When the Edmonton Oilers sent away Ladislav Smid in early November, we heard all kinds of possible reasons for the deal. The club was worried about his contract moving forward (cap concerns), the club had too many of the same-type defenseman, and on it went with the reasons. Ladisalv Smid’s agent (Steve Kotlowitz) said “I don’t think the Oilers are done (trading)” right after the trade, but we’re a few weeks later and nothing has happened in the trade department. Where’s the beef?


I buy this: the Oilers under new coach Dallas Eakins felt they had too many defensemen of similar type: Smid, new captain Andrew Ference and veteran Nick Schultz are veteran defenders who can play a physical game, are paid to cover onrushing forwards, and lack offensive acumen. The coach likes the mobile defenders who can move the puck smartly, and three left-handers with similar skill-sets was probably limiting for Eakins’ plan.

Here is tonight’s listed blue:

  1. Ference-Petry
  2. Belov-J Schultz
  3. N Schultz-Potter

Belov, Nick Schultz and Corey Potter are UFA, Petry and Justin Schultz RFA (Ference is the only defenseman signed through next season). Which means captain Ference is the only player signed beyond this season.


Oiler fans are talking so much about Christian Ehrhoff being dealt here I’m starting to believe it’s going to happen. However, there’s no real evidence of it (despite the attraction). Ehrhoff’s appeal is obvious—he’s a quality NHL defenseman with a wide range of skills playing for a team eager to set its immediate future on fire—and his contract status is a good fit for the Oilers.

Is Ehrhoff a reasonable addition? Sure. He’d be great. Is he available? No idea. Ehrhoff is the kind of defenseman Edmonton should be looking for, because he can move the puck, play defense and has good foot speed. There’s no hitch in his giddy-up, as they used to say.

Ehroff averages 24 minutes a night, 25th overall in the NHL among regular defensemen. He plays a lot at even-strength, on the penalty kill and power play. Ehrhoff’s a complete defenseman and can help any team.


A veteran, minutes-eating defenseman can change things in a heartbeat. A guy like Ehrhoff might have enormous impact on his partner, even a youngster like Justin Schultz. In Minnesota, 20-year old Jonas Brodin is being heralded as a phenom, but a lot of that comes from his blue partner, Ryan Suter.

A veteran, complete defenseman can make a pairing better in a heartbeat. Ehrhoff has been playing with young Mark Pysyk on the Buffalo blueline (for the most part) and has been better without him than with him (this is predictable, young blue are a struggle).

Ehrhoff could step in and help Schultz and the team:

  1. Ehrhoff-J Schultz
  2. Ference-Petry
  3. Belov-N Schultz

and allow the team to bring in a young defenseman (Nurse, Klefbom or Marincin) for the third pairing (with Ference or Belov) next fall.

Ehrhoff is clearly the class of his current team, and can help the Oilers right now.


I remain convinced the Smid trade was to set up another move, and that move is out there waiting for the right opportunity. Craig MacTavish has all kinds of time to make the deal, but one suspects his experience at the draft will be motivation to get a fair deal and then pull the trigger before draft day. 

The Oilers need their Ryan Suter, their Dion Phaneuf. Is Christian Ehrhoff that man? Maybe.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Your insane.

      Remember what Vancouver gave up for Erhoff so they could add Heatley. He was a better player then. He signed for 4 mil, because he’s just ok, not all world. Vancouver saw he was good, but chose not to retain him.

      He’s and average defender, a great puck mover. A 2 on most teams and a 1st on sadly the Oiler’s. Our first right about now is Ekblad. So please troll elsewhere. Is this Craig MacTavish?

      • RedMan

        not fair for you to even talk of Ekblad… youve had your rebuild and now its Flames turn. tell me you dont want to finish last this year? Do you not at least HOPE to see some improvements from worst team overall? your rebuilds done now live with it!!!

        • RedMan

          I don’t want Eckblad (loved the kid, just its sad to keep sucking), but the Oilers are not going to climb out of a lottery pick. I’d put money on picking no later then 5th. If they essentially go 500 the rest of the year, they would probably at this point pick no later then 5 or 7.

          • pkam

            Since the last CBA, now any non playoff team has a chance to win the lottery, not just the bottom 5.

            So I expect the Oilers to be a lottery team even before the season started because I don’t think they are a playoff team this year. It would be a miracle if they do, especially in the west.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Erhoff has a pretty insane contract, bit leery of a 31 year old with a 4 million cap hit until the end of the 2021 season. His numbers have been a bit weak so far this season, though his past numbers seem to be half decent. He also has a limited NTC in his deal and I would think that the Oil would have to up their game to be a bit more of an attraction and get him to lift his limited NTC which I’m sure includes Edmonton sadly.

    He has yet to win a cup so that may also be held against the Oil as one of his reasons which now is kind of sad/funny is he signed with Buffalo for a better chance to win a Stanley Cup, oops….

    What I have read about him was that he cited Gretzky as one of his heroes growing up so if 6Rings could get Wayner to call him up and explain that Edmonton isn’t that bad, we may have a chance.

    It would be great to see him in Oiler blue, but it think it would take a fair bit of work on the Oil’s part to both get him and convince him that the Oil aren’t too scheiße and he has a better chance for a Cup here than Buffalo.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      His contract is actually really, really insanely cheap for a top pairing guy.

      4M cap hit is peanuts. That’s marginally more than we are paying N. Schultz.

      Don’t worry about the length. the actual dollars drop considerably after 17-18:


      This is an old style contract (like Lou’s) where they add a ton of years to even out the cap hit with the understanding that the player will probably retire early, he’s not going to want to play for 1M actual dollars in 18-19.

      The hitch is cap recapture for retired players… but the beauty is… BUF would be on the hook for the penalty.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          We really have no idea if they even want to trade him, if he is willing to be traded (he has a NTC/NMC), or if he’d come to the Oil (he has to waive his NTC/NMC).

          Assuming all that falls into place, we have no idea what the asking price is.

          But, consider this,

          JBow was traded for the 22nd OV last year and two middling prospects.

          Our 1st rounder this year is going to be worth a lot more than that package. A LOT MORE!!!

          I think the Oil have a lot of pull with that pick on the table.

          The question isn’t do the Oil have the juice, it’s more are BUF and the player willing to make a move.

      • Johnnydapunk

        You have a valid point about the retiring thing, the actual dollars that the Oilers have to pay is not an issue either as from what I have read, the Oil are one of the “wealthier” teams so the Oil can afford him, his cap hit is still 4 mill up until 2021 but by then I’m sure the cap will be at least 80-100 million by then as it is determined by a percentage of league revenue every year.

        Saying all that, it would be nice to have him here though.

    • pkam

      Why do you think Ehrhoff’s contract is insane?

      Mark Streit is 35 and Flyers signed him to 4 years at 5.25M. He will play the last year of his contract at 39.

      Sergei Gonchar is 39 and the Stars signed him to 2 years at 5M. He will play the last year of his contract at 40.

      Lubomir Visnovsky is 37 and Islanders just signed him to 2 years at 4.75M. He will play the last year of his contract at 38.

      Ehrhoff is 31 now, and he has 7 years left in his contract (not counting this year), so he will play the last year of his contract at 38. Consider the salary to go up about 5% every year, his salary at the last year of his contract will be a steal compare to the three mentioned above.

      I bet by 2020, a 35+ top pairing defense will be 6M+. And a 31 year old top pairing defense today at 4M is also a steal.

      And he will better than any defense we currently have.

      The only problem is, what will Buffalo want in return and will he waive his NTC to come.

      If he is willing to come and it only cost us a 1st rounder, it is a no brainer. I’ll even throw in a prospect or a 3rd rounder to sweeten the pot.

      • Johnnydapunk

        Saying he is an improvement to what we have doesn’t say much. What I meant by insane is that you do not see too many or any 10 year deals any more.

        Judging by most peoples responses to my comment, they stopped reading after that sentence. I was essentially putting out as much info as I could find on him, almost brainstorming both sides of the debate and my concern being that whilst Erhoff could be good for a while, he may turn into another Ryan Whitney who had great numbers but seemed to lose it in Edmonton and happily his contract was near the end.

        I wrote that in the end, it would be nice to see Erhoff in Oiler colours, but I don’t know how much it would take to actually get him.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Ehrhoff’s term goes until 20-21, however with his $4 mil cap hit in mind, it is assumed the salary cap will be increasing, and in a couple of years his salary will likely be the going rate for a defenseman well below his calibre. Also in terms of real dollars his contract is front loaded. Down the road if the Oilers are looking to off-load him there may be suitors who need to hit the cap floor. I would take Ehrhoff in a heartbeat.

  • D

    First time I accidentally tuned into the SNW Oilers broadcast rather than the away team’s. Oh man, those guys are awful. I just switched to the Chicago feed.

    • There is your star screwup forward on D on the powerplay. 1st goal.
      There is your star defence who can’t pick the rebounds and clear after the save is made. 2nd goal.
      Pretty easy to blame the tender. Sounds like novice player.

  • If the Oilers ever want to become the real deal they HAVE to find several meaningful value contracts. Right now they are loaded with bad overpays.
    From a pure hockey standpoint, Erhoff would be a welcome addition. That said, Erhoff is not a value contract and his term(length) could prove to be prohibitive.

    I just don’t know.

    • pkam

      Not sure what is prohibitive. 4M a year for a top pairing defense of 31 years old with only 7 years left means he will start the last year of his contract at 38. Gonchar is 39 and just signed a contract with Stars for 2 years at 5M per.

      Actually, his contract term is almost too good to be real, it is anything but prohibitive.

    • Oh oh. I’m not watching this game. I had a pretty good idea how it was going to go. So based on your comment I’m guessing the true believers are leaning more towards ‘fire everyone’ rather than ‘plan the parade’ ?

  • Johnnydapunk

    This is exactly what I hoped would not happen, unfortunately, it did. Just hope they can stop the bleeding right away, otherwise, starting in December, the Stars, Coyotes, Avalanche…. Bruins, Canucks, Ducks, Kings….it’s quite conceivable to assume that the best record the Oil could achieve in the month of December is 3 out of 15. And winning 10 games at Game#40 is quite depressing when you stop and think about it!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    looks like we’re back to square one… again.

    this is so embarrassing. can’t even compete with competitive hockey teams. forget trying to beat them.

    god i’m just going to go back to my comments i posted a week and a half ago, and cut and paste them. heck, i can do it for posts going back years. just change a few names… except for Kevin Lowe’s…. sigh.

  • Serious Gord

    Another possibility is – as rishaug mused – that the owner wanted mgmt to dump any salaries overboard that could be dumped in order to save money now that the team is not going to contend for a playoff spot (where it would make more money).

    The longer nothing happens, the more and more plausible this theory becomes…

    • Reg Dunlop

      And this is a bad thing? The only thing worse than sucking is being close to the cap and sucking. If Katz wants to dump, then dump away. Understandable by the way; having to buy all that hair straightener for junior has to add up.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I suggested previously that the Smid trade looks like a salary dump and I can’t think of any other logical explanation. Perhaps the K man is pissed off and told his underlings that since they have a 30th (or 29th) place team they need to cut their payroll. If so at least he is paying attention.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Does everyone remember Smids comment when asked after the Detroit game if this is rock bottom and he said it can get worse, much worse. I think that is why he was moved out as much as anything.

          • pkam

            Nice theory. So essentially we took 30 cents on the dollar cause he made a truthful comment that was not cancerous or wrong. That’s a pretty obvious statement, means only what you want it to mean. It wasn’t negative it was reality. He’s a character guy, he was dumped to sign Bryz. Bryz is here to bandaid this bad club, hoping he can catch lightning in a bottle and quiet the Oilernation from full scale riot.

  • Serious Gord

    In total agreement with comment #9. Gagner is a liability all over the ice. He simply does not have the game to play at 2C. He is also the softest of the soft. Strength down the middle is critical if you have any hope of contending for a playoff spot, much less the Cup. To move him to the wing would be like playing ostrich. He wouldn’t work there either because he is not strong on the boards.

  • John Chambers

    I just can’t imagine that Buffalo wouldn’t have been interested in Smid as part of the package going back, given the Sabres need for young defensemen on reasonable-cost contracts.

    For example, Smid, Marincin, and a 2015 2nd rounder seems like fair value for Ehrhoff.

    Without Smid being in the deal, that 2nd rounder probably elevates to a 1st.

  • I just thought I’d post something about Belov against Chicago yesterday who is turning out to be a pretty decent acquisition if he can be resigned. He played 23 minutes where the Oilers were beat badly, 5-1, and he was even. I’d say that is pretty darn close to eating up top pairing D time but it didn’t help against the Blackhawks at all. If we could get a player like Ehrhoff that could also chew up that much time and hopefully be close to even, that should ease up the goals against a bit.

    • Johnnydapunk

      Wow what game are you watching. Belov is brital, doesn’t get points even though he gets tons of cream puff power play minutes. He is at best a 5/6 guy that does not use his size at all. Plus/minus stats are often very misleading. There was a reason why a 27 year old was not playing in the NHL previously. It’s not like the Oilers were the first to see him they were just the first to sign another AHL calibre defenseman and try to convince themselves they have scouped the other 29 NHL hockey teams.

  • RedMan

    Meh, I saw that loss coming. When was the last time the Oilers played well because they were rested? Every time they get on a roll and then get time off, they seem to completely lose focus.

    Hopefully, as some are pointing out, this will let Arco back in the line up, and it will give the Oilers a chance to see what Bryz can do in net for a few.

    I still like Eakins five forward approach, but he had to know at some point that was going to give up a short handed goal.

  • pkam

    Please everyone be careful what you wish for. Ehrhoff is no different a player than Corey Potter.

    He is brilliant at NOTHING except being average at everything. He is not going to help this team as some suggest. If you remain unconvinced, try and watch a complete Buffalo game……….he is a average to good defenseman playing on a last place team.

    I can think of at least 20 other defencemen I would rather have than Ehrhoff!!!

    • wiseguy

      If you think of 59 others, he would still be a top pairing dman which we do not have and he will be paid like a 2nd pairing dman which he will be by the time our prospects like Nurse graduate to the 1st pairing (hopefully)

    • pkam

      You can also say Erik Karlsson or Chris Letang is no different a player than Corey Potter.

      You need to come up with at least 50 defencemen
      before Ehrhoff, or find 20 other defensemen having a cap hit of 4M or less, to justify your argument.

      He is at least an average #2D and his salary is as good as a #3D.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      A guy who plays >24 mins a night, all disciplines and plays them well, who keeps his head above water on a drowning team, paired with a near rookie, on an extremely valuable contract…

      yea.. who wants that guy?

  • Johnnydapunk

    I am thinking the stud D man ship has sailed. Really, there are like five or six of these guys in the whole league, and every team, including the one they are one, is willing to pay out the ass to get or keep them. Stud D men, in my opinion, are more coveted than any prolific scorer or goalie.

    Thus, unless we sell the farm to get one, I can’t see it happening.

    However, a legit top 2 guy, now that might be a possibility, and as far as price points go, Ehrhoff is pretty good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my personal preference would be Yandle. I think Phoenix is swimming in good D and his contract might be one they would look at getting off the books so they can add a bit more punch upfront. Not to mention, up front punch is kind of what we have a lot of.

    That is who I would go after, especially since that is the guy I would want mentoring Schultz.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Lowetide, my facebook page said it was Jill Henessey’s birthday. I know this probably did not get past you, and you had her card in the mail a month ago.

    Erhoff would be nice, isn’t the term a bit scary?

    Every time I see Smid’s pic I get mad. I don’t care that we traded him, its that MacT showed no due diligence by not informing any teams, and he got a junk return. Just disgusts me his apparent incompetence.