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 

 

 

  • 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.

  • reaperfunkss

    8 years to make us this bad . Looking like MacT. and his dealings are becoming more of a problem than Tams ever was . Should maybe change team name to Edmonton Postal – as we continue to mail in the points .

  • Bryzarro World

    So much is so for game day prediction!!!! Instead bold move will be Coilers to apply to Garry , to use two Golies at once on a game or relegation to the AHL. This will solve everything may be, may be!!!

  • Bryzarro World

    did anyone see the highlights after this horror show on Paul Maurice in Winnipeg. How he talks to the bench, the intensity and respect you see in the player’s faces? man…why did we not go after this guy again. Eakins just stands there with this f#%* look on his face all the time. What is he thinking? he looks lost out there. God I hate the Klowe and Mac Crap

    • 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!

  • reaperfunkss

    Would be nice if the coaching staff gets sacked after the upcoming loss in Winnipeg preferably at the airport so they can get out of town asap. These coaching dorks are so damn lost it is unbelieveable. If we keep Eakins into next year he will destroy whatever spark of hope or potential exists on this team. I know Lowe has to go but on a go forward basis Mac T takes over til the end of the year, brings up Nelson fron OKC and whatever he has for available assistants and resets the players confidence and spirit before they all ask for a trade to get them away from these idiots, they have badly digressed this year and it is all on Eakins and the assistants. At least last year with less talent, younger players and a reduced schedule we were competative til the fateful west coast road trip where they got hammered but at least it was nearly 40 games into the season that we had some hope.

    • Bryzarro World

      this team has no passion no soul no pride…..starts from the coaches……i wanted eakins to succeed……..we have to cut our losses and purge this coaching staff…..

      ive lost all hope……these guys are totally regressing…..nothing redeeming whatsoever

  • 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.

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

      Yeah….she was sitting poolside in LA and tweeted an injury report dated last Tuesday proving that Scrivens was injured before the trade occurred ….making the trade null and void!

      (she then put down her mobile device and went into the kitchen to find a rolling pin)

  • 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

    Seriously, I’ve never once actually thought to myself ‘Gee I hope we bomb this year for x draft pick’, but I’m there now.

    I hope we dive to 30th and draft Ekblad. Keep him the hell away from the big club, let him develop at his own pace away from the losing. Fire the coaching staff and get rid of Lowe. A new coach would most likely bugger us in the standings once again, which would hopefully allow us to draft McDavid. Keep Hall and Nuge, maybe Yak.

    Hall, Nuge, Yak, McDavid, Nurse, Ekblad. That’s a core I could get behind.

    EDIT: Just to elaborate a bit more, this gives us two centres in RNH and McDavid, two possible first line D men in Nurse and Ekblad, and hopefully the goalie situation can be worked out via free agency or a trade. I remember a couple years ago DSF was ranting about drafting centres and D men before wingers. Damn was I ever sure he was full of it.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      They still wouldn’t make the playoffs , the teams and management philosophy on how to build a team is wrong and has been for years.

      They need to get rid of all of the management and coaches. Then they need to start rebuilding this team.

  • 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.

  • Serious Gord

    BREAKING NEW!!

    Craig MacTavish declares that the Edmonton Oiler Hockey Club now has all lthe pieces in place to become a contender. “It all started with the brilliant signings of Boyd Gordon and Andrew Ferrence. Sure I overpaid for both of them but there was maybe one other team looking for their services, and you know how it is in Edmonton. If there is any other team interested in a player, they always seem to choose the other team.

    I also hired the real star in the coaching world, Dallas Eakins. He came very highly recommended by someone so I passed up all the existing candidates with actual NHL experience and went with the new hotshot. I really think things look good. Dallas knows exactly what he is doing. You can see the clock turning in his head during the game. It is really quite impressive.

    Now with the trades for Hendricks and Scrivens, the Edmonton Oilers can finally look to go over that bump in the road that has been 29th place for so, so long.”

    “One day” says MacTavish, “I envision myself sitting in the new arena actually watching this team compete for something other than a lotto. I mean, honestly, myself and Kevin Lowe feel like we’ve already won the lottery. Darryl loves us.”

    * to alleviate any confusion, I am just a fan, and this is a concocted, made-up speech by a very real person, Mr Craig MacTavish. This never happened.

  • cf89

    Eakin needs to go. we can blame mact and klowe as well but at the end of the day, its clear that the players don’t want to play for him. mact needs to step up and fire this clown asap. i may not like all his trades but some of them were decent. his biggest mistake was hiring eakins. i bet if the oilers fire eakins, the team will improve dramatically!

      • Slapshot

        Eakins rolled into Edmonton like he was a Jack Adams winner,the day he painted Chop wood ,Carry Water in the Oilers dressing, I’m pretty sure most of the players were like WTF ,this guy is a tool!!!

        • BobbyCanuck

          Known as an ass, that does not surprise me, considering the type of comments he makes. esp. the one calling the fan that threw the jersey on the ice after the loss to the Blues, (wish I had not left the game after the second period)gutless or something like that. The big thing Eakins does not realize is now his poorly thought out comments get plastered all over N. America, when he was in the minors they only got splashed around too, I am thinking the village newspaper, and the equivelant of our Channel 10.

          You in the SHOW now Mr. Eakins, please comport yourself accordingly

  • reaperfunkss

    Eakins is not the problem!! Let me explain…. His “swarm” defence could theoretically work brilliantly!! Definition of swarm : a great number of things or persons, especially in motion.

    You see, Eakins strategy isn’t the problem, the problem is the NHL only allows us to play 5 guys at a time. But if we could play say 10-15 guys we’d be laughing

  • Slapshot

    Why is there a new arena being built ?

    Is Edmonton getting a hockey team ?

    If I was a season ticket holder, I would sue the organization for false promices.

    But Jason…that is 2 nice butts.