberle….. all day long. Eberle is the better player today.

          • GVBlackhawk

            The question was “Who projects to be the better player”.

            Who do I want on the ice with one minute to go? The five guys who are playing the best during that game/period.

            Yakupov had some great late game heroics earlier this year 🙂 I definitely want him on the ice from age 20-30!

        • Jason Gregor

          First off, get off you homerism crap. Go read the articles where I defended Yakupov for his celebrations. Being Russian has ZERO to do with this. As I wrote in the article…

          “The point of the question was to point out that the Oilers will need to trade away a skilled player; one who likely will produce points elsewhere. (Yakupov was just an example. Not saying he is the 1st one I’d trade.)”

          But more to your points…

          So because a player “projects” better that guarantees he becomes better?

          Corey Perry had 25 goals his draft year, did you project him becoming a consistent 35-goal man, and the only player from 2003 draft to score 50 goals? Didn’t think so. Projections are projections, not reality.

          And Yakupov has better shot than Eberle? He might have a better one-timer, however, he never uses it 5-on-5…Eberle’s snap shot has proven to be much more accurate, even in his rookie season.

          As for sheltered minutes for Eberle, you might want to check you facts from last year. Only Horcoff, Hemsky and Smyth had harder quality of competition. Eberle and RNH were basically the same. And Eberle out produced them all significantly.

          Eberle is regressing? He has played the last month with a broken finger, and a knee issue, yet he still has 23 points. We’ll see what his point totals are at the end of the season. He went through a funk, like most player do, and we’ll see how he performs.

          I like Yakupov’s flair and the fact he is the most physical of the young forwards. I think he’ll be a very good player, but he doesn’t see or think the game like Eberle at the NHL level, yet. And he might never have the same hockey sense as Eberle. You’re a good stats guy and I know you would have known that, but you tried to slide a fast one in. Good effort, but I like stats despite what some think. 🙂

          • Ogie Oilthorpe

            I like Yakupov’s flair and the fact he is the most physical of the young forwards.

            Most physical? Why are we trading a young kid with skill who plays physical away again????

            Please stop defending this notion.

            …the Oiler Way…

    • oilabroad

      this… I think Eberle gets you more in return and you are giving up the lesser player. If there is any duplication in the top 6, its with players like eberle not yak. Yak is unique in that he is a one shot scorer. I think gagner is more than enough to get you Clarkson, take advantage of his current value as it may not stick…

  • Ducey

    You know Gregor, I am usually hard on you but I think with good reason.

    You have this notion that the one of the kids have to go because the team is too small/ not gritty enough.

    How about getting some guys that are not too small and have grit? Its not that hard.

    That last two summers they could have had Konopka (wins faceoffs, chips in some goals, fights, is a good 4th line C). There are plenty of other guys (most teams are floating in them) around.

    Anyway, what is the rush?

    They may have to trade of of their young forwards in the future due to the Cap or other needs. Why wouldn’t you wait until you know what those needs are?

    Yak and Hall will be able to handle the rough stuff once they get some meat on their bones. Nuge will be able to look after himself. That leaves Eberle and Gagner as the “small guys”.

    This summer you draft Barkov who is 6’2″ and a #1 or #2 center. If he is not ready you wait until he is. Until then, you keep Gagner.

    Sign Clarkson as a UFA, trade Hemsky for an almost ready D prospect, bring in a couple of guys who are checking forwards who can chip in 10 goals and who will fight/ agitate/ defend.

    Next year you have:

    Hall- Nuge- Eberle

    Yak – Gagner – Clarkson

    MPS – Horcoff – New winger #1/ Smyth

    Brown – New C – new winger #2/ Smyth/ Hartikanen

    On D you have Smid- Petry- Schultz x2- Fistric and the D prospect.

    Two years from now you put Barkov in for Gagner (thereby saving money) and use Gagner and Schultz senior to bring in a top pairing defenseman. That will be a contender.

  • Jason Gregor

    Great article Gregor, at least you didn’t suggest trading a future superstar for a mucker…..oh wait.

    I take that back. Shake your head.
    A future 40 goal man?

    Working that trade in reverse, you are saying to trade Horcoff for Crosby. Does that sound reasonable when I phrase it that way?

    Zoinks, we need better on this website. Stauffer, Spector, Rishaug, and even Tencerbandage. Those are real media members.