Yesterday’s trade involving David Perron and Magnus Paajarvi showed me the Oilers are finished "waiting" for prospects to develop. That doesn’t mean they won’t allows Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Darnell Nurse time to mature, but Craig MacTavish won’t be afraid to deal one of his young players for a more mature and proven, yet still young, NHL player.

The rebuild stage isn’t completely over, but I believe the Oilers are entering a new phase that will be more about shaping the team instead of just stockpiling young talent.

Perron is only 25 years old, but he’s entering his 7th NHL season. He’s clearly the better player today, and likely will be in the future.

I’m surprised how many people have suggested Paajarvi will mature into a better player. He is a better skater, and he’s bigger, but he doesn’t play bigger and he’s never been a big-time scorer at any level, so I’m curious what they base that assumption on. Someone actually suggested to me that Paajarvi could be like Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk wasn’t a scorer in Russia, but he became one in the NHL.

It is true Datsyuk wasn’t a big scorer in Russia, but he also wasn’t drafted until he was 20 and was taken in the 6th round. He was the ultimate late developer, and no offence to Paajarvi, he doesn’t possess 1/2 of Datsyuk’s offensive skill, but very few NHL players do. It is great to find the one the player who defines the odds and stats, but assuming that Paajarvi is suddenly going to develop above average "hands" is wishful thinking.

I think Paajarvi will have a long NHL career, but he doesn’t have the offensive capabilities of Perron. I think Perron will fit in well with the Oilers, while Paajarvi will give the Blues some much needed speed in their top-nine, but I don’t see him becoming a scorer in St. Louis.

I know points are only one aspect of the game, and Perron doesn’t solve the Oilers need for a big, skilled forward, but he plays a grittier game than Paajarvi. This trade gives MacTavish another skilled forward, and Perron is a better asset than Paajarvi.

Perron does have warts, however, and the biggest concern is whether he is willing to consistently go to the tough areas to score.

Andy Strickland from ESPN ST.Louis and wrote this about Perron. 

Early in Perron’s career he was consistently among the league leaders in drawing penalties. He was incredibly difficult to knock off the puck and could protect the puck with one hand on his stick as good any player in the game. His ability to use his edges and fend off defenders was extremely impressive. He would often find himself near the crease of the opposing goaltender after the whistle where he had a knack of getting under the skin of the opposition. 

But as his career progressed following his return from the concussion, we began seeing less of the game he displayed in his first few seasons. Even when Perron scored 21 goals in 57 games there was concern he wasn’t entering the hard areas of the ice as he once did.

Were the secondary concerns of his concussion mentally affecting his game? It’s a fair question to ask following his performance last season. There’s no doubt Perron felt somewhat handcuffed playing in a system that places a far greater emphasis on structure than creativity. He has an idea of how he needs to play to be successful and will be surrounded by more players that complement his style in Edmonton than he was in St. Louis. 


Perron came on my radio show yesterday to discuss the trade.  

Gregor: Were you surprised you were traded? 

Perron: I heard my name a little bit around the NHL draft weekend. I wasn’t sure if it was going to get done. I was actually in Montreal today doing some media stuff for a hockey pool for next year. I got the call from Doug Armstrong and it was just a real shock at first, you don’t know what to think. As soon as you start thinking about the Edmonton Oilers and their team- It was exciting and the type of hockey that I like to play. I can’t wait to be joining the team and doing whatever I can to help them.

Gregor: The Oilers play a more up-tempo game than what Ken Hitchcock had in St. Louis. Why does that fit your game better?

Perron: I think if you look at the players that are on there, their skill level is incredible. I’m just going to try to come in and help them and play a big role on the team. I think, obviously, in St. Louis it’s pretty defensive minded hockey. At the same time, it’s a winning culture and I think it’s important to try to bring that into Edmonton. I think the team is really going in the right direction with all the moves that they are making.

Gregor: Ken Hitchcock told one of my co-workers, Mark Spector, that you played left wing, but he felt you were better on the right side when you attacked in the offensive zone. Which wing do you feel more comfortable on?

Perron: I like to play on the left side a little more. I think on the right side in St.Louis when I was playing there, the way we play is coming into the zone and we tried to hit the far pad on the goalie to create some rebounds and create some havoc in the zone. It seems to me that the Oilers are a much more puck possession team, trying to go in the zone with it. That’s why I think I’d like to play the left side a little more, but obviously I don’t think it matters too much. I’ll just try to fit in and hopefully have a lot of fun with these guys.

Gregor: Do you feel you are a guy who is not only skilled, but willing to go to the tough areas to score?

Perron: Well that’s something I’ve always tried to do even in juniors and coming into the NHL. When I was nineteen years old, I played with Keith Tkachuk for a couple years. He’s obviously a big guy, and told everyone to go to the net, that’s where you’ll score your ugly goals and at the end of the year you’ll have five or ten more just because you went there. He was really one of the big influences on me going to the net and obviously I like to have the puck on my stick. I like to carry it and make plays, but at the same time I try to play a game that’s going to try to draw penalties and do stuff like that.

Gregor: How is your health? Have you fully recovered from the concussion? Where do you see yourself as far as a guy moving forward, can you be a sixty point player?

Perron: I feel like I can be and that’s what I want to do. I want to improve every single year. I think for me, coming back from the concussion it seems like November, December, the months went by. It’s tough to kind of keep that same level of shape when you don’t know if you’re going to play. Then all of a sudden, we started playing in January. I felt like it was tough on me, it was tough on a lot of guys around the league. This summer, it feels so good for me training-wise and nutrition-wise, just doing all the right things that I can to improve in the off-season and something I didn’t have the luxury to do in the last two to three years.

Gregor: Were you close to going to play in Europe last year during the lockout?

Perron: Actually, guys with concussions I guess they’re not insured. Whoever had a concussion, even if you missed two days, three days, four days, it doesn’t matter, even if you miss a year, you’re not insured to try to go overseas and play in Europe. That’s the reason, talking to my agent, that he didn’t want me to go. I think it’s the same reason for a lot of guys, Crosby and many guys who have had a concussion before have decided to stay here. I was supposed to be going to Switzerland with one of my friends here in Sherbrooke, but I decided not to go.


  • The Oilers won the Perron/Paajarvi trade, but MacTavish is aware he needs to make more moves. It isn’t easy acquiring a big, skilled forward, and I don’t see him acquiring one in a Hemsky trade. I suspect Hemsky gets dealt for a 3rd line winger with size.
  • Four LA Kings: Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Jordan Nolan all filed for arbitration. The Kings only have $5 million in cap space to sign those four and Kyle Clifford. Some have suggested the Kings will put Jarret Stoll on LTIR, but that is premature thinking. The Kings are in a cap crunch, and if I’m MacTavish I’d be making calls about Clifford. An offer sheet is off the table now that the Oilers don’t have their 2nd round pick.
  • Many wondered why I didn’t write an article on why the Oilers should make an offer sheet for Alex Pietrangelo or Chris Stewart instead of Clifford. Clearly, both of them are better than Clifford, but I felt the Clifford offer sheet was less of a gamble, and with the Kings tight to the cap the chance of it working was higher.

    The only way the Blues let Pietrangelo walk is if the Oilers offered him a $9 million cap hit, and even then they might match. If the Oilers offer him $9 million, and the Blues didn’t match it the Oilers would have to give them four 1st round picks. I don’t believe the Oilers have enough depth in the organization to go four years without a 1st rounder.

    Stewart is an interesting case. He’s a rare breed; a skilled power forward, but he’s also been inconsistent. He did shed 25 pounds last summer after learning he was allergic to brown rice and eliminated it from his diet. He’s only 25 and he’s already had two 28-goal seasons, and he had 18 last year (prorates to 30 over 82 game season).

    Would a four-year deal at $5.5- $5.7 million be enough to scare of the Blues? Would it be a wise move by the Oilers? I’d make that move, but I still doubt the Blues would let him walk. They traded Perron to make cap space to sign Stewart and Pietrangelo.

  • Here is the compensation chart for offer sheets:

    OFFER                                              COMPENSATION

    $1,110,249 or below                          None
    Over $1,110,249 to $1,682,194         Third-round choice
    Over $1,682,194 to $3,364,391         Second-round choice
    Over $3,364,391 to $5,046,585         First-round and third-round choice
    Over $5,046,585 to $6,728,781         1st, 2nd and a 3rd round choice
    Over $6,728,781 to $8,410,976         Two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd round choice
    Over $8,410,976                              Four first-round choices 



    • bazmagoo

      Considering it’s essentially a salary dump for the Oilers – Bernier and a 2nd would be great. Bernier’s a big body that can play in the bottom 6, 2nd round pick might be higher than ours for once lol, and if we could pull it off without having to eat some of Hemmer’s salary/cap space that would free up some room for another UFA potentially.

      I’d pull the trigger on that if it was on the table.

      • Ducey

        List to the podcast. Lou is a happy man today.

        He just got out of a contract that because of the new CBA was going to penalize them severely and hamstring their budget. For a team near bankruptcy, thats huge.

        I bet Lou even finds a way to argue he should not be penalized for the contract by losing the 1st round pick.

      • Zarny

        $300K is not brutal.

        If Luongo decides to retire with 3 years left on his contract Van will get hit with a $4,127,333 penalty for 3 years.

        If Hossa retires with 4 years left on his contract (@ $1M per season) Chi will get hit with a $4,275,000 penalty for 4 seasons.

        If Zetterberg retires with 2 seasons left on his contract (@ $1M per season) Det will get hit with a $5,083,333 penalty for 2 seasons.

        And if Brad Richards retires with 3 years left on his contract (@ $1M per seasons) NYR get hit with a $5,666,667 penalty for 3 years.

        If Richards retired at the end of next season NYR would only be hit with a penalty of $2,166,667…for 6 seasons.

        Now that’s brutal.

        This cap recapture provision is going to be fun!

      • 2004Z06

        Despite what you hear, this was definitely a mutual decision with the Devils. They are 200 million in debt and now no longer have to pay Kovy 11 mil in actual dollars over the next few years plus it reduces their cap hit by 6.5ish per year. Jersey was awful quick to agree to terminating the contract.

        • OilersBrass

          Yeah, after hearing the full story I know it was. I said that a couple comments ago.

          At first I didn’t know the full story, and just assumed Kovy decided to retire and go play in the KHL without discussing it with the Devils first.

          Everyone knows what happens when you assume things though! 🙂

  • Ducey

    Kovy RETIRES: Here is how you turn nothing into something. We trade Hemmer and swap 2014 1st rounders with NJ for Larrson. Here’s the logic. 2014 1st for NJD is a dead pick (forfeited from Kovy signing). The Devils get Hemmer, and go from -1 first round picks, to +1 1st round picks. THAT’s the equivalent of two firsts swing. WOULD the Devils trade Larrson for 2 1sts, and Hemmer? DO we need to sweeten with a D prospect? Gernat? Maricin? Better question, does the NHL allow this to happen? Thoughts?

    • 2004Z06

      NJ can’t trade their first round pick. It is already gone. Even if they didn’t lose it your math is crazy, it would not be equivalent to two first round picks. Maybe Hemsky + first round + prospect would get it done.

    • Zarny

      Your math is wrong I’m afraid.

      They don’t have -1 first round picks they have 0. They would gain exactly 1 first round pick.

      NJ might consider trading Larrson for Hemsky and a 1st round pick considering he was a healthy scratch for some games last year. I wouldn’t do it.

      Larsson was not scouted as a phenom like Jones or Doughty. Many suggest Nurse is a better prospect than Larsson and Gudbranson, or at least as good.

  • TeeVee

    I like the Idea of Steve Bernier. Hemsky for Berneir and a 2nd would be ideal but I would imagine it would likely be a 3rd or 4th instead and I would still make the trade.

  • DSF

    New Jersey is looking for a new owner.

    Without that long term commitment to Kovalchuk, the team will be much easier to sell and I’m sure Bettman knew about this for a while.

  • Ducey

    Kovie is a multi-millionaire. There is more to life than money, especially when you have as much as he does. Having grown up 3 miles from Newark, NJ, I surely understand why he would want to get out of that rathole. Maybe he has lost his love for the game. Maybe he would rather live a luxurious life in Russia with his family. Or maybe there is more here than meets the eye.

  • Zarny

    This trade makes no sense to me, and I can’t figure out how anyone who saw the improvement in MPS’ game last year can think Edmonton “won” when you factor in the cap hit and the draft pick.

    I’m glad Kovalchuk is gone. He was scum. LouLam dodged a bullet getting out of that idiotic contract.

    Hopefully for the Oilers sake Yakupov doesn’t get the same urge down the road. I would trade him.

    • 2004Z06

      Yakupov moved his entire family here. Completely different scenarios. Have you met Kovalchuk? How do you know he is scum? Did he hurt your feelings somehow? Is it your money? Is it your family? Were you in the room with Lou?

      Peron’s cap hit is an excellent price point for a 2nd line winger. Maggie will never put up the number Peron has/will, especially in Hitchcocks system.

  • OilClog

    Kovie done in the NHL for at least this season. Is NJ just absoluted fubared. Holy Cow. They finished 9th this season. Next> might be like 3rd last. And they have no 1st round pick. Lovely. Those frontloaded contracts have now come around to bite their GM’s in the ass. The Suter and Parise contracts have hamstrung the Wild’s payroll. Lous contract is so bad even he can’t stomache it. Sweet to see these bad contracts fall upon such nice GM’s in nice places. Good for them.

    NJ. The For Sale sign should be up pretty quick. Was not the deal that they were looking to sell a 20% stake in a franchise that only draws bandwagoners and has a fan base of about 10,000. Newark? Do they have any money other than mob money? The NHL puts out one fire and the swamps in NJ light up like the 4th of July. No pity or sympathy for Lou.

    Parise,Clarkson and IK all gone. Smells like fish.Looks like fish. Its fish.

  • OilersBrass

    Kovalchuk huge surprise ! Feel a little uneasy about Yakupov if he turns out to be a top star ? Whom might the KHL target next ? Rookies ? Isn’t that how the WHL got started ? Expansion overseas ?

    • Zarny

      Its amazing how Bettman always leaves a loophole. You’d think the high price labour lawyers would figure these things out. NJ should get the cap hit for the whole term. Kovalchuk can go make his 20 mil bones. I think we are in the beginning of the KHL purging the NHL of its European stars. Why on earth play for 6 mil when some Russian Oliguarch will add you to his portfolio for 20 mil. I hope Bettman has the last laugh and give Medvedev or whoever the KHL mob boss the ol screw job and the NHL doesn’t go to Sochi. Message needs to be sent.

  • OilersBrass

    Damn DSF, when you are not being a dick you really contribute. Why not give up your bitterness on the Oilers being 20 years in the ditch because of world class bad driving. The future is bright in Oilerland and you can’t see it through your haze of being put through so much pain. Just because you got bent over an alter doesn’t mean all religion is bad.

    • DSF

      The guy who drove the team into the ditch is still at the wheel.

      MacT has made a couple of nice moves but the team is not much closer to the playoffs.

      The competition in the Oilers new division will be brutal and teams they will be competing with for a wild card spot are improving more rapidly (see Columbus and Colorado).

      • OilClog

        LA will be solid,
        Anaheim what team will show up?
        San Jose.. Just what is their deal?
        Vancouver.. Well they’re in the midst of a crash
        Phoenix.. They’ll be their usual selfs.
        Calgary.. Kaboom

        So, Edmonton has improved their roster more then anyone above DSF, and you really think Taylor Hall and Co, with a better support staff, and a coaching system that can defend a lead more to their style.. Won’t be battling for a playoff spot more then they were last year up to about 8games left?

        Your bitterness clouds judgement, making your other comments that are sometimes useful, overlooked.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Lamoriello is breathing a little easier not having to dole out that 11+ per yr. Imagine how David Poile would feel if he could get out from under the 14 Shea Weber is due for the foreseeable future in that small market in Nashville.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Space… the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Oilerprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new age systems, to seek out new depth players and new trainers, to boldly go where it seems like everyone has gone before.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A good comparable for this Gagner contract, must be TJ Oshies deal with the Blues. TJ is a liitle better than Sam in most statistical categories. Oshie makes 4.175 for the next 3 years. The last two years of TJs deal would also have been UFA eligible yrs.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Remember how everyone – including me – thought Lou Lammy fell off the turnip truck when he elected NOT to surrender his 1st round pick in 2012 when the Devils, fresh off a SCF appearance, were picking like 29th in the 1st round of a comparatively weak draft and instead decided to give it up over one of the next two years?

    That tells me this was ALWAYS the end game and Lou knew about it at least 13 months ago. My prediction: the NHL gives the Devils their surrendered draft pick back seeing as how Kovy just “suddenly” decided to retire.

    I would be shocked if New Jersey does not get their pick back – I suspect that promise has been made for some time. Oh Lou, you old puppetmaster!

    With their first pick in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils are proud to select ……

  • Locksmithluke

    Just about ditched the service truck whilst getting the “low down” on Kovie’s grand escape!! Never mind texting and driving, reading the sports blog and driving (in Edmonton) is a killer!! Anyway, just out of curiousity, does Kuba out of FLA fill a ($3.?M) slot on the blue line this year, at 35 he brings quite a bit of experience to the ice and perhaps in the dressing room?
    Would love to see Larsson in copper an’ blue but chances are slim to none of NJ parting ways with an integral part such as…

  • TeeVee

    Jason : I’m hearing the Saddledome is being deemed irreplaceable/irreparable again -a second time . Where will the Flames play if that be the case ? They could have a new building before us if they tear it down .

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I’m hearing the Flames are SOL on a new building. No federal, provincial or taxpayers dollars will go towards this new building. There isn’t a bad seat in the saddledome for hockey games. They’ll probably get new retractable seats in the lower bowl, fix the electrical issues and give the place a good scrubbing. I don’t think they’ll be playing this up to get a new building. After what they’ve been through recently. Giving those millionaires a new building to play hockey in, is the last thing on the city of Calgarys minds.

      • Bucknuck

        I think you are right, Quick. The nosebleeder seats kinda suck, but that’s why they are cheap. It’s still one of the biggest arena’s in the league, and is 15 years newer than Rexall. Next to our old arena it’s pretty awesome. Ours is the smallest oldest arena in the league, so there was a good case for change there.

        I couldn’t understand why they think they should get another arena? You can do renovations to get more luxury seating. Blowing 500M on a new arena seems kinda dumb. Make them wait at least 15 years… hopefully more.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The Devils could have tolled the contract until 2025 and prevented Kovalchuk playing the KHL.

    They obviously had their reasons to agree.

    And the $20 Million is bogus. It is much closer to $10 Million. But at 13% tax it is a much better number.