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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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 


  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    You know, I’d like to believe this will continue to be of debate, of this continuing. But that said, if Hall is stuck on a perennial bottom-dweller, sooner or later this talk will fade out. Not saying Dallas is a real winner, but people care a lot more about debating between players on competitive teams. If the Oilers cant get it together over the next 4-5 years, Hall will likely just be one of those players who “could have been, should have been” so great, but was limited by the crap he was mired in…

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Petry is a good defenseman, but it’s hard to judge our defence this year under Eakins defense always system.

    This system has turned off any opportunity or ability for the defence to join and support the play. It’s only when we are behind in a game with two minutes left that you see any defenceman taking a chance.

    Without exception every defenceman has regressed under this system and your advanced stats will prove it!

    • Young Oil

      Amen, let’s have something regarding the real problem!!!! Not interested in a stat biased article about Smid, let’s have a stat related article about ALL the blunders POHO has made in the last 8 years thats kept this over talented team in the bottom five!! This is eff’n ridiculous Get on that “bandwagon”!!! Is it a case of the Oilers bullying you writers too! Or do you like writing about the Oiler miseries?

  • 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.

    • 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

      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???

  • As an aside…. in the Oilers season seat questionnaire yesterday…. this question.

    How big a factor is having seats in the new building in your renewal decision. (not verbatim).

    I found it rather humorous. Maintaining the right to a seat in a new (not started) barn is potentially more important than the entertainment value for the next three seasons. Is that legit?

    If so.

    Kudos to the marketing of the shiny new barn.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Here’s a thought for the class today. How long (i.e. how many NHL games) does it take for a dman to generally come into form? I’ve seen anywhere between 150ish all the way to 240+. That is, anwhere from the better part of 2 full-seasons of play, to more than 3. In all of those cases, the assumption was it would not be a huge influx of youth, that these would be young players here and there, being sheltered and mentored by solid veteran D.

    Given that, I am not certain why the Oilers seem to think that in 2 years, we’re going to have world-class D, the kind that will allow up to compete for the Cup. TBH, I dont see our prospects being markedly better than the current mish-mash of D we have now, at least in 2 years. In maybe 3, more likely 4-5 years, I think we could have AMAZING D, but to expect all these young guys to come in and manage to improve the team in a way veterans and other youth haven’t been able to for nearly a decade?

    Just seems like an awful lot of fans are now pinning hopes on a few young stud dmen being able to turn the ship around—when a few young stud forwards certainly haven’t been able to. Would hate to see us wait until 3 years down the road frm now, realize these young D are only human and not the saviors we so needed them to be, and be at the end of #4, etc. contracts with nothing to show. You tell me–would you resign in Edmonton, given how it looks like this is going to continue for several more years?

  • Bryzarro World

    And PLEASE dont start on how we’re going to sign all these veteran D FA’s this offseason. The only veteran D FA’s who will be available, likely, are those that aren’t actually all that good in the first place (the good ones will be re-signed or traded well before they are allowed to hit FA). Even if we assume there may be a few middle-of-the-road FA d’s available in the offseason, why would they come to Edmonton? I mean that honestly–if it were you, and you were trying to decide where you might want to go, would you choose Edmonton? Would you choose Edmonton, if you had any other options available? How much “hardship” money would it take to get you to even consider signing in Edmomton?

    It’s great to think we could solve our problems the easy/no-pain way in the off-season, but its a pipe dream. We either need to accept another 3+ years of mish-mash D and bottom 6 players, until our prospects are ready to make a difference in the NHL. Or we accept that we have to make some uncomfortable, painful exchanges before then to keep from basementing in 2015, 2016, and 2017

  • smiliegirl15

    Gagner certainly doesn’t belong on the first line but I understand why they’ve got him up there. Everytime RNH made a beautiful pass, Gagner bobbled it and lost it. He’s new to that position so he deserves some rope there too but I am sick of Gagner and will be so very glad once he’s shipped out of town. I thought they should have kept Cogs and traded Gagner way back then.

    Put Gagner on the third line so maybe he can learn the position first and stop being such a liability. He’s a one trick pony at best.

  • Alsker

    Why is it when we pull the goalie we panic in attempting to prevent the mt netter rather than pushing forward trying to score? We have 3 guys on the blueline defending, whats the use??

  • S cottV

    Oilers probably did the right thing, but both players have merits and no real loser on the deal.

    To me the biggest draft issue where the Stars kicked our ass, involves Jamie Benn in 2007.

    Geez – would Benn ever look good, as one of our top 2 centremen.

    Oilers took Sam Gagner, Alex Plante, Riley Nash, Linus Omark and Milan Kytnar – over Jamie Benn, who went #129.

    Ok – Benn was playing in the BCJHL in Victoria before the draft, but still – the Oilers should of been aware of him. Edmonton is a lot closer to Victoria, than Dallas is.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      The scouting staff has been very bad for a few years. They are very indecisive, this has to be a major concern. Doobie over Schneider, cream puff Pouliot over Parise it goes on and on.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Hey Gregor,

    What’s the minimum trade value you accept for Hemsky before you consider resigning him?

    I would want at least a late first rounder, or an early second rounder combined with a mid-to-late second rounder

    Otherwise, sign him to a one or two year deal for 2 to 2.25 mil per and you have an affordable 3rd line right winger who can move up or play PP when required.

    (Assuming he wants to stay and he’ll take a hometown haircut)

  • Bryzarro World

    Young Oil,

    No, it’s not the fans who lose, it’s the fans that remain the losers for following the crappiest NHL Franchise over the past 25 years. Stop wasting your time bitchin and moanin and tie onto someone you can believe in and put a smile on your face once in awhile. I hope you all don’t let your wives and girlfriends treat you like the Oil and you just sit there and whine and take it. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!

  • 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!

  • Bucknuck

    Examining the Seguin deal, when it was first consummated, obviously, Loui Eriksson was the big name going back. But Loui’s been banged up and his numbers are down this year. The guy picking up the slack has been Reilly Smith with 15 goals which I totally didn’t see coming. I think Boston is happy because they found a nice surprise in Smith.

    I think that’s the challenge in the Oilers dealing one of their young studs. We need to receive an established player and a second component that hopefully becomes a nice surprise so that the trade at least looks kinda even.

  • Hemmercules

    I haven’t been watching many games for obvious reasons. Tuned in tonight For the Dallas rivalry. Dallas goals 2 and 3 truly showed how horrific the oilers team defence really is. Soft soft goal followed by handing Benn a free goal on the pp, wide open. Even half decent teams prevent goals like those. Cue the comeback?

  • Reg Dunlop

    So far, the oil have been at least the equal of Dallas. Too many chances are hitting the tender. Maybe I am being optimistic but I think we are witnessing the blossoming of a real homegrown NHL defender in Marincin. He, along with the potential in Klef, Nurse etc. will allow the oil to draft that big 2C this spring rather than gambling on that OHL sasquatch. Is there any word on Gernat’s progress? Is the twin towers dream alive?

  • Mason Storm

    We’ve been down this road before. Hugh Cambell hung around too long with the eskimos. Now Lowe is doing the same thing. At least Hughie finally opened his eyes and left. Just cant see Lowe doing that.

  • 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

  • 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