The Edmonton Oilers are going to be very active this summer. The goal? The return of the kind of craziness that caused this fellow to fly to Rexall from Vancouver and spend two bills on beer. How do we get there?


So far this spring, we’ve discussed every word spoken by Oiler management, traded all the picks and all the prospects and pretty much everyone not named Taylor, baby Nuge, Ebs, Yak City and Schultz the younger.

And with all due respect to you and me (I’m quite fond of us), none of the stuff we’ve talked about amounts to a tinker’s dam

What does matter? Two things: the Oilers–led by new GM Craig MacTavish–definition of what "team" looks like, and the price to be paid in order to acquire the things required to make things go.


If we make a list of things we believe the Oilers need–my list is a skill LW who can score 20+ goals, a top pairing defender, a 4line C and a good backup goalie, but your mileage may vary–it would be imperfect because it’s our list. The list that matters is the Oilers’ list.

When Craig MacTavish says "three small players with similar skill sets seldom create the synergy that you need to have a dominant line" is he talking about Gagner, Yakupov, Hemsky? I absolutely KNOW he doesn’t mean that the Oilers should slam JF Jacques onto the top line, holy hell that’s just never going to happen again.

When Craig MacTavish says "the good thing is we don’t need to add the high-end skill, we need the complementary pieces now. I know those pieces are easier to come by. They’re still difficult, but they’re easier to come by" that’s fabulous and I agree. Does that mean the Oilers are going to bring in some Mike Peca’s and some Denis Grebeshkov’s or does it mean that we should expect Boyd Gordon and Mark Streit? Or MAYBE MacT is doing a counter trey, telling us one thing while secretly planning on flying Shea Weber into town on July 25th?


Here’s what we know. Edmonton has the following assets of value:

  • The kids, considered unmovable. This would include Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak, Schultz the younger.
  • The first round pick, considered movable.
  • Some, not a lot, of available money. About $6.5M depending on which players are moved out.
  • Some, not a lot, of attractive roster players who could be sent away for value in return. We might include Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Jeff Petry, or we might not include them.
  • The 2014 1st round pick, and if they offer sheet (another option) then maybe the second round and third round pick too. Before you post the Oilers don’t have that 3rd rounder, it was a 4th rd pick that went to Toronto for Mike Brown.
  • Any and all veterans who might have some value to other teams. ANY and ALL veterans.
  • Draft picks of various value for MacT to trade for the "right" to talk to soon to be UFA’s like David Clarkson. Say MacT deals a "conditional" 3rd to NJD that turns into a 2014 1st rd pick should he sign in Edmonton long term. That kind of thing.
  • Prospects in OKC and below.

Those are the assets I can think of, and if you can add to the list please do (I learned long ago that there’s always one more that someone smarter than me can think of–but please wait a few minutes, allow me that much!).


There’s not much we can do after that but wait, discuss amongst ourselves, worry, fret, have a few wobbly pops and stare at this young woman.

  • John Muckler: "I always say it’s like baking a cake. It’s not only flour and sugar in a cake, there are other ingredients. You’d better have toughness, you’d better have skill, you’d better be mentally tough and you have to have character, or you’re not going to be a champion. You’ve got to be able to play through injuries, you’ve got to be able to play your best hockey when things are going against you and you have to have the ability to hold everything together until that momentum switches and comes your way."

We don’t know–not exactly–the ingredients, and we don’t know what order MacT wants to add them into the mix, and whether it’s a dollop or a bushel that needs to be added in each case.

We do know it’s his mix.

I can tell you that I believe Ales Hemsky is gone, that Sam Gagner’s return depends on the signing number he’s willing to accept, that we’re going to see a stronger group at center and that all of the defensemen are going to be skaters. I can tell you that I believe we might see some surprising signings like Denis Grebeshkov, and I can say that my beloved three-for-one trade is at hand.

ALL OF THAT is my reading of this situation mixed in with my own bias. You no doubt have your own reading, your own list–and that verbal has as much value as mine. I invite you to share, and when the whip comes down I’ll review and compare. I don’t know what we’ll do for bragging rights, but am open to suggestions.

It’s going to be a helluva summer.

  • sledhed

    I actually would give Eager another shot on the big team. Belanger can go, Hemsky too. He will light it up for the first year, but I’m ok with that. Once he gets comfortable with a team he will go back to floating around like he does here. Not sure about the draft pick yet, as Calgary will take our guy, and everyone and their dog is gonna be bidding for Clarkson, so he is out. What about Elias?? also Yandle, Bickell(Chi), and I would even take a flyer on Lecavalier, because he will surely be bought out.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Since it sounds like we are going to have to eat part of his salary why don’t we trade Hemsky and our 7th pick to Carolina for their 5th pick and maybe a 4th or 5th round pick. Then we could get Monahan or even Barkov. Carolina doesn’t need a center and might be willing to go down a couple of places and get a defenceman that they want.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I wonder the way Drouin has played so far in the Memorial Cup will drop his ranking.

    TB may think about Nichushkin and Barkov. Nichushkin may be too big of risk to take at #3 the Russian thing. Barkov maybe their pick.

    If it falls that way Nashville may take Drouin or Lindholm or Monahan

    Wait and see.

  • Eddie Shore

    Could look like this

    Colorado–Jones MacKinnon

    Florida- Jones MacKinnon Drouin

    TB- Drouin Barkov Nichushkin

    Nash- Barkov Drouin Lindholm Monahan

    Carolina – Drouin Lindholm Monahan Nichushkin Nurse

    Cal- Drouin Lindholm Monahan Nichushkin

    Edm- Monahan Lindholm Nichushkin Zadorov

  • Eddie Shore

    Clarkson is a pipe dream. You have to be smoking the ganga to think he signs here. It would have to be a massive overpay. Remember the Souray? I think going into this off season we need to have realistic expectations as to what/who we can aquire. Your wish list is like a 5 year olds after he gets the Sears Wish Book. Pretty much you want everything. In reality you get only 1-2 of the bigger items. What is our priority going into the off season? If it is Clarkson then focus our energies towards him. Improving our defense? The UFA list is slim to say the least. Back up goalie? Europe has plenty looking to make an NHL paycheque. Mact does not need to fill his entire wish list this off season. 1-2 will suffice.

  • Valarie all the way………big, fast, skilled left wing……..exactly what we need! Trading away our seventh pick makes no sense unless we get back something of equivalent value or better. Last time I checked, no one gives away talent.

    Time to bundle all those useless players that Tamby acquired and try and get some draft picks for them.

    Some stop gap measure by sigining some UFA’s is the only way to ensure we do not get ripped off at the draft.

  • Eddie Shore

    If Edmonton truly wants Monahan they will try to move up to the 5th spot.

    Only way I see Carolina trading its 5th pick is if they want a Dman.

    This time of year I think GM’s are giving a lot of misinformation You look at Bob M final draft rankings from last year and some are completely wrong in the top 10. So some GM’s are giving false info.

    This year Edmonton picks #7 so I’m sure there is a lot of misinformation going on. Oilers couldn’t really do that last time because of picking #1. Everyone knew they would pick the #1 or #2 ranked player.

  • sledhed

    I wonder if this is accurate from another poster on a blog.

    Reasons Lindholm scares me:

    1. Yet another small European center. 2. Struggled until Jarnkrok showed up in December on loan; miraculously found his game thereafter. 3. According to all scouts does not possess elite sniping ability. Most consider him above-average or average in this regard. However, he does supposedly possess elite vision and play-making ability, to go along with above-average skating, although no one considers him to be an elite skater. 4. Was held scoreless and finished a minus-5 in four playoff games this month. 5. Is just average in the face-off dot.

    It may just be me, but Lindholm does not really inspire faith in me that he can be a first-line center in the NHL, let alone a franchise center. In fact, he may have to move to the wing to find success in the NHL. (To tell you the truth, whenever I watch his highlights, I can`t help but be reminded of Tanguay in his prime. Tanguay didn`t possess the two-way ability that Lindholm is projected to have (although no one considers him to be elite in this regard, again) but an offensive game heavily predicated on passing and vision, as opposed to goal scoring acumen, is something both share.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There could be an opportunity here with this bye bye Hemsky thing. If the Oilers are going to be paying half his salary anyways, why not see if it could help move up in this draft. Have to think the 7th, along with 83 and perhaps even the elder Schultz might help you move up a number of spots.

    Whether that extra player is Schultz/Paajarvi or Archabello/Cornet, if it gets what will help this club the most, the Oil will be better off. Players whom at best will be a non factor most nights, out, and a shot at a kid who has a chance to be a factor most nights, in.

    If tinkering is all that’s accomplished this summer, it’s not at all a reach to see the Oilers finish 24/25 again next season. Like others have mentioned, Clarkson, Horton, Lucic, Elias, guys like these have earned the right to make their own beds for the next 5 yrs. What reason would they have to come here?

    Unless you’re successful in landing a Weber type guy with a long term contract, it’s best to be just grabbing the best possible kids right from the tree in Late June every summer. Trading down is just sheer stupidity. Fight like hell to get MacKinnon or Barkov, if we’re going to be giving Hemmer away for nothing. Maybe there’s a nibble on Gagner as well and the Oilers could get their hands on Darnell Nurse as well. Help right away, and in the not to distant future with Nurse.

    • MacT was talking about 7-8 moves this summer. That’s not “tinkering”. All you guys angling for yet more high picks are missing the point. This team will make the playoffs next year*. Taking on yet another draft rookie and breaking him in isn’t in the cards if that’s the goal.

      My bet is Hemsky will be packaged with the 7th to address a need. That need is immediate. Development time is over.

      *And by “make the playoffs” I don’t mean “win the cup”.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        6-8 moves, he’s dreaming. He’s not going to find 4-6 guys to agree to come here. That figure is rubbish. He’ll do much like a couple yrs ago. He’ll bring in 4 or 5 7-10 minute a night guys who’ll make very little difference in this lineup. The 20 minute a night difference maker is a pipedream, let alone two.

        Guys who play at that 95-100% effort level aren’t going to come here. The Oilers have to create a this type of work environment on their own, in that dressing room. Till this happens we’re stuck with nearly a roster full of guys who always play in their comfort zone. I do agree the need is immediate, but there’s no cavalry (6-8 guys)coming for the Oilers. This has infinibuild written all over with these bozos in charge.

  • sledhed

    Imagine: Flames pick 6 and Oilers pick 7 as there were no trades … Both players are compared for 5+ years plus folks continue to bring up the 8-2 games saying the Oilers coulda had the Flames pick …. Buckle up folks !

  • YEGFan

    Defense is the biggest need for the Oilers. They are already over spending cap space on their forwards and cannot affod major upgrades there before fixing the holes on the blueline.

    Shattenkirk and McDonagh are two young RFAs on teams with strong defenses who are motivated to restock their prospect pools. Neither the Blues or the Rangers have 1st or 2nd round picks in 2013 and both have at least three other big ticket free agents they need to resign.

    The Oilers best moveable assets are high potential prospects, the Blues and Rangers need to replace these future stars on defence with other young players out performing their entry level contracts. They cannot afford to pay market price for these two and their other tremendous top pairing blueliners.

    Marincin and the #7 pick should be the centre pieces in these deals.

    • DSF

      I think you’d better take a closer look at the Blues situation before targeting them.

      First of all, they are currently $25 million under the cap. TWENTY FIVE MILLION.

      That means they don’t have to move anyone unless they want to.

      While they are thought to have an internal budget, they also have some expensive, older UFA’s whose contracts have just expired in Andy McDonald, Jordan Leopold and Jamie Langenbrunner. It’s unlikely they re-sign any of them.

      The Blues have three tremendous young talents about to make their roster full time (all on ELC’s)

      1) Vladimir Tarasenko – might have won the Calder if not injured.

      2) Jaden Schwartz – 13 points in 41 games as a rookie

      3) Ty Rattie – 2 huge seasons in the WHL

      They have ZERO needs at forward.

      On defense, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk and Ian Cole all need new contracts but STL has a ton of cap space to deal with that and considering Pietrangelo was already making more than $3M he should be easy to re-sign.

      Shattenkirk was only making $1.3M but, even if he gets $5M, losing McDonald’s $4.7M makes it easy for the Blues to afford.

      If anything, the Blues will be buyers, not sellers.

          • YEGFan

            I agree that STL is capable of keeping them all. The 25M does disappear pretty quickly after the raises and filling out the rest of the roster though. You are assuming they let McDonald walk without blinking, I think they make him a decent offer. Maybe he doesn’t take it, but theres a good chance they bring him back in the 3.5M range. You are correct in saying that they are not desperate to move Shattenkirk, but their current situation lends itself nicely to renewing one of their assets for a few future pieces.

            They used their 1st and 2nd round picks to go shopping this year. They have Bouwmeester for all of next season and first crack at negotiating with him for what is likely going to be a reduced contract. They are in a position where they have depth everywhere but could be without high ceiling prospects in two or three years. Now is a good time for them to trade an RFA to acquire someone like Marincin who could out perform his entry level contract and uphold their current impressive organizational depth.

            The point is that the Blues are a team that could actually be in the market for what the Oilers have a lot of: prospects with a ton of potential that could flourish if brought along slowly in a deep organization. The Rangers fall in that category with St Louis as well.

          • DSF

            Thing is, the Blues don’t need “prospects with a lot of potential”.

            They are already stacked with them and the major problem is finding room for them to play.

            Their D only has 1 player over the age of 30 in Barrett Jackman.

            Jaybo 29

            Polak 27

            Russell 26

            Cole 24

            Shattenkirk 24

            Pietrangelo 23

            Hakkenpaa 21 (14 games at the end of the AHL season)

            Jordan Schmaltz 19 (1st round pick 2012)

            I guess you could argue they could afford to move some of that bounty for forward prospects but the Oilers don’t really have any in the system and the Blues are already loaded with under 25 blue chip prospects.

            Ty Rattie 20

            Jaden Schwartz 20

            Dmitrij Jaskin 20

            Cody Beach 20

            Vladimir Tarasenko 21

            Evgeny Grachev 23

            (and a bunch of Euros)

            Hell, David Perron and Patrick Berglund are only 24.

            I don’t think Marinicin adds any value to that group and I certainly don’t think they would move Pietrangelo or Shattenkirk for a lick and a promise.

            If anything, the Blues might move a defenseman for a veteran scoring winger but if you’re talking Shattenkirk you’d better be prepared to move one of the wunderkids because Hemsky won’t cut it.

            And the Blues certainly don’t need Gagner as a 3rd line centre behind Berglund and Backes considering Hitchcock’s emphasis on defensive play and Gagner’s glaring weaknesses in that area.

            I’m curious as to who the “lot of prospects with a ton of potential” you think the Oilers have in their system?

            Klefbom (maybe)



          • YEGFan

            Most peoples’ problem is that they do a really poor job trying to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and restrictions of other teams. I admit I think that bias goes a bit the other way where DSF is concerned, but he adds a lot more value than anyone who breathes mention of Weber or suggests that discussing other teams is unnecessary when theorizing about Oilers trade targets.

          • YEGFan

            You are missing the point of all the depth you just listed, it is the reason a player like Shattenkirk is expendable. I am not touching on Pietrangelo. The Blues won’t trade him and shouldn’t trade him. He’s their #1 defenseman for the next 15 years and they are happy to have him, even if he will be a cap hit of 6.5M+ some day.

            Shattenkirk getting paid 4.5M to 5.5M throws the whole thing out of wack. You hit the nail on the head with: “They are already stacked with [prospects] and the major problem is finding room for them to play.” Why pay someone a huge portion of your salary cap when you don’t have to? I am not arguing that the Blues are operating under a budget and refuse to spend to the cap, I am arguing that they will be well served to think a few years in advance and keep the cap space flexibility.

            You might notice that the list of young players you just gave looks a lot stronger in the forwards under 21 department than it does in the defense under 21 department. That is where I see the Blues looking for strength. They do not want Hemsky, they do not want Gagner, and they sure as hell don’t want Omark. They do not want to take ANY salary back, they have the luxury of a whole bunch of players out performing their contracts. Any salary they add that pushes them to the cap happens at trade deadline for rentals and a cup push.

            They also have no 1st or 2nd round picks this year and that is always a concern for a club, especially if those picks were traded for veterans at the ends of their contract instead of restricted young players. The Oilers have a top 10 pick (do not mess around underestimating the value of that, look back at the calibre of players traded for 1st rounders and prospects, even outside of deadline deals it’s pretty impressive), and two 2nd rounders. Put one of those 3 picks with Marincin and a B level prospect like Musil or Rajala and that’s a legitimate trade offer and good place to start.

          • DSF

            Perhaps if you started with the 7th pick and added Marincin they might listen IF they had targeted a player they wanted to pick in the first round.

            But, I really doubt paying Shattenkirk will be an issue for them since the cap is expected to rebound in a big way over the next 5 years.

            No way to know if they’re still operating on an internal budget or what that budget is since they have new ownership but it’s clear that their greatest need is scoring and Shattenkirk certainly provides that.

  • YEGFan

    On another point, everybody needs to realize how unlikely it is Philadelphia trades any of their forwards on entry level contracts (Giroux, Schenn, Couturier, or Read). Those players are their bargains. The Flyers are tight under the cap, they cannot afford to trade their players on manageable contracts.

    Philly’s weakness is often identified to be their defense but they are paying 6 players more than 3.5M. They are keeping their forwards and shedding defense contracts this offseason. They have absolutely no good reason to trade Schenn or Couturier.

    MAYBE I could see them move Hartnell or Simmonds, but those are the only two they offerred long term contracts to so far and have demonstrated in every way they want to build around them.

    I’d wager Timmonen, Coburn, Meszaros, Briere, and Grossman are all very much available.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The only guys that MacTavish will have access to this summer, are going to fall squarely into that “non-factor at best most nights” category. Far from the Bold moves we were hoping for. Five years into this debacle we only have 5 assets of any real value. Only 4 (3 first overalls) out of nearly 35 draft choices, and one who fell into our lap.

    Trade down out of that possible impact player range, yeah right. Lets blow this opportunity on yet another non factor most nights type player.

      • DSF

        The adults were discussing the Blues.

        If you don’t care about other teams in the league…you know, the ones the Oilers have to play against…go back to the ball room.

        Your chocolate pudding snack is ready.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          plus, with your track record of not having a hot clue, we can file this one away beside all the other times you have come along and told us how good team X is compared to the oilers only to have you swing and miss.

          the oilers stink, and have stunk for years. you can compare literally almost every team in the league with them and that team looks good because the oilers have been so bad. not every other team is as good as you seem to think.

          sit back, enjoy the playoffs and have some dip.

  • Eddie Shore

    While St. Louis has $25M in cap space, it is common knowledge they are a budget team and will not spend up to that. Hell, they operated this year with a $52M payroll. They have only 16 players signed and need to resign at least 7-8 players which include Stewart, Berglund, MacDonald, Pietrangelo, Russel, Cole, Shattenkirk without exceeding their internal budget. Im not convinced their situation is as peachy as its being described above and I think they would be an ideal trading partner.

  • DSF

    Is DSF an actual Oiler fan? All of his posts relate to dumping on the Oilers. I haven’t read one positive comment toward the Oilers from this guy in like ever. According to him our players and prospects are all crap. Last place finishes in three straight years and no playoffs in seven illustrates this yes. But starting from scratch three years ago has this team on a trajectory that mirrors Chicago and Pittsburgh.

  • Funny how all these experts posting here know exactly how each palyer will turn out

    Monahan- Logan Couture

    Lindholm- Forsberg

    Horvat- Peca

    Barkov- Top 5 center in the NHL

    I can’t believe you posters have not been called by most NHL teams to scout for them.

    You see a player play once or twice or never have seen them play but you know exactly what they will turn into.

    I’m glad I found you.