NOT THE RIGHT MIX….

A 1-6-1 start for the Oilers doesn’t inspire much confidence in Oilesnation. Why should it? Are the Oilers as bad as their record? I don’t think so. Are they a playoff calibre team? I didn’t think they were before the season, and they don’t look like one now.

I recognize it is only eight games, but until Craig MacTavish makes a few more changes this team won’t be a true contender. I don’t expect him to be able to make all these moves instantly, but hopefully the Oilers recognize their deficiencies. This team isn’t built to be a winner, and even if some fans or members or the team don’t want to hear it, this team is still four of five key pieces away from being a legitimate contender.

I’ve said it for three years that this team isn’t hard to play against, and four years later they still aren’t hard to play against. They are getting better, mainly because Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle invoke fear in the opposition.

But you can’t win with all young, skilled players who lack size.

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MacTavish clearly won the David Perron for Magnus Paajarvi trade. Not just because Perron has more skill, but because he competes harder shift to shift. The Oilers need more of that. Perron is an upgrade over Paajarvi. You can’t expect MacTavish to win every trade outright, however, so his next moves will need to be about making the overall makeup of his team better.

Last March I wrote, 

The way I see it the Oilers will end up moving two, likely three players amongst Hemsky, Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov in the next 18-14 months. You might not like that reality, but I don’t see any other way this team will be able to improve and afford their lineup if they don’t make those types of moves. 

There is a good chance that the Oilers trade those guys and they put up decent numbers on another team, and likely more than the players coming to Edmonton, but that doesn’t mean the Oilers will lose those trades. If they acquire a strong, steady top-pairing defenceman that should make them more competitive.

If they acquire a skilled forward who plays physical, scores, is a good puck retriever and goes to the net that will make them better. The Oilers will still have three very good skilled players remaining, in Hall, RNH and Eberle and one of 64, 89, 91 and 83. 

Paajarvi has already been moved, and I honestly believe that deal was for two reasons. First off, because Perron is better, but also because he gives them another skilled-winger, and that would allow MacTavish to deal one of his skilled right wingers for either a solid D-man, or big, skilled forward.

All of you are emotionally invested in the Oilers. You watch every game, read as much info on the Oilers as you can, comment on this site and you call in or listen to TSN 1260 regularly. You are extremely passionate about the Oilers. The past four years you’ve watched the Oilers tank it, and the only hope you were given was that Hall, RNH, Yakupov and Eberle would eventually lead this team to the playoffs.

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You believed it, and when someone mentions trading one of the young forwards, I completely understand the instinct to say, "shut the hell up."

How could the Oilers deal one of the key pieces, a player you’ve been told would help the Oilers return to the playoffs?

It’s natural to not want to move them.

Most will say trade Hemsky or Gagner before moving any of the Fab Four. That makes sense, but neither of those two will garner the type of player the Oilers need to become a top contender.

The only way the Oilers can acquire a significant piece is to trade one of their key kids. It sucks, but I believe that is the reality that MacTavish faces.

NO NEED TO RUSH…

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I’m not suggesting MacTavish make this move next week in an attempt to salvage this season. The last thing he should do is make a move from a position of weakness or from desperation. However, he has to recognize this type of trade is necessary if the Oilers ever plan on returning to the postseason.

The Oilers will start winning, maybe not as often as you’d hope, but I’d be willing to bet they don’t go 1-6-1 during any other 8-game stretch this season.

This team has talent, but they have too much similar talent.

They need some reliable, veteran forwards who are skilled enough to play in their top-six. You can’t expect the kids to learn from each other.

Boyd Gordon has been a solid addition. He plays hard and he knows his role. His offensive outburst has been a major bonus, but I don’t expect him to score 20 goals this season, or next. He’s never been that type of player. They need to find a reliable, cagey veteran like Gordon, but who has the skills to play top-six minutes.

The Oilers need a true top-pairing defender, a player who is 24-27 years of age with at least four years of NHL experience.

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The Oilers can’t expect Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom to jump into the NHL and be that guy. They need to have a guy who those two can learn from; a guy who can make their transition to the NHL easier. The only way I see the Oilers acquiring said player is by moving Yakupov or Eberle. I don’t see them moving Hall or Nugent-Hopkins.

If I had to choose I’d move Yakupov.

He’s a former first overall pick who has only played 54 NHL games. He’s only 20 years of age. Of course there will be a risk in moving him, but he’d also garner a solid return. He very likely could become a 40-goal scorer on another team, but the Oilers don’t need more offence. They need different types of offence. The Oilers skilled players are all similar, and they need to add a different element into their top-six.

They need more solid two-way players. They need a solid top-pairing defender. They need some skilled size in their top-six. Until they acquire that, I don’t see them winning regularly.

The Oilers might eventually win with Hall, Eberle, Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins as their four key forwards, but how long will it take to fill in the other key holes on the blueline and within the forward group? Two years, four years or five years?

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MacTavish shouldn’t rush into a trade, but I believe the organization has to look at the big picture and face reality that one of those four, likely a right winger, will need to be moved in order for this team to acquire the other key pieces that are lacking to achieve a winning formula.

QUICK HITS…

  • Mark Arcobello is making the most of his NHL opportunity. He has eight assists in eight games. The points are great, but I’ve been most impressed by his hockey sense. He makes a lot of smart plays with and without the puck. It is only eight games, so we’ll need to see him play more to get an accurate assessment, but he’s been very impressive.
     
  • Sam Gagner got the green light to take part in contact drills. He joined the Oilers in Ottawa and could return to the lineup within a week. When he comes back, I’m curious to see what Eakins does with Arcobello. It is hard to imagine he’ll come out of the lineup.
     
  • The Corsi crowd has quieted down significantly. If I’m calculating this correctly, and I easily could not be, the Oilers as a team are around -30 in Corsi. (Updated correct number.) Only Eberle and Arcobello are above 50%. This team still has lots of work to do at ES. They are improving, but they have a ways to go.

     

  • The Oilers might have won the game if their PP was able to convert on one of the three consecutive PP chances in the 2nd period. They had excellent puck movement, but couldn’t finish. It’s been that type of year so far for the Oilers. When PP is going, the goaltending struggles. Last night it was the opposite.
     
  • Denis Grebeshkov has been recalled after playing three games in OKC. I suspect you will see him in the lineup tomorrow vs. the Sens. The Oilers have lost five in a row, and resting/sitting one of the D-men would make sense.
     
  • Eakins will try Yakupov on the left wing and put Perron on the right side. His reasoning for moving Yakupov is that he’ll get more pucks to the net instead of always having puck exposed to middle on his off wing, and I’m guessing it is the same for Perron. Both of them were playing on their off wings.  So the top two lines for tomorrow will be:

    Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-Arcobello-Perron
     

  • The Oilers PK continues to give up too many great chances. The Oilers have allowed a PP goal in every game this season. Their franchise record is 14 consecutive games set between November 20th to December18th, 2003. Thanks to Elias Sports Bureau for getting me that answer. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • I’ve been leading the charge on moving a young skill guy (I pick Yakupov, just because the other top 3 fit in very well) for a #1D. Also, I wondered if we could pass off Arco as a gem.. Sell high … Think Matt Read or Cory Conacher (without the goals though) if this hot streak keeps going. Yes, he fits in super well, but is he irreplaceable? No. Can we fool some teams into thinking he’s a lower end star? Maybe. Maybe him and the 2nd would have gotten you Bishop over Conacher plus TB ‘s fourth, for example (if this hot streak happened last year) .

    • Zarny

      Agreed on that. I hate the fact that it’s becoming clear that the Oilers need to make a major move and lose one of their five elite kids. But Eberle plays better with his teammates and while Yakupov will very likely become an elite finisher the Oilers don’t have another 2 to 3 years to wait for that. Not to mention that Gregor’s article brought up a very valid point. This team does not have veteran talent surrounding the kids. Giroux had Richards, Carter, Pronger, etc. Datsyuk and Zetterberg had a wealth of veteran talent surrounding them, Stamkos, Crosby, and Tavares also had that benefit. Seth Jones has Shea Weber as a resource. The list goes on. Only the Oilers have left their elite young talent on their own.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    If we can put together a deal to get Staal at center or a player like him for Gagner and a pick or a prospect in OKC, Yak and N Schultz for a top D man like a Weber, and maybe JSchultz for a genuine number 1 goalie… might take another player to make room for salary and to make it happen. If we can do that and also find a way to get a mean forechecker to play top 6 mins for Hemsky… none of this happens… then we have a contender. Add Nurse down the road and let Klefbom get better we will be good for years.

  • 24% body fat

    Im sorry I know I am going to get trashes for this but; (and I love eberle and don’t want to trade him)

    Eberle is not the player and is not going to be consistently the player he was two years ago. He can be a better all around player but I just don’t notice him on the ice as much this year or last as you did the year before. He is not a 6 million dollar player. If a winger is making that much he better be a consistent 30-40-70 guy. And even if he is there is it the Kunitz effect? Is he really the one doing the work or along for the ride? So as I see it we have a terrific three and not a fab four. (sorry eberle fans). If he was a center you would really see the short comings in his physical and defesnive games, and he would not be scoring at that rate.

    This is also the best time to trade him as he has a Canadian Charisma. There is a love affair with this player that tends to overvalue him. That being said his value is extremely high. IF you trade him and not yakupov than you ultimately maximize a value that is likely to deter and you defer the 6M that eberle is getting back a few years to yakupov.

    The only other options is to get rid of the rest of the old. Petry and Smid are decent but need to be traded for something, as well as nick Shultz. Hemsky, a useful player also has to go. If your going to change the guard do it. Don’t change the bottom half of the roster that barely has consequence on the game and call it a day.

    I really want to keep all these young forwards, but Eberles contract and temporary high value is what the oilers would need to do to maximize the value of one of there assets. Trading Yakupov with all the negative around him right now will not fetch what he is worth.

    Sorry Wayne,

    Emotions aside, reality needed.

    EDIT: I was the first one to trash this, two; I dont see why people thing Eberle Nuge and Hall have chemistry. It is two elite and one good player. Does Burrows have Chemistry with Sedins or is he leaching off of them. Wait until Yaks third year and play him there and see the results.

    • Benny Botts

      We are watching two different games man. I have noticed Ebs a ton out there. I think you have some valid points on him being the one to be traded. However I think his overall game (leadership, skill, and so on..) will be more valuable then Yak’s game in the long run. I could be wrong, as yak has only play 50-some games in the NHL. And I am shocked you dont think Eb’s will be a 70 point guy…seriously??
      I think he will be there or higher on a yearly basis.

    • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

      I’m mostly in agreement with you, but it begs the question: if Eberle “is not a 6 million dollar player”, doesn’t that really cut into his trade value?

      NHL GMs have to trade players based on contract value as well as player ability (otherwise no one in their right mind would make the Perron for Paajarvi trade). This is the same reason why MacT couldn’t move Hemsky this summer; the other GMs did not see Hemsky as a $5 million/year player and wouldn’t offer MacT an acceptable return.

      I think everyone in Oilers Nation would learn to love a trade that improved the team by sending Ebs away for a top pairing D or big center, but I doubt that trade works unless Eberle can prove he’s worth his contract (and basically becomes Phil Kessel at a $2 million/year savings).

  • **

    If Arcobello is capable of playing with consistency, then Gagner becomes redundant. The love affair with Gagner has to end at some point. Arcobello isbetter defensively and on the faceoff and like Gregor wrote, the Oilers have way too much firepower. Arcobello seems to play more physical too, despite is small size. Between keeping Yakupov and keeping Hemsky, I think the choice is pretty easy.

    Hemsky plus Gagner plus a D man prospect plus one or two draft picks should be enough to bring back a solid D man, or a top goalie or a top 6 veteran forward with size and skill.

    This way you don’t give away a an asset like Yakupov or Eberle, players for which the team paid a very punitive price and who are poised to be if not better, at least just as good as Hemsky and Gagner.

  • Slapshot

    Yet again more Jason Negative.

    Mix not right you bet. Oliers have no NHL players on the 4th line and lack 2?? 3rd liners. That is FAR more of an issue than 6ft 200 lbs forwards they have now. No support.

    Yes Perron is a better player than Paaravi but, McT over paid. Blues had cap issues and they could have done an offer sheet for Stewart for a 1st + 3rd. Peron wasn’t wanted by the organization, fans or local media. How is that a win?

    You spew about Oilers being to small but never give an example of an opposing player 1 inch taller cost the goal against.
    You’ve had former players tell you the Oilers issue is bottom 6 but, your blinded by size. Hall, RNH, Eberle, Yakupov & Perron are all different players, only thing in common are they the approx size.

  • 24% body fat

    Nice to see I am not the only one out there thinking Yak needs to go…. He is too Arrogant and not a team player.m Hemsky….. well no one wanted him and now he is trying to prove himself and his worth yet again.If I were to choose who should go….Both Shultz’s and Yak. I have only been a fan for 4 years but already I see the problems areas as well. Not enough physical presence is my number one beef. When we hit alot we win! get Eager and Brown and Nurse out there on a regular basis!

    • 24% body fat

      Why does Yak have a bad attitude? Because of the way the Edmonton media use his language barriers against him? Because they need a scape goat and it can’t be the Canadian kid.

      I know numerous staff at rexall and in the oilers organization. There is countless stories of Taylor hall being a complete mule. Ask any attractive female who has seen him at the bar. Does any one talk about his attitude?

      I dont care what your attitude is if you bleed the colours. Go out and try your best, while listening to the coach. Not everyone gets a long with everyone. And if you are filling your team with nice guys and good team mates instead of actual players with talent and skill (and i mean all skills, incuding hitting, FO, etc) than you will not win games. Yes you need to be a team doesnt mean you cant play as a team if one or two of them have an attitude or are the alpha dogs.

  • pkam

    They should restart and reassess the rebuild . I’d like to start with Ristolainen and Seth Jones to compliment Nurse for next season . A goalie will come by trade deadline or UFA for next season . I’d currently explore options on J.Schultz , Hemsky and even possibly Gagner and Yakupov . Hall, Hopkins and Eberle are doing worse than diminutive Arcobello at 1/6th the price . Maybe entertain offers for them as well ? Lots we can move , but what do Oilers want is the question in return . We are an early seller , which is good/preferable in a lot of cases .

  • Oiler63

    Maybe MacT does know what he’s doing. Remember in the pre-season he said he’s done with centre position and everybody is screaming and crying? Guys turned out to be ok.

    Another thought, if Seth Jones turned out to be exactly what everyone thinks he is, would that make Nashville want to dump Weber and his contract?

  • Spydyr

    I agree with all your points Jason and Mac-T MUST see them also.The only way I would go different is perhaps trade Eberle instead of Yak.He has more value right now and is yet another small skilled forward on this team.I could see Yak maturing into a tank on the ice.That being said the return better be mind blowing.

  • Big Cap

    PATIENCE – This is a complete joke. With the highend draft picks we have ascertained and a years of “developing” our young players in a non pressure environment and all of us accepting no playoffs as we “rebuild” where do we stand?

    Name one team in professional sports that has missed 7 years of no playoffs, chosen 3 first overall picks and was still this terrible. We can’t even play in the middle of the pack, we are once again a last place team.

    PATIENCE – Whats the rush?? Its a rebuilt after all. It’s a 12-15 year process.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    from Philly beat guy. Yak, Hemmer, Duby, Smid for Brayden Schenn, simmonds, Emery, Coburn now thats a BOLD trade I’d do that trade in a NY second

  • bwar

    Who are earth is going to trade away a legitimate #1D? I would trade any of the young guns for a true #1 D-man but I just don’t think that trade is out there.

    • Oiler63

      pick four guys weber, suttor, pieterangelo, doughty. make phone calls and start kicking tires. ya it’s along shot, but if gretzky taught us anything it’s that no trade is impossible and no one is untouchable. yes we will have to pay dearly for such a trade, but what’s the alternative? as the article eluded to we have lot’s of the same kind of player (small, skilled forwards) we drafted them because they where the best player available, and that makes sense only if your going to use some of these peices to get what we need (top pairing d man, a great goalie). it’s time managment starts making moves or all these great draft picks will have gone to waste.

  • Oiler63

    The other night, as I was watching the Pittsburgh game, a friend of mine who lives in Alabama sent me a Facebook message: “Dude, the Oilers problem isn’t their goaltending. It’s their size! Their forwards are all smurfs out there! They can’t cycle the puck. They’re too small!”

    Before you ask how a dude in Alabama would know enough/care enough about hockey, be advised that he settled in Tuscaloosa (he married a local girl) after a nomadic career playing hockey in the AHL, ECHL and Europe. He was watching the Pittsburgh game on the Centre Ice package and that was the first Oilers game of any kind – exhibition or regular-season – this year.

    His observation came at about the 10-minute mark of the first period. In other words – it took all of 10 minutes for a former minor-league journeyman to figure out the Oilers’ real problem.

    They’re just not big enough or physical enough in their top nine. Their best players are their smallest players and that just doesn’t work in today’s NHL (Marty St. Louis is an exception).
    Yes, David Perron is an excellent pickup and definitely increases the team’s give-a-damn factor, but if the Oilers had five more players like him, it still wouldn’t solve the problem. He’s small and the Oilers have too much of that. Night after night, the Oilers are getting beaten by simple physics. They lose way too many puck battles in the offensive zone.

    Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu are good steps towards helping that problem, but the Oilers badly need a skilled big guy. A power forward.

    Power forwards come at a premium. And not Ales-Hemsky-premium or Sam-Gagner-premium, either. We’re talking Eberle or Yakupov. Maybe even throw in a top-level prospect like Klefbom. Or a Justin Schultz (I’m assuming Hall and Nuge are the real-untouchables).

    That’s the level of deal we’re talking right now. One of those smallish, young skilled guys has to be turned into a Skilled Big Guy.

    There’s a dark cloud hanging over this team that probably looks more grim than it really is, but the reality is everyone’s snickering at the Oilers right now.

    On a good team, Mark Arcobello’s point-a-game pace and 60-percent faceoff percentage would be garnering Calder Trophy talk (as a darkhorse, yes). But right now, the only people who know he’s in the NHL, other than the team and its fans, are his parents. That’s because much of the media has already written off the Oilers …less than 10 games into the season.

    Knowledgeable hockey people know you don’t write off teams before the leaves fall … but I also expected the Oilers to look better than they are right now. I’m not in write-off mode, yet, but the problem is easy to see. They’re too small.

    Time to get “bold,” for reals, MacT.

  • Big Cap

    Eberle in a market like Toronto would be a league superstar. Look at how overhyped Toronto players are.

    Hell there’s leaf fans thinking we’ll trade Eberle for Gardiner straight up. Crazy talk.

    But Eberle for Galchenyuk, out of montreal, and a 1st rounder I would do.

    • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

      If I was MacT, I’d make that trade in a heartbeat, but the real question is why would Montreal make this trade?

      I’d love to see Galchenyuk in Edmonton, but Montreal (a near salary cap team) would be giving up one of their true blue chip prospects (already playing as a functional NHLer), a future first round pick, and absorb $5.1 million in cap hit for the next two years. All of this is so that they can get another undersized player that we all hope will turn into a consistent 70 point a year guy? I don’t see how that’d make sense for the Habs…

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    While I completely understand the fatalism endemic to media pundits on this (trade a young star) topic (the reasons are nearly endless! — wrong mix; too small; too skilled; not tough enough; too many; bad attitude; cap structure; immediate need; long term need; etc. etc.), I think it is worth reminding ourselves this is an ink-spiller’s game.

    We’ve had Yakupov traded for Clarkson, Reimer, Miller and numerous other players. Guess what… none of these deals are near good enough.

    The only thing worth it is the stud D under long term contract at the right age.

    BUT… these pundits forget to tell you how a lot of these players were acquired. Few, if any, were acquired by trading former 1st overalls. Why? Because you lose that trade 99 times out of 100.

    We didn’t get Pronger by giving up a 1st OV.
    The Blues didn’t get Bow by giving up a 1st OV.
    Van didn’t get Hamhuis or Garrison by giving up a 1st OV.
    The Wild didn’t get Suter by giving up a 1st OV.
    The Bruins didn’t get Chara by giving up a 1st OV.
    The Rangers didn’t get McDonagh by giving up a 1st OV.
    The Leafs didn’t get Phaneuf by giving up a 1st OV.

    etc. etc.

    we have no compelling reason to give in to fatalism here. While Yakupov would certainly be sufficient to acquire a great defender, he is not necessary.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    While I usually agree with JG, I have to disagree with this statement….. He very likely could become a 40-goal scorer on another team, but the Oilers don’t need more offence.

    I feel that is exactly what the Oilers need is that, more offense. Forget the GAA and just outscore the opposition. 2 goals per game will not win in this league. Run and gun, but I am old and remember the old days…way more exiting than today.

    Just my two cents….

    • Jason Gregor

      I don’t believe they can win with all the same type of offence. They don’t have the right balance. I too loved the run and gun days, but today’s game isn’t like that. Sadly.

      • DSF

        I know, it is just that I want exciting hockey to watch. I really enjoyed the TO game because of that. Of course I wish we won that one but it doesn’t always work that way. I want the Oilers to change the ways of todays hockey, like how they changed the 4 on 4 because we dominated the opposition. Sigh

  • pkam

    I love Yakupov and Eberle but I would strongly consider trading whichever has the highest value. Also, it’s arguable what the return on Gagner would be but I don’t believe RNH and Gagner as your top 2 gets you deep into the playoffs.

  • 24% body fat

    Alright its safe to say i’m one the aforementioned fans who would cry and sulk if they traded one of Eberle, Hall , Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov. I do think having these players will bring us to the playoffs, but more so 4-5 years down the road. At the age they are now with the limited experience they have its hard to see them competing with teams that have players who single handed have more GP than all four combined.

    As I said i think they could make the playoffs with these four on the team, but that means another 3-5 years out of the playoffs, until they obtain more experience of the game. So its safe to say 7 years is quite enough of a wait to experience playoff hockey, and that it is time we part with one of the four

    After reading previous articles, I agree that Hall is a lock as he is proven and shows he can be a Top LW in the league. Nugent-Hopkins is a Datsyuk like Center that has sublime passing and two way game so hes a lock as well.

    That leaves the two RW’s to be chosen. I am from Regina and loved watching eberle play while he was here, and my dream came true when the Oilers drafted him and he proceeded to impress on the ice. Yakupov on the other hand is the newest and has the least emotional attachment to the team for me personally. However, i think he might be the one that should stay.

    After reading J. Willis’ post on first 53 games played by #1 Overalls, Yakupovs numbers are impressive, although somewhat inflated by the last game on the shortened season. The most significant comparison i see on that list is with Stamkos. They both played in Sarnia, meaning they played the same system and both managed impressive numbers in junior. Yakupov with 0.75 GPG and Stamkos with 0.80 GPG. Also comparing their first NHL seasons Stamkos managed 23 goals in 79 games, where as Yakupov managed 17 goals in 48 games. I’m not saying Yakupov will become Stamkos, but the numbers project a real talent here. In the end, i think eberle should be the one to be traded.

      • DSF

        It’s quite nice the new CBA allows teams to eat the cap of bad contracts. Yeah, i agree Eberle is not worth a $6M contract, and it would be a shame for the oilers to pay Eberle to score 70 points on a different team.

        I wish the Oilers management wasn’t so trigger happy with those $6M’ers. I think Eberle is worth $4.5-5M and not the $6M hes earning now.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m sure they mentioned very similar concerns about Coffey, Kurri, Messier, Anderson and Gretzky back in the day as well. Large(Terry Jones) called the whole works of them weak kneed whimps back in 81 or 82.

    Maybe we should wait a couple more years before we decide to write 4,14,19,64 and 93 off. It could be worth the wait like it was the last time. Who has the wisdom to prove this isn’t the case?

    Tsk Tsk Jason. They are building a new facility to accommodate all the new banners that will go up because of these kids you know.

    • Zarny

      Your talking a new franchise with talents like Gretzky never seen before in NHL . We got to see the preview in WHL . With Fuhr and Messier from Spruce Grove days you had no slouch , and Anderson was a terror even on Team Canada before joining us . Kurri was no slouch either in physical game . Coffey was an offensive phenom with blazing speed but no defensive gem . K.Lowe was no slouch . Did not take long to see them progress fast and rapidly toward success . Our current club is no where near that sort of progression and very unlikely to duplicate what former Oilers did . Jones ,if he did say it , was errored , as most of us felt otherwise !They excelled far better each subsequent year . Bad comparison model tying to tie this team to our dynasty team .

    • Spoils

      I was around in those early days and the assaults on Sather were vigorous. The team had some growing pains and made moves to address weaknesses. It was a different era, but I have to agree with this poster … It is not time to panic. Lets see what happens to the theme of this site when the team wins two or three in a row, or thrashes somebody profoundly… Keep calm fan base.

    • Zarny

      No they didn’t mention similar concerns; because as you mentioned they had Mark Messier.

      Messier was probably the meanest player in the NHL. 6’2″ 210lbs when the average player was 5′-10″ and 180 lbs. He literally pounded the crap out of opposing F and D.

      The ’80s teams having Mark Messier is like swapping Sam Gagner for Eric Staal and having him play like Chris Pronger. If today’s team had a Mark Messier there would be no problem. That is exactly the diversity the current Oilers lack and what the article is about.

      They also always had guys like Krushelnyski or McSorely who could get some dirty goals. I’m a card carrying member of the Lowe Has To Go Club but he and Huddy were better defensively than anyone on this team. They also had guys like Jeff Beukeboom 6′-5″ 230 lbs, Steve Smith 6’4″ 215lbs, Randy Gregg 6’4″ 215 lbs and Craig Muni 6’3″ 210 lbs.

      No one pushed those teams around. And what made them champions is they had everything this team lacks. Gretzky, Kurri, Anderson and Coffey didn’t light it up every night but they could still win.

      And that is the only way you win 16 games in the playoffs. Skill won’t get it done every night. Just look at the recent list of Stanley Cup winners – Chi, LA, Bos, Chi, Pit, Det, Anh, Car.

      Some nights, some rounds guys like Kane, Kopitar, Krejci, Crosby, Malkin, Datsyuk, Zetterberg didn’t get it done. Those nights/rounds they had guys like Toews, Bickell, Byfuglien, Brown, Richards, Carter, Lucic, Horton, Guerin, Staal, Franzen who could find a different way to score.

      The Oilers don’t have that diversity. None of the top 6 F are capable of it. It’s all speed and skill and that isn’t enough. Not to win the Cup.

      If MacT can turn Perron and Gagner into physical equivalents of Milan Lucic and Jonathan Toews that’s best case. If he can pry a guy like Braydon Coburn out of Phi who can shutdown top F for 25 min every night without giving up Hall, Nuge, Eberle or Yakupov I’m all for it. But that’s not an easy task and Gregor is 100% right…those moves need to be made.

  • Zarny

    makes you wonder why they drafted Yakupov knowing he would be redundant with all the skill they have…they should have drafted a D man like Murray or even better, a big slick centremen like Galyenchuk. typical oilers drafting….they have had seven years to correct this and they still can’t get it right. Saying the same thing about this team every year…sad

    • oilabroad

      because you always draft bpa, you dont remember the panic in ON when they thought we were taking Murray? the thought process than was you take the bpa and trade them later as they will have more value and that is likely still the thought process

      we dont know what Yak is like in the room, I do know some of his comments lately made my arse pucker (doesnt want to hit or backcheck, just score goals)…

      I like the player but lets be honest, he is THE poster child for one dimensional players, these guys dont win you stanley cups, they fill seats in sun belt cities

  • Improving the mix sure would make this team a contender, but right now the problem is so much more. Special teams, goaltending, and 5×5 defensive zone play is the culperites. The teams problems can be fixed now. Personnel will still take time. Every single night you get at least 2 of the 3 big problems, and sometimes you get all 3. This team on paper with this mix should be .500 and with the pack.

    I think long term we gotta accept moving an untouchable for different piece. The obvious is the young Russian. However when you trade such a player you often don’t break even, or you loose. But even if you make such a deal, you gotta see what you have and I don’t think the Oilers have seen his potential. I’m too scared they would move him before we know.

    Reality is this team needs a goaltender, a top defenceman, and top six size to be a contender. How do you get this?

  • bwar

    Jason: I’ve mentioned it before but wonder weed what your thoughts are. Any chance of a Seth Jones for Yak trade? Seems Nashville could use the offense and have a plethora of good D men. I don’t know that we get a #1 d man unless we get him young, (like Yak is) and wait for the development. I also don’t know that anyone in the system including Nurse Klefbom is a bonafide #1.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    COACHING…..

    COACHING…..

    COACHING……..

    This is poor that we are pointed every other direction and not even having a coversation about the coaching.

    Again cannot stress this enough, the coach is responsible for the PK, defense, the line up, the offense, the forecheck.

    I agree the players must execute, however their needs to be a synergy between them and right now there is common ground on anything.

    I am not asking to run the coach out of town, however not to have a discussion about the methods right now is poor.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Absolutely the biggest issue withthis team right now is the coaching. He messed up the PK when the last two years it was a top 10 PK. Eakins is an egotistical guy who is acting like a seasoned veteran NHL coach. The Oilers should have hired a proven coach and not someone who read to many of his AHL press clippings. Terrible signing by McT but guess the team is stuck with him. Hope he doesn’t ruin to many players before he is eventually fired.