GDB 49.0: DEBATE IN DALLAS

Four years ago the Taylor vs. Tyler debate was just beginning. For the next six months both sides debated the merits of Hall and Seguin. The Oilers chose Hall and the Bruins happily settled for Seguin. Four years later both have developed into dynamic offensive players and both of them still have room to improve.

The debate isn’t as intense as it was four years ago, likely because both are producing and both fan bases are happy with the player the drafted, or in Boston’s case the players they received when they traded Seguin, but their individual success means the debate will continue and maybe even intensify in the future.

They play different positions, and in their first three years they played for teams at opposite end of the standings spectrum. Hall was saddled with the pressure of being the face of a franchise, while Seguin got his feet wet being surrounded by great players and winning a Stanley Cup.

When Seguin was traded to Dallas this past summer he was thrust into a situation similar to Hall. Both of them will now be looked upon to lead their respective franchises to the playoffs, and in the incredibly competitive western conference that won’t be an easy task.

This year their offensive totals are very close.

Hall has 18 goals and 43 points in 41 games.
Seguin has 21 goals and 41 points in 43 games.

Seguin is playing with Olympian Jamie Benn and Russian man-child Valeri Nichushkin. They’ve become a very dangerous line, and I’m curious to see Lindy Ruff will match the Seguin line against Hall’s line tonight. Ruff would get a better matchup playing Seguin vs. the Arcobello line; however, many coaches know that their best players like the challenge of playing against the other team’s top line. 

I’d argue that the Seguin trio is just as much of a challenge as facing Sidney Crosby’s line, and a bit different due to the size of Benn and Nichushkin.

Hall and Seguin will forever be linked together, and four years later I still think Hall is slightly ahead of Seguin, but only by the slimmest of margins. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Bryzgalov

No reason to change the forward lines. Keep them together and try to build some chemistry. I understand why coaches changes lines frequently, even the top teams do, but I’d keep the top-three the same for a few more games just to see what happens. 

Corey Potter is back skating, and the only player you might take out for a game is N.Schultz because he’s playing the right side. I wouldn’t do it, but that seems like the only option on the blueline.

QUICK HITS

  • The dilemma facing Craig MacTavish over the next eight months will be deciding how he wants to construct his blueline. Martin Marincin has looked good, albeit in only ten games, and if he keeps playing well do the Oilers plan to have him in their top-six next season along with J.Schultz, Jeff Petry and possibly Darnell Nurse?

    That would be three D-men in their top-six with less than 130 NHL games, and Petry will have less than 240 games under his skates. I don’t see them succeeding with that much inexperience on the blueline. For me, Nurse will need to be incredibly good to last more than nine games. Inserting more youth into the lineup won’t help. If all four of them make it, that means two of them will be paired together. I know Marincin and Petry have played together the past few games, but it is asking a lot of Marincin to be a top-four D-man next year.

    I would bring ensure I have at least three proven, steady veteran D-men at the start of next season, and if the young kids play well enough to keep them, then at least you will have some insurance when they hit a rough patch. I’d err on side of caution and start with more veterans and less youth on the blueline next October.
     

  • I agree with Willis that Petry is a competent NHL D-man, but my issue with him is his consistency at key times of the game. For instance during the 5-on-3 vs. Chicago. Petry has control of the puck, but can’t clear the zone. Keith keeps in it, and seconds later it is in the back of the net. Petry has to get that puck out of the zone. We don’t know if the Hawks could have regrouped, re-entered the zone and scored, but not getting the puck out allowed them to stay set up.

    Petry is a competent D-man on a bad hockey team, but I’m not sold he is a guy you build around. He might be a good complementary player, but I don’t see him as a backbone defender.
     

  • Ales Hemsky will be traded. Why would he re-sign in Edmonton to be the #3 RW. By March 5th, Eberle and Yakupov will still be on the team, so the Oilers won’t be able to guarantee him a spot in their top-six at that time. They could roll the dice and keep him with the hope they move one of the other two, because their value is higher, before free agency starts and convince Hemsky to stay, but I doubt that happens. So rather than lose him for nothing, he will be dealt before the deadline.

    There is a large contingent of fans and media who don’t like Hemsky, but you can’t overlook his skill. How many forwards can walk around Duncan Keith and score like he did on Sunday? Of course you’d like to see that more often, but that play is why opposing GMs will still be intrigued by Hemsky. Hemsky has basically been playing in a 3rd line role this year, but he has the skill to be a top-six forward. He is still fearless on the ice, and I suspect he will have success in a new situation.

    The question is what kind of return will Hemsky fetch? Teams have always overpaid for players at the deadline. An aging Robyn Regehr got Buffalo two 2nd rounders last year. The Sabres also received a first rounder for Paul Gaustad a few years ago. Every GM is willing to pay something different. MacTavish must be hoping Hemsky plays well at the Olympics, because a good showing there will increase his value significantly. 

TONIGHT…..

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Seguin each finish with two points, but the Oilers lose a close game 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Martin Marincin has another strong game giving hope to beleaguered Oiler fans that in the future the blueline will eventually improve.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of the Nation readers will send emails to Kate Beckinsale’s fanmail account after noticing she isn’t wearing a ring in the above photo. Good luck fellas, if any of you get a response let me know, we will post it on the Nation. After the Oilers loss, many will numb the pain by watching Underworld.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Mason Storm

    After following this discussion for far too long I have only one thing to say. Anyone who has been watching this gong show of a team flail about for the last 7 years and can still insist that Kevin Lowe shouldn’t be fired is either a) a relative of Mr. Lowe’s, b) an idiot or c) Bob Stauffer. (wait a minute, b) and c) are kind of redundant.)

  • Bucknuck

    My goodness, but that was a hard game to watch. Leave it to the Oilers to help snap a losing skid of another team (and extend our own). It’s tough being a fan these days.

  • Arius Mumin

    Correct me if I am wrong but I just have this feelings about some of Oilers.

    Eberle is a better passer than shooter but he dangles and shoot a lot.

    Hall is a better shooter than passer but he always try to set up others on 2 on 1 break instead shoot the puck.

    Gagner cannot handle the pass but always stays on point.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Package this guy, package up those two, package our whole D, kick em in the package. Package! Package! Package!

    Stop coming up with ” package deals”. It’s the salary cap era and no team wants to take on two or three salaries in one trade. Especially when the players suck.

      • Word to the Bird

        A good example of this is Garbutt on Dallas, here is a 15 point guy that has scored 2 goals and a couple assists against the oilers the last 2 games, gace Bryz a concussion and is allowed to roam the ice at will. This my friends is what ails the Oilers, size!

  • Zarny

    My perspective is I have been involved in hockey for over 50 years. I grew up in professional hockey dressing rooms as my father played professionally. I played up to the junior level and have had extensive minor league coaching experience.

    I have a number of observations. First, I think Coach Eakins has lost the room. This is a much better team than they are currently playing–even the defense .and goaltending.You cannot tell me from a talent level Calgary shoulld be ahead of them in the standings. Teams like Colorado,, Tampa Bay,Dallas, Carolina,Montreal are arguably no better or not much better on paper But there are getting much better coaching. I find Eakins very flat behind the bench. I think this team needs a more animated coach to instill more fire. Also there seems to be very little communication or collaboration on the bench with the other coaches which I find unusual. Maybe they have split into factions or are just pissed off at each other. One could predict this dysfuntionality when you come here with 2 holdover asst. coaches who are close friends of management and the one coach you get to pick you have his son on the team and you are put in the awkward position of having to cut him. I think dallas would have had a lot more credibility with his players if he had brought hiis own coaching staff and not a coach who immediately has a perception problem because his son is playing on the team. Also we have had more than our bad calls this year with the refs. I think a head coach should be working the refs rather just appearing to be oblivious most of the time. If you watch seasoned coaches like Hitch or particularly Torts they work the refs when they get a bad call and this seems invariably to having an impact in getting calls evened up later. Also these coaches have much better body language when there teams get scored on which i think this is important as players feed off their head coaches when adversity strikes. One final issue I lwould like to raisedI would like to raise is why is OKC using different defensive systems than the parent team. Rocky Thompson was recently interviewed on radio and said they were using systems they had been using for the past 3 years in the A.H L and it sounded like they had rejected using Eakins’s systems. I do not think this is very good when you have so many players going back and forth.
    I think then Eakins has to go along with his entire coaching staff. This is going to get worse before it gets better.I would suggest bring Todd Nelson and his staff ( like Maurice in Winnipeg) for the rest of the year to see what they can do. They deserve a chance. If it doesn’t work you can find a more experienced coach in the fall. This time interview a number of candidates and get a headhunter to help .you. One final comment–Lowe has to go- more on that later. I will provide my own top 10 list.

  • vetinari

    Hall by a nose…perhaps but I think things have shifted hugely this year. Hall’s development seems to be stagnant whereas Seguin continues to get better and better. TH’s point total is on the same pace as it was last year (50 in 45 games vs. 45 in 42 games)but his +/- is disastrous at -15 this year and -22 career. He is on pace for a -30 season! This means he has been on the ice for 1/3 of the Oilers regular strength goals against. Chances are when Hall is on the ice the Oilers are more likely to be fishing the puck out of their own net than celebrating! Hall’s point totals surpass Tyler Seguin’s career totals, but it is clear that the development trajectory for Tyler is much better. Consensus amongst NHL scouts was that when the Oilers drafted Hall (Yakupov) they left the better players on the board. You don’t get to be the best in the NHL by taking the second best players in the draft!

  • Spydyr

    It used to be fun coming here and say Gagner is weak and Dubnyk is not a starter. People would argue with me constantly. Now we all agree well, most of us anyhow.

    Soon it will be size beats Smurf. It might take a while for the stats guys to get onside with that one.

    Finally to all of those who used to bring up Gagners eight point game as a reason to keep him.Still think that?

    • Admiral Ackbar

      I’ve been saying the Oilers are a bunch of midgets, fairies and dafodils for years – now people are finally catching on! We are the laughing stock of the league, overvalue our assets and can’t even make a LITTLE TRADE! Time to recall Mike Hunt!

  • Rdubb

    YES, we’d all like to see Hemsky do that more, BUT, HE DOESN’T!!! He dangles on the blue line, & loses the puck, or he gets over the line and does a drop pass which the other team then gets, or, he turns it over before he does his dangle & or drop pass…if give aways were done in a way that we all understood, than I am sure Hemsky would be in the top 10 of the NHL…not only that, I think the guy has 0 leadership skills and is NOT GOOD for the younger guys on the team, why? Because he is almost always the last on the ice and first off the ice @ every practice, and this comes from the entire media core. He is also last (or close to it) in coming to rink and again first (or close to it) to leave the rink, at both games & practices. NOT the sign of leadership or off someone who wants to be on or around this team.
    And, I see (hear) the same about Yak, albeit in a different sense. Yak loves the game and everything about the game, he just doesn’t want to change how he plays, even though he has the worse +/- in the entire NHL, wouldn’t that alone encourage anyone that their game needs to be improved upon?
    Yaks best games come when he uses his body, hits people, skates hard, dumps pucks in when in is called for, passes when it is called for & shots when in the open. We all wish he’d play like that more often, as do his coaches, but he doesn’t. I am 100% positive that his ice time would climb drastically if he played like that every game. Eakins just can’t get through that kids thick headed skull, he is too hard headed, & if his attitude doesn’t change, he’ll get traded from EDM, then get traded again & again & will eventually find himself in Europe of the KHL, & if he stays in the NHL, he’ll be a 3rd or 4th liner while being a pp specialist…
    Just my thoughts
    PECK

  • vetinari

    So much anger in the nation. Didn’t anyone listen to MacT? We’re right on track. It’s like every successful hockey manager always says – “build your team from the wings in, very gradually!”

  • Bucknuck

    Gheeze… Oilernation is imploding…bursting at the seams with hate, anger, and anguish.

    Fans fighting eachother and calling eachother out…

    This must be the end….

  • A-Mc

    The real question, given the continuing troubles of this team, is how much longer we realistically have until the very small number of genuinely talented players we DO have, start to quietly ask to be moved.

    I’d like to believe Hallsy, Ebs, etc. would be happy to continue to play here for duration of their contracts, but am trying to be realistic. Edmonton already has the crappy weather to deal with, add in a team that can’t see to do anything well but LOSE, and I can see by mid-end of next season, if things are HUGELY better (I mean making playoffs better), I can see the rumblings start, players wanting to jump off the ship before it totally sinks to the bottom of the ocean

    • Word to the Bird

      That’s also forgetting that one of the reasons they are there in the first place is due to their play. Not saying that it’s all their fault, but to blame all the Oilers struggles on the bottom 6 and the defense is just ignorant

  • oilerjed

    Dear OilersNation,

    The comments section on your website has degraded to point where it resembles a Craigslist Rants and Raves section of childish retribution and nonsense. Where it was once interesting and informative it is now becoming overrun with teenage grade spam hate filled responses that have little to nothing to do with hockey. More often then not now I look for oiler chat elsewhere as it is far too time consuming to filter out the BS. I think that it far past time to implement a rule where a poster cannot change their name more then once a year (or month). Hopefully this will eliminate this new game of responding to yourself or changing your name to resemble another and posting useless crap. And as said above by Walter Sobchak you are definitely in need of more constant moderation. Hopefully this site will take heed and take some actions to clean up the site.

    • Word to the Bird

      Great, now we got people bitching about people bitching…. This is an oilers site! They don’t seem to play hockey or even care that they’re the worst team in sports so what exactly should we be talking about???

    • Rdubb

      I totally agree with your comments . This was my fav for years.. now its become a garbage pit for people who are not really interested in hockey, jump on here to mock other posters and flex the muscles, while diplaying very little brain matter.

      There were times when some of this banter was in fun.. now its dirty and ugly. People here have ben banned for less.

      Wait… maybe ON care not about the content so long as there are posts and numbers to show there
      advertisers.

  • Word to the Bird

    I see Kouleas and Buttons really getting livid about the abysmal team here . They say the team should not be waiting any longer , and that they should be doing something major to turn this abysmal team around .

  • Word to the Bird

    some of these players have been winners all their lives. this has got to be hell for them to endure. but I do agree some of the posters here need to take a breath and relax a bit. following the oilers and sites like this should be fun.

  • Word to the Bird

    I keep hearing Byfulien is available in Winnipeg. wonder what the oil would have to give up for him? the oil could sure use his size but probably not his alledged laziness

  • Rdubb

    Even knowing what’s known now, I’m taking Hall at the draft. Talent aside, I think he just has intangibles that Seguin doesn’t, including team captain in his future. Seguin’s had a good season this year, but it’s not as close between the two as some are making it out to be.

    Hall has pretty much carried the Oilers, regardless of linemates, even though he started out the year in unfamiliar territory at center. He’s improved his 200 ft. game and his decision-making.

    I wouldn’t consider a straight up trade Hall for Seguin for a millisecond.