Yesterday’s trade involving David Perron and Magnus Paajarvi showed me the Oilers are finished "waiting" for prospects to develop. That doesn’t mean they won’t allows Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Darnell Nurse time to mature, but Craig MacTavish won’t be afraid to deal one of his young players for a more mature and proven, yet still young, NHL player.

The rebuild stage isn’t completely over, but I believe the Oilers are entering a new phase that will be more about shaping the team instead of just stockpiling young talent.

Perron is only 25 years old, but he’s entering his 7th NHL season. He’s clearly the better player today, and likely will be in the future.

I’m surprised how many people have suggested Paajarvi will mature into a better player. He is a better skater, and he’s bigger, but he doesn’t play bigger and he’s never been a big-time scorer at any level, so I’m curious what they base that assumption on. Someone actually suggested to me that Paajarvi could be like Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk wasn’t a scorer in Russia, but he became one in the NHL.

It is true Datsyuk wasn’t a big scorer in Russia, but he also wasn’t drafted until he was 20 and was taken in the 6th round. He was the ultimate late developer, and no offence to Paajarvi, he doesn’t possess 1/2 of Datsyuk’s offensive skill, but very few NHL players do. It is great to find the one the player who defines the odds and stats, but assuming that Paajarvi is suddenly going to develop above average "hands" is wishful thinking.

I think Paajarvi will have a long NHL career, but he doesn’t have the offensive capabilities of Perron. I think Perron will fit in well with the Oilers, while Paajarvi will give the Blues some much needed speed in their top-nine, but I don’t see him becoming a scorer in St. Louis.

I know points are only one aspect of the game, and Perron doesn’t solve the Oilers need for a big, skilled forward, but he plays a grittier game than Paajarvi. This trade gives MacTavish another skilled forward, and Perron is a better asset than Paajarvi.

Perron does have warts, however, and the biggest concern is whether he is willing to consistently go to the tough areas to score.

Andy Strickland from ESPN ST.Louis and wrote this about Perron. 

Early in Perron’s career he was consistently among the league leaders in drawing penalties. He was incredibly difficult to knock off the puck and could protect the puck with one hand on his stick as good any player in the game. His ability to use his edges and fend off defenders was extremely impressive. He would often find himself near the crease of the opposing goaltender after the whistle where he had a knack of getting under the skin of the opposition. 

But as his career progressed following his return from the concussion, we began seeing less of the game he displayed in his first few seasons. Even when Perron scored 21 goals in 57 games there was concern he wasn’t entering the hard areas of the ice as he once did.

Were the secondary concerns of his concussion mentally affecting his game? It’s a fair question to ask following his performance last season. There’s no doubt Perron felt somewhat handcuffed playing in a system that places a far greater emphasis on structure than creativity. He has an idea of how he needs to play to be successful and will be surrounded by more players that complement his style in Edmonton than he was in St. Louis. 


Perron came on my radio show yesterday to discuss the trade.  

Gregor: Were you surprised you were traded? 

Perron: I heard my name a little bit around the NHL draft weekend. I wasn’t sure if it was going to get done. I was actually in Montreal today doing some media stuff for a hockey pool for next year. I got the call from Doug Armstrong and it was just a real shock at first, you don’t know what to think. As soon as you start thinking about the Edmonton Oilers and their team- It was exciting and the type of hockey that I like to play. I can’t wait to be joining the team and doing whatever I can to help them.

Gregor: The Oilers play a more up-tempo game than what Ken Hitchcock had in St. Louis. Why does that fit your game better?

Perron: I think if you look at the players that are on there, their skill level is incredible. I’m just going to try to come in and help them and play a big role on the team. I think, obviously, in St. Louis it’s pretty defensive minded hockey. At the same time, it’s a winning culture and I think it’s important to try to bring that into Edmonton. I think the team is really going in the right direction with all the moves that they are making.

Gregor: Ken Hitchcock told one of my co-workers, Mark Spector, that you played left wing, but he felt you were better on the right side when you attacked in the offensive zone. Which wing do you feel more comfortable on?

Perron: I like to play on the left side a little more. I think on the right side in St.Louis when I was playing there, the way we play is coming into the zone and we tried to hit the far pad on the goalie to create some rebounds and create some havoc in the zone. It seems to me that the Oilers are a much more puck possession team, trying to go in the zone with it. That’s why I think I’d like to play the left side a little more, but obviously I don’t think it matters too much. I’ll just try to fit in and hopefully have a lot of fun with these guys.

Gregor: Do you feel you are a guy who is not only skilled, but willing to go to the tough areas to score?

Perron: Well that’s something I’ve always tried to do even in juniors and coming into the NHL. When I was nineteen years old, I played with Keith Tkachuk for a couple years. He’s obviously a big guy, and told everyone to go to the net, that’s where you’ll score your ugly goals and at the end of the year you’ll have five or ten more just because you went there. He was really one of the big influences on me going to the net and obviously I like to have the puck on my stick. I like to carry it and make plays, but at the same time I try to play a game that’s going to try to draw penalties and do stuff like that.

Gregor: How is your health? Have you fully recovered from the concussion? Where do you see yourself as far as a guy moving forward, can you be a sixty point player?

Perron: I feel like I can be and that’s what I want to do. I want to improve every single year. I think for me, coming back from the concussion it seems like November, December, the months went by. It’s tough to kind of keep that same level of shape when you don’t know if you’re going to play. Then all of a sudden, we started playing in January. I felt like it was tough on me, it was tough on a lot of guys around the league. This summer, it feels so good for me training-wise and nutrition-wise, just doing all the right things that I can to improve in the off-season and something I didn’t have the luxury to do in the last two to three years.

Gregor: Were you close to going to play in Europe last year during the lockout?

Perron: Actually, guys with concussions I guess they’re not insured. Whoever had a concussion, even if you missed two days, three days, four days, it doesn’t matter, even if you miss a year, you’re not insured to try to go overseas and play in Europe. That’s the reason, talking to my agent, that he didn’t want me to go. I think it’s the same reason for a lot of guys, Crosby and many guys who have had a concussion before have decided to stay here. I was supposed to be going to Switzerland with one of my friends here in Sherbrooke, but I decided not to go.


  • The Oilers won the Perron/Paajarvi trade, but MacTavish is aware he needs to make more moves. It isn’t easy acquiring a big, skilled forward, and I don’t see him acquiring one in a Hemsky trade. I suspect Hemsky gets dealt for a 3rd line winger with size.
  • Four LA Kings: Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Jordan Nolan all filed for arbitration. The Kings only have $5 million in cap space to sign those four and Kyle Clifford. Some have suggested the Kings will put Jarret Stoll on LTIR, but that is premature thinking. The Kings are in a cap crunch, and if I’m MacTavish I’d be making calls about Clifford. An offer sheet is off the table now that the Oilers don’t have their 2nd round pick.
  • Many wondered why I didn’t write an article on why the Oilers should make an offer sheet for Alex Pietrangelo or Chris Stewart instead of Clifford. Clearly, both of them are better than Clifford, but I felt the Clifford offer sheet was less of a gamble, and with the Kings tight to the cap the chance of it working was higher.

    The only way the Blues let Pietrangelo walk is if the Oilers offered him a $9 million cap hit, and even then they might match. If the Oilers offer him $9 million, and the Blues didn’t match it the Oilers would have to give them four 1st round picks. I don’t believe the Oilers have enough depth in the organization to go four years without a 1st rounder.

    Stewart is an interesting case. He’s a rare breed; a skilled power forward, but he’s also been inconsistent. He did shed 25 pounds last summer after learning he was allergic to brown rice and eliminated it from his diet. He’s only 25 and he’s already had two 28-goal seasons, and he had 18 last year (prorates to 30 over 82 game season).

    Would a four-year deal at $5.5- $5.7 million be enough to scare of the Blues? Would it be a wise move by the Oilers? I’d make that move, but I still doubt the Blues would let him walk. They traded Perron to make cap space to sign Stewart and Pietrangelo.

  • Here is the compensation chart for offer sheets:

    OFFER                                              COMPENSATION

    $1,110,249 or below                          None
    Over $1,110,249 to $1,682,194         Third-round choice
    Over $1,682,194 to $3,364,391         Second-round choice
    Over $3,364,391 to $5,046,585         First-round and third-round choice
    Over $5,046,585 to $6,728,781         1st, 2nd and a 3rd round choice
    Over $6,728,781 to $8,410,976         Two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd round choice
    Over $8,410,976                              Four first-round choices 



  • OilersBrass

    Opportunity just falls into MacT’s lap. The Devils just got $6.67 million in cap space that opened up. Kovalchuk retires BEFORE he makes his big payday?

    • Where’s the resident capologist in this blog. What happens with the cap hit.

      Gotta be one hell of a KHL contract to walk away from 80 mil guaranteed. Can’t imagine having.the cahoonas to do that. NJ in a world of hurt. Lou may have a bad enough team to win the draft lottery, and never get the pick. I wonder if this a mutual thing. Hemsky to play there would be a good bandaid and ease the sting. What does NJ have we want, not named Larsson or Henrique.

      • OilersBrass

        If you go to capgeek, you can see that Kovalchuk wasn’t into the big money of his contract, that didn’t start until this upcoming season. He’s walking away from around $55 million over the next five seasons to go back to Russia. I have a hard time seeing any KHL offer greatly exceeding that.

        But as for the cap penalties, I don’t think there is any; his actual annual salary was lower than his cap hit, at least until this upcoming season.

    • bazmagoo


      What a stupid hill to kill a relationship on. As a new GM your first big move establishes a fair deal with another potential long term trading partner, as well as establishes your reputation around the league as someone willing to make deals beneficial to both sides, and the first thing you do is completely destroy all of that just so we can get back Magnus Paajarvi? No thanks.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Oh man, what a big FU to New Jersy. First they basically sink their season because they can only dress a certain number of guys, then they get penalized and have to give up a first round draft (now next year in a crazy deep draft). Then he announces his retirement just after all the big name free agents are bought up, freeing up cap space just in time for New Jersey to be able to sing… no one.

    Russian factor: see this.

  • Ducey

    The Oilers would be idiots to make an offer sheet to anyone.

    They do not have enough assets to start burning through first round draft picks. Any offer less than this (say just having to give up a 3rd) is just going to be matched.

    The Penner offer sheet is part of what put the Oilers in the position they are in now. They could of had Tyler Myers, Justin Schultz (turned out they got him anyway) and maybe someone like Adam Henrique instead of Penner. Sure they got Klefbom, but he is years behind the guys drafted in 2008.

    There are a bunch of teams that are going to have to waive players or trade them on unfavourable terms due to salary cap crunches or internal budgets. For example OTT has an internal cap of just $50 Million because their owner is a greedy bastard.

    If I am MacT I am a little nervous that I might not get much back for Hemsky, but I know that some decent bottom six guys are going to be available for cheap come late August.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The Oilers would be idiots to make an offer sheet to anyone.

      The guy who furnished the last two RFA offer sheets is still here. It isn’t all that much of a reach.

  • ubermiguel

    @ Gregor: Where do you rank the Oilers’ defence corps in terms of the rest of the division?

    I look at J. Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse and the rest of the kiddie corps in the AHL, and see that there’s a bright future on the blueline in Edmonton. But they’re not there yet. A vet like Ference (and a coach like Eakins) will add a lot to their development, but until we see the Oilers ranking in the top-10 (or even top 15) on the blueline talk of winning now is just talk.

    • Jason Gregor

      Oilers D heading into next season is still one of weakest in “west” division.

      They have potential to improve a lot in next few years with J.Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin and Nurse, but right now, on paper, they’d be ahead of Calgary and that is it.

  • TeeVee

    Hey JG,… Great reading about Perron and the trade. I for one agree with you and others that he is better now as an NHLer than Paajarvi (tho he’s one of the many kids I like on the OIl)…

    This is for now and MacT is doing it right. I know that it is hard to make deals in this league in this day and age and yet… MacT is plugging up holes with efficiency and positives. Not Bold or Huge UFA signings or deals but they are just right IMO.

    Hey JG.. I have been thinking that if Hemsky can be dealt for two picks (2nd/3rd rounders) or a porspect and a second rounder…why not do this so as to make offer sheets for thos such as Clifford or even Zack Smith?

    Or… do ya have any inklings as to there being some good talk between the Oilers/Sens and/or the Oil/Kings already for other trade possibilities for these two guys?

    • Jason Gregor

      The picks in offer sheets have to be your own, not ones you acquire. Oilers can make an offer sheet as long as it doesn’t include a 2nd rounder.

      So out of the 7 options listed in article, they could do an offer sheet that falls into price range 1, 2, 4, or 7.

      Trading Hemsky just for picks would be bad asset management IMO. I’d try to get a player that can help you, otherwise I bring him back to camp and let him help team on the ice.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ^yup, just heard it on the radio….bet he takes a year off ala Tim Thomas, then comes back? therefore, Hemmer at 1 year left @5mil/per makes sense. Kovy comes back the season after and the Devils say bye bye to Hemmer.

          • Ducey

            That loop hole was closed right after Radulov used it.

            The only problem that still exists is that Kovalchuk could come back late in the season and burn a year off his contract. Thats what Radulov did. He had one year left on his NHL contract. Then he was free to sign in the KHL under the new rules.

            Of course Kovalchuk will have to do that every year until 2025! Then he can sign with a KHL team – when he is 42.

            There is definitely something funny going on here. Nobody retires at age 30 and leaves that much money on the table. You can bet Lou is somehow taking advantage of it.

          • OilersBrass

            That’s exactly what I was thinking would be fair for Larsson.

            New Jersey doesn’t even seem to be to set on the kid. They replace him with the vet Shultz, and get a scorer to replace Ilya…. Even though you cant really replace a player like that.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think most competent Oiler fans are a little sad at the loss of MPS simply because it looked like he might have finally been turning a corner. He did a lot of things well: killed penalties, drew penalties, used his speed, was beginning to drive to the net, and finally got some quality ice time with Gagner and Yak. I think fans were beginning to see the emergence of a solid third line winger who could jump up and down the line up as needed. It’s tough to invest all that time and effort in to a player only to see another team reap the rewards right at the time that player is bearing fruit.

    However, turning what could be a solid third liner with second line potential into a solid second liner with top line potential is a huge win. From all reports Perron plays a scrappy and gritty game which has been sorely lacking in Edmonton, and also has the high end skill to play alongside Gagner and Yak against less than top line competition. It’s like getting a younger tougher Hemsky that actually plays on the right wing, allowing Yak to play his natural and clearly better RW position.

    With some better D behind us, I don’t think the second line is going to get torn apart by larger teams like they were last year. The Oilers, even though the top six still isn’t balanced size wise, may just have the dominant skill to mean it doesn’t much matter. Our top line dominated last year, and now maybe the second line will follow suite.

  • ubermiguel

    Two things:

    1. For all of the people constantly suggesting that the Oilers sign Grabovski: it’s not going to happen. MacTavish and Co. have openly placed an emphasis on “character” as an important aspect in relation to any new additions to the team and Grabosvki has shown on multiple occasions in the past (leaving the team when MTL scratched him, that biting incident, insulting the coach during his exit interview with the T.O. media) that he is at least questionable in that department. There’s no doubt he’s a very good hockey player and that, in those terms, he’s a pretty good fit for the Oilers. You can make the argument that his hockey skills should make the character issues irrelevant but the fact is is that the Oilers very much do see those issues as relevant. This is not to say signing him isn’t a good idea, just that continually arguing that it should happen is fruitless.

    2. As for the people constantly saying that the Oilers should trade for a #1D: Who are these elite defencemen that other teams are offering up for trades? Yes, I know they’re crazy valuable and would solidify a defensive core for years to come but other GMs certainly know that too. Basically, blue-skying trades and roster make ups is alright, to an extent, but at least try and come up with something that is reasonable and realistic.

    • Who of any of us out there can say the Oilers haven’t made a pitch for him already? I’m really getting tired of the babies crying “WHY HAVEN’T THE OILERS TRADED FOR GRABO? DERP???”

      The PRV deal was in the works for a while. If there’s any decent deal out there to be had it looks like MacT is at least in on it.

      Guys. It pains me to say this again but THIS ISN’T NHL 13.

      If anything what we’re seeing is moves are way harder to pull off than we all thought and quite frankly, Edmonton isn’t exactly a destination of choice.

    • TeeVee

      At this point, the only thing MacT should do is add another veteran centre and explore improving one of your top 6 Dmen. We want to build a team that will make the playoffs and solidifying these two positions will go a long ways in accomplishing that goal.

      Opportunities to add a power forward or a star defenceman make come at trade deadline or next summer. Those are steps you take if you want to progress from playoff qualifier to Stanley Cup contender. We’re not there yet, so we don’t need to be overpaying now to get those types of players.

  • ubermiguel


    In the article, you wrote :

    •The Oilers won the Perron/Paajarvi trade, but MacTavish is aware he needs to make more moves. It isn’t easy acquiring a big, skilled forward, and I don’t see him acquiring one in a Hemsky trade. I suspect Hemsky gets dealt for a 3rd line winger with size.

    Does this mean you believe one of the kids is leaving to make room for a big skilled forward? If you were a betting man, which one do you think goes?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Those 8/9 million dollar contracts bring more doom to an organization than they do help. So much tied up in one player must create hardships on other areas of the hockey club. A lot of those contracts end up getting bought out anyways, Bryzgalov,Lecavilier, maybe even Weber soon in that small market of Nashville.

    Maybe it’s time to bring some Kaos to a few teams. Create a distraction, and maybe free up other players on that clubs roster. Time would be of the essence, with teams forced to deal with the suddenly realistic salary cap this summer. Blowing something up to create an distraction, and perhaps acquire another player from that roster.

    MacTavish could accomplish more with a kind word and a gun, than he will with just a kind word. Times are tough, bring some DOOM to some teams Craig, make your own luck. One guy (Pietrangelo) could make a world of difference. Might look good on us after the Penner/Vanek attempts.

  • ubermiguel

    I like the LW/RW versatility of Perron. I like Yakupov on the right side for scoring goals, but maybe Yak is better defensively on the left side, being a left shot. Just adds to the options.

    As far as a big bodied winger that can play top 6, those are hard to find and expensive to acquire. Clarkson was offered Taylor Hall-type money to come here. Expensive. The cheaper option would be to find the next Brian Bickell. Bickell was a 4th liner who benefited from the opportunity and discovering something in his game, to be an effective power forward. Bickell is 27, and there was nothing in his game previously to suggest that he’d take off the way he did.

    So from the Bickell example, I give you Jesse Joensuu. He’s big bodied 25 year old. Maybe he can be that guy, but probably not. I think that the lack of size in the top 6 will only cause problems in the playoffs, especially if they match up against a bigger team. In the meantime, let the skilled top 6 carry us to the playoffs while auditioning a couple of bigger guys to see if we can find a diamond in the rough.

  • Would you rather have:

    a) gags at 5M


    b) Grabo at 3.75-4M + roster d man (via gags trade)

    Grabo is 6 years older, which is a problem, but if Gags won’t budge on his number, trade him.

  • 24% body fat

    “Someone actually suggested to me that Paajarvi could be like Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk wasn’t a scorer in Russia, but he became one in the NHL.”

    The fact that Datsyuk’s story is so well articulated is an indication to me of how rare and special it is. Banking on MPS becoming the next Datsyuk is fools gold.

    More specifically, if MPS was to become someone, it’s more likely he’d be a Pisani type. A very useful player with offensive upside, and, as we all know, the ability to get unbelievably hot when it counts the most.

    That aside, I loved MPS’ honest game. A lot of what he provided did not show up on the score sheet, BUT in his rookie season, his defensive play was MILES ahead of Gagner and Cogliano, and I think it still is.

  • 24% body fat

    Not to leach of the comment of the year from the article yesterday…. but how pissed would St. Louis be if we did offer sheet Paajarvi for $1,682,000. Most likely it would be matched and more or less wonder if Maggie would even sign it if he just got traded. But pulling that off would be a huge addition to depth on the team. Paajarvi , hemsky and Gordon seems like it would be and advanced stat geek third line wet dream.

  • ubermiguel

    I was happy to hear about Tkachuk influencing his game. There was a guy that was tough to play against. And tough to play with as well apparently, but that’s another issue.

  • Jason Gregor

    Great thanks; Perron looks to be a nice winger for a player like Gagner.

    It’s interesting how this move heralds a new era for this team. It’s almost surreal to think the constant rebuilding might be over after all of these years of gloom and doom—-as a fan, it’s easy to just get used to it; the players must be ecstatic.

  • TeeVee

    The more I think of it, the better the trade seems for us. Sure, maybe Perron doesn’t turn out, but maybe PRV looks at the StL roster and decides he isn’t going to get the ice he wants and goes home.

    Gregor, have you heard anything about Gagner? I figure with arbitration looming, if they cannot come to a deal before his hearing he will be dealt? I just don’t see management risking going to a one year arbitration settlement.

    • Jason Gregor

      I suspect they get a deal done.

      Keep in mind last year, Oshie, Versteeg and Perron all filed for arbitration and Perron and Versteeg got 4 year deals, while Oshie got 5.

      This is just part of the negotiating dance.