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


  • Ogie Oilthorpe

    I guess my two cents is that I don’t see any plan or philosophy on how the Oilers want to play. Until they figure that out, why trade any of our skilled guys now. We don’t have a system, other than gap 🙂 control for the D. Once they decide on a system, then target players to get. I would rather target teams that have cap space issues this summer.

  • Citizen David

    On khabby – trade him. As you point out, you can’t rely on him to stay healthy and there seems to be more goalies available than spots each summer. You want a vet, Theordore will be available, or Mason.

    Whitney’s done. They need to trade him if they can. They are going to have to trade Hemsky and/or a defensive prospect for an established defenceman. When they do, Whitney would be irrelevant anyway.

    Jones, despite some goal scoring ability, is a horrible hockey player, and his PK work has slipped this year. If Krueger deployed his forwards a little more strategically, and had some better passing from the defense, then the scoring would likely take care of itself. Let Jones go and sign Dominic Moore as a replacement and be much much better off.

    Hemsky of Gagner should only be traded if an impact defenceman is coming back the other way. Hemsky is option 1 unless the Oilers slide into lottery territory and grab a Barkov, which may make you think more evenly about who you trade.

    They need to use some of their defensive prospect depth to get a second quality defenceman or a power forward like a Chris Stewart. The team’s 2014 1st round pick should also be considered as a trading chip.

    Next year’s roster:

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    MPS – Gagner – Yakupov
    Higgins/Stalberg – Horcoff – Hartikainen
    Smyth – Moore – Belanger

    Hemsky trade return – 1st round pick/Klefbom trade return
    Smid – Petry
    Schultz – J. Schultz

    Dubnyk
    Theodore

    • Ogie Oilthorpe

      frigin’ formatting!

      Line 1: Hall – RNH – Eberle,

      Line 2: MPS – Gagner – Yakupov,

      Line 3: Higgins/Stalberg – Horcoff – Hartikainen,

      Line 4: Smyth – Moore – Belanger,

      1st pairing: Hemsky trade return – 1st round pick/Klefbom trade return,

      2nd pairing: Smid – Petry,

      3rd pairing: Schultz – J. Schultz,

      Starter: Dubnyk,

      Back up: Theodore

  • geoilersgist

    At some point Tamby will need to trade one of the young guns. Obviously there is conjecture relating to who gets whom as far as a trade goes.

    Hate to sound like a negative nelly but I think the Oilers are preparing for another top pick or picks at this years draft.

    There is no trades being manufactured to bring in a power forward……..you can take that to the bank.

    • T__Bone88

      I still think the boys can compete for a playoff spot. Whether they get there or not remains to be seen, but I don’t agree with throwing in the towel yet. It teaches our core nothing useful.

      Preparing for another top pick? I think the tell was in the conditional 3rd round pick for Brown if the Oil make the playoffs. I like Brown, but that was a tell for me.

      I just chose to think competing this year for a playoff spot is more beneficial in the long run. And, mathematically, they still can. JMO.

  • Oilfred

    I think most of us know what the answer would be if you where to ask NHL GMs what they think about Yakupov for Clarkson.

    The Stamkos comparison goes way beyond a one timer. They played on the same junior team and Yak broke Stamkos’ scoring record.

    I know you feeling defensive but I have to say this come across as having as much grown up responsibility for ones actions as a 5 year old.

    Weak dude.

    Weak.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Go easy on him, deep down inside he’s just a hockeyfan like the rest of us. No harm no foul.

      Every trade ever made in the NHL was laughed at from one side or the other before it actually happened. How many times have we seen an NHL trade happen and thought to ourselves, wow, that was alot to give up. Who knows why trades go down the way they do, money reasons, conflicts between players/management yada yada. From the outside deals like this happen all the time.

  • Bucknuck

    Taylor Hall 21
    Sam Gagner 23
    Jordan Eberle 22
    Justin Schultz 22 Rookie
    Nail Yakupov 19 Rookie
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 19

    Hmmm, why doesn’t this team win more? We must be missing grit and sandpaper.

  • T__Bone88

    We have yet to see Seguin play centre at the NHL level. I’m sure that Boston and Edmonton are asking the same question…will or when will we see Seguin and Hall play centre.

  • Citizen David

    David Clarkson Had 8PPG and 8 PP assists last year.
    this year he is on pace for 12PPGin a 80 GM season.
    he is a career 10% goal scorer.
    his 30G season he was 35% over his caeer average for shooting %.

    Give him 2nd PP unit time he gets u 3-4PPG a year.
    that makes him a 17-18G/year guy.

    Clarkson GF/60 rate on PP the last three years.
    2.17 12-13
    1.51 11-12
    0.45 10-11

    Our PP:
    12-13
    Hemsky 3.86
    Horcoff 2.81
    Yakupov 2.33
    Gagner 2.14
    MP 2.13
    Eberle 1.93
    hartikainen 1.59
    Hall 1.33

    11-12
    Hall 3.64
    Jones 2.70
    Eberle 2.65
    Gagner 1.66
    Horcoff 1.33

    10-11
    Horcoff 2.50
    Hall 2.18
    Hartikainen 2.11
    Jones 1.81
    Eberle 1.43
    there is no way he plays on our first 2 PP units.

    Sometimes people are on the first PP unit for teams cause there are no other options.

    What I see is you wanting to trade for a guy that will get to play in the exact same role as Ryan jones and likely get the same production.

    Ryan jones was top 10 in Pk winger the last two seasons. Something Clarkson does not do.

    trading for a guy who cannot PK.
    Had 30 goal season by having a career shooting % year and being proped up by playing 3 min of PP a game.

    when we have a player with simmiliar even scoring rates with no PP time even though he scores more per minute of pp time.

    Plus the guy you want to bring in does not PK.

    this is awfull on so many levels
    – less Pk options
    – Higher Cap hit.
    – loss of assets.

    If lou is smart he trades for Jones. Dumps Clarkson.
    Gets a better fit for his team @ probably 1/3 the cap hit.

  • So to be clear – you want us to compare the Oilers top six to the top six in Chicago, but you want to include CHI players who were not in the top six?

    Ladd? Brouwer? Not in the top six.

    Lets look at the top six based on how they were used instead.

    Kane, Toews, Bolland, Versteeg, Hossa, Byfuglien.

    I grant that Byfuglien was large and physical. Hossa and Toews are tallish but hardly “gritty”. Bolland is one inch taller and 10 pounds lighter than Gagner. Versteeg and Kane are tiny.

    Does this mean you would trade a future star like Yakupov for a guy like RW Byfuglien circa 2010 to have a top six that “looks like theirs”?

    Why wouldn’t you look for grit the way everyone else does? Nobody trades star players for grit, that’s how you lose your job. It’s crazy.

    • Jason Gregor

      Show me where I said compare the Oilers to the Hawks. Actually I included players who had 35 points to show it is rare for teams to even have 4 guys score 50.

      Bolland is an excellent two-way player. Size has nothing to do with it. Suggesting Gagner plays like Bolland is completely inaccurate. The Oilers mix isn’t just size. It is a lack of defensive awareness.

      Hossa is a heavy player. Ask NHL D-men he’s incredibly hard to play against. He also was 30 and a veteran. And you didn’t include Patrick Sharp in their top-six? He had 66 points playing on the 3rd line? Wow that is the best 3rd liner in recent history.

      And Sharp and Hossa were veterans, and the rest were all mid 20s…except Toews and Kane.

      The Oilers are all kids and is a major factor. They don’t have the gamesmanship or experience needed to win.

      The Oilers are not built, and won’t be in four years, to win with all kids. Age, size, maturity, style of play are the reasons. You don’t have to like it, but if you don’t see the differences between the Oilers and the makeup of the championship teams then you are watching more with your heart.

      Then you can add in the salary cap factor and how the ELC deals will all be done in two years. Another major hurdle.

      • Ducey

        The Oilers are not built, and won’t be in four years, to win with all kids. Age, size, maturity, style of play are the reasons. You don’t have to like it, but if you don’t see the differences between the Oilers and the makeup of the championship teams then you are watching more with your heart.

        Uh, in 4 years the kids won’t be kids anymore…and they will be more mature…and better defensively, and uh, what are you talking about?

        Oh right, it really boils down to the “too small” argument again.

      • The Oilers Shot Clock

        100% Theres nothing wrong with trading a good player for another good player if it fills a need. Im as attached to these kids as the next guy but at least one will have to move and I dont understand how thats a bad thing. Our bottom 6 is a disaster and our options on defense are too limited. Trading a kid to sort some of this is both wise in the short term and years down the road.

      • I went with the top six by even strength ice time per game during the playoffs the year they won the cup. You made it fairly clear you were talking about what was necessary to win in the playoffs no? Patrick Sharp was 7th after the players I named.

        Makes more sense than throwing out names of guys who scored points, including defensemen, and asking if our top six looks like the players you listed. Instead of acting smug try asking why instead.

        You are the king of the moving goalposts. How can you go on and on saying “does the Oilers’ top six look like the top six of these teams” and then decide we’re talking about anything but size?

        You asked if they looked like these top sixes, I basically said I don’t think it would take much to look like the CHI top six, and it wouldn’t.

        I don’t have to like it? You think we need to move a #1 overall pick for a larger middling veteran player and I’m the one watching hockey more with my heart? That is insane.

        I never said they should trade any of these guys. I have in fact repeatedly suggested Eberle should be moved. What I wouldn’t do is trade Eberle for Troy Brouwer because TALL.

        Of course those teams are different. Would you like to know how? Chicago didn’t trade Kane to get Andrew Ladd. PIT didn’t trade Malkin to get Kunitz. LA didn’t trade Kopitar for Penner. The problem with the Oilers is that they might do exactly what you suggest and then wonder why they aren’t improving.

        Everyone but the Oilers’ management knows they aren’t going to win. It doesn’t mean they should move Yakupov for the type of player who was subsequently dealt for Ivan Vishnevskiy and Atlanta’s 2nd round choice. Ridiculous. There are other means to get players.

        • Jason Gregor

          This is what I wrote…

          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.

          Never said that was the trade. I used it as an example.

          How are the Oilers close to Chicago? Who are the veterans amongst the kids in three of four years? Are willing to trade Eberle, just because he isn’t a #1 pick, even though he’s already produced 76 points and is the best pure shooter they have?

          And do you know that Que/Colorado the last team to draft three consecutive #1 (1989-1991) traded all three of them before winning Cup in 1996. I know that Lindros trade was major exception. But they dealt Nolan at the start of 1995/1996 season.

          Oilers will move two of their kids. I wrote right in the article, Clarkson was an example. You freak about that and then alter stats to suggest Edm is close to Chic. When we know they are not. Chicago didn’t win with all kids. Truth.

          So trading Eberle is okay, but trading Yakupov at some point is ridiculous. Again, I repeat, I wrote that Clarkson was an example. Eventually they will trade some of the young kids, likely sooner than you think.

          And going by ES minutes is cherry picking and you know it. Sharp played the 6th most PK minutes and 2nd most PP minutes of the forwards. He played 5th most TOI of all the forwards and you tried to suggest he wasn’t top-six.

          • Never said that was the trade. I used it as an example.

            Right. An example of the type of trade to make. I never suggested you said otherwise, just that it was insane.

            How are the Oilers close to Chicago? Who are the veterans amongst the kids in three of four years?

            You spoke of size and grit and only added the the “veteran” bit after I commented.

            Are willing to trade Eberle, just because he isn’t a #1 pick, even though he’s already produced 76 points and is the best pure shooter they have?

            Is this a serious response? I don’t know what to say to this. I say “don’t trade a #1 for middling big players” and you interpret that as “can’t trade for any reason because #1”. Did you also note the part where I made a similar caveat regarding Eberle as I did the #1s?

            So trading Eberle is okay, but trading Yakupov at some point is ridiculous. Again, I repeat, I wrote that Clarkson was an example. Eventually they will trade some of the young kids, likely sooner than you think.

            Again I repeat that this is so far from what I said that I don’t think you are even trying. For the last time – I am not opposed to trading anyone on this team with the possible exception of Hall. Just not a #1 pick (or Eberle as my last comment already specified) for guys routinely available for much much much less.

            When we know they are not. Chicago didn’t win with all kids. Truth.

            This part is hilarious. I am on record repeatedly saying the team cannot just sit around drafting players and fall magically into a cup. One last time – trade anyone from the roster, just don’t do it because “big”.

            And do you know that Que/Colorado the last team to draft three consecutive #1 (1989-1991) traded all three of them before winning Cup in 1996. I know that Lindros trade was major exception. But they dealt Nolan at the start of 1995/1996 season.

            You keep making this point as though it contradicts what I’ve been saying. It does not.

            And going by ES minutes is cherry picking and you know it. Sharp played the 6th most PK minutes and 2nd most PP minutes of the forwards. He played 5th most TOI of all the forwards and you tried to suggest he wasn’t top-six.

            Most people define their lines by who plays on the top 2 EV lines, not necessarily by who are the best players. I never suggested he wasn’t one of their best players, just that he didn’t play top six minutes at EV – you know, the way people usually define lines (unless it contradicts their point I guess).

            Interestingly, like Sharp, Horcoff is 5th among Oiler forwards in total minutes thanks to PP and PK time. Is he top six? In that case – taadaa veteran center 6’1 207 Lbs.

          • Jason Gregor

            Who defines 2nd line players just by ES icetime? I didn’t see that in the 2nd line handbook.

            Most people use TOI to determine who is their most important and used forwards…Usually their top-six, except sometimes the 3rd centre.

            And you said Oilers are close to Chicago when in fact they aren’t. Not close. Write whatever you want, but they aren’t similar. Not at all.

            I wrote from the beginning the make up of the team wasn’t good. You choose not to see that. Make up includes many things including experience and age. You choose to ignore that and focused only on Clarkson…

            You missed the entire point…

          • You were focused on size and grit as always. You repeatedly asked if they looked like the top sixes you mentioned.

            I pointed out that Chicago’s top six was not especially gritty with the exception of Byfuglien. They, in fact, do not “look” that different.

            I’m not sure how I focused on Clarkson when I never referenced the man. I’m focused on the fact that you seem to believe the team should trade high end players for marginal players because “intangibles”. That kind of thinking is why bad teams stay bad.

            Can you point out where any of those four teams traded a first line quality player for a guy like Ladd or Brouwer?

            Right after CHI won the cup Ladd was traded for hardly anything and here you are wanting to offer a 9 for a 6 because of “fit”. These guys move around because they can be had. Yakupovs and Eberles are not so easy to come by.

            Out of curiosity – Has a #1 overall pick ever been traded during or after his first year in the league? I can’t remember any except holdouts.

          • Also…

            Most people use TOI to determine who is their most important and used forwards…Usually their top-six

            How does this contradict what I said? You didn’t answer as to whether or not Horcoff is top six given his similar usage.

          • Jason Gregor

            Most people define their lines by who plays on the top 2 EV lines, not necessarily by who are the best players. I never suggested he wasn’t one of their best players, just that he didn’t play top six minutes at EV – you know, the way people usually define lines (unless it contradicts their point I guess).

            You said people define lines by ES, not TOI. Pretty straight forward. You tried to say Sharp wasn’t in their top-six, ridiculous point.

            I’m not sure how I focused on Clarkson when I never referenced the man. I’m focused on the fact that you seem to believe the team should trade high end players for marginal players because “intangibles”. That kind of thinking is why bad teams stay bad.

            Bad teams stay bad because they move veterans for prospects and picks, continually.

            Who said marginal players? Oilers will trade a guy who might put up more points, but the fact it they all can’t put up big numbers in Edmonton. History shows that, so they will sacrifice a guy with more scoring potential for guys with size, toughness, experience and skill.
            Which I wrote in the article, but they need more size, toughness, and experience in their top six.

            I used Clarkson as an example of the style of player. And stated that. Never said I would make that deal, used him as an example they type of player. I don’t use Lucic cause Boston wouldn’t trade him. Also Clarkson was 5th highest scorer on Cup finalist. I’d say he’s a tad better than marginal. Seems to fit in as top-six forward. But I guess cause he doesn’t score 70 points he’s brutal.

            You assumed, incorrectly, that I said give up elite for average/marginal. You took point to the extreme to make your point. Not sure why, other than to argue.

            It will happen.

          • To repeat this back for clarity, you essentially said, “here is the type of trade they should make, but I’m not saying they should make this trade”. Huh.

            As for my taking your point to the extreme – every player I referenced was specifically mentioned in your post, so how I misunderstood or took it “to the extreme” is beyond me. Your premise is just that absurd to begin with.

            You still haven’t responded as to whether or not Horcoff is a top six player, or if Staal was in PIT.

            Maybe when you let me know your preferred method of determining who is a top six player we can get somewhere, because right now it seems to be, “whoever Gregor says”. Maybe you could write up a memo letting me know who you want to be each team’s top six so we have a framework.

            The most hilarious thing is that you haven’t even used the one argument that clearly proves me wrong about Sharp. You just sputter about his minutes and points.

            Speaking of “extreme” – how does it follow that because I wouldn’t trade a #1 overall pick for Clarkson I believe he’s “brutal” or that I believe he can’t play in the top six? I don’t even know what to say to such a brutal misrepresentation of anything I have ever said. There is probably no point in even addressing it.

            Hey, you know Dustin Penner is big and played top six in the playoffs for a cup winner. We should probably offer Hopkins.

    • Ducey

      Yak for the Buf? in a f–king heartbeat. are you kidding me? you guys have to get over your fascination with what you percieve as ‘skill’. you do not need or want 6 or 7 danglers on one team. 4 is about right. Hall/RNH/Ebs + one more is enough. trade the other danglers for different types of skill. I’d trade Yak for Lucic just as fast. too many people look at the player and think ‘he could be a 40 goal scorer’ without considering team needs and surpluses. Yak could probably net 2 or 3 very needed players.

  • vetinari

    I’d love to see our GM actually add pieces through UFA’s because in those situations, we don’t give up players from a position of weakness to fill holes– those trades tend to be to augment rosters not compensate for what’s clearly missing in the lineup.

    Of course, our brain trust collectively decided a couple years ago that we needed grit and faceoff ability (which was true) and they added Eager, Hordichuk and Belanger as a result. The results have been 2 out of 3 sent to the minors after clearing waivers, and the third being a frequent flyer on the injury reserved list.

    I suspect that we will be deadline sellers even if we are a few points out because this roster, as it currently stands, would get killed in the playoffs because that’s when teams get really disciplined and tight, and we can’t yet compete on that level on a consistent basis, and guys like Khabibulin and Jones will have no value to us past April 3rd.

    I think that Yak and Paajarvi are the most disposable/tradable of the recent first rounders, but they may be more tradable in June when teams have to roll back under the new cap for 2013-14 and teams may be willing to dump quality but pricey veterans for youth.

    Frankly, I expect a modest to quiet trade deadline for OilerNation but a busy draft day through to the UFA season.

  • Bucknuck

    Jason, your a smart hockey brain and I’ve been reading your articles for years; but you seem desperate now to win some hockey games. I understand the regular season and the playoffs are a whole different animal. Big teams wear down the opposition. But your patience is needed a little bit longer. Let’s say 5 years from now if yakupov turns into a 40 goal scorer and we are a playoff contender. Wouldn’t we be looking at him as a rental at the trade deadline if we traded him today ?

    • Jason Gregor

      Zack,

      In five years you think the Oilers will be able to afford 4,14,93,89,64, 91, Schultz and this year’s top pick?

      And that they will win with all skilled forwards, with not much size?

      How do you see the Oilers getting bigger in their top-six and wearing down teams, if you don’t move any of the current players. I don’t see them suddenly growing and getting bigger.

      And I never said the deal happens today, but they will happen in the next two years.

        • Jason Gregor

          RNH and Schultz ELC ends next year, Yakupov ends in 2014. That is only two years man. The Oilers set bar too high with Hall/Eberle signings, you don’t think RNH and Yak will look for same.

          I’d hope Oilers look at J.Schultz like Subban, but I’m not convinced.

          • This is an interesting topic here. As long as all those guys want is the same, and they are good enough for it, this is not really a problem.

            Last year some time I looked around at salaries around the league and I noticed that most of the top teams had about 33-37M in salary tied up in their best 6 players. The could sign all 5 of these guys to identical 6M deals and would still only be at 30 for their top 5 contracts, meaning they could still pay a pretty high quality defenseman. I also suspect that by the time Yakupov is due in 2015 (not 2014) the cap will be at least back to where it is right now. PIT has 32.4M tied up in their top 5 contracts right now, and over 36 in their top 6.

      • Crispy

        I think we could afford all of those players. Paarvi should be relatively cheap. Right now we’re paying Horcoff, Hemsky, Whitney, and Khabibulin 18.25 million. In 5 years those contracts will be gone. That money should be enough to sign 93, 64, and 19, and we will have to give Gagner about a 2 mil raise if he keeps playing like this.
        As far as size / grit, if we continue to suck this year we may have a shot at drafting Monahen, and hopefully Hartikainen will improve.
        Also 5 years is a long time, the cap will likely be higher than it is now in 2018.

      • Oilfred

        I don’t know man. Hall is already a beast and we will be talking about him like we do Hossa soon. PRV is doing Power forward thing more and getting quite good at it.

        You say that teams can’t win with just skill but when was the last time a team tried with this kind of talent?

  • Muji

    Hemsky for clarkson seem fair. But you don’t trade 1st overall picks in today’s NHL. And if you do it’s a blockbuster trade where we benefit greatly not just a quick upgrade.

  • John Chambers

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

    While the Oiler forwards may not resemble the flavour of the year SC Champion LA Kings’, I think Jonathon Quick’s 940 Save % and 1.36 GAA going into Game 6 played a big part.

  • DieHard

    I agree, something has to be done. Probably Hemsky and Gagner and another high end prospect BUT not for about 2 more years. I believe we need to keep YAK though.

  • RNH, Eberle, Yak, Hall, and Schultz are Untouchable. Absolutely untouchable.

    The fact is the Oilers only know how much the Cap is going to be next year. After that it is a mystery. The Cap rose every single year in the last CBA, it will likely continue to do so.

    The Oilers are not in a Cap bind with their young players. If they arent int a crunch then they have the luxury of waiting for Yak and RNH to emerge.

    Trading Yakupov today would be a terrible mistake. What if Stamkos was traded while Barry Melrose was the Coach and he was struggling?

    • Newj

      You said it Indiana…RNH, Eberle, Yak, Hall, and Schultz are Untouchable. Absolutely untouchable.

      After that its up for discussion.

      But its too early to trade any of the 5 youngsters until we know what they can or cant do.

  • bazmagoo

    Trading Yakupov would be a major error in judgement. The kids got a great attitude and has the potential to be a consistent top 25 scorer in the league (or higher).

    The only top 6 type forward we should be looking at trading is Hemsky, but it would also have to be a hockey trade. No more trades for picks, we need veterans who can perform on a consistent basis.

    Oilersnation continues to be in panic mode, but to be honest I can’t understand why. Anyone who watched the first 10 games of the season should have known there was zero chance this team would make the playoffs (still hoping they prove me wrong) but the arrows are all pointing in the right direction. Just need a little more stability on d, more size upfront (note Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, and RNH will all get bigger/stronger over the next 5 years as well as they grow into their bodies) and a little more consistent goaltending.

    Slowly but surely we are becoming more and more competitive, it isn’t likely to happen over night

  • BigE91

    What’s needed in the top 6 is someone in the mold of Bill Guerin. Hard nosed, heavy game with 30 goal potential. Maybe I missing them but I just don’t see many of that type of player around the league right now.

    Maybe Ryan O’Reilly but he’s not moving for a year now.

  • BRHLBryce

    If any of the big 5 (Hall-Ebs-Nuge-Yak-Schultz) has to be traded, you would want to trade the least dynamic of the group. Looking 2-3 years down the road when the contracts are the concern, it HAS to be Eberle that is moved.

    I love Ebs, but lets face it, the upside of everyone else on that list surpasses Eberle, and will be more valuable to us in the longterm. Add in his sp% regression to the norm, and Eberle is probably overpaid on his extension.

    If Ebs is traded to get us that top pairing dman, or big bodied top 6 forward, it would make sense.

    That being said, with tambo at the help, I am sure we deal Whitney and Jones for picks, and stand pat, yet again.

    • BigE91

      Come again? You’re going to move the guy that has been compared to Joe Sakic in terms of skill set and hockey sense?

      Personally, I can’t say which one I’d move. To me Schultz will likely become the cornerstone if he lives up to his potential. Hall can be that power forward and I think the jury is out on RNH and Yakupov. Though if RNH’s offense catches up with his defensive game he will be hard to move.

      Right now Yakupov is the wild card. He hasn’t played himself into a top 6 role YET but he may soon and that will make the decision making process much tougher for the Oilers middling upper management.

  • justDOit

    So Gregor, feeling a bit defensive for the Clarkson trade suggestion are we? I don’t know that we needed a whole other blog to go over this point.

    So you want to switch up the skill players for grit and/or defense. I can do that. Clarkson for Yakupov in no way makes sense. What you add to that, go ahead and suggest it. I see Yakupov, as the #1 overall pick, and proving to be worth that pick, being as equal value as one of the top young defensemen in the game. Yes there’s a risk he doesn’t pan out, but there’s also a lot more time on his RFA status that pretty much everyone in the league. That’s going to be worth more than you think when the new cap kicks in.

    IMO Eberle, Hall, Nuge, Yakupov are the most important pieces of this rebuild. Ideally we can keep Gagner and MPS as well. Schultz(19) is probably a very important player to build a blue line, and we’ll need to keep guys like Smid for this team to really work.

    I guess the point I’m making is that if you do sell a young guy, who is a big part of the core of the team, you better be able to fill all the holes on the team, not just one. Thornton got 3 role players for one skill player. And still the Bruins looked stupid for that trade. And you’d give up Yak for less? That’s where I had an issue.

  • BRHLBryce

    take a shot at Tyler Myers at 5.5 million? You could get him relatively cheap from Buffalo (as in PRV gets a quick yes), he has 8 years at 5.5 left, which is brutal if he plays like he has this year. But if he rebounds, and plays like he did the first 3 years? There’s your top pairing young, monster dman.

    If he doesn’t is management willing to use a compliance buyout on him down the road?

    Unfortunately, that outside the box thinking is not prevalent. I guess we wait till Tambo gets fired and see what MacT does

    FTNF

    • Ducey

      Thats a big risk. Myers numbers have been going down steadily. He might rebound but you have to figure his confidence may be shot – maybe for good.

      I’d take a flyer on him but I would not want to give MPS for him, especially with that contract. He could be an anchor, even with a buyout.

      MPS is going to be a stud two way forward in a few years. Just what the Oilers need. He likely will average around 35 – 40 pts, so he shouldn’t get too expensive.

      I might be inclined to give up Hemsky for him if they take Eager’s contract or throw in a pick.

  • T__Bone88

    Maybe a possible Yakupov for James Neal in the summer might work out as a trade? I believe some report was saying that Pittsburgh is loading up for this year because in the next few years might run into cap issues especially with Malkin and Letang coming up for resigning in 2014. So basically it would allow Pittsburgh to free up some cap room and still have a potential 40 goal/80 point player in Yakupov that would look good with Crosby/Malkin. Oilers would get a bigger player in Neal.

    • washed up

      I Agree. That’s one of the big adavatages that Yakapov has. He’s cheap. For the next few years anyway. That’s a big asset when talking trades in this cap era.

  • BRHLBryce

    How does who he’s been compared to (rightly or wrongly) have any effect on what his longterm ability is?

    Again, I like Eberle, but of the big 5? He’s the most expendable, since he doesn’t have nearly the ceiling that the others do. His skating will never be great, he isn’t big, and has no physical game at all.

    As far as Sakic, as someone living in Denver, if anyone is Sakic like, it’s the Nuge.

  • justDOit

    LeBrun said today that he wouldn’t be surprised to see J Jokinen moved soon, but either Carolina keeps some salary, or takes back a player on the deal. Eager for JJ sounds about right then, if the Oilers can take his $3M salary next season – I don’t claim to have enough time to delve into any team’s cap management strategies.

  • Ducey

    I have the same mind set of management. Raise tickets prices and concessions up 5 to 10 per cent, put two or three more new rookies in the squad, resign smitty and horkoff to 5 year contracts, resign smid whitney fistric and gagner and don’t bring in any other players. Hold on crickets crickets from managements office. We can keep bashing other organizations on how poorly they run there team but WE ARE THE JOKE OF LEAGUE. Great supportive fans but the worst run club. Down with the evil empire.

  • Oilerfan4ever

    JG, I couldn’t agree more with your article. The truth is the Oilers have a great nucleus to build from but they are missing that size,toughness and grit that will make them a playoff and potential stanley cup contender in years to come!

    I just don’t think under the current regime of ST,KL and Co. that they have the ability to make such moves……….I don’t know how as fans we can see there are pieces missing and they working from the inside cannot make the connection.

    As always the frustration builds. Serenity now, serenity now!!