LOOKING AHEAD: CHANGING THE BLUELINE

This is what the Oilers blueline and depth chart looked like at the start of the season. It looks even worse now with the trade of Ladislav Smid, but it is obvious that the Oilers D corps will look significantly different at the start of next season. Nick Schultz, Corey Potter, Anton Belov and Denis Grebeshkov are unrestricted free agents, and Belov is the only one they might re-sign.

Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun and Philip Larsen are restricted free agents. The first three will likely be re-signed, while Larsen should be let go.

How will Craig MacTavish re-build his blueline, and who should he be looking to sign?

We can all agree the Oilers need a top-pairing D-man, but the only way to get one is through free agency, or by trading one of the four skilled forwards.

Here is the list of the top 45 pending UFAs. Many of these guys will sign with their teams before July, so the list will be shorter, but it will give you an idea of who is available in free agency. I listed them by age. 

Player  Team  Age  Cap Hit 
Bouillon, Francis  MTL  38 $1,500,000
Mitchell, Willie  LAK  36 $3,500,000
Robidas, Stephane  DAL  36 $3,300,000
Markov, Andrei  MTL  34 $5,750,000
Phillips, Chris  OTT  35 $3,083,333
Morris, Derek  PHX  35 $2,750,000
Sarich, Cory  COL  35 $2,000,000
Weaver, Mike  FLA  35 $1,100,000
Tallinder, Henrik   BUF  34 $3,375,000
Orpik, Brooks  PIT  33 $3,750,000
Hainsey, Ron  CAR  32 $2,000,000
Alberts, Andrew  VAN  32 $600,000
Klesla, Rostislav  PHX  31 $2,975,000
Komisarek, Mike  CAR  31 $700,000
Guenin, Nate  COL  31 $600,000
Engelland, Deryk  PIT  31 $566,667
Pitkanen, Joni  CAR  30 $4,500,000
Greene, Matt  LAK  30 $2,950,000
Gilbert, Tom  FLA  30 $900,000
Colaiacovo, Carlo  STL  30 $750,000
Girardi, Dan  NYR  29 $3,325,000
Stuart, Mark  WPG  29 $1,700,000
Ranger, Paul  TOR  29 $1,000,000
Benoit, Andre   COL  29 $900,000
Smith, Derek  CGY  29 $775,000
Sulzer, Alexander  BUF  29 $725,000
Strachan, Tyson  WAS  29 $550,000
Phaneuf, Dion  TOR  28 $6,500,000
Meszaros, Andrej   PHI  28 $4,000,000
Quincey, Kyle  DET  28 $3,775,000
Stoner, Clayton   MIN  28 $1,050,000
Kostka, Mike  CHI  28 $625,000
Niskanen, Matt  PIT  27 $2,300,000
Nikitin, Nikita  CLB  27 $2,150,000
Butler, Chris   CGY  27 $1,700,000
Stralman, Anton  NYR  27 $1,700,000
Fraser, Mark  TOR  27 $1,275,000
Diaz, Raphael  MTL  27 $1,225,000
Fistric, Mark  ANA  27 $900,000
Prosser, Nate  MIN  27 $825,000
Schultz, Jeff  LAK  27 $700,000
MacDonald, Andrew  NYI  27 $550,000
Russell, Kris   CGY  26 $1,500,000
Fayne, Mark   NJD  26 $1,300,000

The five players in bold are playing top pairing minutes currently, however Markov, Phaneuf and Girardi are the only three I’d consider top pairing D-men. Tom Gilbert and Andrew MacDonald play lots of minutes on bad teams just like Petry in Edmonton. The Oilers can’t sign Gilbert when they already have J.Schultz and Petry on the right side. They are all similar players. The Oilers need to diversify their blueline. They won’t win with three non-physical right-handed D-men.

Phaneuf is the best UFA option. If he doesn’t re-sign in Toronto he will get at least $7 mill/year for seven years. Phaneuf isn’t a top-10 D-man in the league, but he is a legitimate first pair defender. If he is available, the Oilers will try and sign him.

Girardi is a very good #2 D-man. He doesn’t bring any offence, so he can’t be a true #1, but he is solid in his own zone.

Markov is turns 35 on Friday, and if he tests the free agent waters, I’m sure he will sign with a contending team. He only has a few years left to win a Stanley Cup.

MacDonald plays 26:16/game, but many in New York feel is he likely a #3 on a good team. He isn’t very big or physical, but he’d be a major upgrade on N.Schultz, Potter or Larsen. He likely will get a deal worth $3.5-$4.5 million if he chooses the free agent route.

The odds of landing a top-pair D-man via free agency are slim, considering Phaneuf and Girardi are the only options, so MacTavish likely has to look at a trade to facilitate that position.

The names that some feel might be available include Tyler Myers, Zach Bogosian and Alex Edler. There would be others, depending on what or who MacTavish offers up in a trade, but if they do acquire a top pairing defender it will cost them one of Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov and possibly something more. ( I don’t see them moving Hall or RNH).

OTHER OPTIONS…

There are some other names on the aforementioned list that would help the Oilers. They desperately need a big, strong defender like Matt Greene or Brooks Orpik. I doubt those two make it to free agency, but if the Oilers need to find a player similar to those two. They need some size in their bottom two pairings.

The Oilers might look at signing a veteran for to a one or two year deal, just so they don’t have to rush Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom or Martin Marincin and play them more minutes than they are capable of handling.

Players like Derek Morris, Paul Ranger or Mark Stuart could be good stop gaps until those kids are ready to play more minutes.

You will notice that there are very few big, heavy D-men available. It is hard to find big D-men who are quick enough and savvy enough to play sound defensively and not get exposed by speedy forwards. The Oilers desperately need some size and strength on their backend, and while Nurse and Klefbom are big it would be asking a lot for a 19 and 20 year old to play significant minutes against men.

MacTavish needs to add a top-pairing D-man, but he’ll also need to find at least three new D-men for next season. This isn’t impossible. The Colorado Avalanche completely changed their blueline over the summer, and they are a much better team because of it.

Here is who they used last year, and who they are using this season.

2013 

Player  GP  G  A  P  +/-  TOI/G
Tyson Barrie 32 2 11 13 -11 21:34
Matt Hunwick 43 0 6 6 4 21:31
Erik Johnson 31 0 4 4 -3 20:45
Jan Hejda 46 1 9 10 -3 19:41
Greg Zanon 44 0 6 6 -16 19:19
Ryan O’Byrne 34 1 3 4 -8 18:51
Ryan Wilson 12 0 3 3 4 18:30
Stefan Elliott 18 1 3 4 -3 17:30
Shane O’Brien 28 0 4 4 0 15:30

2013/2014 

Player  GP  G  A  P  +/-  TOI/G
Erik Johnson 33 4 8 12 18 22:21
Jan Hejda 29 3 6 9 19 22:13
Andre Benoit 32 2 10 12 1 20:42
Nate Guenin 32 0 4 4 -2 18:31
Cory Sarich 31 1 8 9 7 17:49
Matt Hunwick 1 0 0 0 0 17:27
Tyson Barrie 19 1 4 5 2 17:25
Ryan Wilson 10 0 4 4 2 16:48
Nick Holden 13 2 3 5 -1 16:38

Johnson and Hejda are their top pair, which begs the question why Matt Hunwick and Tyson Barrie played more than them last season? Pretty easy to say Joe Sacco wasn’t using the right guys.

The Avs have added Andre Benoit, Nate Guenin and Cory Sarich in place of Greg Zaone, Ryan O’Byrne and Hunwick. Barrie is now their #6 D-man, while Hunwick is in the American League.

The Avs weren’t afraid to change their roster, and they didn’t guarantee guys like Hunwick and Barrie jobs just because they played significant minutes last season. They went out and re-tooled their blueline. They didn’t add big name players, but they got better players and their team is better because of if.

WRAP UP

It is painfully obvious that the Oilers need to improve their backend. Nick Schultz will be traded at the deadline, and the Oilers should say goodbye to Potter and Larsen. Belov’s play has regressed and unless he has a solid second half, I wouldn’t bring him back either.

MacTavish should be instructing his scouts to watch these UFAs closely, and find out which ones will help the Oilers improve. He has to improve his blueline over the summer, and the organization can’t expect those spots to be filled with rookies. If they do, then the Oilers are in for another long season next year as well.

Do any of those name appeal to you? If so, who and why.

DAY 14…MONTH OF GIVING

Darrell bid $5,000 on our Eskimos dinner at Vons Steakhouse yesterday bringing our monthly total up to $53, 950. Awesome.

Today’s packages include…

Package #1:

  •  A $1,000 Easton Hockey shopping spree at United Cycle.
  • Pair of club seats (sec 120, row 15) for Oilers vs. Canucks on January 21st.
     

Package #2:

Package #3:

  • A Party for 10 at the Druid Irish Pub. Includes food and four drinks for each person.
  • Two tickets to an exclusive Hot Stove with Jordan Eberle on January 22nd, hosted by ATB Financial. A great place to take your son or daughter to meet Eberle. Includes appetizers and food.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go to Santas Anonymous.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 



  • Ducey

    It’s a little early to write off Belov. Dude has only played 35 games in a whole new world (new country, new language, new rink size, different game).

    I think he has shown enough that he can play bottom pairing minutes pretty well – and he might move up the depth chart with more experience.

    I’d sign him if I was MacT.

    The Dion at $7 million x 7 years will be a mistake.

    • A-Mc

      I agree. Belov was one of the few guys i noticed stapling a few LA guys to the boards last night. Not board shaking hits, just solid defensive stapling.. And that’s a big part of what we need.

      I’d re-sign Belov for another year

    • Spoils

      Dion for $7M would be an unmitigated disaster.

      The absolute sweet spot would be a true top D who is under 25 and will peak with the team.

      How do you get Jonas Brodin, Seth Jones, Del Zotto (maybe), Roman Josi (maybe), or Ekman Larsson?

      BOLD MOVE

      Their choice of Yak or Eberle AND Gagner or Hemsky? Do we have to give more?

      I love the idea of our D = Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse, Jones, and Petry at their primes

      MacT then continues to make smooth moves like getting Perrons and Gordons, our remaining forwards hit peak age, and we add our final puzzle piece at the last moment – give up our next top draft pick (or two) for a true top goalie.

      Bryz or whoever moves to backup and collects his ring for riding the pine.

      BOOSH

    • Spoils

      Dion for $7M would be an unmitigated disaster.

      The absolute sweet spot would be a true top D who is under 25 and will peak with the team.

      How do you get Jonas Brodin, Seth Jones, Del Zotto (maybe), Roman Josi (maybe), or Ekman Larsson?

      BOLD MOVE

      Their choice of Yak or Eberle AND Gagner or Hemsky? Do we have to give more?

      I love the idea of our D = Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse, Jones, and Petry at their primes

      MacT then continues to make smooth moves like getting Perrons and Gordons, our remaining forwards hit peak age, and we add our final puzzle piece at the last moment – give up our next top draft pick (or two) for a true top goalie.

      Bryz or whoever moves to backup and collects his ring for riding the pine.

      BOOSH

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Who, in their right mind would even want to come here, let alone find two top pairing blue liners. Also need a second line center to go with these two blue liners. Ain’t going to happen, sit tight for 5 yrs and maybe they can develop from within. Lowe has also shown he knows how to build a loser, to go with his vast knowledge of winning.

    This is as good as it gets for fans here in Edmonton. Enjoy our young developing players, as soon as they’re able to walk on their own, they’ll be out the door onto bigger and better opportunities.

    Even ourselves, as fans have to look at it objectively. Why Edmonton, what has management done to make it a desirable place to spend 125-150 days a year. What effort have they put forth to create a positive environment in that dressing room/build something other players may want to be part of. Most players already here would celebrate in silence on their way to the airport when the time comes. This is the house that Daryl Katz and Kevin Lowe built. The people who got us into this mess, aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

    On the other hand, it will be pretty cool to have a brand new half full arena in the near future. The facility will certainly surpass the product on the ice no doubt. Their plan to bring in a number of lotto picks to make them look like geniuses, has failed miserably. They got the tanking part down pat, but they failed miserably icing an actual NHL caliber team.

  • Jason Gregor

    This may be hard to believe, but Ference and N.Schultz were actually serviceable NHL defencemen when they played in Boston and Minnesota.

    I’m not saying the defence is good or that there isn’t a big need for improvement on defence, but they certainly wouldn’t be as abysmal as everyone describes if the forwards back-checked and the goalies stopped the puck on a more consistent basis.

    Defence is a team effort and the whole team has been a letdown this year.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I’ve always felt like Dan Girardi is the kind of nuts and bolts, solid Dman that we could use as part of a solid top pairing. Phaneuf is incredibly overrated if you ask me. He can skate and brings some offense but he chases the big hit and is out of position quite often. He will get paid and whoever pays him will live to regret it but that’s just my opinion.

    We definitely need to get better on the backend. We need better defenders and we also need Dmen who are willing and able to shoot the puck. Ference is pretty much the only guy we have who is not afraid to throw the puck at the net even when he doesn’t really have a clear look at the net. All the other guys just put the puck back in the corner so that forward line x can fail miserably at cycling the puck.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Phanuef appears to have a shelf life. 5 yrs seems to be the benchmark where his teammates tire of his act. Phanuef and Ehrhoff are certainly plan B options.

    The type of player the Oilers need isn’t “available” to the “experts” on here.

    Turn out the lights, it’s over here in Edmonton. This is as good as it gets for the next decade. The current management group aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. They still keep trying to pass off Sammy Gagner as a 2nd line center.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I won’t begrudge Belov leaving. The guy would thrive in the right system. Oilers should be locking him up.

    I don’t have a problem with Nick Schultz as a 6/7. He at least is a NHL defender. The Oilers need to find three NHL defenders. Unfortunately we gave one to the Lames in a knee jerk move for a current ECHL goalie and a undersized tweener centerman. What do expect from a brash talking inexperienced GM trying to make bold moves.

    I see next year starting with Petry, Ference, Schultz, and hopefully Belov. Then we need two or three experienced NHL defenseman.

  • Dan the Man

    Remember when the Oilers used to be able to trade for defensemen like Pronger, Spacek, Jason Smith, Hamrlik, etc?
    Yeah those were good times. The crazy thing is that we didn’t have to give up a whole lot in any of those deals.
    Why won’t some GM just trade us their top D-Man for our garbage????!!!!!????

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Even with capable NHL goaltending from Bryzgalov, the Oilers still lose 8 out of 10 nights. Its the vacancy on those #1 and 2 spots on the blueline that’s killing the Oilers.

    Only an idiot couldn’t see this coming last summer. Plugging holes with 4 thru 8 guys has predictably failed miserably.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I think I read somewhere, not all that long ago that it takes the average defenceman about 300 games of NHL experience to really reach their maximum potential.

    We have a history of giving up on players much too early in their careers.

    Belov needs at least 2 full seasons to even consider trading.

  • Big Cap

    Lets be honest here:

    1. Does the Oiler management have the stones to make the block buster trade that would involve an Ebs, Yak or #1 pick?

    2. More importantly, Do we as fans trust the Oiler management to make a trade that involves Ebs, Yak or #1 Pick.

    Aside from Perron, practically every move we made this off season was below average to average at very best. They could not identify what skills we truly needed to fillout the roster. In fact we have taken a huge step backwards. MacT brought in Belov, Grebs, Ference,all wrong guys. Potter, N. Schultz should not have returned, and he traded away the heart and soul of the Blueline in Smid.

    There is NO reason to believe that Oiler management and scouting can or will effectively make the correct trade to make us better.

    But hey, the “rebuild” only started in “2010”…Just wait til next year!!

    • This is my biggest worry as well, it seem they (MacTavish & company) completely over valued the guys they brought in while Undervalued the ones that left.

      I’m being sceptical here, but I’m setting up for a bad 1-3 trade or just a terrible 1-1 trade.

      I think once the Oilers figure this out they will have an amazing defense with no offence left.

      Infinity build.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Bottom line is if we want the D man we’re looking for it has to involve one of our top 3…my choice is Eberle. Obvious skills but he’s the most one dimensional of our ‘big guns’. Plus, we’ll be getting a pretty skilled player to fill his spot in June. Let the Trashing commence!

  • Examples of the type of thinking that will ensure Edmonton remains terrible for the foreseeable future:

    -lose a trade on purpose to bring in a player type

    -bring in the Kings #6 defender and toss him on our first pairing.

    Let’s hear some more “great” ideas!! I’m bored and could use the laugh.

    • camdog

      There are a segment of the population that thinks that if you lose the best player in the trade you lose the trade, however sometimes it makes your team better. Case in point would be when the Ducks traded Bobby Ryan to the Senators. Many said they lost the trade, because they lost the best player, however as the results have shown Anaheim is the better “team” following the trade. Stanley Cup winning teams aren’t comprised of an entire roster of All-Stars they are made up of components that lead to the best team.

      That is one of the reasons that Team Canada stated Darnell Nurse didn’t make the Junior squad. Same with the Olympic squad, Team Canada doesn’t always pick the most talented players, they pick players that they believe will work good together as a team.

      You can debate whether Team Canada is wrong all you want, but the best GM’s in this country think this way.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I’m not sure the Ryan trade is the right trade to argue your point.

        Are the Ducks a better team this year minus Ryan and plus Silfverberg (currently on the LTIR) and Noesen (playing in the OHL) and a 2014 pick?

        Seems unlikely. I don’t think 12 games of Silfverberg is what is making this year’s Ducks so good.

        Nor, does it make much sense to say that missing 12 games of Silfverberg is what is sinking the Sens.

        Seems far more likely that a damn good team is still a damn good team. A team with such an embarrassment of riches that they traded top talent for a grab bag, which is (as I’ve noted) what typically happens.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Yea. Not sure what that is about.

        I have a separate question on this topic for you though.

        Matheson has suggested several times that the Oilers are looking for a gritty, tough, clear the front of the net, D man (3rd pairing). Here’s an example:

        http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/10/11/wanted-by-edmonton-oilers-tough-mean-third-pairing-defenceman/

        http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/01/would-oilers-be-interested-in-la-defenceman-keaton-ellerby-off-waivers/

        http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/story.html?id=8b411abe-23c8-407f-8e66-d1e16a448198

        What’s curious about this, however, is that MacT passed on Peckham and Fistric in the summer and numerous other UFAs or trade opportunities and traded Smid.

        I’m seriously wondering if MacT/Eakins actually want this player type.

        • Jason Gregor

          Peckham was more about his dedication to team and fitness. They felt Fistric couldn’t move puck well enough…Why they moved Smid, I honestly don’t know. The timing of that trade made zero sense to me.

          They seemingly want a guy who can clear the front of the net, but also move the puck. Great to want, harder to get.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            I think you hit the nail on the head there with “but also move the puck”

            I think that is probably what damned Smid… though, I completely agree the timing and return remain questions for me.

            With bottom pairing guys you tend to see one flaw or another… usually they can’t skate or pass very well, but they are physical… or they are Philip Larsen (great skater, decent passer… lost when the cycle hits in his own end, can’t really play tough)

            Once you dial up to being physical AND being about to move the puck… you usually aren’t looking bottom pairing anymore.

            The strategy — as best I can tell — seems to be to go for puck movement/possession first and look for a guy with those skills who can play tough…

            I think they hoped Belov might fit this mold for one of their 4-7 spots (he’s shown nice things in both departments in stretches).

          • Jason Gregor

            Teams that alwasy keep losing losing trade proven NHL players for prospects and picks, but have no one ready to fill their void.

            Moving Smid now made no sense. Had they moved him when Marincin or Nurse was ready to step in then I could see it…Those two aren’t ready to step in today, and are only maybes for next season.

          • Johnnydapunk

            Ya, I still don’t get the Smid trade, a NHL player for a ECHL player(Brossoit was sent there today). MacT said at the time the team needed organizational depth in goal, and that this trade would address that need. Did he mean depths of hell.

          • Jason Gregor

            Moving Smid made total sense………..if you have totally overvalued the defensemen and new coaching staff that you have brought in.

            He was also the odd man out with the Oilers. We do not like large , tough, stay at home defensemen………we want small puck-moving offensive defensemen that never take a chance on offence.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Made sense to me. DD sucked. Labarbera sucked. No cap space due to poor signings of Grebby and Belov. Add Larsen and Potters one way deals and you get a recipe for that leaves MacT little or no room to sign IB. Had DD not answered MacT’s question so resoundingly this season he would not have been forced to trade Smid’s contract for cap room. Its a mixture of DD and underperforming contracts.

          • Jason Gregor

            Why do you think the Oilers couldn’t afford Brzy and Smid. They currently have $7 million in cap space. Smid was half of that.

            Don’t buy into the Oilers sell job of suggesting it was due to salary cap. It wasn’t.

            You can crunch any numbers, the Oilers did NOT need to trade Smid to afford Bryzgalov.

          • beloch

            That is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Smid was the ultimate team guy and would do anything for the Oilers. The issue was Craig MacTavish. Ask MacTavish why he traded Smid and if wasn’t such a stone cold lier you would hear that he never liked Smid from day one. So as a GM you make a trade that weakens an already abysmal team just for your own ego. Shows you where this team is going in the future

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            The only way to make this rationate make sense is if the Oilers are convinced that the vast majority of available contract bonuses will be hit (which, at the time and now seems very unlikely) and that they are completely unwilling to bump into next year’s cap.

            http://www.capgeek.com/oilers/

            Even in that scenario, however, trading 15 makes a lot more sense.

          • Bucknuck

            Thanks J, so based on your experience and connections what the heck was MacT thinking on the Smid trade? Trouble in the henhouse? He thinks Brossoit is the next Kipper or Pat Roy?

            So confusing the way things have shaken out with MacT. On one hand he’s been great (Perron) on the other hand abysmal (Garbagekov).

            And now he’s in full on Tambellini sit on his hands mode.

          • Bucknuck

            Grebby was a flyer – one year contract, see if it works. Same as Belov, same as Bryz. Low risk.

            The high risk moves (Perron, Ference, Gordon) are turning out. I like to think that is by design.

          • Johnnydapunk

            I’m not completely sure about this or not, but it has been mentioned on TSN a couple of times that there is some kind of either official or unofficial “trade break” that the NHL has in place where there are no trades over the Christmas and new year period. I tried to look it up, but there is no mention of it.

            If that is the case, it could be why MacT has been “sitting on his hands”

            In the Smid trade, I can only guess that it was the length of Smid’s deal that made MacT give him up, would be nice though if someone would just say something so it can make sense. Doubt that will happen mind you.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            While I wouldn’t raise this to a universal, I’d be happy to stand beside it as a general rule.

            As I said before, the Smid trade (in terms of timing, return and rationale given) doesn’t make a lot of sense…

            Best case scenario for Smid (if they were set on trading him) would have been to sell high at the deadline for either an NHL player or picks and then sell high on the picks at the draft table.

            Whether to trade him at all is another good question that demands a much better answer than the ones the team has given so far in the form of Larsen and co.

        • Dan the Man

          It doesn’t seem like they do. MacT obviously places a lot of value in “puck movers” which is fine but then why keep Nick Schultz? I can’t really think of anything he’s good at?
          I’m guessing no one wanted him at is current salary but he will probably get moved at the trade deadline.

          Trading Smid was dumb and I would rather have Fistric as my number 7 guy over Potter.
          Oilers also should have taken a chance on Gilbert instead of Grebeshkov.

          Smid – Petry

          Ference – Gilbert

          Belov – J Schultz

          Fistric

          Larsen

          Not perfect but better than what we have currently.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            N. Schultz is still here because they can’t trade them all at the same time… but if he’s here at the deadline, I’ll eat my hat.

            Trading Smid is fine in and of itself… but the timing, return and apparent rationale (cap room to sign Bryz we were told) don’t make much sense.

            It’s not just MacT that prefers puck movers. Look at how Eakins deploys his D. He is having a love affair with Larsen.

            Gilbert would have been a helluva bargain, but I don’t think you’ll find many around here welcoming him back.

            With the logjam at D in the AHL I’d expect MacT to offer Grebs one of them unconditional waiver buyout things (like Rajala) so both can move on.

      • Dan the Man

        He would be a great partner for a player/s like Klefbom or Nurse. I could see that.

        Belov is a strong 4. Yet my issue with his game is 2 fold. Does not shoot enough. Not physical enough.

        What I would like to see next season is this.

        Petry-Ference
        J.Shultz-Del Zotto
        Nurse/Klefbom-Greene

        It might be scary as hell but is it in the realm of possibility that the Oilers will do a deal to get Del Zotto. His stock/value is at a low price. I do not see Giradi going to FA. Sather needs to dump Brad Richards. That contract is an Albatross that is killing the Rangers ability to compete. The Oilers still have a buyout.

        Greene I see as a definite target. LA capped out.

      • Late getting back to this – had to pay attention to work for a while.

        Are you talking about that guy’s comment where my response was directed? He wants to put him with Petry. Petry is our best defenseman so that makes his pairing the de facto first pair.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I’m a little surprised that P Larsen is someone who you do not see us moving forward with. He may not have the defensive stats to say he is a solid defenseman…….but by the eye he seems to be the only one who can make a decent first pass.

    If this guy was paired with someone who could defend and someone with size his stats would change drastically. I for one can’t see any other current defenseman we have being able to move the puck as efficiently as P Larsen. Both Petry and J.Schultz look nothing like they did……..neither one can make a play right now……..or have been instructed to scale back their offence??

    We have let too many defenseman go who end up on some other team playing good hockey…….just maybe it’s the coaching these players are receiving?

    • Dan the Man

      I kind of agree with you on Larsen. He’s still pretty young for a defenseman and he definitely has skill.
      Ideally he would be playing in OKC this year but I think there is potential there.

      • Johnnydapunk

        Larsen is far from an NHL defenseman, way to small and cannot handle any forwards with size. He is a good AHL defenseman that can be used for emergency situations but that is it.

        • 2004Z06

          Agreed, there’s a reason Larsen was looking like the odd man out in Dallas & why they hastily threw him in for Horcoff, knowing MacT had glazed over eyes for puck moving defencemen in the summer.

    • Ducey

      You have it all wrong Rama.

      We must make snap judgments on 24 yr old defenseman. Get rid of him NOW! I mean if he can’t dominate after playing 110 NHL games he is garbage!

  • Jason Gregor

    Or trade? Gagner/prospect for Kulikov/Matthias?

    Out of this list Girardi or Greene look like targets – Phaneuf will likely resign with the Leafs. Don’t see a LD that looks suitable. McDonald would be an upgrade I guess.

    Just hope they don’t rush Nurse, Klefbom or Marincin… but this is the Oilers. Nurse next year I guess.

  • Spydyr

    This rebuild was broken from the start when they built from the wing out instead of defense then center then wing.Don’t even get me started on how they pooched goaltending.

  • I think the Oilers are looking at a Tyler Seguin scenario where you have to move a young potential superstar for something more established but with less upside. Seguin is an immense talent but he was not the right fit in Boston. This year Seguin has been mentioned in Team Canada talk. It’s not going to happen, but the fact that he’s in the conversation is kudos for Seguin.

  • bazmagoo

    Rebuild 24 is on the way. Mac-T either gets values on the trades he is seeking or he blows up more than half the team and builds it right this time. Tambo that bastard and the lord of the rings had no clue. Ekblad is definitely a keeper. I guess we will see if a team will give max value for that pick. Either way this rebuild coming up should be shorter and probably has a better blueprint to follow on. And as always, screw you Kevin Lowe.

  • Bucknuck

    I look at Montreal, with Galchenyuk in their lineup, and wonder how much they would like to reunite him and Yakupov. Would they consider Yakupov, Klefbom and our 1st rounder in 2014 for Subban? Do you think it would even make them think about it before they said no.

    • A-Mc

      Pk is an RFA but is up for renewal at the end of the season. He has a love affair with Montreal – he’s said it many times that it’s his favorite team since he was a boy.

      Couldn’t he just accept some absurd Offer sheet that the Oilers couldn’t match, and buy his way off the team before he ever plays?

      That does seem like a fair deal for both sides though. Yak/Klef and our 1st (top 3) is a huge payment. The salary deal for subban would be something like 7m/yr for 7 years likely, wouldnt it? Hmm i still think it’s worth it!

      • Bucknuck

        Now that you mention it, I do remember that. PK is a huge fan favourite there as well so I just can’t see them trading him for anything, but it’s fun to think about.

  • Bucknuck

    You cannot win in this league when you have poor Goaltending. I am not saying that is the only thing wrong, but it’s hard for the team to have “spark” and “compete” when the goalie is letting in softies on a regular basis.

    If DD had only been average, the Oilers would have a lot more points IMO. Not playoff points, but not the embarrassing fiasco that they have now.

  • Johnnydapunk

    I’m prepared for a rain down of trashes but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Oil try to see if they can get Byfuglien perhaps, he has a modified NTC and for once Edmonton is a step up from Winnipeg city wise so he could go for it. The Jets are also having a pretty crap season and seem like they could use a shakeup or two. They aren’t really loaded on offence so they may be up for one of the kids. Byfuglien has size, plays big minutes, isn’t too old (28) and has a 5-6 mill a season for the next 2.5 seasons so isn’t crazy money.

    I am a bit concerned that Belov is gonna be another Hejda and leave for greener pastures and turn into a solid number one or two Dman. He has been a pleasant surprise so far and done alright for himself so far. He can only get better I am thinking.

    • Bucknuck

      “for once Edmonton is a step up from Winnipeg city wise so he could go for it.” Bwahahaha you keep telling yourself that.

      Buff gets a call to waive his NTC, he says to where, and gets the response “Edmonton”. Buff hangs up the phone. As will any other Jet with a NTC/NMC (Little, Wheeler, Ladd, Bogosian, Enstrom).

      People like Buff take NTC’s to prevent going to places like Edmonton. What’s that crime rate again? Honestly under these circumstances, hearing the Albertan superiority complex is quite comical. No one wants to go there.

      • Johnnydapunk

        Wow, you shouldn’t have done that, you could have pulled out some non objective stat like Winnipeg is prettier or better transport or just a more fun place to live, as then it would be an opinion and we could agree to disagree. But no, you pull out a fact that could be looked up, and thank you as you just made Edmonton look even better….

        Crime rate by city

        CBC article on Manitoba crime rate

        Winnipeg’s apparently won the award for 2nd highest rate of violent crime in Canada, Edmonton is 15th, that’s just a start…

        Anyways I had no intention of really saying anything overtly terrible Winnipeg as it was the place I was born, and I don’t think saying that Edmonton is a step up is that wrong or horrible. It’s an opinion and that’s that.

        PS don’t look at your cities Wiki page, they are a bit merciless on your crime rate there…

        • crobar

          Well Edmonton is certainly the murder capital of Canada, even the Edmonton Sun says as much, and the stats prove that.

          http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/01/01/edmonton-murder-capital-of-canada

          So to claim a city is a step-up over another city is frankly, your worthless opinion.

          I’ve lived in both cities and I preferred Winnipeg by far. Not only that, players will prefer the management of the Jets over the Oilers… Unless they like losing.

          This isn’t the 80’s any more, NHL players aren’t going to prefer Edmonton over Winnipeg, in fact the opposite is probably true due to Edmonton’s recent history. The only dynasty Edmonton currently has is it’s ability to draft first overall. Not gonna attract talent that way.

          • Johnnydapunk

            Stop man, your arguments are becoming comedy, and the stats you pull out are making your case even worse. Edmonton has been named “Murder Capital” of Canada twice since 1981, Winnipeg has been named 16 times!!!! The city closest to Winnipeg is Ottawa and that is at 8.

            Anyways, if you think that Winnipeg is the place to be, fair enough. I don’t consider your opinion worthless in any way, I’m kind of indifferent about it but I am amused by your heated response to an opinion I have of Winnipeg. It was a pretty minor statement in the grand scheme of things as I am expressing an opinion on an Oilers website about a player I think the Oil should try to trade for.

            By the way, if you have a hate on for Edmonton and the Oil, why are you here? Surely there must be numerous riveting articles about the Jets to keep you amused without having to wander onto other sites of teams and cities you apparently hate.

          • beloch

            Simply put , the D lacks size as well as anticipation of the puck and player which means positioning . It is time to bring up Marincin , like Reilly in Toronto all he needs is an opportunity to show his talent . Klefbom is the other opportunity that can use the experience . Both have size and skill , Teach defensive positioning properly at the NHL Level , we have the coach and just get it done . Before any more trades are made MR Katz should trade away upper management with hockey sense from outside the organization brought in that can actually cause healthy nonpartisan changes to be made .

  • Johnnydapunk

    Oh I did forget to mention that Belov apparently has a thing for signing one year deals only. His reasoning is that it makes and motivates him to work hard for a new contract and allows him the freedom to move if he wished to. As he is rarely interviewed, I have no idea of his impressions of Edmonton or the Oilers. Perhaps he is the type of person who would consider the Oil taking a chance on him as a nice gesture and would stay. Again one can hope.

    When I first read of that, my respect level for him jumped up as it is rare to hear that from a player. Fair play to him.