Report: Horcoff to a contender, Bowness turned down Edmonton

There were a couple of interesting items for Oilers fans during the second intermission of CBC’s broadcast of game five between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. First, Glenn Healy reported that Rick Bowness – a candidate to work as an associate coach to Ralph Krueger – declined a job offer, while Elliotte Friedman provided some information on a possible Shawn Horcoff trade.

The Horcoff Trade

Friedman suggested that Horcoff – who has a no-move clause – would only accept a trade to a contending team, as he has no interest in being placed in another rebuild scenario. It’s an understandable stance for Horcoff, aged 34 to take, but it does rather limit the Oilers’ trade options (Just to clarify: Horcoff’s no-move clause does not end on July 1; it allows him to submit a 10-team list).

When we looked the other day at poor contracts the Oilers might accept in trade, most of them were on second-tier teams. It seems likely in such a scenario that Horcoff would slot in as the third line centre for whichever club accepted him in trade, and that the Oilers would eat a significant portion of his cap hit in order to facilitate a move.

Reading through the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, it seems that the Oilers can retain as much as 50 percent of the salary and cap hit on Horcoff’s contract, and that money cannot vary from year to year. As I understand it (with the caveats that a) I’m not a lawyer and b) I haven’t read the whole CBA cover to cover), the percentage applies evenly to both salary and cap hit: in other words, if the Oilers do decide to retain 50 percent in a Horcoff trade, he would count against their roster as follows:

  • 2013-14: $2.75 million cap hit, $2 million actual salary
  • 2014-15: $2.75 million cap hit, $1.5 million actual salary

He almost certainly will have value to various contending teams in the league at that cap hit/price point; the only question is what the Oilers will be able to get in exchange.

Rick Bowness and the associate coach position

Meanwhile, Glenn Healy passed on some news on coaching that takes on added significance with the firing of Ralph Krueger yesterday. According to Healy, the Oilers offered former Vancouver associate coach Rick Bowness the same position in Edmonton – and Bowness turned them down to work in Tampa Bay instead.

Had Bowness accepted the job, would it have prevented general manager Craig MacTavish from firing Krueger on Saturday? It seems unlikely that the Oilers would have offered Bowness an associate role while they were planning to axe Krueger, because that would have married the incoming head coach to a lieutenant not of his own choosing. If Healy’s information is accurate, than it really does suggest that the decision to fire Krueger was made quickly, and it would also indicate that Krueger was *this* close to surviving what is shaping up as a turbulent off-season in Edmonton.

Recently around the Nation Network

After some talk in Toronto of moving Phil Kessel, Leafs Nation’s Jeff Veillette explains in careful detail Why You Don’t Trade Phil Kessel: 

At the end of the day, the suggestion can be boiled down to this: The Leafs want to win, so they should trade their one superstar for either a centre who will need someone like him on his wing (instead of trying an already owned option), or a defenceman who will need several years to develop into what the Leafs need. But, this can’t come at a steep cost, because the most appropriate use of the Leafs cap dollars is on players in between star level and replacement level, pretty good but not great. The Leafs need to work hard, and this player was considered to not be a hard worker four years ago. By the way, this is all because of two minutes in a series that he was probably the team’s best player in, despite all the expectation that he wouldn’t. When you put it that way, it sounds like a bunch of nonsense. Because it is.

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • And there’s the anti-Horcoff brigade again. He’s not getting bought out; as MacTavish has already said the team will welcome him back if they can’t find a trade that works. He’s also not going to the minors – the limited cap relief gained is not nearly worth the loss of a useful third-line centre.

    • bazmagoo

      Ya but why keep a guy who sold his house and who’s boss called him a “loser” in public (losing mentality)?? So cut throat with the nice coach but accommodating to a player? Pay him and cut him loose

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Ralph didn’t cut it. There really isn’t anything else to say. He didn’t work. I saw it and thankfully the GM saw it.

    Maybe he would still be head coach if they hired an experienced AC, but lets look at that. You’re going to bring in an experienced AC because your head coach is inexperienced. The writing was and is on the wall, peeps.

    Can’t dispute the facts.

    Horcoff, as per Capgeek, has a limited NTC clause. He can name 10 teams he will accept a trade to.

    Personally, if he plays hard ball I would put him in the minors.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    I still feel like RK never got a real kick at the can. He was trying to change the entire system – to a good one or not, we may not know – in a season where there was no camp, and very few practices.

    I think the move had to be made, but Krueger was maybe an unfortunate casualty of the lockout.

    If he had never been hired as a head coach, he may still be excelling as an assistant.

    Good luck RK. I hope you get another chance.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m more comfortable with a prospective new coach than a Krueger/Bowness combo whether it’s Eakins or someone with a better resume.

    Horcoff – I still like as a 4/3 line center as long as his head is still into it and his Cap Hit doesn’t affect other options. He is an improvement on Belanger and Smithson.

    That being said, I’m sure MacT wouldn’t have mentioned moving him if Horc was still into it. He needs to be committed to be effective.

  • bazmagoo

    Interesting development yesterday, I’m not one to cry for any coach or player, the only calculus that matters is winning and MacT is sure projecting a confident tone. I wonder however what the players are thinking, they seemed to have liked Ralph a lot, any intel that contradicts this? Ahl coaches historically don’t so well in their first gig in the big leagues, wonder what blew MacT away with Eakins, perhaps Ralph was equally if not smarter than MacT and he felt threatened? Ralph have leadership lectures to world leaders at the World Economic Forum and I recall J. Schultz and Yak specifically saying he was a persuasion master. So…strange move

  • 106 and 106

    We’ll eat the extra salary and then probably lose the trade, but if that’s what it takes to change the “circus” culture in the dressing room, than good stuff. New Captain and Assistants next year as well.

    Tumultuous indeed.

  • John Chambers

    Maybe I lost faith in Kruger during last season’s slide, but it seems like his dismissal over the course of the 13-14 season would’ve been inevitable unless the team came storming out of the gate and managed to hold down a playoff position all year.

    Instead the Oil get a cach who will almost certainly be bench boss for at least 3 seasons, and in the end that was the most favorable scenario for everyone, save Kruger, and therefore MacT had no choice but to make the move now.

    • oliveoilers

      Agree with the first paragraph, but the second has a DSF “Book it” feel to it. So we will almost certainly get a coach for at least 3 seasons? Based on what? Previous oiler coach contracts since MacT? It’s been a revolving door! We go through coaches like Philly/Leafs go through goalies. We’re a coaching grave-yard. You think other coaches are blind to this? So RK’s system didn’t work after half a season. Sure, skid him. As long as the next coach has 48 games to make 24th place….

      • John Chambers

        Since MacT the Oilers have not selected their head coaches well, except maybe Rennie who got dealt an awful hand.

        Dalles Eakins is very well regarded and has earned a head coaching position in the NHL. He coaches the game the way it needs to be played in 2013.

        It’s clear MacT will do everything possible to make Eakins successful, and there’s no way he would’ve agreed to less than a 3-year pact. A disaster would have to happen for him to not survive this tenure.

        Which is exactly my point – the Oilers didn’t want to have to endure a coaching change next offseason – they correctly decided to make the change now.

        • oliveoilers

          Point taken, John. Of course I want Eakins to be hugely successful. But to play devil’s advocate, what kind of disaster are we talking here? 30th, 30th, 29th, 24th? Can we call next season a success if we finish just out the play-offs, having given it our damndest? Time will tell I guess. To quote: “oiler domination to follow!”