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 

 

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I wonder what kind of Defenceman Gagner, Hemsky + 2014 1st round pick would bring..or which team would give up a top pairing dman for that package. Maybe Winnipeg?

    • Puck_In_Throat

      Hemsky is a UFA- so not a huge return. Gagner has one year and $4.8M left on his deal before he is a UFA.

      Neither of those two is worth much.

      Seeing as our 1st rounder will be in the 1-3 range, that will have value. But not the value of a 1st pairing D man.

      As always, put yourself in the other team’s shoes. What would you accept in a trade for a top pair D-Man? My guess is the ask list is like this:
      1. a dynamic 1st line scorer (eberle);
      2. a young d man with upside who can play in the NHL right now (petry); and
      3. a solid prospect (Klefbom? Marancin?).

      The scorer provides the team trading the top D man with something that every team needs. Young D man with upside is a stop-gap but also may turn out well. The prospect is a shot at a home run. If I was a GM, all of those things would be required to even CONSIDER trading my top D man.

    • Chainsawz

      The 2014 pick is more valuable without Gagner and Hemsky. Sheesh, what a ridiculous suggestion.

      You want a top pairing defenseman? The 2014 1st pick, Eberle, and J Schultz. At least the opposing GM would listen long enough to hammer out a deal.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Based on the media coverage here in Winnipeg, Yakupov would be the starting point of that discussion. When you only have 2 players on the team (E. Kane and Setoguchi) who shoot the puck, a guy like Yakupov is worth a lot.

      Edit: There’s also no way they’re parting with Byfuglien, so the top-end return from Winnipeg would be Toby Enstrom. Meh.

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        Not single d-man on Winnipeg should a 19 yo 1st overall pick be traded for, let alone him being the “starting point”. Not a chance.

        • crobar

          big buff isn’t worth a first overall pick?? are you nuts?? 26+ mins. a game, and nearly a point per game?? how do you replace that? which oiler is worth that?? none really .(maybe hall) the jets made this mistake when they let odouya go thinking he could be replaced. i don’t see them making the same mistake again. and make no mistake about it. man for man, a defenceman is more valuable.

          This is the biggest problem with oiler management, as they over value their players. they MAY have been able to get value for hemsky 2 or 3 years ago, now everyone can see how useless he really is. you can’t give him away. wasn’t this guy a sure fire blue chipper?? gimme a break!! which of these first round picks will turn out to be hemsky? as is, this team is going no where. perron is by far the best player on the team this year. what does that say??

          • Zarny

            I will answer your questions in the order you asked them…

            No buff is not worth a 1st overall pick. Not by any stretch.

            I am not nuts that I know of.

            Are you asking me if buff is a point per game? If so the answer is no, he has never been or even “nearly” been a point per game player.

            Hall Nuge Yakupov are all worth Buff and more.

            Hemsky is a top 6 forward and he has had a very good career for a mid-1st round pick. For his draft position he has done more than most other mid-1st round picks do. Not sure who called him “blue-chip”. If so they don’t know what that means.

            I assume you mean which of these first *overall picks will turn out to be Hemsky? At this point, even at the ages of 22 and under, they are already better than Hemsky, or are trending better than Hemsky in Yaks case. So the answer to your questions is NONE will turn out to be Hemsky. Comparing 1st overall picks to mid-1st round picks is your mistake.

            Perron has been the best player on this team for a short span this season. Sure. What it says is that Perron is 25 years old and in his prime. The first over all picks are still kids, learning the game. Why would we expect kids with

          • DoubleJ

            Perron has been the best player on this team for a short span this season. Sure. What it says is that Perron is 25 years old and in his prime. The first over all picks are still kids, learning the game. Why would we expect kids with less that 3 years experience to be better than a skilled 25 year old? This unrealistic expectation is likely the reason for your overactive trade everyone for “big buff” opinion.

            Hope that help…

        • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

          That’s exactly what I’m saying. Winnipeg doesn’t have the defensive depth to unload a guy like Enstrom without hitting a home run that addresses a team need.

          The return would be underwhelming, and Yakupov is likely the only NHL player they’d be interested in, so Winnipeg is not likely to be a trading partner for NHL-level deals in the near future.

  • 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.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Hall, Petry and Marincin(or Klefbom) for Shea Weber. Still doubtful Nashville does it but it would look something like that.

    As for Belov I feel like he will be like Hedja and have the Oilers give up on him way too soon.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      “Still doubtful Nashville does it”. they would be INSANE not to! management should be fired if the Preds said no straight up Weber for Hall AND Petry AND one of Klefbom or Marincin! this is the kind of overpayment the Preds would be waiting for.

  • Ducey

    The name that stands out to me in this list is Stephane Robidas. He plays big minutes, all three disciplines, and makes opposing forwards pay a price for carrying the puck into the zone. He would be a nice two year signing if he would come to Edmonton.

    A good trade partner for the Oilers may be the Phoenix Coyotes. They have at least three defenders I’d like to see in blue, and would probably bite on a package including David Perron. That’s right, I said it. I love the guy and what he has done for our team, but his value has never been higher. This would allow us to keep our core guys. Just don’t be surprised, that’s all.

    I’d also really like to see Bryzgalov resigned in Edmonton. He wouldn’t command a huge salary and that money can be better spent on a couple tough forwards. Think players along the lines of Brouwer and Clutterbuck who like to hit and can still shoot the puck.

  • reaperfunkss

    Don’t see the Oilers trading Hall, Nuge, Eberle or Perron but I could easily see Gagner & Yak being dealt! Those are good trading pieces to go along with this years 1st pick! I think the Oilers would be very happy to acquire two top 4 d-men with size & physicality! I don’t believe they need to be a #1 or #2!

    If Bryzgalov keeps playing the way he is it would be great if the Oil could get him under contract for 2 or 3 years! I like Bachman’s game in the minors & when he was up here! I could see him being re-signed as well if he keeps it up for the rest of the year! Another quality tender signing wouldn’t hurt as well to have that competition!

    Center looks ok to me if they can get some physical wingers to replace Smyth, Jones & Hemsky! Hope Santa’s watching cause I think my list is just about complete!

  • Better bring in BIG JOHN SCOTT before Calgary gets him. Burke is just waiting for Scott and/or Big Mac to be available. Size, toughness, fighting ability, TRUCULENCE!!! Burke almost had Big Mac with the Leafs/Marlies just before he left TO – ask Eakins to confirm this! Grats was very docile in Buffalo Sat afternoon – even after Big John Scott “accidently” crashed into him on the first shift, taking an interference penalty. BIG JOHN SCOTT would instantly solve all the OIL- CANUCKLEHEAD “issues”!!!

  • bazmagoo

    Trade Gagner and our first round pick for Phaneuf and a contract extension. With Arcobello playing so well Ganger is expendable and the leafs are hurting up the middle. Gagner being from Toronto might also be an upside for the deal.

  • 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 keep hearing whisperings about trading Darnell Nurse to get something now. This is exactly the foolish path that the Oilers have made far too many times in the past and i hope they refrain that impulse. Darnell is exactly the kind of player we need and hopefuly he is playing here next season and could end up #1 defence man in the future.
    Trades Oilers have lost on:
    Ray Whitney, Glencross, Stoll, Brodziak, Matt Greene, Cleary, and on and on.
    I don’t understand why we keep duds all the time and yet when we aquire something that we need he gets traded like Glencross, Stoll, all of the above and more. Gagner has had too many chances to up his game and yet he keeps making the same defensive mistakes costing us goals and we keep playing him, this guy should have been gone 3 years ago he is a liabity and does not deserve the minutes he is getting. Arco is far better and dependable player.
    I am hoping we have seen the last of Dubnyk another guy we stuck with for eight losing years. Bryz should defintely be signed long term.
    TO ALL OILER FANS STOP ASKING TO TRADE NURSE, HALL, NUGE, BRYZ, YAKS, or EBERLE.
    How come other teams have big behmoth noname defense men and we have our soft powder puff ones that we pay millions too?

  • Tikkanese

    Anyone else find it funny how everyone complained about the lack of goaltending depth and the abundance of #4-8 D on the Oilers. Then the Oilers trade the most overpaid #4-8 D which improved their goaltending depth in the system(broissoit vs roy), not to mention the salary dump enabled them to sign Bryz, also not to mention shored up a big need at center on the farm(horak), yet people complain about it still. Nothing pleases you guys.

    • 2004Z06

      Actually you are incorrect. The Oilers did not need to trade Smid to address the ability to sign Bryzgalov. Smid was the only legitimate shut down defender on the team. While I agree as a 5-7 guy he would have been expensive at 3 mil/yr, but he was a 3-4 on this current roster which makes him in the ballpark contract wise.

      Almost every Oiler fan thinks it was a bad trade and perhaps in 3 yrs Broissoit becomes an NHL goalie, but I won’t hold my breath.

      No one seems to know the real reason why the trade was made, including the media, but I can only assume with Lady’s personality, he said something to someone that he shouldn’t have.

      If I had to guess, he told Eakins what he thought of his new defensive systems and then was moved for “not buying in”.

      But that’s JMO

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sean17

    Jason!
    Once I want, you reporters come out say, “replace the cancer in this oilers management team (klow) rather than the players.” please have the heart or ball to indicate who has been killing our beloved hockey team. You so called media members always duck the major issues knowingly, if you think that May affect your job security. Also, already looking or mentioning for UFA players for the summer seems to be losers mentality!!!

    Klow=franchise killer

  • **

    I wonder if you could get a Hemsky + Pick for Phaneuf deal at the deadline. Both UFAs. So relative value low. Of course the Oilers would want to make sure that they could resign him, before doing it.

    But it is a possibility. Elisha Cuthbert is from Calgary & Phaneuf is from Edmonton. So there may actually be a reasonable chance to get him into Alberta.

  • 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

  • S cottV

    While you would sure like to hit a home run and get a legit first pairing d man and a legit 2nd pairing d man (or better 1A / 3A), if the d upgrade comes up a little shorter than desired, the Oilers can compensate with an upgrade in 2C.

    Lets face it – Gagner in particular, is no help to present first or second pairing d men, trying to defend in a coordinated fashion, to push the play out and up ice with possession.

    Oilers need to get RNH on the weights, replace Gagner in 2C with a talented tank, Gordon 3C for now but on a contending team he is an excellent 4C, and make sure whoever goes in 4C, for the time being – can play in his own end and preferably with some size.

    Now – you can get away without quite the dream pair of defenders we would all love to see. Reasonable facsimile’s would go a long way to turning things around, with the right compliments in the middle and we would contend for a playoff spot.

  • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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

            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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

  • A-Mc

    Jason:

    On that list, are you able to add Italics (or different color) to the UFA’s which would clearly NOT help the Oilers at all (in your opinion)?

    Sure there are maybe a couple #1/2 defensemen, but as you go on to explain (ie: Colorado), we might not need to land a home run; we might just need to have solid upgrades to 3 or 4 of our guys.

    Returning to playoff contention for this team is going to take a few stages, and i think the next stage (Before we go whale hunting) is to do a series of solid upgrades to several personnel! (eg: Magnus for Perron. Ference Signing, etc)

    I ask you to go through your list real quick because you can come to quick conclusions faster than any amount of research we can do.

  • 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!