PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

The Edmonton Oilers have added some impressive names to their roster so far this summer, and still have cap room, assets to trade and holes to fill. All they need is opportunities, and they may still be out there.

BIG OPPORTUNITY

The Oilers this evening have $7.6M in cap room and have to sign Sam Gagner (and Taylor Fedun if there’s money left over). They are also likely to trade Ales Hemsky and his $5M cap hit (although they could also make a deal while retaining as much as $2.5M in 83 cap) although that’s not a slam dunk. It’s probably reasonable to estimate the Oilers cap number (after Gagner’s signing and the Hemsky deal) to be in the $5M range.

FLYERS STILL HAVE PROBLEMS

You’ll recall the Oilers spent much of draft day attempting to pry Braydon Coburn from the Philadelphia Flyers. Many days later, the Flyers are still trying to find a way out of cap hell and the Coburn option remains according to Frank Seravalli from the Philadelphia Daily News.

  • Seravalli: "St. Louis didn’t want to move 25-year-old forward David Perron ($3.8 million) yesterday, but dealt him to Edmonton for Magnus Paajarvi to free up much-needed space. Many believe the Blues could have gotten more for Perron if teams didn’t already know St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong was being forced to make a move to try and re-sign restricted free agent blue liner Alex Pietrangelo. (Flyers GM Paul) Holmgren could be in the same situation with Coburn. Don’t be surprised if a trade pops out of the blue."

Would the Oilers have interest? One would think so based the number of conversations Holmgren and Oilers GM Craig MacTavish had during the draft. A Perron-Paajarvi style trade for Coburn (cap hit $4.5M times three years) might mean Edmonton offers a less expensive player to the Flyers in return.

NEW JERSEY HAS NEW PROBLEMS

The news today that Ilya Kovalchuk has retired to the KHL (for more money!!!) means Lou and the Devils are on the lookout for replacement talent. Again the $2.5M Hemsky (Oilers would take on half of the cap) might have real value, and perhaps Edmonton could receive some useful talent (Olesz, Loktionov) and  draft picks for future use.

ARBITRATION LIST

Adding to the fun is the new arbitration list, which includes four Los Angeles Kings (who have just over $5M in cap space). Jake Muzzin, anyone?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers spent much of draft weekend trying to find a trade partner. We know they pursued Braydon Coburn and we know the St. Louis Blues made David Perron available leading into the draft. On the other side of free agency, it looks as though some of those same teams are now calling the Oilers. Patience is a virtue.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Hemsky was one of the oilers best forwards for the first half of this season.

    Before he was injured. Sadly he’s always injured or playing injured.

    If he could stay healthy he would be a huge part of the team and an attempt at competing for a playoff spot.

    • toprightcorner

      Hemsky was 7th on the team in P/PG behind even J Schultz, he was one of the top guys for about 2 weeks and that’s it.

      Unfortunately he is our third or forth best winger and slipping, he just doesn’t fill a need. He’s not 2-way, does’t play with power, roughness or hit guys and thats what we need to push for playoffs.

      Trade an asset to get an asset that better fills a need

      • nuge2drai

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        I imagine Hemsky would be getting some ppas if he was on the first Powerplay unit – taking his p/pg into the top five. .

        I remember him scoring some nice goals contributing to keeping us in the playoff mix up until the last quarter season.

        You can’t think he wouldn’t be top 5 if he was on the first pp unit.

        I think he will be a top 5 forward on the team that gets him.

        Making him a clear top 6 forward.

      • nuge2drai

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        I agree with letting him go if we spend the cap space on Grabovski or a player of that level.

        I don’t agree with letting him go for an inferior player, just for the sake of change.

        We need a valuable young asset in return that will contribute significantly to the playoff race if we get rid of Hemsky, that’s all I’m sayin.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          The team requires additional balance. We have too many face cards in the lineup. Trading Hemsky for a ‘lesser’ player who fills a particular need in the lineup is a good move. Perhaps the additional equalization in the deal is salary retention or a draft pick but our objective isn’t to find a better Hemsky. It is to fill holes and regain balance. Very different frame of reference that was completely lost on Tambo (but seems to be exactly what MacT is focused on). IMO, getting a lesser player for Hemsky is exactly what we should be doing at this point in time.

  • toprightcorner

    IF ALES HEMSKY WAS NOT A EDMONTON OILER… WE WOULD BE TARGETING HIM LIKE NOBODIES BUSINESS.. HE IS (when healthy) one of the best FORWARDS IN THE NHL.

    LETS GET JAROMIR JAGR SIGNED PLAYING WITH HEMSKY AND U WILL SEE THEY WILL FIND THEMSELVES THE 1st Line in EDMONTON. We can call them the Czech”ing” line… Get it. The Checking line only spelled.. Aww forget it..

    Anyway: rumor has it Holmgren called MacTavish to drum up a trade. He wants top OKC prospects. Musil and Fedun were rumored in the mix.

    If Coburn involved.. I think MacT would part with over half of the OKC lineup.

    GO FOR MAC-T..

    I can taste the STANLEY CUP ALREADY!

    • toprightcorner

      I would do that in a heart beat, even a 2nd round as Colburn would likely be our #1 dman this year but with only a $1 mill cap savings probably doesn’t help Holgrem too much.

      N Schultz, a second rounder and retain $1.75 mill in salary and cap space and get it done. thats getting a top pair dman for a 3rd pairning dman, a 50/50 prospect and a bit of money and we have Colburn on a 3 yr contract. Bit of an overpayment but worth it to get Colburn.

      I like your thinking though, Schultz could be good trade bait.

  • charliedont

    Hemsky has talent no-doubt, but he’s also terribly inconsistent, injured and/or going offside making house-league, atom hockey gaffes at every turn. We all get up and high-five the three times a season that he dangles through a whole team, but he’s not helping this team win hockey games. The Pisani’s, Bickell’s and Marchand’s win you hockey games when the going gets tough; not this ballerina.

  • There is no doubt Hemsky will be traded. There is no way he can surpass Eberle or Yakupov to get top 6 RW and all have shown to be less effective when switched over to LW.

    Hemsky has to play with high end skill to be effective. He can still put up points so I am sure someone will take him. The problem is the Oilers had no skill other than him for a lot of his career so he got used to trying to do too much. Now he always hangs on to the puck too long and tries one too many moves. He is one of the worst offenders in the league for dragging people offside or going offside himself.

    Hemsky has great hands and speed and if all you were watching were the highlights of his good moments he has a place on any team in the league. At this time our bottom 6 is atrocious and I still would not have a place for him on this team. am hoping Mact is showing patience and has a few trades offers in the wing for him.

  • Benny Botts

    TO LOWETIDE : Off topic somewhat , but can you find out if Flames deem Saddledoom (pun)irrepareable upon a second inspection would they then not qualify for civic, provincial and federal flood relief money to tear down the Saddledome and build a new arena , perhaps even before us ? I’m hearing that like some other bldg.s downtown , upon a second inspection they are being upgraded to irrepareable status , probably just for that purpose of getting flood relief dollars . If indeed Flames deem it irreplaceable and irrepareable as rumours suggest , where might the Flames play in the interim ?

  • Would like the Oilers to go hard after Matthias from FLA, primarily a centre he can play both wings as well.

    With FLA having Huberdeau and Barkov ready to go and the vetran Goc, plus Shore and Bjugstad on the way up I have to think Matthias could be in play.

    This kid would be a dream to get. Matthias is Just ready to explode soon.

  • Benny Botts

    I think Philly would be looking for a cheap, reliable defenceman to replace Coburn’s spot. If that option does not work, Philly may just dangle draft picks to try and move Meszaros or Grossman.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I wish there was a stat showing # of offsides caused by a player. Hemskey would lead the league….

    like the player, good soldier through the dark times of tambo/lowe, but it’s time for everyone involved to move on. He doesn’t fit here anymore

    • LinkfromHyrule

      I read some St. Louis blog and.supposely Perron likes going offside, bad offensive turnovers and penalties too.

      Frankly just like see Hemsky play till the deadline, get a third round pick.

  • G Money

    All free agents still:

    3L = Mason Raymond
    3R = Peter Mueller or Damien Brunner
    4C = Kyle Wellwood

    Implications are 4L = Smyth, 4R = Jones, which is a much better fit for both of them, and that Hemsky is traded for picks/prospects, freeing up $5M in cap space.

    This gives us >$12M in cap to sign Gagner and the above three, plus a few salaries get buried in the minors.

    Not all of the above are perfect fits in terms of size or style or play, but all are legit NHL players and a big upgrade on who we have slotted in that role – but it makes for excellent depth, and 3rd/4th lines that are good enough to make the Oilers a playoff team.

  • G Money

    I like Hemsky’s skill, but he is not what we need right now………I say trade him for a couple of draft picks…..(recoup our second round 2014 draft pick) and then put in an offer sheet for Kyle Clifford.

    Thats the kind of player we need.

  • Ducey

    OTT is a few $ over their self imposed $50 million spending cap. The still have to sign Wiercioch and Cowan. That might put them at $4 million over their cap, and in a position to have to deal.

    Unfortunately I can’t figure out a way that they take on Hemsky and reduce salary. Perhaps just Zach Smith for a prospect would work.

  • Ducey

    I am really getting excited over the idea of Coburn. Hopefully some of our prospects might get this deal done with Philly needing to get under the cap. Not to mention, if we could trade Hemsky, eat half his contract, and get that missing piece on the third line to make it really impressive, the Oilers would really start looking like a hockey team.

    If we do get Coburn, what would happen to the likes of Belov and Potter?
    Coburn, Farence, Schultz, Schultz, Petry, Smid, Klefbomb / Belov?

    With Nurse in the system and Klefbomb looking as good as he is, and Schultz hopefully taking a step forward, in two years this could be one of the best defences in the league.

  • Bucknuck

    If they can trade Horcoff and not eat salary, I can’t see why they couldn’t do the same for Hemsky. It’s a low risk one year contract on a high end player. Second line on a good team, 1st line on a bad one (like, say… Calgary).

    He’s worth 5M.

    They should be able to get something for him… it just won’t be a from a team with a cap squeeze, or it will be a big contract coming back.

    Unrelated to Hemsky: the Philly trade made sense when we had MPS and second round picks to dangle. Now that he’s gone I don’t know what we have that they would want. Nick Schultz is too expensive to suit their needs. Petry? I wouldn’t trade him right now. He is definitely a top four defender and could be a top two if he keeps improving.

    I can’t get Yandle out of my head.

  • Bucknuck

    IS SMYTH STILL A VALUABLE ASSET ? YES . We have very little proven veteran leadership left with playoff experience and well liked by fans , organization , and players alike . He’s committed to us like very few ever were . His value will be felt thru out the season , and knowing his character , even more so come playoffs if we get there . The kids can all learn from him even if his role is diminished . I’m confident Smyth would rather retire on his own assessment if he felt he would be a detriment to teams success . Who else quite frankly can fill those voids in our limited veterans ? He’s given us everything he’s got and we are fortunate he wants to retire here . Cut him some slack if only for his previous services , as it’s not a huge price to pay for some of his loyalty and commitment .

    • Spydyr

      ” loyalty and commitment ”

      Like when he played hard ball with his contract and got himself traded to the Islanders.

      He is old slow and should be replaced by a player with a future.

      • Bucknuck

        He , like almost all players , pay their agent to play hardball and in his interests to get the best deal , and his agent lost trying to squeeze an extra $100,00 – as Oilers decided to let him go , rightly or wrongly. Smyth did not want to go . Smyth brings the intangibles which are is important to our team , as veteran leadership has dwindled markedly .We need some veteran balance and I believe MacT. feels he still brings that valuable quality . Those sorts of intangibles have value over and above on ice value . That’s what he has , and that’s the extra he brings . Can we maybe get a better on ice person ? Maybe , but I doubt that person will have the needed intangibles that Smyth can bring , and thus make the entire team better to the extent he can . I just don’t see it as being a priority needed change at this stage . I disagree , I feel he is of good value still .

        • Bucknuck

          I agree with you, madjam. What you say makes complete sense. Smyth embodies hard work and sacrifice and leaving it all on the ice every shift, and that is great to have on your fourth line. I still think he can contribute when he isn’t forced to play centre or made to play twenty minutes a night.

  • Ducey

    Bucknuck

    “If they can trade Horcoff and not eat salary, I can’t see why they couldn’t do the same for Hemsky. It’s a low risk one year contract on a high end player. Second line on a good team, 1st line on a bad one (like, say… Calgary).

    He’s worth 5M.”

    If you believe this is the case, then why hasn’t MacT been able to move Hemsky? If one team wants to sell, worth relates to the buyer, not the seller. It is very probable that MacT is now aware of Hemsky’s worth — to buyers. It seems Hemsky has been a quickly depreciating asset, no longer a high end player.

    • Bucknuck

      I’m sure he has been able to move him… but the return probably hasn’t been right. Just because he hasn’t moved him yet doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value.

  • Craig1981

    You need to give some level of quality asset to get one in return. Also to note, we typically over-estimate the attractiveness of our players to other teams.

    If Klefbom looks to be that good in 2 years time, I would do this:

    Coburn for Petry and a prospect (Fedun? Simpson?)

    Run:
    Coburn Ference
    Smid J Schultz
    Below/ Klefbom N Schultz

    Adds more experience, sandpaper and balance to the lineup and lets Klefbom acclimate slowly. If he earns more earlier, so be it.

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    Yep…we have done well with getting some significant new players for the Oilers and I am very happy so far.

    IMO, Hemsky has value of being a top 1st or 2nd line winger somewhere else…but…he never scores at a top pace all season long (for sure during these last years) and his injury prone status brings him down a bit value-wise as well. That being said, Hemsky was a pleasure to watch these many years when he was rocking and rolling and I hope that he does well if or when he gets dealt.

    Philly ain’t gonna take on his contract at this time even with any type retained salary included so they are out for any Hemsky type deal. NJ just came into play now for being a trade partner with the selfishness of Kovalchuk coming out now…cause rumours are out that he ain’t leaving just to play at home in the KHL, he is getting a ton or more money to be in the KHL/at home.

    In Edm he would be sent to the third line and I believe he does not like that one bit so it becomes amicable that he wants toget moved/the Oilers want to move him.

    I would not want to give up Hemsky for any retained salary type deal. He is worth his money when he plays at high end skill. I also do not think Gagner is worth $5 mil or plus either and he should be on his way out by the trade deadline if he gets that thru arbitration.

    I still think tho that the NYI, Buf, Carolina, Columbus or Nasville are the better teams to talk with as LA would not want to let the Oilers (in the same division) have one of their guys. Philly is still there somewhere too but for of a different type deal for one of Coburn and/or also even Schenn/Couturier. Heck, Maxime Talbot would fit great as the 4th line centre here as well.

  • OilersBrass

    Sign Gagner and trade him to NJ.

    I like Sam. But his new contract is not going to be the greatest; either a one-year, high dollar contract, or a longer term contract at a rate higher than the Oilers want to pay. If there was a long-term contract at a team-friendly rate, there would already be a deal in place.