Six to eight new Oilers

At his end of season press conference, Craig MacTavish was asked if there could be six to eight new Oilers, and he said “I think that’s fair.” With the moves so far this summer, the team is now in that range.

The full quote:

I think that’s fair. There’s going to be some significant and meaningful change for sure. I think in today’s era, even when you win there’s significant change, and when you’re in the situation that we’re in at this stage of our development as a team there’s every reason to expect there’s going to be at least that many, 6-8 new members [of the Oilers].

The Changes

The depth chart above is my personal view of where things are right now, and assumes no changes. Reasonable people can disagree on the order, but that should be a serviceable list.

Assuming that Ryan Hamilton, Philip Larsen and Richard Bachman all end up missing the team, that makes six new Oilers to the starting roster; if Hamilton and Larsen make the team that takes the club to eight.

Changes Ahead?

I expect that we will yet see a trade that ships out Ales Hemsky, but maybe that doesn’t happen. Bob Stauffer hinted in his show yesterday that Ales Hemsky could be back with the team if MacTavish can’t find a return that satisfies him, and MacTavish has always left himself that out. I’ve never been a guy who believes a player has to be a prototypical third line player to play on the third line; just because EA Sports calls it a checking line doesn’t mean it must be devoid of offence. Certainly, Ales Hemsky’s ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone without losing possession is something that wouldn’t hurt a third line taking primarily defensive zone minutes, and having a little bit of counterpunch is always a good thing.

I also would not be surprised to see a player like Nick Schultz moved, since as things currently stand the Oilers will either need to push one of Nick Schultz or Anton Belov out of the top-six or slide a left-shooting defenceman over to his off-side.

But even if that doesn’t happen, MacTavish has delivered on his promise of off-season change.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Flames Nation, Kent Wilson opines on the Flames’ contract talks with defenceman T.J. Brodie. Why does it matter? Because in doing so, Wilson spends a bunch of time reflecting on the general nature of so-called "bridge contracts" – like the one-year deal Sam Gagner got last season. Wilson cites another example of the bridge contract ending badly:

Namely, that the player will get drastically more expensive to retain in the near future. On the one hand, there’s the concern associated with committing dollars and term to a player who turns out to be mediocre or worse. On the other hand, there’s the possibility the player will be able to hold a team over the barrel a few years down the road. A recent object lesson in the pitfalls of bridge deals is PK Subban – the Canadiens played hardball with the young defender this past off-season (and lock-out), resulting in a contentious negotiation that eventually ended in a lowball two year deal worth $2.87M per year. Of course, Subban won the Norris trophy this season, so you can be certain Montreal will be paying out the nose to keep their young star once his bridge contract expires after next season.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Eddie Shore

    The Coburn deal will come together. Still need some meat and potatoes in top six. Wonder if the Oilers still have interest in Paul Ranger. Iron Maiden now has their own beer called The Trooper

  • nuge2drai

    Stop with the Jagr comments, please! I’ve been a fan of his since he came into the league and even I know it’s not going to happen. He will want to be on the 2nd line, at the very least, and it’s not going to happen on this team. He’s played RW for over 20 years and he’s not going to suddenly move to LW. Could he play LW? Probably. Will he? No. Are they going to move Eberle or Yakupov to LW and delay their development playing on the side they prefer just to accommodate Jagr? No.

    Ignoring the above, let’s talk about the PP. Jagr has played the right wall since the beginning of time. Is he going to replace Nuge on the first PP? Is he going to replace Yakupov or Hall on the second PP?
    He will sign with a bubble team that needs a second line RW and ultimately get traded to a contender that needs him at the deadline. He’ll make his money and play on a contender by the end of the season. That’s how he operates at this point.

    As much as I’d love to own an Oilers jersey with Jagr’s name on it, it ain’t gonna happen.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Malone is available, and TB is offering a 3rd round pick just to take him. Morrow would be a nice fit on the third line as well.

    As for center, at some point one of our top two centers will get Injured. At that point we will need our third line center to play top six.

    Currently our roster could not handle one Injury to our Cs. Grabovski would be perfect on a 4 year 16 million dollar deal. He can move up no down the lineup and if he rebounded like expected, Gagner could be traded.

    FA wise we need a third line center who can move up into the top six throughout the season, pushing Gordan into the top 9. We currently don’t have the center depth to be successful and compete for the playoffs, IMO. Injuries happen.

    • northof51

      About Grabovski….

      It’s been mentioned before that Eakins past with the Leaf’s will likely influence at least some roster moves. If Eakins shares the same opinion of Grabo as Carlyle and Nonis, then it doesn’t seem likely that Grabo will land in Oil Country.

          • OilClog

            He didn’t say a damn word publicly until the Maple Leafs axed him.. He’s a man, he’s entitled to his opinion and option of voicing it publicly to the MSM when they ask the “tough” questions.. after he’s been released..He would walk in and immediately feel the need to prove himself against our cluster of talent.. Adding more talent, drive, and want to win.. is a bad thing? a cancerous thing? you believe everything you hear? come on son.

            Penner said similar words about MacT’s departure… but you know, another cup since. No biggie

          • Connor Snipes

            You’re right. His numbers were stellar and he very well might have something to prove. That could be positive. But I think I’ll make the inference that there’s more to 29 other teams not feeling his mojo at this point. Whether its price, term or attitude, something is off…

            And about Penner, if the season was only during April and May, sure, he’d be a great addition. I think his second cup had a lot more to do with a ridiculously solid three lines and a tender who stood on his head. Something the Oil hasn’t had in a long time. Penner did question MacT’s usage of him. But guess what? Sutter did the same thing as MacT for three years! Penner learned not to go public; maturation I suppose. The guy needs a cattle prod every night. Grabo wouldn’t need that prod every night but I have a hunch his game might be in a selfish place right now; IMO.

            We shall see…after this dance with Gagner is done.

        • OilClog

          Why? for bringing in NHL talent?
          Maybe Lander starting off the season on the big club is a good thing in your world.. not mine. Sign Grabovski to a 1 or 2 year deal, cut losses easily if it fails. If it succeeds, brilliant!

          • OilClog

            I’m pretty sure Grabovski’s defensive game is pretty darn tootin solid there skippy. I would go compare his defensive stats against our current centers.. but other then Gordon who is from another team previous.. I’m scared the results will cause my eyes to bleed.. He’s currently better then what we’re sporting champ.

  • toprightcorner

    I am worried if they start Lander in the NHL this season. He needs to spend at least one more year in the AHL, if not two so he can develop into a top tier third line checking centre that can put of decent numbers. I also think he would be better served as a 2nd line center, 1 PK and no PP on the Barons as he will never be a guy playing a top line role, we shouldn’t put him in a position that he develops in that role.

    IMO, they need to add 2 centers, one for the fourth line that can kill penalties and another to play a bit on 4th line wing and the extra in the press box. Steckel would be a good add with excellent dot success and size. Or a Jay Beagle , Nate Thompson, Derrick Macenzie, Jim Slater or Adam Hall.

    Maybe a Konopka who could probably be had cheap as he is also great on the dot but when you play the bigger teams, he can be put in the lineup with Brown to help out on toughness.

    I am concerned about Konopka as he easily supplies any teams need for a faceoff guy and a tough guy who can at least play hockey but he never lasts on a team. Maybe a bad guy in the room?

  • Rocket

    I know there has been a lot of Jagre love on this site lately & it would be awesome if he joined The Oilers but I don’t see him signing in Edmonton.

    There’s no chance, or like a 1% chance of him in an Oilers sweater next season.

  • OT, but any of you guys in Edmonton need to know this. The Pint Downtown and Wanye are debuting Nation Beer.

    You heard me right. NATION BEER!

    You’re welcome.

    Oh and six to eight moves? Excellent!

  • I can’t believe how many people want a Hemsky Jagr Tandem. Eakins talked about tenacity and work ethic. The last thing the Oilers need is two streaky players who play great… when they feel like it, and skate in big slow circles when they don’t. Jagr has been notorious for it his whole career, an we see the same out of Hemsky every game: one shift brilliant, next shift lost.

    • Mark-LW

      Jagr is a well known gym rat/hard worker and Hemsky is a forward who can play tough minutes and come out ahead in shot differential (not in a Krueger system)

      What are you taking about exactly?

  • Hello JW and its another great article to read. I am one who is very happy so far with the changes though I did like Horcoff and Paajarvi these past years too.

    I was also one who liked Whitney and Peckham but they never got to the place they should have played at…sorry that happened too. Fistric is a great hitting guy but not one with a heck of skill. Now these guys, among others are gone and it was with necessity this had to be done.

    Three questions JW… (with being inclusive or not of trading Hemsky, N. Schultz or Smid,even Gagner, and/or prospects, draft picks etc),…

    1) Do ya think arbitration will support Gagner too much and then he will have to be stuck with a new one yr deal…then traded by the deadline next spring?

    2) Do you see 3 more bigger player moves from the Oilers..be it trades or UFA still…such as for one more 3/4 defenceman? another centre for the 4th line? a decent skilled or very tough and gritty agitating 3rd/4th line winger?

    Myself?…I was thinking of possible type deals for Coburn or even Nikitin on defence (trade)… Zack Smith or M. Talbot for 4th line centre (trade), and even M. Raymond (UFA-not tough here – move R. Jones down to 4th) or maybe get Clifford (trade) as another 3rd to 4th line winger…

    • 1) Everyone still seems to expect the Oilers and Gagner to work out a deal with some term, and seeing as most who file for arbitration don’t go that’s my expectation too. But it’s certainly a nice hammer for the Gagner camp to be holding.

      2) I think we’re probably getting pretty close to the finished product.

      I’d personally add another centre to the mix – I think most teams should if possible carry five and I’m also not wild about starting Lander in the NHL – and I think that’s possible. That guy could come via UFA – someone like Steckel might be a nice fit or trade – Konopka’s reportedly being shopped.

      Other than that, a good third-line winger and a top-four defenceman all seem like plausible adds via trade at some point in the near future. But we’ll see.

  • Bauerxxx

    Hmmm, it’s looking good so far and you didn’t even include Klefbomb in the defence.

    I’d still like to see us somehow nab a Coburn, or hope of hopes a Yandle. And even though Hemsky might be good on the third line, I think an all or nothing shut down third line might be the better bet with size issues still remaining up front.

    If you shipped him out for a solid third line RW, or even a really good fourth line centre to add some depth at the centre position, I’d be pretty happy with what Mac T managed to do in a week what Tambillini couldn’t do in years.

    In all this talk about decent third and fourth line guys, I noticed nothing has really been said about Eagre, and is anyone else miffed we didn’t take a look at Cheechoo for any of these depth roles?