GDB 50.0: DO THE MOVES MATTER?

Instead of firing another head coach, Craig MacTavish has decided to move out some players who have been here for most of the losing. Ladislav Smid was traded earlier this year, and yesterday Devan Dubnyk was sent to Nashville for Matt Hendricks. MacTavish quickly replaced Dubnyk by acquiring netminder Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles. 

Will these moves make the Oilers better? 

I don’t see Hendricks making a major impact, but I also don’t expect 4th liners to be difference makers. His salary is too high for a 4th liner, but if he plays well, helps out on the PK and adds some energy then he could break even. The Oilers aren’t in a massive cap crunch and I don’t see anyone on the roster in line for a significant raise over the next two seasons, so I don’t see his $1.85 million cap hit hampering them financially. You can critique Hendricks the player, and have reservations about his play, but his cap hit is not going to hinder the Oilers.

Scrivens has an opportunity of a lifetime. He’s coming to a team that is desperate for adequate goaltending. He doesn’t need to be great, he just needs to be better than Ilya Bryzgalov’s .904 SV%, and if he can avoid allowing weak goals he’ll be considered an improvement.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear, however, Dubnyk was not the main reason the Oilers are in 29th place.

He was brutal at the start of the season, but since November he has been no worse than the majority of the roster. I’ve heard and read suggestions that that his slow start ruined the Oilers season.

I’d say that is just a tad misleading.

No doubt he was brutal early on, especially against the Jets, Canadiens and Leafs. Had he played decent they win those games. However, when you look closer you realize that the Oilers winning % didn’t go up when Dubnyk was out of the lineup, it went down.

In the 29 games Dubnyk started the Oilers won 11 of them.
The 20 games he didn’t start they won 4.

The Oilers won 38% of the games he started, but only 20% of the games he didn’t. In case you are wondering in his 11 wins he only allowed 20 goals, so you can’t say the offence carried him. 

I’m not giving Dubnyk a free pass. He didn’t play well this year. He has to own that, but they Oilers need to realize that when he didn’t play they won 4 of 20 games. FOUR. I’d say they have many other issues besides Dubnyk.

The goaltending needs to be better, but after speaking to a few scouts and goalie coaches I’m not sold that Scrivens is an automatic upgrade.

Dubnyk played much better last season; however, he hasn’t been able to shed the "weak goal" label. Those goals were magnified on a losing team, and if he wants to be a starter somewhere else he’ll need to limit the softies. Scrivens is a good backup, but he’s yet to show he can be a starter. He’ll get every opportunity to prove he can be over the next few months.

Dubnyk didn’t look comfortable this year and to me it became clear the organization had lost faith in him, and I sense that Dubnyk’s confidence was waning. Sometimes you just have to realize that both sides are better off without one another, and I think that was the case.

I won’t be surprised if Dubnyk puts up decent numbers elsewhere, but I will be shocked if he re-signs in Nashville. With Pekka Rinne signed for another five seasons, I doubt Dubnyk wants to settle for a guaranteed backup role. I suspect he will sign with a team that doesn’t have a clear cut starter.

HENDRICKS…

He is a 4th liner who kills penalties, but he hasn’t produced much offence since he tallied 25 points in 2011. He is competitive and will battle, but some won’t be able to get past his $1.85 million salary for the next three seasons. If you expect him to produce a lot of points due to his salary, then you’ll be disappointed. He won’t bring much offence.

He’s never been a regular centre, but he has won 53% of the 700+ faceoffs he’s taken. I’d have him centre the 4th line the rest of the season. Smyth is better on the wall than he is down the middle.

At best he’s a 4th liner who kills penalties and will add some energy and break even offensively. The latter will be his biggest challenge, and MacTavish has opened himself up for criticism if Hendricks can’t be break even. 

LINEUP

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

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

Scrivens

Starting Scrivens was the obvious decision. He’ll want to make an impression right away and Bryzgalov wasn’t very good in Dallas. The Oilers are 2-16-3 in their last 21 visits to Minnesota, so any new face in the lineup could be a welcomed addition.

Hemsky is back in Edmonton getting his swollen ankle looked at. If it is just bruised, I’d sit him out until it was 100%, not 80 or 90, but 100% before I’d put him back on the ice. The Oilers need him healthy and at his best to maximize his trade value. He won’t re-sign to be a 3rd line RW next year, so they need to get something for him at the deadline.

Hendricks should play 4th line centre, mainly because Smyth is better on the wall, but Eakins suggested you might see him on the wing, possibly with Gordon. The Oilers like his energy, which is great, but he’ll need to generate some offence if you play him on the third line.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven’t had a lot of luck in the Twin Cities (inner Gene comes out) recently, but the new faces will give them a boost and they will skate away with a rare win in Minnesota. They get a break not having to face Niklas Backstrom — he is 25-4-1 all-time vs. Edmonton, although the way he’s playing maybe they would prefer to face him — and they score three on Darcy Kuemper to win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: You can change the coach and the players, but the Wild are still a boring hockey team. They are 26th in scoring, but have the 10th best GAA. This game is a reminder of how awful it was to have to watch the Wild six times a year. Thankfully we are only subjected to it three times a year now.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most stats suggest Hendricks won’t produce much offence, but he picks up a 2nd period assist and Oilersnation rejoices. Also, in a rare change of fortunes an Oiler scores against his former team when Nick Schultz scores his first of the season. Kyle Brodziak watches in disbelief. He was certain he would score tonight.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

 

  • outdoorzguy

    Everyone who would like Lowe to go really now needs to re-focus their energies on having this coaching staff removed ASAP!!

    We can deal with Lowe later since he doesn’t do anything anyways.

  • Alsker

    Since no QSB again, allow me to remind everyone this was another step closer to Ekblad or whomever we choose with the #1 this year. Even with fLames getting their asses kicked tonite we still are able to maintain our lead for epic fail of the year.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      LMAO!!! the sad thing is, in 2 years most I can see Burke having the Flamers back into the playoffs. Why? because as much of an arrogant prick as he is, he doesn’t not accept mediocrity and actually holds people “accountable”. So really, it will have taken Burke 3 years to take them from the bottom of the barrel to top 8 in 3 years max, while KBlowe, and Mac Crap get their furniture measured at the new arena while going for all time NHL record 6 straight first draft picks!!!

    • Randaman

      No need to worry. We are so far down the toilet drowning is a concern. WE SUCK!!! If anybody trashes this they are either too young to know better or completely dosed on MacT koolaid. Brutal!

  • Bryzarro World

    GOTTA LOVE THE OILER SYMPATHIZERS. THEY SAY….. MAC T HAS ONLY HAD 7 MONTHS. GIVE HIM A BREAK……….

    WELL, YOU PATHETIC, SYMPATHETIC REJECTS, ASK YOURSELVES HOW LONG MAC T GAVE KRUGER?

    I’LL TELL YOU IT WAS LESS THAN 7 MONTHS.

    • Serious Gord

      Very interesting point. One should search the transcripts to see if Lowe or MacT have used the “too soon to judge/fire Eakins” justification/Defence.

      One thing I wonder is: did kreuger rub MacT or Klowe the wrong way? Was his end of season report damning of oiler management – perhaps recommending the firing of some of the assistants? Was he being too independent-minded? Was he a threat to the power structure or rebellious within it?

      • reaperfunkss

        I think mact saw a shiny new toy that his contacts in the media talked a lot about. A rash decision by a rookie gm. Made worse by the fact he is a hypocrit. He says the Team needs stability as a head coach after firing the coach who only had half a season and no real training camp.

        How does he have any credibility when it comes to managerial decisions? Lowe hired his friend, there was no search for a replacement as a team doing it’s due dilligence would do. MacT hires a new head coach over a phone call. Doesn’t do any real thinking. Both instinct decisions that were wrong. There have been many instinct decisions gone wrong. proof is in the record

        This team has no plan. just guys going through the motions looking for insperation from somewhere.

        Not a good way to run anything

        • Johnnydapunk

          Absolutely agree. I wonder if there was any analysis done to see whether Eakin’s systems and ideas would be successful for the Oilers? Where was the due diligence and proper management? It seems like it was another decision made by “hockey minds” and ex-player management types that used to have a place in nhl management(pre – 1990s)but not anymore.
          Just because MacT is well spoken and educated doesn’t translate into managerial acumen.

      • camdog

        In the off season report from Krueger he requested an experienced assistant coach to help him behind the bench. When looking for this assistant coach Mact ran into Eakins. Eakins told Mact he wasn’t coming to the NHL to be an assistant. So Mact fired Krueger and hired Eakins.

        The question are why wasn’t Krueger involved in the process to hire a new coach? How can a GM get fleeced by a coach? How stubborn is Mactavish? When will admit the mistake and fire Eakins. It sure is easy to fix others mistakes but it’s dam hard to admit you were wrong.

  • Serious Gord

    Two nights ago in Dallas, off the opening faceoff, the left dman ( Justin Schulz) jumps up too quickly on a bouncing puck, doesn’t control it, causing a 2 on 1 the other way. Nick Schulz flops down too early and Dallas scores a gimme to start the game.

    Tonight, off the opening faceoff of the 3rd period, the left dman (Martin Marincin ) jumps up too quickly on a bouncing puck, doesn’t control it, causing a 2 on 1 the other way. Jeff Petry makes a half hearted effort to block the pass across, and Minnesota scores a gimme to start the period.

    My question is this: Do the oiler coaches actually coach? Do they tell the D not to gamble off a center ice faceoff because the potential reward is not worth the risk? (like I used to tell my son’s houseleague peewee team). Did they say anything to the D when they were reviewing the films of the Dallas game? If they did, were the D man listening and incapable of learning, or were they tuning out because at this point of a hopelessly lost season, they couldn’t care less what their coaches say?

    Just asking.

  • Serious Gord

    Buffalo is three points back with four games at hand and a much easier schedule from here to the end of the season than the oil has.

    Cgy seems to be able to just suck a little less than the oil does and remains three points ahead with two games at hand.

    Thirtieth is within the oils grasp.

    If I was to have posited at the beginning of the season that even with the team being relatively injury-free that they would finish dead last – and with the worst record in franchise history – would anyone reading this have said that despite that horrendous – record-setting outcome no one in management should be fired?

    As I am stating it now, does anyone think that anyone will be fired save for perhaps one or more of the assistant coaches?

      • Serious Gord

        From your keyboard to Katz’ eyes…

        And yet I think that doesn’t solve the much more deeply embedded problem:
        The incompetence of Kevin Lowe and the relationship between him and the owner that keeps him in place and unaccountable for the myriad transgressions he has committed against this team and thus against the fans.

        Let’s see what happens if the jets with their new coach waxes the oil on Saturday afternoon…

  • reaperfunkss

    I agree Eakins has got to go! A friend of mine has a son that plays in The NHL and he said that he couldn’t believe that Edmonton hired Eakins!! Worst coach ever!!!!! I guess he had some dealings with him along the way and said he is an ASS! Gtg

  • Johnnydapunk

    I guess I’m in the camp of let’s see what happens, I am curious though as everyone seems to be ripping Hendricks because he chose Nashville over the Oil and that he is not worth 2 million. His interview sounded like he was looking forwards to playing for the Oil and in hindsight that he may have made a mistake in picking Nashville over the Oil, he seems to feel that he has something to prove which is always a good sign.

    I do wonder though what it would take for him to shake off this tag he has already about being a waste? What would he need to do to justify his price tag and that he was worth trading for? I can’ t really figure out what everyone wants.

    I think he could be a decent asset to the Oil who lack size and grit and the ability to win face offs, I watched a few YouTube videos of him which of course don’t show a lot, though his “paralyser” move in shootouts is pretty impressive so if he can be a guy who gets the puck on the breakaway, he could put a few in.

    As for Scrivens, let’s see what happens, it seems everyone knows the issue here is the Oil’s porous defence so again, what would it take for him to be considered a decent choice?

    I would have been shocked if he was head over heels excited to come here as he is leaving a team with a pretty decent shot at winning the cup and the Oil are almost booking their tee times. He is playing for a contract somewhere and teams look at stats and he is going to have to play like a Demi god to come out of the season looking half decent. I have only known of one player in recent years who have requested a trade to the Oil and that was Smyth so whether we like it or not, the Oil aren’t a great destination for a player for the time being, maybe that will change in a few years, I hope so.

    I’m only asking this stuff as a lot of people are ragging about both of them and this can’t make it any easier to attract players if the second they are part of the Oil, they are already considered wastes before they even play a game.

    I hope they both do alright and as we have Hendricks for a few years, I especially hope that he can prove that he is a bargain at 2 million and not a waste.

    As for Dubnyk leaving, I’m looking forwards to seeing how he plays in a different system, maybe without the pressure here he might do alright and as he seems like a nice enough guy, I hope for the best for him.

    • reaperfunkss

      I dont think the players coming in are too worried that the fans are in a bad mood. They know the standings. The Oil have been crap for the better part of a Decade. players know and thats why they dont want to be here.

      Dont listen to the laForge school of spin and blame the fans. This disaster is 100% on oiler management.

      They need to be gone so they can stop making dumb trades and signings.

      I have no idea about hendricks but who cares because he is a 4th liner not a difference maker.

      Scrivens…Dude i am so sorry you had to come home to this garbage. Good luck but even Georges Vezina himself would have bad numbers behind this defense

      • Johnnydapunk

        This is it, I’m asking what it would take Hendricks and Scrivens to do so people can say, “yeah that was a great trade and I’m glad we got these guys!”

        What kindof numbers do these players have to put up for people to be satisfied ?

        As everything about this season is a write off, all I am hoping for is that the new players settle in alright and the end of the season they say that this was a great move for them, and maybe attract other free agent players to come here and try to bring the glory back that has been long gone.

        • reaperfunkss

          This team will continue to lose. Management is bad. A change is needed in the whole culture for there to be any progess. If a fool is making your decisions then the results will always be less than desirable.

          Bringing in 4th liner forwards and unproven back up goalies is not going to get this on track.

          There is no way we will say this is a great trade because it was far from great anything.

          Once again if your leaders can’t do their job then all those under the umbrella are handicapped. When the leaders cant make good decisions it is time for new leadership.

          • Johnnydapunk

            Thing is, that is nothing new, and there is little that any of us can do about it, we can complain and boo and vow to never go to a building with the word “Rexall” in it but until the people who make the decisions make those decisions, all we can do is talk about what we got.

            I am not trying to pick fights here so I hope it’s not interpreted that way, but you have yet to answer the question I had. What would it take for these two players to make people think it was a decent trade. It can be anything, surely it has to be something. Unless you are telling me that if Hendricks goes on a 30 game scoring streak and Scrivens posts 15 shutouts in a row would not make people think the trade was decent.

            It sucks being an Oil fan right now, it has sucked for a while actually, but there isn’t any point in being upset about yesterday’s as you can do f*ck all about them! but there is tomorrow’s and I guess next season.

            I don’t see a point in being annoyed as nothing will really change anytime soon.

          • reaperfunkss

            Not trying to pick a fight here either at all. Most of us are true fans and i have respect for those bros.

            A decent trade would address need. this team needs defence. they traded a goalie for a goalie which will most likely look like a push and they got a 4th line center. We are 2nd last in the leage and a 4th line center will do nothing to change that.

            As far as being no point in being upset I find that a tad naive. Upset is what it is gonna take for an absentee owner to realize he has a sh(t show for an NHL team.

            How will being positive change anything?

            I am allowed to be pissed because my city government is forking over about 350 million dollars to a guy who could have paid for this arena on his own.

            I am pissed because the Owner used dirty tactics to speed up the Arena deal when if he had used an honest open approach he could have gotten the same results and also the respect of this city’s people, well a little respect anyway.

            i am pissed because kevin Lowe has taken the sports team that i love more than any other on this planet and through incompetence and nepotism has made this team worse.

            Sorry for the rant but to all those true oiler bros out there, no matter your views of this team we all deserve better.

            To the trolls and people the Oilers send on here and we know they are here, I wish you a happy life

        • reaperfunkss

          This team will continue to lose. Management is bad. A change is needed in the whole culture for there to be any progess. If a fool is making your decisions then the results will always be less than desirable.

          Bringing in 4th liner forwards and unproven back up goalies is not going to get this on track.

          There is no way we will say this is a great trade because it was far from great anything.

          Once again if your leaders can’t do their job then all those under the umbrella are handicapped. When the leaders cant make good decisions it is time for new leadership.

  • BLAKPOO

    I think those two trades are fine. Getting rid of Gagner, Hemsky and N. Schultz for picks and prospects will be fine also. Sending Labarbera away for a bag of pucks was ok too. But none of those moves address our 3 main problems:

    1. We need a top pairing D-man. Remember Indiana Jones 3? Remember how obsessed Sean Connery’s character was with finding the holy grail? That’s how Oil fans have been with that top D-man since Pronger left town. Unfortunately, I think we will have to wait for the drafting/development of Ekblad;

    2. That big 2nd line center. Draisaitl or Reinhart aren’t the solution. We don’t need another kid learning on the job in the top 6 forwards. They will have to trade for this one. That’s exactly the “bold move” MacT must make;

    3. Our coaching staff is inadequate. Do we simply need to replace one of Smith or Bucky for an assistant with NHL experience (like Guy Boucher for example)? Or do we need to clean house? I’ll leave that to MacT.

  • Bryzarro World

    Lets do random draws and let the winner be G.M of the team for a month! Betcha the oilers would win more than “15 WINS IN 50 GAMES” how pathetic Does that sound out loud? 15 wins in 50 games! Hahaha

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

      If the Buffalo Sabres win just half of the games that they have in hand over us, they will be ahead of us in the standings.

      All together now!

      Here We Go Sabres! Here We Go! Clap Clap!

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

          Correction – this hockey team does not deserve fans that sellout every game for the worst team in league

          Gotta be getting close to that elusive title of “worst team in the history of the game”

          • camdog

            Have to give credit to Lowe. He sold everybody from the fans to the ownership that losing was acceptable as a tool to gain assets. The very fact that it took 8 years of being the worst team in all of hockey before we became embarrassed is quite the testament to how good of a used car salesman Mr. Lowe is.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Just watched the Oil vs the Wild( thats two hours of my life I’m not gonna get back) and saw Ben put out effort and was fighting to keep us in…then I look at Petry, Ference, J Schultz, and Marincin (he’s young so he gets a pass for now) completely leave him out to dry! MAC T….you once played with the OILERS jersey on your back and played with pride….we as fans love the OILERS jersey (besides one guy) and wear the jersey with pride….how can you just sit there and make these cheesie a$$ trades and figure that this is going to save this titanic from the bottom of the atlanic!? DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN DUMP SALARY AND PAY 4TH LINER AHLers 2 MILLION DOLLARS! If “its a tight market” or if you can’t seem to get something going…..take you and your sorry a$$ transition glasses, flow bee hair do eakins and “I’m the winningest guy in hockey right now” for a walk to tsn and ask to sit where maurice was sitting on the panel. This is getting too hard to stomach…..The defence and lack of anything being done is flat our retarded!!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    A team stuck in purgatory and yet has a full house every home game is more rattling than the futility of the management. The prognosis is not good with the team’s current crop of executives and invisible owner. Another lottery pick is outright embarrassing. As a rabid and loyal fan base, we do not deserve this.

  • bazmagoo

    So let me get this straight – team shows improvement last year (ever so slight) in a shortened campaign. GM fires coach, improves roster. Hires new “wonder boy” coach, yet team is worse than they were last year. Seems like simple math to me, and it has from about game 10. Glad to see Oilers Nation is starting to realize it’s time to Chop Eakins! He can go chop wood in the AHL and actually win something before he comes back to the NHL.

  • bazmagoo

    The way it’s going the Oilers are going to get Ekblad, because they could finish last in the league again!

    Wonder how nuts the Fire Lowe crowd would go if that happened, might have a riot on our hands.

  • Johnnydapunk

    I felt the Eakins was a wrong coach by second game and I felt that they should have fired Eakins by tenth game. And 50 games later that Eakins is still here. The moment when Eakins was thanking Eller for “inspiring” his team to beat Habs that’s the moment that I feel so strongly which Eakins should be fired. Isn’t that coach’s job to inspire your own team?

  • Serious Gord

    Oilers lost again tonight to a bunch of no names and back up goalie in Minnesota? Scored 1 goal for, goals against is worst in NHL. I can see the players are not having fun out there playing for Eakins. Mac T doesn’t want to admit that he made a mistake hiring this coach but it shows right now in the standings. They can’t score goals and they allowed too many against which means losing games not winning them.