The Oilers have placed centre Eric Belanger on waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.
When the Oilers signed Belanger two years ago, many felt he was a good addition. He’d help win faceoffs and he could chip in around 30 points. He was great in the dots, winning 55% of his draws his first year and 53% this past season, but he only had 4 goals in 104 games over two seasons. His offence was non-existent.

When he was signed I mentioned the one concern former teammates and organizations said was that he wasn’t considered a great dressing room guy. That turned out be accurate. He wasn’t a distraction, he didn’t yell at this teammates or cause friction, he just had a negative auru about him. You know the type.

That wasn’t the reason he was let go, four goals in 104 games was the main one, but the Oilers are trying to "cleanse" their dressing room and they decided they’d be better off without him.

This was an easy decision for the Oilers. I know they don’t have a faceoff specialist to replace him, but winning faceoffs didn’t result in more scoring chances. Belanger’s advanced stats were horrendous despite winning faceoffs.

I don’t believe in ripping a player when he leaves town, but I’ve mentioned for over a year that Belanger was a detriment to this team and this is one decision that I 100% agree with for the Oilers.


  • Ray Emery could be a good fit with the Oilers. He’s matured the past few seasons, and last year he was outstanding with the Blackhawks. He could push Devan Dubnyk, but he’d be supportive in the back up role as well.
  • Interesting situation with the Leafs. They buyout Grabovski ($14.4 mIllion) and the analytics guys hate the decision. Grabovski was overpaid, but not to the point you just give up on him. If they replace him with Bozak and Clarkson I suspect our pals at might need counseling. The best part is that the Leafs are buying out a guy because he is overpaid, but they will replace him with two players who will also be overpaid. Awesome.
  •  Darren Dreger tweeted the Stars and Bruins have a huge trade in the works involving Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson. Jim Nill and Joe Sakic have made some significant moves right away since grabbing the reigns in Dallas and Colorado. The next week should be highly entertaining for hockey fans.  


  • MKE

    Be patient ? Doesn’t the sound of it just make you sick ? ON has been patient far too long – over 3 years . When a new Gm says he going to deliver and fail on draft day to do so , then everyone has a right to bellyache -and so they should . Time to deliver on GMs goals has already been past tense . Some need to go preach their patience elsewhere . The rest of us want to see results , not a bunch of unfulfilled oral diarrhea .

  • KidsInTheHall!

    Buying out Belanger seems to be the best option for the Oilers I think.

    Is Manny Malhotra a viable option do you think? By the sounds of it, he thinks he can still play and the Oilers could use him.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Off topic but what did Nuge’s faceoff numbers look like by the end of last season? If he can win draws more consistently, I think the kid line will benefit greatly from the extra 30 seconds or so they don’t have to spend regaining possession.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I think that it is becoming apparent that not only do we not have a team to win, we also don’t have a team with valuable assets outside of fab five. MacT is not trading any of the young guns and it seems that he wants to hang onto our most tradeable asset in Gagner.

    He doesn’t have much to bring to the table and is likely realizing that he’ll likely have to go into the season with most of the team intact. I believe that this is less about inaction than trying to fix the mistakes made (Belanger, 1 yr contract for Gagner, Smithson, etc).

    Too bad for him and for us the fans, but at least I hope that KLowe is apologizing to MacT daily for the mistake that was Tambellini and his poor excuse for management.

  • Spartacus

    Getting pissed off now. I want to believe in MacT but I am fairly sure one of two things has to be happening. Either MacT is really bad at this job or nobody wants to come here. Either way, I have had enough of this sh?$. I would even accept MacT overpaying for someone. Come on, do something, the same old is not good enough anymore.

    • GVBlackhawk

      So you would be happy if MacT made a dumb move, just for the sake of making a move?

      Doesn’t this seem counterproductive to you?

      PS. Free agency starts tomorrow, not today.

        • GVBlackhawk

          I understand the fans’ frustration. All this losing is BS, but making an irrational trade will only hurt the team moving forward.

          MacT has already identified the problem areas and would like to address them. That is a huge improvement over Tambellini who could not identify the problems or just chose to ignore them.

          The guy has spent the last two months cleaning up the mess that was left for him and he is not done yet.

        • Bucknuck

          Me TOO, Me Too. I get the sense that MacT is working hard and trying to do something, and the pieces just haven’t fallen into place yet. Getting mad before the start of the season seems silly to me. There will be changes, it’s just taking longer than the impatient fans want. Too bad.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    So when MacT trades one of the kids, is everyone going to get off his back about being inactive or turn a 180 and complain he shouldn’t of done it? Either Eberle or Yakupov needs to go, and as long as the return is a core player that fills one of our many voids – win. @smokey , if we could get that for Eberle plus a d prospect I’d say yes. MDZ plus Boyle and Kreider for Yakupov and MPS. Carlson for Eberle straight up.

  • GVBlackhawk

    After Yakupov lights it up next year, can we all stop talking about trading him? Why do people want to trade a future star for 3rd line grinders and 3-4 defensemen? Bizarre.

      • MKE

        SC hardly no grinder. Coburn well ya got me. Theirs a huge whole at 2nd line center. The west got better. Colorado is a scary team with Mckinnon, Duchene, O’ Reilly down the gut. Dallas has Benn and Seguin. I’d be tickled pink to have elite offensive center with an elite shutdown center. Perfect balance. A small 2nd line that gets eaten for lunch is what we got. Totally outta balance.

        • GVBlackhawk

          You are right about Couturier — he is not a grinder. But he is not proven 2C either, and his offense is mediocre at this point (will likely get better).

          The biggest problem in trying to get SC is Philly’s cap issue. SC is on an ELC right now and gives them great value. The only way the Oilers might get him next year is if the cap does not go up by much. It’s a long-shot at best.

        • MKE

          So you want a second line center who has 42 points in 123 games, and had 4 goals and 15 points in 46 games last year?

          You can’t have a second line center who scores 0.34 points a game.

          Couturier is not a second line center at this point and has yet to prove otherwise.

          • MKE

            Yep I do. Cause Yak may be a perenial 80 point player. SC may be a 60 point 2nd line center with a good goal differential who helps battle the McKinnon and Duchene, Benn and Seguin, Zetterberg Datsyk, Kopitar Richards, Sharp Toews,Thornton Couture, Sedin Kesler. Maybe you guys are sold of Gagner I’m not. We’re small and the west will be won with center depth. We are unbalanced. Saying SC put up little offense is accurate, why is that? Comparing Yak who got pp time to a guy playing third lind, killing penalties is what you see. Opportunity is the difference. I don’t expect the same amount of points, but a quality center here is needed. We got to make bold trades, and they cost. We got to improve our balance.

            People wanf to win but no one wants to make a bold move to increase our size, change our balance.

          • MKE

            If Couturier was good enough he would have gotten the chance on the PP. Yet in three years, he never proved to be good enough.

            We can agree to disagree. Couturier might be a decent second line center in the future . But to date, he hasn’t even come close to showing he’s a 60 point guy.

            I never said I was sold on Ganger as a second line center. But I’d take him over Couturier for a second line role.

            A change is needed. I’m just not sold that Couturier is that guy. Especially if it means including Yak in any deal for him

          • Clyde Frog

            It boggles my mind that size is such a topic with Oiler fans.

            It’s almost as if you just need to field the tallest team to be competitive and guys argue about 2-3 inches in height…

            Last I checked goals are what counts…

            If you want to tell me Couterier would get 75% of his offence from the power play and sky rocket to 12 goals last year by getting slightly more power play time… Good on you, but I’ll politely disagree.

            Wanting him because he is a good young prospect, sure.

            Telling us he is an upgrade because he is taller, then predicting his offender to triple because… Well he is taller…

            Yeah, can’t see a whole in that.

          • GVBlackhawk

            I essentially said SC and Coburn. More or less at meant SC and and second pairing defenseman. Philly has little to offer to terms of defense hense hes who I picked. Maybe SC and Coburn and whatever. Your homemade prodnostications on SC are your opinion. I won’t waste my time. Joe Thornton was not always ppg player. How many goals did he have as an 18 year old? Kinda remember him playing 3rd line too. (Not saying SC=JT)

            Size is important. So is skill. You need both. Why have both? Have we not seen last few seasons where we lack. We don’t hit, we can’t score, we are soft. Our second line outscored, but was outshot, outchanced, outplayed. They got destroyed at evens, and their possession was an abomination and Gagner wins what 42 percent of his faceoffs. Maybe swapping Hemsky for overpriced
            grinder may change this, I dunno.

            I never said Yak = SC. I’m saying lets sacrifice a bit of skill, for defence and awareness. BALANCE. I Love Yak, but maybe the right question which of the untouchables are you going to give up. I hope MacT pulls out some trucalent players outta FA. However to me it looks like more and more to me we may have to trade an untouchable to get better. I hope I am dead wrong.

          • GVBlackhawk

            It is possible that one of the young forwards might need to be traded, but it could be argued that the best return would be a 1D or 2D for this type of asset.

            Imo, Yakupov is probably the last player that they should trade. He scores, hits, and is anything but soft. He has great work ethic, is a good teammate, and has incredible desire to win.

            The Oilers are loaded with special talent and he is right up there with the best.

            Balance can be improved by getting better defensemen and some motivated depth at forward. The talent will give the Oilers an edge and should make them competitive this year.

  • PlayDirty

    Stupid Mac-T!!! Going and and opening his mouth and giving the fans a sense that he’s committed to turning this franchise into a contender!!! Who does he think he is answering questions at a press conference!!!

    I want Tambellini back!!! At least he didn’t mislead us into thinking he was going to try and accomplish something to improve the team!!!

    B!tch…. Moan…. B!tch….. Moan Repeat as necessary.

    • MKE

      Ya you are totally right. Since MacT has missed out on a whopping 4 players it’s clear
      he’s not trying at all to improve the team…*rolls eyes*

      And one of those players was another small winger!
      Why don’t we actually see what this team looks like in 3 weeks?

  • Gritty Waldo

    I know hind sight is 20/20, but I would love to see the scouting reports by the Oiler pro scouts on Belanger the season before they signed him as a free agent…Could they not tell that he has zero compete to his game not to mention he one of the softest and easiest players to play against. His skating is weak as well average at best offensive skill. Not to mention did anyone in the organization look into his character as mentioned he is not well liked by former teammates and considered negative in the room. Yes his face offs are decent and PK abilities as well but not to the level that makes him in the top in the NHL and defending his negatives…I am not sure who the pro scouts are but I hope MacTavish cleans them out.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Maybe Tambellini deferred to Yzerman’s opinion on Belanger?

      All kidding aside, I think most fans and pundits believed that Belanger would be more effective than he turned out to be….which is a trainwreck.

  • Gritty Waldo

    Clarke Mcaurther from the Leafs Gregor Tweeted out is a possibility for the Oilers. Take out a flyer on Grabovski too at a discount. He would be a good option on wing or 3rd line center. His skill set would compliment Gagner and Yakupov if he came in at the right price. Hemsky’s house for sale. Horcoff’s also. You think MacT is actually going to do something. I see Pheonix in Hemsky’s future. They need his skill set and his salary just to make the floor. Horcoff to Detroit. Especially if Filpulla signs elsewhere. Or Ranger Blue. I would think MacT would take back some salary when he trades Horcoff.

    Paul Ranger, Clarke Mac, and Grabo. The Eakins connection will play into signing one of these guys.Who?

  • OilersBrass

    I’m thinking the Oil sign MacArthur, Hendricks, Gordon, and Khudobin. The Coburn deal will also happen soon. And if Alfie chooses Boston tomorrow(unlikely), the Hemsky to Ottawa could happen as well. Moves are coming people. Just a little more patience.

  • MKE

    What part of MacT.”s plan do you not care for . Evidently he does not want to enter UFA , RFA or Buy out markets . Having also failed at draft trade scenario he looks to fill holes from within as stated by STU.They seem comfortable from filling within as Stu pointed out as per interview . Does not sound as though any more are coming now does it . Now to make amends to Horcoff and Hemsky appears to be all that left except for contracts for Gagner and Paajarvi . So should we expect any more outside additions ? I’d like to say yes , but I wouldn’t suspect they will , and if they do , it’ll be a surprise .

    • MKE

      Sure is! Sadly you know people will still find something to whine about…


      Waiting for final details. @TSNBobMcKenzie, but told Horcoff to Dallas involves a few pieces.

  • Rocket

    Couterier getting lots of love around here which is cool except Philly’s never gonna trade him on his ELC to The Oilers for magic beans (Gagner, Hemsky, etc.)

    I remember arguing quite forcefully back in 2011 that Tambo should try to draft RNH & Couterier.
    That way strength up the middle would really help in a couple of years. now it would be very dificult to pry Couterier out of Philly.

    Just one more reason Tambo royally screwed The Oilers up.

      • Rocket

        I guess My bitterness at Tambo is coming through. Your right in that not getting Couterier didn’t screw The Oilers up. I guess Tambo’s overall performance grinds my gears a bit & not drafting Couterier, who has potential, just adds fuel to the fire.

        What’s up with Horcoff? Did he really just get traded?

        • MKE

          the TSN boys are reporting that on twitter.

          still waiting to hear who all is involved but
          horcoff has been hold he’s going to dallas

          I do get it. I want to win too. I guess I am just the guy that always looks on the bright side.

        • GVBlackhawk

          Rocket, that is the year that the Oilers drafted RNH. Although I think Couturier is quality, there is no comparison to a player of Nuge’s quality.

          RNH was the correct choice.

        • GVBlackhawk

          Sorry I missed your earlier post. You were hoping that Tambi was going to move up on the 2nd first round pick in order to draft SC.

          Hard to say if he tried or not (dithers) but you might not regret the decision he made to take Klefbom.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    mact, didn’t your mother teach you not to make promises you can’t keep. in the future, reduce expectations ” we’ll see what we can do to impove the team”, now with a statement like that, if you actually make a bold move everyone is impressed. underpromise then overdeliver, jesus even the pr people are incompetent.

  • MKE

    “They could use them BOTH to secure a trade & then buy-out the players that they traded for & received further compensation for by taking a large salary/Cap hit from the team they traded with.”

    The above is from your earlier post. This is CLEARLY cap circumvention.

    • MKE


      READ the Rule…

      Or re-read what you just posted & TRY to grasp what it means.

      For example…

      The Sabres trade Leino to the Oilers along with their 2014 2nd round pick to the Oilers for the Oil’s 4th round pick in 2015.

      The Oilers could then buy-out Leino & keep their 2nd round pick.

      That is NOT against the rules or is Cap circumvention in ANY way.

      Fair Enough..?


      • MKE

        Take a peek at this MKE & GVB…


        “Recently the New York Post reported that the Bolts and Toronto Maple Leafs had begun trade talks for the veteran forward. The scoop was that the Leafs would obtain Vinny in exchange for undisclosed assets, they would buy out his contract, then he would be able to sign again with the Lightning as a free agent at a much lower salary, reducing the cap hit Tampa Bay were facing by keeping him.

        While these reports were denied, it prompted NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly to forward a memo throughout the league warning teams against engaging in discussions which could be interpreted by the league as trying to circumvent the current CBA.

        NHL rules prohibit teams from re-signing players that have been bought out for one year.


        SO AGAIN… Fair Enough..?