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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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. 


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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.

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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.




  • emonkee

    I just read the comments re Duby on the Predators’ web site. What a nice, agreeable, welcoming group of fans they have. They are happy to have Duby, no negatives and feel that now he has some defense in front of him, he will excel. I have to agree. What do the Oilers’ fans do? Slam Ben Scriven’s wife, call Matt Hendricks a has been, moan about MacT and his choices,and generally moan about everything. Here we go again…………. A little positive energy would sure go a long way. Maybe it’s the fans who are the problem in Edmonton, they’ve blamed everyone else, how about taking some responsibility as well.

    • pkam

      I always wonder why Peca chose Toronto over Edmonton for less money. And Spacek was willing to go to Montreal but would not return to Edmonton.

      Now I start to wonder if Oilers fans are worse than Leafs fans and Habs fans.


      Thank you!

      It’s easy to understand why everyone’s so mad, we’ve been terrible for so long. But MacT is actually trying to fix the problems. It takes two to dance – just because we all want Shea Weber and Boone Jenner doesn’t mean they can be had.

      He’s added Perron, Gordon, Joensuu, Ference, Bryzgalov, Hendricks and Scrivens. He’s also done this moving only a few picks and the junk from a bottom dwelling hockey club.

      I seriously don’t see how people can think he’s been ineffectual. You can’t become a cup winning team in one year, dealing from a huge point of weakness as we are. Tambo would still be sitting on his hands, counting the light fixtures in Rexall.

      Ragging on the guys he’s brought in to help before you actually see if they’re able to contribute is just wrong. Any moves is good moves for this club.

      Welcome to Edmonton, Ben and Matt. Here’s to finding success with our team!

      • reaperfunkss

        The team got WORSE under Mact’s first year and you ” seriously don’t see how people can think he’s been ineffectual” HIS TEAM IS WORSE!!! thats how people think he is ineffectual

        your a Troll or on the Oiler payroll.

        Perron been good

        Gordon ok

        Joensuu has brought nothing

        Ference has made no difference at all

        Bryz is what he was in Philly. Overrated

        you forgot grebeshkov. remember how Mact knew this guy was ready for a good year after being away from the NHL

        Belov “personally scouted by macT” is average at best

        take your PR efforts to the Oilers site where it belongs

        • BLAKPOO

          Right, so I guess myself and anyone else thinking that MacT has tried to make a positive impact on this team must be on the payroll.


          So if you don’t think MacT’s done anything at all to try and improve the train-wreck Tambellini left him, you must be on the Flames’ payroll? Or is it the Canucks?

          Any of the players that have under-performed, or were expected to make more of an impact cost us nothing but a short-term, low-dollar, contract. Maybe in your angry little world the Grebeshkov signing kept Weber off the team? Not sure, don’t care. If he works out, great. He didn’t. OMFG the sky is falling! Damn you MacT and your calculated risk contracts!!!

          Too bad we traded Taylor Hall for Bryzgalov, because he’s over-rated. Oh wait, we didn’t. He just cost us some money and gave us an excuse to banish LaBarbera. Yeah, what a bad deal.

          Maybe you should take your negativity and stupid comments back to you Mom’s basement, where it belongs.

          • reaperfunkss

            aww did I offend you., i will ask my mom to make you a cake.

            So once again no one should be held accountable. You don’t mind losing year after year with the SAME guy pulling the strings?

            You blame tambellini for this mess but think Lowe is free and clear?

            When a person who is not qualified for his job (macT) makes changes they are typically poor. What calculated risk is he taking? The players are underperforming, well who brought these players in? LOWE I will give no credit for effort in a professional sport. Only results.

            Mom wants to know what type of cake you want, Troll

          • BLAKPOO

            Naw.. I don’t get offended by angry kids.

            Don’t remember saying anything about Lowe. I could care less about Kevin Lowe. Fire him tomorrow. I bet the team will still be losing.

            Just so you know, a calculated risk is a risk that you can take with a determinable result. For instance, you can spend some of Katz’s money on a few one year deals – like Grebeshkov and Belov, because if they are utter failures you can put them on waivers and get rid of them altogether, or bury them in the minors with a minimal salary cap hit. I know it might be a little soon for you to process this, you can ask your grade 8 math teacher about it if you’re still having problems.

            ..and don’t bother your Mom about the cake, I’ll ask her when she wakes up. All that hard work made her sleepy, poor thing.

          • Serious Gord

            Grebeshkov and belov weren’t calculated – they were emotional picks:’grebe was someone MacT liked and chose to hire despite there being plenty of other options that cost less and could be had on a two way contract. Below was personally scouted by MacT apparently and hired with little if any input from oilers scouts – a seat of the pants hire if you will, no calculators were harmed.

          • reaperfunkss

            Seems to be a lot of emotional picks. Scrivens played for Eakins on the Marlies.

            Katz picked Lowe, b/c no one else would hang out with Katz.

            Lowe picked MacT and Howson, b/c no one would hang out with Lowe.

            Did better with Tambo, Renney and Krueger, all of whom were voted off the island.

            Now it’s just the boys club.

          • reaperfunkss

            Show me different. Show me the success

            Mact makes moves Oilers still lose.

            too early to evaluate scivens yet but this D will break him down.

            Get me the cheese

  • 1983 and This Year

    For a long time the Oilers had hard workers with no skill. Now the past few years we have had all skill and little to no hard workers.

    I think with the Ference, Gordon, and Hendricks acquisitions you’re seeing the hard workers creep back on to the team. The goal is to get a good mix of both.

    Don’t expect to see Hemsky and Gagner traded for high scoring players.

  • Bryzarro World

    In Indonesia the cook who keeps burning fish gets fired. In the USA some CEO will lose his job for a companies poor earnings. In Pakistan some basket weaver will lose his job for not making baskets fast enough. In Oilerland Unicorns fart rainbows and all is well.

  • 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

  • Chainsawz

    We traded a nothing goalie for a 4th line plug. The amount of discussion this is generating is surprising to me.

    The cap hit doesn’t bother me. In 2 years the cap is probably going to be somewhere around $10,000,000,000 and he won’t even be making the league minimum.

    Thanks Rogers.

  • 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.

    • paul wodehouse

      …all Gregor did was type ‘sexy twins’ into his search engine and click ->

      after he did whatever he did he must have decided on these two . . .

      it’s really clever the way he put that Minnesota game day thing juxtaposed with this gratuitous shameful display of the female form to it’s best use… don’t you think?

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

    Breaking news!……in a bold move….Oilers fire teams skate sharpener guy!
    Have you EVER seen a team with so many guys falling down all the time…every game! WTF!

  • Everyone is complaining about the contract length and amount. Were you aware Mact offered him more to sign with us prior to the season?

    A bigger, gritty utility player that is good in the dot and willing to stand up for teammates may be a step in the right direction for a small soft team that has trouble winning faceoffs.

    • Jason Gregor

      Oilers didn’t offer him four years though…was a three year deal worth a bit more…

      That being said too much onus is put on 4th liners in Edmonton…

      The Oilers change coaches and 4th liners like no other team, and it doesn’t change anything…

      Hendricks, or any other 4th liner will make a small impact at best…

      Until Oilers improve their top-7 forwards and top-4 D-men the ever-changing 4th liners, new coaches or goalie carousel won’t change anything.

      • BLAKPOO

        I agree totally with your coach/4th liner comment. Weird!!! Is it a classic case of a “safe move” (least effect on team) to show your at least trying to shake things up?

  • 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

  • Randaman

    How sad that Sportsnet keeps showing Eberle’s lone goal as ” remax play of the game”. All good though we are only losing 4-1. God I am starting
    to hate anything to do Oilers including these loser commentators.

  • 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.

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

    #oilerspositives – equipment guys did a fantastic job screwing the visors onto the helmets, and once again the jerseys looked clean! Keep up the good work guys

  • 1983 and This Year

    While it remains to be seen whether these trades make the team better, I don’t think it makes the team any worse.

    Either way Dubnyk was not going to be resigned, and considering he’s going to be a UFA we weren’t going to get much in return. I would have preferred to see a tough D-man in return but I’m sure MacT explored that option first.

    The Oilers desperately need physicality, toughness, and experience in their line-up. Hendricks brings all of those. He’s played on playoff teams and knows how to win. These intangibles should be good for the group. There’s no doubt he is overpaid, but it’s not by much and it won’t impact the teams financial flexibility.

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

    #oilerspositives – On a positive note….our CORSI was off the charts tonight!

    #oilerspositives – another molar victory….no one lost any teeth tonight!

      • Bryzarro World

        Well you see, us peons that have been watching hockey our whole lives don’t really know wtf we are watching and need fart catchers to help explain it to…

        I’m sure Willis will tell us that we are idiots and forgot to factor the earth’s rotation into the stats. Will also blame Gazdic and tell us all that we need a team of Arcos…

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

          (Sarcasm Alert)……on an unrelated note….Linus Omark is really driving the play in Buffalo….he’s playing 12 minutes a game and has 3 shots and one assist in nine games….that’s one shot on goal every three games…..let’s see Hendricks try and beat those kind of numbers!

  • BRHLBryce

    I don’t give a s**t how much he’s paid, this is what the Oil need now! Hendricks will fit in nicely until the guys like Kessy, Ewanyk, Moroz & Khaira, to name a few, make their way through the system! Excellent moves MacT, keep them coming!