OILERS NEED MANY CHANGES TO COMPETE

As usual the first round of the NHL playoffs has been great. The intensity, speed, passion and excitement reaches a new level and it is great to watch. However, it also illustrates how far away the Oilers are from being a serious contender. This team isn’t just one or two pieces away.

Craig MacTavish and his staff will be hard-pressed just to make them good enough to stay in the playoff race next season.

When MacTavish took over as GM he didn’t mince his words. He knows what has to be done, but will they be able to do accomplish what needs to happen?

The Oilers have to get bigger and stronger. If you believe size is over-rated you might want to watch the playoffs a little closer. Of course you need skill, but the size of the Ducks, Sharks, Kings is a main reason they are leading or winning their series.

And their size doesn’t consist of players 23 and under. When MacTavish stated he’d have to make some "Bold" moves, he was right, however, the only bold trades the Oilers could make is moving one of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov or Justin Schultz. I don’t see how trading any other player would be considered bold. I sense that Oiler fans would love to see some trades, but none that involve the five aforementioned players.

Is moving Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Shawn Horcoff, Jeff Petry, Ladislav Smid or Nick Schultz truly bold? I don’t think so.

MacTavish’s other option for "Bold" move could involved trading the #7 pick. Carolina and Columbus have traded the #8 pick the past two drafts, so I think it is very likely the "Bold" route the Oilers could go.

The Jackets acquired Jeff Carter, while the Hurricanes nabbed Jordan Staal. In both cases they had to surrender another young player in the deal. The Jackets gave up Jakub Voracek, while the Canes moved Brendan Sutter.

The only players who are comparable on the Oilers would be Gagner and Paajarvi. Paajarvi is a completely different type of player than Sutter, but you see the connection.

If the Oilers move Gagner or Paajarvi and the #7 who could they receive in a deal?

Paajarvi and the #7 would be more appealing to a team that wants to get younger, and save some salary. Paajarvi is a pending RFA and he likely won’t get more than $1.5 million on a new deal. Gagner is the more established player, but after a solid 38-point campaign he’ll get at least $4 million on new deal, and maybe more.

No one saw the Jeff Carter trade coming two years ago, so clearly any trade is possible, so let’s look a few scenarios.

WOULD YOU MAKE THIS DEAL?

The Vancouver Canucks are already at the cap for next season with only 15 players signed. Mike Gillis, if he doesn’t get fired, will need to shed salary and get younger.

Would he trade Paajarvi and the #7 for Ryan Kesler?

He has to move one of his goalies, and as I said last summer, trading Cory Schneider would be his best move if he wants improve his team. He could move Schneider for a centre and then add Paajarvi and #7. That would give the Canucks some needed speed and youth.

Kesler is exactly the type of 2nd line centre the Oilers need, and his $5 million cap hit isn’t an anchor.

Bobby Ryan for Paajarvi and the #7?

The Ducks have $16.8 million tied up in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf next year. They only have about $4.5 million in cap space. They could stick with Ryan and hope the Cap jumps up in two years when he becomes a UFA, but they might consider two young pieces. Ryan is a winger, and the Oilers need help down the middle, but he’s a big, skilled winger and after Hall the Oilers have no size in their top-nine.

Wayne Simmonds for Paajarvi and #7?

The Oilers might want something else as well, but the Flyers need to shed cap space. Simmonds is a $3.9 cap hit for the next six seasons, so the Oilers would have the security of having him for at least six years. Keep in mind Carter had a long contract, while Staal was an RFA and the Canes knew he’d sign long-term to play with his brother.

SOME MORE SPITBALLING….

If the Oilers are looking for a few quick fixes, I’d look at these names.

  • The Penguins will need to shed some salary and I could see them dumping Paul Martin, especially if they want to re-sign Jarome Iginla. He has two years left at $5 million, and he’s an experienced puck mover, something the Oilers desperately need.
     
  • Brooks Laich only played nine games due to injury this year, but in his last five seasons he’s only missed a total of 4 games. He’s 29 and the Caps don’t have much cap space. I’d call George McPhee to see if it is possible.
     
  • I know some of the advanced stats guys don’t like Jack Johnson, which is fair, but he has improved. He isn’t great defensively, but he’s physical and he can play 25 minutes. He was 5th in the NHL in TOI, and the Blue Jackets need some offence. Scott Howson knows him well, so I’d at least look into it.

QUICK HITS

  • I know Dion Phaneuf made a bad pinch, but David Krejci’s game winner went right through James Reimer. Reimer needed to make that save. In OT the Leafs had some great chances but Tukka Rask stoned them, while Reimer let the game winner go right through him. Phaneuf deserves some blame for his ill-advised pinch, but Reimer’s job is to make a key save and it wasn’t like that was a perfect shot from Krejci.
     
  • I doubt many picked the Islanders to defeat the Penguins, I didn’t, but now that the series is close I’m hoping for the upset. I love the major upsets, and this would be one.
     
  • I highly recommend you get your tickets for our King/Queen Karaoke contest next Friday night at On the Rocks. We are about 50% sold. It will be awesome. We have some excellent Karaoke people lined up. On Tuesday at the Oil Kings game Jason Strudwick and Yukon Jack did a sneak peak performance.
     
  • Check out Strudwick’s dance moves 2:30 into the video, Epic. Yukon really impressed with his ability to hit the high notes. Excellent work fellas. After you watch Struds there is no way you won’t want to see the finale next Friday. There will be a few more beers involved on that night…You can buy your tickets here. They are $25, but you get $50 in GCs from Oodle Noodle and On The Rocks when you show up, so you make money and support The MS Society.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • Chainsawz

    I like the thought of getting S Couturier out of PHI, but Gagner AND the 7th is a massive overpay. This guy went in the range of 7th, and you’re giving away Gagner for a guy who had half as many points. If we want to improve for next year that is a bad trade. The 7th, and another prospect is my pitch. And I would be hesitant moving PRV. He’s going to be a guy who is on a value contract (1.5 for 3yrs) and will out preform those dollars as I feel like he just figured out how to play in this league. Look at how trading Voracek played out? How about Hodgson, or Turris? Moving players that young who have potential is a MASSIVE risk. Movng Gagner is about the same. Look at the Sedins. They didn’t start producing until age 23 or so. I say move 7th, (IF) you can move up in the draft to 3/4th. If it costs you the 7th, both 2nds or maybe next years 1st, do you do that? We want to get better now, teams look at our history and might be betting against us. 7th this year, and then… beans for next year. If i’m NSH I take 7th and next years. Hopefully its in the 18th range.

    • Chainsawz

      Musil. Musil is having a strong playoff but the Oilers have lots of defensive prospects and can afford to lose Musil in a trade for a player that can help over the next few seasons.

          • Spydyr

            Oilfred, not sure if you have been on Hockeysfuture lately or anything but it does not sound like the Oilers are going to sign Bigos. If he does not sign they may invite him to camp. He is 25 and a longshot……nowhere near the potential of Musil.

  • Benny Botts

    @ Jason Gregor
    Do you think keith Yandel is an option for the oilers? If so, is the price that 7th pick plus paajarvi? I think if you could land, a dman like him and somehow aquire a big winger like Bobby Ryan, thats two huge pieces for this teams taking a big step forward.

    • Jason Gregor

      Rumours are Yandle is available…Oilers could use him for sure.

      Not sure they have enough to get Yandle in one deal, and then Ryan in another…if you plan on keeping the key five…

      • OilLeak

        How would Yandle help the Oilers? He’s being used as a 3rd pairing defenseman and PP specialist. Mind you Yandle is doing well in a 3rd pairing role, but the oilers need a defenseman that can take on the tough minutes, like OEL. Yandle rumors have been around for a while because he is overpaid for the role he plays on the Phoenix team. The Oilers don’t have enough soft minutes to pass around and especially not at 5 million +.

  • Eddie Shore

    Montreal was considered many deals away from the playoffs last season…and yet with relatively few moves (a handful) they completely changed their fortunes. It can be done. There is more reason for optimism than you propose.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Jason most forwards if your name is not Iggy have a big drop off after they hit 28 so yes old.
    Simmonds for our second rounder and MPS might make sense but 7th pick.
    Forget it.

  • Oilfred

    So Jason you want MacT to pull a Milbury and trade away all the hard earned first picks for old crap.
    MacT is too smart for that.With the lower cap there will be lots of UFA and rfa players to fill holes.

    • Jason Gregor

      Old crap?

      Simmonds is 24, Bobby Ryan is 26 and Kesler is 28. You think that is old and crap? The Oilers have no one as good in role Kesler fills and don’t have big wingers like Simmonds and Ryan. Take off the blinders.

      Paul Martin is 32, he’d be the only “old” one, and considering they might have to dump his salary, Oilers wouldn’t have to give up that much..

      Brooks Laich is 29 and he is old? Good grief.

      You don’t win with all young kids who aren’t strong enough to handle mature NHL players.

      • Jason Gregor

        Have you been watching the Sens series at all?

        Good coaching, strong goaltending, and the right vets in support roles and Ottawa is proving you can win with young players.

        That said, I would be all for trading the 1st pick for Simmonds or Ryan. I think you pay less for Simmonds than you do Ryan though. With his injuries, I would not touch Kesler with a 10 foot pole.

      • Vaclav

        A healthy and productive Ryan Kesler would be great in Edmonton. But the Canucks and Oilers don’t trade with each other (unless you consider Peter Sarno for Tyler Moss a significant trade). And Kesler has a NTC. Would he waive it to go to a rebuilding organization? I’m not so sure.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I do have to wonder what PHI does on the back end., 5 guys making 3.5mil or more. Coburn or Meszaros available?

    How about WSH defense? 7 guys already under contract, but have Kundratek and Orlov knocking on the door. Granted Schultz is probably moved our bought out and they are down to 6, but I think they still look at moving something there.

    Do we bring Brodziak back? Who else from Minny do we look at as they will be close to the cap.

    • Jason Gregor

      Said it before, and I’ll say it again, trade 1st round picks with Philly and we send Gagner, and they send Couturier. Boom, size in your top six and a competent second line centre is solved. Though I would also make the trade for Kessler and cross my fingers he’s healthy as that also helps with our lack of veterans. Not to mention, he is one of the few Nucks that actually showed up to the post season. The guy can straight up take over a game.

      On defence, see what it takes to get Edler from Van. Or pay someone some money. Does the Suter deal really look like an overpay now?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    The option to move a player can only be used on a D-man. The additions to the top 9/6 will come through free agency and not a trade.

    Paajarvi is not the piece to move no matter what you think. He is big and drives the play. Moving him will cost the Oilers’ dearly and will not win that trade.

    If you are looking to add top a top D-man sure packaged Paajarvi or Eberle with assets but moving a player for something that is already available on the open market makes 0 sense. Top paring D-men are not available as UFAs this summer whereas skilled large forwards are.