Six to eight new Oilers

At his end of season press conference, Craig MacTavish was asked if there could be six to eight new Oilers, and he said “I think that’s fair.” With the moves so far this summer, the team is now in that range.

The full quote:

I think that’s fair. There’s going to be some significant and meaningful change for sure. I think in today’s era, even when you win there’s significant change, and when you’re in the situation that we’re in at this stage of our development as a team there’s every reason to expect there’s going to be at least that many, 6-8 new members [of the Oilers].

The Changes

The depth chart above is my personal view of where things are right now, and assumes no changes. Reasonable people can disagree on the order, but that should be a serviceable list.

Assuming that Ryan Hamilton, Philip Larsen and Richard Bachman all end up missing the team, that makes six new Oilers to the starting roster; if Hamilton and Larsen make the team that takes the club to eight.

Changes Ahead?

I expect that we will yet see a trade that ships out Ales Hemsky, but maybe that doesn’t happen. Bob Stauffer hinted in his show yesterday that Ales Hemsky could be back with the team if MacTavish can’t find a return that satisfies him, and MacTavish has always left himself that out. I’ve never been a guy who believes a player has to be a prototypical third line player to play on the third line; just because EA Sports calls it a checking line doesn’t mean it must be devoid of offence. Certainly, Ales Hemsky’s ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone without losing possession is something that wouldn’t hurt a third line taking primarily defensive zone minutes, and having a little bit of counterpunch is always a good thing.

I also would not be surprised to see a player like Nick Schultz moved, since as things currently stand the Oilers will either need to push one of Nick Schultz or Anton Belov out of the top-six or slide a left-shooting defenceman over to his off-side.

But even if that doesn’t happen, MacTavish has delivered on his promise of off-season change.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Flames Nation, Kent Wilson opines on the Flames’ contract talks with defenceman T.J. Brodie. Why does it matter? Because in doing so, Wilson spends a bunch of time reflecting on the general nature of so-called "bridge contracts" – like the one-year deal Sam Gagner got last season. Wilson cites another example of the bridge contract ending badly:

Namely, that the player will get drastically more expensive to retain in the near future. On the one hand, there’s the concern associated with committing dollars and term to a player who turns out to be mediocre or worse. On the other hand, there’s the possibility the player will be able to hold a team over the barrel a few years down the road. A recent object lesson in the pitfalls of bridge deals is PK Subban – the Canadiens played hardball with the young defender this past off-season (and lock-out), resulting in a contentious negotiation that eventually ended in a lowball two year deal worth $2.87M per year. Of course, Subban won the Norris trophy this season, so you can be certain Montreal will be paying out the nose to keep their young star once his bridge contract expires after next season.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Randaman

    I for some reason do not understand the reasoning in trading Nick Schultz. Hes played like 800 games in the NHL and is a solid veteran. Why would the Oilers let an older undrafted rookie Belov take his spot? I understand Belov is a puck mover and Schultz isnt but hes played 800 games in the NHL. I think Schultz in the 5th spot adds alot of depth to a shaky d lineup the Oilers have. Trading him now for a bag of peanuts isnt going to help things out in Oilerland. Just my opinion.

  • bwar

    The downside to Nick Schultz is basically that he has a big contract to be playing a 5/6 D role. More or less we could use that money elsewhere and it might be time for Klefbom or one of our other D prospects to make the jump up to the NHL and Nick Schultz is sitting in their roster spot.

  • Citizen David

    If this is all that MacT gets done before next season it’s going to be another long. Bottom dwelling season especially in light of the division the oil plays in next year.

    No changes thusfar to the top d or the first two lines. So for at least thirty to thirty five minutes a game the oils opponents will see nothing different save Ference. Their trainers won’t hand to do much after the games against the oil regarding newly acquired injuries. Is their a less hard to play against group in the entire league? Is their one that made the playoffs?

  • MacT appears to have done more in 60 days than Tambo did in his entire tenure here.

    Not sure how ppl are complaining. It’s not easy find 6-8 new players that are all better and cheaper than the previous guys in their spots.

    Ference : Better and cheaper than Ryan Whitney.
    Belov: Better and cheaper than N.Schultz(IMO)
    Perron: Better and cheaper than Hemsky
    Gordon: Better and cheaper than Horc(IMO)
    Joensuu: No clue how he’ll stack up vs. petrell

    All in all, it’s hard to complain about any of this. MacT just set his expectations a little higher than is realistic.

    I’m anxious to see how Klefbom and Joensuu end up fitting in the picture this year.

  • At this point I don’t think Grabo is a good fit. Especially since we have Perron. Grabo could have moved to the wing, but now our top six is full. I see Grabo as a last resort.

    IE if Gags goes all the way through with arbitration and the oilers have to walk away from him because he was awarded 5.75M. Then we’d likely be forced to sign Grabo. As it stands now, he’s not a great fit.

    • Bonvie

      Whos there Nellie, If the Oilers let Gags go through Arbitration and then walk away due to what he is awarded, the whole freakin management group should be fired on the spot!

      If a settlement cannot be made within a week or two, they need to seriously look at trading Gags! The longer they wait the less they get for him.

      As for Grabo, he brings what Gagner does offensively but with a bit more defensive awareness.In my opinion I would prefer Grabovski over Gagner but that is just me.

  • Bonvie

    Gagner for Colin Wilson or Brayden Schenn makes sense to me. I like Gagner but considering the makeup of the rest of the top 6 Wilson and Schenn would compliment the remainder of the top 6 quite nicely.

    • oliveoilers

      If Gagner gets an offer sheet what might be the figure be to match ? They could be actively shopping him now if they feel the arbitration might be higher than they are willing/wanting to go . Better option than letting him go for free .

      Oilers did not seem to have a concensus on Gagner long term on his last contract . another one year or short term contract could mean a parting of ways at/near end of season. We’ll see what this marriage will bring by the length of the contract I suspect . Currently feels like it might boil down to one year .

      • oliveoilers

        Now that Gagner has decided on arbitration, offer sheets are not allowed.

        If Gagner ends up with a one-year deal, I think we can expect him to be traded by the deadline. In this potential situation, it might be prudent to sign Grabo or sign/trade for someone who can step into the 2nd line centre role.

  • oliveoilers

    Just one thing on the ‘Penner Has Two Rings”. First one with Anaheim, he was a playoff monster. He earned it. Second one, well, the other day Jamal Meyers and Dan Carcillo got theirs…..Following some people’s logic we should sign them up 3mill a piece, right? Or you could look at it with the perspective that they were bit part players. I agree with some of you that Penner CAN be an asset. But, like the others I have seen him mail it in, and more importantly, not give a damn about team mates.