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 

 

  • Bucknuck

    Here is some perspective on the

    Defenseman (Western Conf)
    CHI Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook
    ANA Cam Fowler Francois Beauchemin
    LAK Drew Doughty Slava Voynov
    STL Alex PietranJay Bouwmeester
    SJ Dan Boyle Marc-Edouard Vlasic
    VAN Alexander Edler Kevin Bieksa
    COL Erik Johnson Jan Hejda
    MIN Ryan Suter Jonas Brodin
    PHX Oliver Ekman-L Keith Yandle
    DAL Alex Goligoski Brenden Dillon
    NAS Shea Weber Roman Josi
    WIN Dustin Byfug Tobias Enstrom
    CGY Dennis Wideman Mark Giordano
    EDM Justin Schultz Jeff Petry

    Defenseman (Eastern Conf)
    PIT Paul Martin Kris Letang
    BOS Zdeno Chara Dennis Seidenberg
    MTL Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
    TBL Matthew Carle Victor Hedman
    WAS John Carlson Mike Green
    DET Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
    TOR Dion Phaneuf Cody Franson
    CAR Justin Faulk Andrej Sekera
    PHI Braydon Coburn Kimmo Timonen
    OTT Erik Karlsson Marc Methot
    NYR Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
    NJD Andy Greene Marek Zidlicky
    CBL Jack Johnson Fedor Tyutin
    FLA Brian Campbell Tom Gilbert
    NYI Andrew MacDonald Travis Hamonic
    BUF Christian Ehrhoff Tyler Myers

  • **

    MAybe Elisha Cuthbert is feeling home sick and maybe Phaneuf wants to stick it to the flames. He’s become the Shawn Horcoff of the leafs, so maybe he’ll be willing to move. Other than him, no one in that list really catches my eye.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    all this talk of Niskanen and Lovejoy….we need top pairing d-men not more middle and bottom pairing. with Justin Schultz hopefully re-signing, Ference here, Petry here and perhaps Belov signing? we need top end guys. i know i mentioned Girardi in my previous post, and if we signed him, we wouldn’t need to sign Belov, but the guys we need are guys like Shattenkirk, Phaneuf, Shat through a trade perhaps? and going hard after Phaneuf as well would add tremendously, yes tremendously! to the Oilers “D”. and if one of Klefbom or Nurse were to make it, bonus!

  • A-Mc

    If this Ekblad guy is as good as people seem to think he is, i dont see how the Oilers can trade that first rounder..The return would have to blow our minds.

    In all honesty, who isnt rooting for failure through next season! WE WANT MCDAVID

    #PerpetualREBUILD

  • bazmagoo

    Girardi would be a great fit for the Oilers, but will be costly. Could totally see N Schultz and Belov being resigned, if they were both playing 3rd pairing minutes they could be effective. Plus both would likely be available at under $2 million. I just can’t see the Oilers trading either unless someone comes knocking with a 2nd round pick at the deadline, but it’s unlikely either would garner that level of interest in my opinion.

    Philip Larsen will be moved though, agreed, and Potter will not be resigned. I’d even bet Justin Schultz could be moved at some stage as well, just a hunch.

  • camdog

    I have no problem with the Smid trade; it was a basic salary dump.
    Smid has been the worst puck-mover we’ve had over the last two years; he seemed to be regressing every year. Every time he touched the puck it was either a giveaway within our zone or a turnover in the neutral zone.

    That fact, combined with his overpriced contract over the next few years was why he was traded. MacT didn’t wait because he was worried the chance to make the deal wouldn’t come up again.

    He was a good guy, good teammate, great shot blocker, but his physical play is overrated. Smid had trouble breaking up cycles just like everybody else on this team.

  • 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????!!!!!????

  • ubermiguel

    Niskanen is really interesting to me. He plays with an edge and he’s defensively sound (leading the Pens in +/- right now). Not a huge guy, and he’s only playing 2nd pairing minutes, but’s he’s a upgrade for sure.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ugh, reading this was depressing. So the only d-man we have signed beyond this year is Ference, and he’s basically a #4 guy. The only RFA/UFA’s worth keeping are Petry and Schultz, a #4 and #5.
    I don’t see any UFA’s on that list who could reasonably fill our top-pairing void who won’t sign with their respective teams (Phaneuf).

    Like someone mentioned above, times are tough when Larson is your only d-man who can make an outlet pass.

    Our goaltending situation is just as bad. We have no goalie worth keeping beyond this year, and the only UFA worth going after is Hiller, who we’ll have to overpay and how good is he really?

    Can’t wait to see what MacT does this summer, but there’s no way we come close to the playoffs next year.

  • 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.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    MacTavish should be instructing his scouts to watch these UFAs closely?
    No one wants come here we, have to make trades and force players to come here and hopefully they will like the city and organization. Doug Weight was an perfect example of this.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Maybe MacT realized the season was lost and so traded Smid earlier than one usually would have to further depress our record to get a better return on our #1 pick.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I suggested something similar at the time. MacT babbled something semi-coherent about “dealing from an area of organizational strength”. If he thinks the Oil have any organizational strengths he must be smoking something.

  • 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!

  • Jason Gregor

    Attention Management: There is no way that Fedun isn’t at least as good as Larson or Belov, so why don’t we bring him up and see before he becomes a FRA. The team could send either down and no other team would look at picking them up off the waiver wire. And if some sucker is out there to take them all the better. He might not be better, but lets find out

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        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.

        This isn’t the case. In fact, while is it very rare for top pairing D to switch teams, when it does happen, it almost never happens via a “hockey trade” (i.e., a straight swap of equivalent talent, or nearly thereof).

        Far more common is the UFA route (as you mention), or a 2(and up) for 1 trade (i.e., a jumble of picks and/or prospects and/or marginal NHL players).

        Trading one of the 4 skilled forwards would actually be pretty unprecedented. Which is not to say it won’t happen, or that it wouldn’t be advantageous to all involved.

        But, if history is a guide… if/when the Oil land a top pairing D it will come from one of three sources:

        1. internal development (this is where most top pairing D have ever come from)

        2. UFA deal

        3. packaged deal involving lesser pieces and magic beans for established talent

        • Dan the Man

          You make some good points. I agree with your 3rd point on the packaging of prospects and draft picks for talent. If you look at what most people will say our biggest needs are.
          1.) Size in our top 6
          2.) Top defenseman,

          I think one of those trades can be made by that kind of package. But I don’t see us being able to acquire both without having to give up a top piece (one of the Top 4).

          I think some people need to be prepared for us to “lose a trade” in order to bring in some pieces we desperately need.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            There is no need for fatalism here.

            It is not necessary to trade one of the 4 to acquire these things.

            The next two first rounders are in play apparently and will be very, very valuable at the draft tables.

            There are a number of interesting D prospects that can be packaged.

            Other teams always sour on players with bad contracts or for some other reason and sell low.

            The UFA market is a great place to find a Clarkson type and simply spend the cash not assets.

        • Tikkanese

          Gregor said for next season. The Oilers won’t internally develop a top pairing defenseman, or two for that matter, by next season.

          We all hope the Oilers can package up some magic beans for the top D.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Can’t disagree with that and never said otherwise. Nurse has a chance but he’s realistically 4-5 years from getting a sniff of being a legit top pairing NHL player…

            that list is simply noting where top pairing D typically come from.

            They don’t come from “hockey trades” typically.

            Again, this isn’t to say that one won’t happen, won’t help us, etc.

            It is simply to note that if the history of these players’ movements is a guide… The fatalism around “have to” “only way” etc. is ahistorical.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • **

    I like Ben Lovejoy. Tough as nails. 29ish and if the Oilers could he would come cheap. Good 5-6 guy.

    Greene as a partner for Petry would make me happy but we’ve fubarred DL so often that he thinks were out to get him.

  • Big Cap

    I know its been mentioned before, but in regards to trading Gagner I think we need to be concerned about the apparent verbal no-trade agreement MacT gave Gags. Its bloody hard enough to coax valuable UFA’s to Edmonton without making it clear that the GM’s word isn’t worth the air he uses to give it. Which also doesn’t include whatever honour MacT has in regards to upholding his word.

    I like Gags, but unless we can sandwich him between two gritty, talented, and defensively responsible forwards (and on the second line – perhaps we could try to clone Perron) I don’t see him as a fit on this team. I also tend to think he could be worth something in a trade with a team desperate for offence. However, the reported verbal no-trade really puts a damper on that IMO.

    I wonder if there is some Perron-esque player we could target in a trade involving Eberle or Yak which could also net us a decent D (perhaps just a stop-gap until Nurse etc. arrive).

    Thoughts?

    • **

      I think anyone with a grain of intelligence will understand if Mac T goes back on his word given where the team is at. I actually believe Mac T will get more respect and credibility if he moves Gagner than if he keeps it. It would show he is committed to building a winner.

      • reaperfunkss

        But if he goes back on his word isn’t his credibility (what little he has) completely ruined to all other NHL players? Lowe has already helped make this place become unappealing (Bad team, he creates issues because of his ego re:Comrie for Perry)

  • 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.

  • Tikkanese

    Phaneuf is an Edmonton kid, so maybe he would be open to joining the Oilers if he reaches free agency.

    But that’s just the thing. He has to reach free agency for the Oilers to get him. I consider the chances of Toronto not resigning him to be minuscule, so I don’t expect him to open for the Oilers to negotiate with.

  • cmandev77

    I would love for Edmonton to trade for John Carlson in Washington or Victor Hedman in Tampa. We definetely have the resources for a trade like this without giving away the farm. Big, young kids who play tons of minutes and in every situation. Would be a big step in improving our blueline…

  • 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

    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.

          • 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

            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.

  • 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.