Chicago and Pittsburgh and Edmonton

Photo: Andy/Wikimedia

With the Oilers all but eliminated from the post-season – their fourth consecutive regulation loss dropped their chances to 1-in-40 – and the outcome of this campaign nearly in the books, it seemed a good time to compare the progress of the Oilers’ rebuild to successful ones in Pittsburgh and Chicago

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A lot goes into building a team beyond selecting early in the draft; these are by necessity abbreviated timelines.


  • 2005-06: Finished 14th in the West. Drafted Jonathan Toews
  • 2006-07: Finished 13th in the West, won draft lottery. Selected Patrick Kane.
  • 2007-08: Rookie seasons for Toews and Kane. Chicago finishes in a three-way tie for ninth in the West.
  • 2008-09: Second year of Kane/Toews deals. Chicago goes to the Conference Finals. General manager Dale Tallon demoted.
  • 2009-10: Final year of Kane/Toews entry-level deals. Chicago wins the Stanley Cup.
  • Summer 2010: Entry-level deals of Kane/Toews end; Chicago dumps a bunch of talent and the franchise regresses. Still a power in the West, but has lost in the first round each of the past two seasons.

Thanks to some poor management decisions along the way, new contracts for Kane and Toews triggered a series of trades that saw talent and money sent out of town – significant players like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell and others would be purged from the roster and it’s taken two years for the team to recover.


  • 2002-03: Finished 14th in the West. Drafted Marc-Andre Fleury 1st overall.
  • 2003-04: First year of Fleury’s entry-level deal. Pittsburgh finishes 15th in the East, drafts Evgeni Malkin second overall.
  • 2004-05: Lockout. A year of Fleury’s entry-level deal burned. Pittsburgh wins lottery, drafts Sidney Crosby first overall.
  • 2005-06: Final year of Fleury’s entry-level deal, Crosby’s starts. Pittsburgh finishes 15th in the East, drafts Jordan Staal. General manager Craig Patrick replaced. Fleury signs a two-year deal with a $1.295 million cap hit.
  • 2006-07: Second year of Crosby’s entry-level deal, first year of Malkin’s, first year of Fleury’s cheap two-year contract. Pittsburgh eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 2007-08: Final year of Crosby’s entry-level deal and Fleury’s cheap two-year contract. Second year of Malkin’s entry-level deal. Pittsburgh eliminated in the Stanley cup Finals.
  • 2008-09: Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh remains a power in the East, though shaky goaltending and defence has been a problem the last two years in first-round exits.


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  • 2009-10: Finished 15th in the West. Drafted Taylor Hall first overall.
  • 2010-11: First year of Hall’s entry-level deal. Oilers finish 15th in the West, draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall.
  • 2011-12: Second year of Hall’s entry-level deal, first of Nugent-Hopkins’. Oilers finish 14th in the West, draft Nail Yakupov first overall.
  • 2013: Present day. Final year of Hall’s entry-level deal, second of Nugent-Hopkins’, first of Yakupov’s.

Where are the Oilers – in terms of on-ice performance – today? Somewhere shy of Chicago in 2007-08, somewhere north of Pittsburgh in 2005-06? Chicago was two seasons out from the Stanley Cup in 2007-08, Pittsburgh two from a finals appearance.

One thing both Pittsburgh and Chicago had in common was that neither paid big money for their key pieces until they’d had some playoff success – Chicago’s top picks were still on entry-level deals when they won the Cup, Crosby and Malkin were both still on entry-level deals when Pittsburgh went to the Finals and Fleury was on a cheap bridge contract. The Oilers, on the other hand, are about to see Taylor Hall (and Jordan Eberle) graduate to the ranks of paid NHL stars.

Another thing Pittsburgh and Chicago had in common around this time was a change at the top. Craig Patrick, owing to the failures of his team, was dismissed around this time. Dale Tallon, owing less to failures of the team and more to salary problems (including that famous RFA incident), had just a year left in the top job at this point in the Chicago timeline. The safety of the Oilers’ management group is an unknown, though nothing in the team’s on-ice performance should make Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini and the rest feel comfortable.

As Pittsburgh shows, a lack of playoff hockey at this point doesn’t necessarily mean that the rebuild has failed or will fail – the Penguins recovered nicely in the years following their miserable 2005-06 campaign. Whether similar progression lies in the Oilers’ future remains to be seen.

Recently around the Nation Network

  • Oilfred

    Did LA have big game players in their lineup still on their ELCs last year?

    Did LA trade a player that was in his ELC to get players with larger salaries?

    Did LA win the cup last year?

    No, yes and yes.

    They also traded away Simmonds who had a friendly cap hit of 1.75m.

    The only real contract they had in their cup winning year where the price point was considerably low for the players talent level was J. Quick.

    Also worth noting is the fact that Doughty was in his first year of his first post ELC. 7mil.

    There are more examples of teams that had horrible seasons (9 for LA if you count the lockout year) then Chi-town and the steel city that went on to win. Just some food for thought.

    Now put down the pitchforks! lol

    • Oilfred

      Yeah, and not to mention Detroit…I think ELC’s are for AHL only in that organization.

      Boston? I guess Seguin was in his ELC. Marchand probably was too. Seguin barely played though…so maybe it’s not as important as we think.

      ELC’s are important now for the Oilers because we give guys like Horcoff $5.5M…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Good thing Gretzky,Messier,Coffey,Fuhr and Kurri didn’t know they were playing in a dump back then. They could’ve had it so much better somewhere else.

      When the hockey team is this bad, for this long, I guess it’s only natural for the sheep to get distracted and turn their focus to the building. Katz makes nearly 20 million in profits a year in the current facility. If that’s inadequate, let him pay for the new building without taxpayer dollars. He’d have every cent of his money back inside of 10 yrs. I’m sure the city would make good use of the projected 50 million in profits per yr if this new facility gets built.

      Starting to look like time is running out on this project. It’s about to become a make or break issue in the upcoming election. I’d laugh if they wasted millions to get things started and then shipcanned the whole thing with a new city council and mayor. The building isn’t even started yet and the roads in Edmonton have the look of a 3rd world country already.

  • John Chambers

    On Jan 19, 2008, Patrick Lalime won in a shootout, and the Hawks record after 48 games stood at 23-21-4, good for 50 points. That capped a 4-game win streak (following a 7-game skid, all with Khabibulin in net). After 44 games the Hawks had just 42 points.

    This seems almost exactly where the Oilers are right now. Hall, Eberle, and Gagner are like Keith, Seabrook, Tuomo Ruutu (soon traded for Andrew Ladd), while Nuge and Yak are similar to, at that time, rookies Toews and Kane.

    The Oilers have for good or ill climbed out of the league’s basement, and have nice pieces like Schultz, Smid, Petry, Paajarvi, etc who will compliment the core. Adding two top-pair Dman would at this point be akin to adding Campbell and Hossa.

    The Oilers are a playoff team next year. Book it. But to follow the Chicago model they’re short two impact players, and need to see Paajarvi, Hartikainen, and Klefbom rapidly emerge into Bolland, Byfuglien, and Hjalmarsson.

    • RexLibris

      Maybe lets not have Paajarvi, Hartikainen or Klefbom become Byfuglien, okay.


      I get where you are coming from and agree. Patience is needed, but also the expectation that smart decisions will be made.

  • John Chambers

    Good point about Seabrook and Keith. But Dmen are more difficult to project which is why it’s very rare you see a Dman taken 1st overall. Chicago got it right with Seabrook and hit a home run with Keith, but they also drafted Cam Barker 3rd overall.

    Would you rather that the Oilers have Thomas Hickey rather than Sam Gagner?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The key difference is in player POSITION.

    A lot of teams have experienced several years of consecutive lottery picks. Pittsburgh and Chicago eventually built themselves into contenders, but teams like Columbus, NYI and Florida have not. What differentiates the Pitt and Chi rebuilds is that their best forwards were their centers: Crosby/Malkin/Staal and Toews/Sharp/Bolland (yes Sharp played center that year). You can make a finicky point about Kane, but Toews/Sharp are better when you actually look past the stats and watch the games at both ends of the ice.

    This should be no surprise when the perennial contenders over the past 30 years had 2 elite centers and a solid checking center. Gretzky/Messier/MacTavish, Lemieux/Francis/Trottier, Sakic/Forsberg/Ricci, Yzerman/Fedorov/Draper, Modano/Nieuwendyk/Carbonneau, Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Draper… So there are some exceptions to this (NJD) but there’s definitely a trend there.

    I have too many doubts thinking that a team building around wingers can seriously contend for the Cup, especially when teams now have to operate under a salary cap and devote limited cap space to the most important positions. I think that’s why so many fans are critical of Sam Gagner; he’s nowhere close to being a contending 2C.

    • DSF


      All day long.

      Also worth noting that virtually every cup winner has a dominant #1D and an above average goaltender.

      Not only do the Oilers have glaring weaknesses as centre, they don’t have even one top pairing defenseman and Dubnyk is NOT above average.

        • DSF

          He certainly wouldn’t be my choice to backstop a cup winning team but Pittsburgh has the fire power to overcome that weakness most of the time.

          You could make the argument that Fleury is the main reason the Penguins haven’t won a cup since 08/09.

        • MarcusBillius

          I don’t know about Dubnyk vs Fleury (IMO Dubey is better), but I wonder why you didn’t start the Oilers rebuild years with the Gagner draft. Seems like a logical starting point – if disagreeable from Kevin Lowe’s perspective, and if anything you’re more logical than most and not particularly known to be a management lapdog.

  • Oilfred

    I don’t believe that the current management team has the guts to make the moves that this team needs to make in order to take the next step. They will likely use this close-but-no-cigar run as a crutch. If and when Tambellini is finally fired, it will probably be Lowe or MacT taking over anyways. The old boys club never leaves town. Too much buddy buddy between the owner and management if you ask me.

  • toprightcorner

    One other slight difference is that Toews spent an additional year in junior developing and Malkin developed for 3 years before playing in the NHL. That additional maturing time does make a difference that is not measurable.

    Hall, Nuge and Yak all played in the year after they were drafted. Not that they were not capable of making the jump but being the first overall pick forced their hand. If Yak and Nuge were a number 2 picks, they may have played one more year of junior for more development and to grow physically.

    I would suggest that if by game 40 next season, if significant pieces are not put in place to address weaknesses like top 4 D and top six with size that there definitely needs to be a change in management.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Game 40?? With the team they are icing they could be out of the race and another season would be lost!! The draft and/or July 1st is when Tambi and company have to make a tough decision and move a young gun for either a top 2 defenseman or a big body with skill to play top 6.

    This whole Omark for Crosby mentality is ridiculous. You have to sacrifice something good to get something back. There are prospects aplenty, and lots of time to feel out who they want and who is going the other way. Hemsky and Whitney are the obvious names, but to truly make this team a playoff contender someone from 89,93,14,4,91, or 64 will need to be included.

    Hope the Oiler brass has the balls to pull the trigger, otherwise this could end up being the Islanders sooner than one might think.

  • toprightcorner

    Do we add stars like Weber and Vanek to next years acquisitions , or do we add lesser talents for bottom 3-4th line ? Combination of both plausible ? I do not seeing us stay put like prior years .

      • I don’t care what anybody says, Weber WILL be available, not only that teams can now buy back salary, even bonus salary.

        If Poile can get a center, a useful 2nd pairing defensmen, a daft pick and a prospect he will move Weber

        This makes Nashville stronger.

        • DSF

          The only centre the Oilers have that the Predators would want is Hopkins.

          Ready to ship him out?

          The only “useful” 2nd pairing defenseman the Oilers have that the Predators would want is Justin Schultz.

          Ready to move him out?

          And lets not even discuss Nashville wanting Gagner or Petry.

          The Preds already have Legwand, Fischer and Colin Wilson who are all better than Gagner and they have three very good young defensemen in Josi, Blum and Ellis.

          The Oilers don’t have anything the Predators need except perhaps Hemsky and he’s not going to get you anywhere near Weber.

          Can you imagine the package Philadelphia could put together for Weber?

          • Yes, the Flyers have to shed salary too, however, I don’t think the Predators will be in a position to take on a lot of salary.

            Gagner does serve a purpose to the Predators, young, offensive and will come relatively cheap.

            Paajarvi – Smid, plus a prospect, a second round pick and a first round next year.

            That would do it.

          • DSF

            Gagner will not be cheap next season and would play 3rd line for the Preds…not happening.

            Paajarvi has almost zero value…he’s on pace for a 23 point season.

            Smid? Give me a break…he’d be third pairing in Nashville.

            That kind of junk doesn’t get you a Weber.

          • Ducey

            I agree the Preds are not trading Weber. Teams don’t trade their best player in his prime, except in exceptional circumstances.

            However, Gagner has 35 pts. The highest scoring forward on NSH is Legwand at 23 pts, followed by Fisher at 19 pts. They are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league and sit in the standing with the Oilers out of the playoffs.

            I would think they would have a lot of interest in Gagner and he would definitely be a top 6 forward and on their first PP unit.

            MPS has lots of value. I would think that most teams in the league would give the Oilers at 2nd rounder for him in a heartbeat. I would expect that in a year or two he will command much more than that. Hopefully the Oilers won’t give up on him so early.

        • DSF

          Danny Heatley will be bought out ($7.5M) and Vanek would replace Matt Cullen who is UFA ($3.5M)

          Also, with the emergence of Jonas Brodin as a top pairing D, I would not be surprised if they trade or buyout Tom Gilbert ($4M) who is in the dog house.

          Nick Backstrom is also a UFA and I would be shocked if gets another contract for $6M.

          • Citizen David

            Adding Vanek would probably push them into cup contention in my books. Not sure they’ll like his salary. Who will they give up to get him? Don’t want to completely empty the prospect cupboards.

            Also, I’m not wild about their D.

          • DSF

            Vanek has already said he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild so he’s already lowered his value somewhat.

            Minnesota might be in a position to offer their first round pick and a prospect to get him.

            I agree they need another solid second pairing D but they have Marco Scandella and Matt Dumba coming so they may be okay.

          • Ducey

            Whats this? Gilbert is in the doghouse?

            The N Schultz for Gilbert trade is often cited as one of Tambo’s failures. I have to say I liked Gilbert more than most and was surprised at the trade.

            I am interested in knowing more about Gilbert’s problems. Do tell.

  • This is why the Oilers and all there PR men have to get the hell off Lazar.

    This honestly scares the sh!t out of me! Mostly because I think the Oilers are inept at honestly assessing talent, despite that many people consider Stu Macgregor as magnificent, I don’t, I also think the pro and amature scouting is just a step up from horrific.

    The only way the Oilers get that 2nd elite center is by drafting him, there are elite centers in this draft to be had.

    If the Oilers can make a deal with the Hurricanes, Flyers or N.J being a prime target they could get another bullet to use on the much need size and skill.

    The Oilers could draft an elite center the go after a big LW.

    These players should all be available to trade

    Gagner – Petry – Smid – Schultz sr. – Hemsky – Paajarvi – Hartikinanen – any Jr hockey player plus, two 2nd round picks.

    I have very little faith the Oilers can be aggressive enough to make this happen

  • RexLibris

    There are some themes that I found common in studying rebuilds.

    1. It has to start with management and be a long-term process to have a chance at success.

    The Oilers have.

    2. It needs to focus on drafting and development.

    Again, done. Not expertly, but a wide margin from where it was when this process began (which was roughly January 2010).

    3. Intelligent decisions need to be made with draft picks and an avoidance of focusing on a particular type of player to the exclusion of all-around talent.

    Fail. They have been obsessed with adding the scoring-with-size type for so long they have wasted several years’ draft picks on the Abneys, Jacques’, and others in that same vein.

    4. Every rebuild is different and no two are alike.

    The Oilers’ rebuild is a hybrid of many different approaches tailored to suit their own circumstances.

    This isn’t to suggest that it is necessarily the correct one, or that a correct one even exists, but rather that the Oilers had to restock on high-end talent, the injury bug gave them a great opportunity, and the years in which they were drafting were more or less dominated by a single talent choice at the top.

    The Flames are starting their rebuild and have entirely different circumstances. They have a serviceable bottom-six, two good defensive options, and a boatload of goaltending prospects that can be tried out before any elite talent arrives. They also have virtually no real prospect depth that is NHL-ready and a management group that seems to lack a grasp of reality.

    Look for the Oilers to make improvements in the details of the game: special teams, goal differential, the advanced analytics of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins.

    We’re all getting hung up on where we’re going to put the patio when the foundation is just drying.

    That being said, let’s fire Tambellini and replace him with Bob Green. 😉

    • DSF

      As stated earlier, any successful team is built from the back end out and down the middle.

      The Oilers have an average starting goaltender, the defense is a mess without even ONE top pairing D and among the worst centre depth in the league.

      Some foundation.

    • DSF

      If Hall was a centre…but he isn’t.

      And Hopkins has regressed and can’t win a faceoff to save his life.

      When you look at the centres they’ll be facing in the new Pacific division, they are dreadful.

      Vancouver can run out Sedin, Kesler and Roy…all of whom are better than Hopkins.

      LA has Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Stoll.

      SJ has Thornton, Couture and Pavelski

      Anaheim has Getzlaf, Koivu and Winnik

      That’s like taking a knife to a gunfight.

      • Natedogg

        Ya, but we have Smithson!!!

        Oilers should have gone after Ott last year.
        Would have killed two birds with one stone..
        He’s a Rat and darn good face off guy.

        Friend of mine has this Chrome bulls ball to cover the trailer hitch on his 150… should send some of these down to the Oilers Ivory Tower, they can strap them on and make some calls.

        • DSF

          It’s very interesting to compare what the Canucks and Oilers did at the deadline.

          While the Oilers have been drafting top 10 for eons and the Canucks have been drafting in the bottom 5, the Canucks had the assets to acquire Derek Roy who was Buffalo’s first line centre last year.

          While Gills was able to pull that off, all Tambellini could come up with is Smithson.

          • Natedogg

            Maybe you should wait until you see what VAN looks like heading into training camp next year before heaping too much praise on Gillis. $1.4M in cap space with 15 players signed is quite the pickle…

          • Natedogg

            Given that Roberto is still a Canuck, I assume Gillis wants something in return for the asset. That something will most likely have an equally (or close) ugly cap hit. The buyout of Lu would be a PR disaster after a 1st round playoff exit 😉

          • Natedogg

            How do you drink Koolaid on the coast with no cups? No caproom = no flexibility. A “very smart GM” doesn’t put an obviously devastated player in front of a microphone 10 minutes after his trade out of town falls apart. The cap next year is going to have a major impact on that roster. It’s now or never….

          • Natedogg

            If he ends up in Florida VAN is taking on some of Lu’s contract or they’re getting Jovo or Campbell. FLA has absolutely no incentive to give up anything of value to acquire a player who so obviously wants to be traded there. Just ask Dean Lombardi…

          • Time Travelling Sean

            What flexibility? They apparently have 1.4M in cap space with 15 players signed.

            Smart GM? He was the idiot who signed Ballard and Lu in the first place.

            Re you saying Carter doesn’t play center but could, well so could Hall.

            Holland is a blue chipper, but who knows, maybe injuries kill his career, maybe he never translates his AHL game to the NHL. He isn’t established so he isn’t really a concrete option.

            Hopkins was playing through an injury, and if you look at his last 20 games he has 15 points and is +3 on a team with a -GD, all while playing unsheltered minutes against toughs, and is still a teenager…

          • DSF




            Do you know how many points Hopkins has this season against playoff teams?


            Yes, that’s right 9.

            He’s easy for a good team to shut down.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        Nucks will move Roy to the wing, one would think, Carter isn’t a C anymore, Couts doesn’t play C either, and Koivu is going to retire in a year or 2, so most of those teams have a 1/2 punch at C, RNH and Gags seem to compare well, if not favourably.

        RNH hasn’t regressed, he’s played through an injury, and last game, from what I saw, RNH was pretty competent in the dot. From everything everyone has been saying about face-offs anyway, is that you get better with experience, and RNH is a 2nd year pro.

        • DSF

          The Canucks won’t move Roy to wing…he’s the perfect 3rd line centre for them.

          And I realize Carter isn’t playing centre…doesn’t mean he can’t.

          Anaheim already has a replacement for Koivu in the organization….Peter Holland…6’2″ 195.

          Hopkins has been dreadful this season.

          He’s currently the 54th ranked centre in the league in points and, by the way. his FO% last night was 42%.

      • Natedogg

        DSF, I think you are underrating Nuge. Is he struggling on the dot? Definitely. Do I have my doubts about his ceiling? Definitely. He was the #1 pick in a weak draft year.

        That being said, he will improve with age and in a couple of seasons will be better than the majority of the pivots you listed here.

        Vancouver – Sedin is better now, but will not be in two years. I like Kesler, but when you play only 9 games in a season you can’t be compared to anyone – he is at the age where the wear and tear is starting to take its toll. Roy being better – ROTFLMAO. Did you have too much BC bud today already?

        LA – All are better on the dot, but only Kopitar and Carter (when he plays center) bring more offence. As much as I love what Stoll brings to the table, his best days are behind him. FWIW, Nuge is likely better defensively than Carter and Richards already. Surprises the heck out of me as well, but neither of the Philly boys had a rep for their defence anyway.

        SJ – Again, all are better on the dot. That being said, Jumbo Joe is slwoing noticeably in his old age, and Pavelski is as good as he will get. Couture is an interesting one, but since he is a few years older it is tough to say who will be better in the end between him and Nuge.

        Anaheim – Getzlaf is better no questions asked, but Koivu and Winnick? Come on DSF, you have to let the blinders of hatred towards anything Oilers go at some point.

        FWIW, the common denominator on all of those teams is a much stronger defensive corps than what the Oilers have (and likely will next year, unfortunately). That helps a centreman immensely with both d-zone responsibilities and the fast transition that leads to more scoring opportunities. While I am not sold on Nuge ever being one of top 5 first line centers, he will develop into a solid top line pivot.

        • DSF

          You expect Hopkins will be a better in a couple of years and I don’t disagree.

          What you’re assuming is the GM’s of competing teams will sit on their hands like Lowe and Co. and wait for that to happen while not doing anything to improve their teams.

          That is NOT going to happen.

          Gillis, Lombardi and Wilson are very good at their jobs and, if there is a weakness in their teams, they address it immediately.

          You assume Hopkins will be better than Sedin in 2 years with absolutely no evidence to back it up.

          You assume Hopkins is better than Carter and Richards with no evidence to back it up.

          I agree SJ needs a renewal but don’t assume Wilson won’t do anything to keep his team in the hunt. He always does.

          Saku Koivu IS a better player right now than Hopkins and anyone who can’t see that doesn’t know much about hockey.

          Considering Getzlaf isn’t going anywhere, all Anaheim has to do is come up with a second line centre who is better than Gagner…shouldn’t be too hard.

          Winnik is a great 3rd line centre and I expect he’ll be much better than Horcoff as the years pass.

          Blaming everything on the Oilers D is a convenient excuse so perhaps you can explain to me how a centre who is younger than Hopkins and playing on a horrible team in Florida is outscoring Hopkins 27-22?

          • Natedogg

            I’m no surgeon, but if playing doesn’t pose the threat of making it worse and they can play through the pain then they’re going to play. If the injury is aggravated to the point where the pain is too much, the player is shut down. That’s how I remember Hemsky (twice), Horcoff and Hall playing with shoulder injuries being justified.

          • DSF

            To what end?

            If Hopkins needs surgery he should get it now so he’s fully recovered to start training camp.

            Remember this season is going later in the year than normal so offseason recovery time is going to be much shorter.

          • Natedogg

            A 19 year old learning what it’s like to be in an NHL playoff hunt seems like a justifiable end. If the Oil keep sliding out of the race I won’t be shocked to see RNH shut down in the next two weeks. Mid-to-late April is no later than any other year. That’s valuable for a young player.

          • DSF

            The NHL season, in a normal year, is already over.

            The Oilers are already out of the race…have been for more than a week.

            If he’s seriously injured they would have already shut him down.

          • Time Travelling Sean

            Re that last bit, RNH was playing through an injury, and isn’t getting sheltered minutes, and is focusing more on defense, considering he’s +1 on a team with a -GD, while Hubby is -12? or -13 now and seems to be drying up recently anyway.

  • Natedogg

    Crosby is listed at an $8.7M cap hit that year. Pittsburgh still won the Cup with a middling overall cap #, but with Crosby at $8.7M, and all of Whitney, Guerin, Gonchar, Satan, Kunitz, Orpik, Fleury, and even Malkin’s cap hits at >$3.5M, many of their players were getting paid real dollars. Malkin remains a bargain at his rookie max cap hit and there are a handful of useful players making

  • Natedogg

    Dangling next years first round pick with a fledging veteran should be able to get us a star of note at center or defence. We have enough to develop already . Time to add more proven talent .

    Calgary not as bad on AHL level as some of you think . They have for next year players such as Bartchi . Not like our AHL team has above par AHL talent to be honest. Our players are still developing , and that is why we should be going after upgrading our subpar veteran core .

  • Oilers4ever

    I think we can all pretty much agree that unless this team addresses it’s size issue in the top 6 specifically and gets another puck moving D in the number 1-2 position, this team will continue to fail year in and year out. At some time you gotta stop relying on the draft and give the talent the role players needed. Their names don’t include Ryan Smyth, Eric Belanger, Corey Potter, Ryan Whitney, and the list goes on.

    There are three things in my mind the Oilers need to do this offseason. First, package Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky and the first round pick NEXT year to Phoenix and get Oliver Ekman-Larsson on your team. There’s your top dman you need. A lot to give up, sure, but who really sees either of those players as a long term part of this team? I sure don’t. I love Sam’s gamey attitude and never backs down. Fact of the matter still remains – too small. And we have FAR too much of that on this team.

    Second, make sure you tank the rest of this season enough to get either Barkov or Monahan. Both will replace Gagner as a center with offensive potential ANDDDD.. wait for it… size.

    Finally, and someone correct me if I am wrong here, sign Mike Smith in the off season to a long term deal as a UFA. Kids an awesome goalie. Sorry Dubby, but he blows your arse out of the water. I am tired of watching Dubynk cost us games. I get the offense needs to score more, but Dubby sucked the hind banana on two brutal goals last night and it cost us one point for sure. He has the odd outstanding game here and there, but for the most part, he’s got at least one bad goal per game. You don’t win the cup on the shoulders of that. Smith is a phenomenal goalie and immediately makes our goaltending better. If you have to throw 4-5 mill per season at him, DO IT. Lord knows this management team does nothing else. Do something right.

    And this allows me to add one final point, fire Tambo. Sorry bud… you’ve had three years to improve this team and have done nothing to do that. Your SCOUTING department has improved this team. Signing players like Belanger and Smyth has done more bad than good. Turf him and I’d like to see them give MacT a chance at the GM position. I think he’s got a few more brass balls and knows what its all about to be an Oiler and win. He’s the last darn coach that got us close to a cup and KLowe made the moves then to get us some players. Whine all you want about the old boys club, they’ve produced more than Tambo has… and Tambo doesn’t know what it means to be an Oiler and the legacy with that. And nor should he.

    I ain’t no oracle, but I am pretty sure if you make these moves and sign some GOOD role players in the offseason, this team would have the talent next year to finish 4-6 in the conference and maybe challenge the Wild for first.. yes the Wild. This is the Canucks last kick at the cat. They are regressing…

    • DSF

      Some regression.

      Played almost all season with only 2 NHL centres.

      8-2-0 in their last 10.

      On pace, over an 82 game season, for 107 points and their 6th consecutive NW Division title.

      Thing is, next season the Oilers won’t be in a division with the Wild.

      They’ll have to beat out LAK, SJS, ANA and VCR just to make the playoffs.

      Good luck with that.

      • Oilers4ever

        Hate the canucks but I’ve long admired Mike Gillis and his ability to evaluate and sign players for reasonable contracts, outside of Luongo. However this is a pivotal offseason for them as they do have to buy out 2 players, likely Booth and Ballard, but still have decisions to make after that. They’ll have roughly 9.7M next year to sign 8 players and Tanev, Raymond, and Roy are free agents.

      • Oilers4ever

        I forgot about that stupid arse realignment. Morons were thinking when they came up with that… They should have come up with something that was all Canada West from the Jets west to the Canucks and add the Wild and Avs… Playing with all the teams down the US west coast makes no sense…

      • Dawn

        “They’ll have to beat out LAK, SJS, ANA and VCR just to make the playoffs.”

        Actually, they only have to beat 2 of the above plus CAL & PHX (Seattle?) to make the playoffs, possibly only 1 if they have a points over the 4th in the other division. Beating all 4 of them would most likely put us at the top of the division.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Looking back, who would you choose out of the top picks the last few years?

    Hall/Seguin, RNH/Landeskog, Yak/Galchenyuk

    I still think I stick with the ones we have. If the Oilers took Seguin first, I wonder if they would have gone with Landeskog the next year… Seguin Landeskog Yakupov would be another impressive combination.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    This is the last time I’ll post this trade idea I promise, but trade Yakupov to the Capitals for Carlson. The guy is signed for 3.9 until 2018. Thats crazy value. Easier trading for needs than drafting for it. McPhee would have a hard time not making that.
    There is a very good possibility this team gets too expensive before it gets good. Manage the situation. A young, cap friendly, puck moving defenseman would win us games next year and help the cap situation down the road if all it cost was Yakupov. Rant over.

  • Word to the Bird

    I think some posters have already highlighted the biggest problem, but I’ll just reiterate. The Oilers will be a good team eventually. Our rebuild is different from
    Columbus and Florida’s already solely because we have better talent.

    That’s not the issue.

    The issue is that our team, once they DO get good, will be too expensive to hold on to. Sure Hall and Ebs will be making 6 million each, which is a bargain. But what about Gags? What about the other 3 wonder kids, who will each make 6 million? What about Dubnyk, assuming he keeps playing the way he does?

    The reason management needs to make moves now is because they have to seize the opportunity. If they keep waiting around like this then we’ll be in another loop.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    The weekend that was or wasn’t ? Oilers chasing Dallas,Detroit,Columbus,and Phoenix for last playoff spot . After tonites games most we are chasing should lose and hopefully Flames do us a favor and beat Phoenix . Saturday could see us beating Calgary while Columbus and Dallas lose again to superior clubs . This weekend could put us right back in the hunt for final playoff birth if all goes according to Hoyle . I believe it can and might . Despite our shortcomings , we are far from over the playoff race until at least this weekend , which seems to favor Oilers moving forward into the race.

  • The weekend that was or wasn’t ? Oilers chasing Dallas,Detroit,Columbus,and Phoenix for last playoff spot . After tonites games most we are chasing should lose and hopefully Flames do us a favor and beat Phoenix . Saturday could see us beating Calgary while Columbus and Dallas lose again to superior clubs . This weekend could put us right back in the hunt for final playoff birth if all goes according to Hoyle . I believe it can and might . Despite our shortcomings , we are far from over the playoff race until at least this weekend , which seems to favor Oilers moving forward into the race.

  • I’ve been waiting for these articles to start coming out…. Gonna be another summer of edmonton media preaching patience, comparing this team to Chicago and Pittsburgh. Telling us all how good this team will be one day and how many cups were gonna win. Lets all spend the summer getting our hopes built back up, we all know the routine of being an oiler fan. Where’s the draft party this year?

  • This was a good article with good comments too. Then I got to the second page and saw that 2 out of every 3 comments were by a duncecap named DSF, so I skipped the all of the last two pages.

    Hey Deliberate Statistical Fallacies, why don’t you do like NewAgeSys and make one ridiculously long-arsed post instead of 27 million short to medium sized posts?

    Or better yet, don’t post at all.

  • Light, Sweet, Crude

    How would a trade of Eberle to WPG for Evander Kane strike those concerned?
    I think Kane is the more complete player, but boy could they ever sell a lot of of Eberle Jerseys in the ‘peg.

    • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

      Not trading Ebs…no way, no how.

      Gagner as a center piece that nets us Brouwer out of Washington.

      Hemmer and our 1st (if its out of the top 5) for Berglund and Stewart

      Sign a LD
      Sign Bickell or equivalent

      call it a day,

      • Light, Sweet, Crude

        Ya, that all seems reasonable. Get bigger on right wing and centre while staying good at hockey.

        My only concern with Ebs is that contract – the heaping expectations, and the precedent it sets for the other youngsters getting paid (see Gagner, Sam)

        PS. Thanks for not berating me for proposing an Ebs trade (who rules in my opinion)