Today’s loss to the Jets was a perfect example of how losing one-on-one battles can cost you a game.

The Oilers played fairly well for the first two periods, but in the third and OT the Jets simply wanted it more, or at least their actions showed that they did.

I took track of both the good and bad plays that stuck out for me. I’m sure there are other plays that fit into these categories, but this is what stood out for me today…

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  • Jordan Eberle had a strong game. He created a lot of chances and was the most dangerous threat all afternoon. After a month of not being a factor in most games, Eberle’s last eight games have been much better. He’s creating offence and he’s fired 24 shots on goal.
  • Hall’s pass to Perron to spring in him for a breakaway was outstanding. I find we don’t talk about great plays unless they result in goals.
  • Justin Schultz made a very good defensive play in the 2nd period. He focused on Trouba’s stick, got good positioning, lifted it and didn’t allow Trouba to bang home the rebound. For a little added bonus he tossed Trouba into the post after. I don’t expect Schultz to manhandle guys, but that simple, smart play of good positioning and ensuring he tied of Trouba’s stick stopped a good scoring chance. He needs to do more of it.
  • I didn’t mind the Oilers overall effort through 40 minutes, but then the 3rd period happened, the Jets took over and Jeff Petry had a brutal period and OT.
  • After Belov turns it over at the blueline the Jets come flying up the ice. Petry decides to leave his feet, despite Arcobello hustling back to negate the 2-on-1, Little dances around Petry, then avoids Belov and slides it to a wide open Trouba. Belov, Petry combined with Smyth’s weak back check were all equal in blame for this goal. 
  • On the 2nd goal, Gordon slides it around the boards. Schiefele grabs it on the wall, but Petry is in good position and all he has to do is pin Schiefele along the boards. However, Petry gives a half-ass effort, Schiefele goes right by/through him, then to the net and scores. Rookie Martin Marincin made an odd decision sliding behind the net on the play which didn’t help, but Petry can’t get beat that easy. To me that is simply about effort, grit and heart. Petry has to, at the very least, slow Schiefele up on that play, but he leaned on him so softly that Schiefele never broke stride.
  • Give the Oilers credit they didn’t quit, and Petry did make a great play on the tying goal. He made a smart pinch to keep the puck in. The Oilers get a lucky bounce off the ref, and Gagner picks it up, and feeds it to Petry at the right point. Petry let’s go a nice, hard shot that Perron redirects home to send it to OT.
  • Eakins starts J.Schultz and Ference in OT with Eberle and RNH. Their shift ends with Eberle rushing up the ice, which allows the other three to change. Trouba takes Eberle out on a 1-on-1, but the puck goes to Gagner behind the net. He feeds it back to Petry who takes a shot from the point. Pavelec, with no traffic in front, makes an easy save and kicks it out to Schiefele.

    Schiefele takes two strides and makes a stretch pass to Wheeler on the Oilers side of centre. Once again, Petry is in good position. He is stride for stride for Wheeler into the Oilers zone, however Wheeler spins off of him easily and goes to the net untouched. He holds on to the puck too long and his backhand hits the side of the net. 

    The rebound bounces to Petry, and he has a chance to clear it, but he muffs his clearing attempt. It goes right to Wheeler who feeds Trouba for the winning goal. A tough end to a difficult final 21 minutes for Petry and the Oilers.


I had many people tweet me that Eakins should be fired for having Petry on the ice in OT. Pardon, I say.

Keep in mind Ference and J.Schultz had just come off, so would you rather play N.Schultz or Petry in OT? I think we’d all take Petry, and that is the dilemma Eakins, or any new coach that many seem to want to bring in, faces with this lineup. He doesn’t have the horses to win.

Petry is a good player, he skates well, he is smart and usually in the right position, just like he was on the 2nd and 3rd goals.

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However, my concern, and it is a big one, is that too often he loses one-on-one battles like he did on those two plays. To me, those are soft plays and the only person who can eliminate those from Petry’s game is Petry.

It will be up to Petry to decide if he wants to get stronger on the puck. He is 6’3, but he only weighs 195. He isn’t strong enough and he needs to work on that. And it isn’t just size, it is about heart. Ference is shorter and weighs less, but how often do you see him allow a forward to beat him that easily?

Petry has better skills than Ference, but Ference plays with more passion. Passion plays a major factor in games, and too often I find the passion meter of some Oilers is much lower than it needs to be if they want to win.

Emotion and passion play a major role in hockey, and as Petry proved on those two plays, just being in the right position isn’t enough. The other player is often in a good position as well. Watch closely and you will see many key plays in the game come down to sheer will.

I don’t expect Petry or any Oiler to win every battle, but you at least have to make life difficult for the opposing forwards.


Petry has become public enemy number one. He is the new whipping boy for many fans. I understand your frustration, but trading him right now wouldnt’ make much sense from where I sit.

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I have concerns with Petry’s passion, but his skills are fine. The other very important issue when discussing Petry is the realization that he is one of their top-three D-men. If he is as bad as you say he is, then he’ll have no trade value, so dealing him means N.Schultz, Belov, Potter and Marincin are your bottom four.

Do you really want that? I didn’t think so.

You can trade him, but likely for another D-man, and that still leaves the Oilers with only three D-men who most would bring back next season. That won’t help out. Until Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse are ready to play more minutes, it makes sense to keep Petry.

That doesn’t mean the Oilers shouldn’t ask, and expect, more from him.

The Oilers need to sit Petry down and show him film of today’s 2nd and 3rd goals. It is clear he knows where to go on the ice, but once he gets there his hunger/passion/drive/fire is often too low.

I’m not expecting Petry to become Jason Smith or Chris Pronger; mean vicious defenders. But there is no reason he can’t be stronger on the puck and on the opposing forwards. I think all of those critical of him would like is to see him be more competitive in one-on-one situations. Match the competitive level of the opposition and his chances of winning more battles will increase.

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Let’s be clear this internal drive will need to come from Petry, but his coaches better show him these videos and demand he play harder.

Until Petry shows more fire I will have concerns about how much he will help in big games or those games where they play the same team seven times in a two-week span…what are they called again…Oh right, Playoffs.

In case you forgot what the playoffs are, they happen after the regular seaon and they are extemely intense and highly entertaining. In the playoffs, the intensity increases significantly.

Having skill and smarts are a necessity to succeed as a player, but Petry, and some of his teammates, will need a strong passion to win if they hope to become a positive difference maker when the games really matter.


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  • Young Oil

    Congratulation to the Flames! They have the hearts,a line brawl with Canaks before a start of a game. You make Alberta proud!!! Our oilers have kidneys only including management.

  • toprightcorner

    The Management over the last 5-6 years always seem to bring in players that they think are an the verge of taking a step forward and expect them to handle a position they aren’t currently playing but can step up to play.

    They add guy for the 3rd line that has only played as a 4th liner they think can make the jump (Joensuu, Jones)or a 4th liner who only plays AHL level (Acton). They expect players they bring in to do more then they are currently doing (Ference playing top pairing minutes)

    The other thing they do is bring in a new player to push an existing player up a line when have yet to prove they can do it (Belov and Grebs push up J Schultz)

    Until MacT brings in guys that are better than those they replace or push existing players don the depth chart, they will not get better. The only example of this is Paajarvi for Perron but they need 4-5 more additions like that.

    Bring in a player that pushes our 3rd liners to the 4th line and 4th liners down to the farm or 2nd liners down to the 3rd line. Gagner, Hemsky, Jones, Arcobello, Jones, Hendricks, Lander and Joensuu should all be playing 1 step lower than they are. All of the defencemen are playing 1 pairing higher then they should. Until they are all pushed back, the team will not get better

  • outdoorzguy

    Okay, I threw the idea of Gretzky coming in as GM and POHO. That hasn’t been well received. So who then comes in to fix this mess? Lots of talk about getting rid of people, but who takes over, a new GM, POHO, coach, who then? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for change, the sooner the better.

        • Mason Storm

          I’d say look at teams that have been top tier in the league for years now. Give a guy who developed under an experienced GM/President. San Jose or Nashvile must have a guy ready to make the next step. It’s where the good executives have been coming from lately. Chiarelli to Boston from Ottawa, Nill and Yzerman out of Detroit. If the Oilers can’t find a homegrown guy who can learn to do the job, may as well poach someone who has had a good mentor somewhere else.

        • Johnnydapunk

          The whipping boy shouldn’t be Eakins he was put in a position to fail. They should have brought in a Paul Maurice type to mentor him and show him the ropes. This is all on Lowe MacT and Katz. Eakins in in quicksand and getting deeper and deeper in the hole. Bucky Smith and that completely useless Freddie Chabot should have been long gone. Ralph would sure look behind the bench. Tell me where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Unfortunately there isn’t even a flicker truly sad

      • D-Unit

        DO IT!!!!! What is security going to do at the end of another crappy game, kick you out, ban you from Rexall for a year, refund you your season ticket price…..there won’t be a line up anyways as people are leaving earlier and earlier. Remember pictures or it didn’t happen.

        If only to hear Eakins the next day come up with a new metaphor about the ‘hard working Edmontonians’ and whatever other crap the front office can force him to gag out.

        It just must suck to be him. Eakins isn’t the biggest problem of this team…he is just the fall guy. But the ‘one year blame the coach’ cycle is just about up Dallas!

    • reaperfunkss

      Gretz a brutal coach in Phoenix.

      Don’t get an ex hockey player. Too many fixation errors.

      Last 8 cups won by GM’s without any hockey experience.

      Lowe and Mac T. Worst team over past 14 years. Stats don’t lie.

      Fire them all.

      • Jason Gregor

        You might want to check your facts.

        JIm Rutherford was a first round pick, 10th overall and played in the NHL.

        Brian Burke was captain of his college team and played in AHL.

        Ken Holland’s played one game in NHL, but spent 8 years in AHL.

        Ray Shero was captain of his college team and drafted by LA Kings. Never played in NHL.

        Stan Bowman played minor hockey, but never went to a high level.

        Lombardi was also captain of his US college team, but didn’t play pro.

        Chiarelli was also captain of his US college team and played pro hockey in Europe.

        I’d say they all have a fair amount of hockey experience and half of them had pro hockey experience, while Lombardi was drafted. Bowman was the only one who never played at a high level.

          • Jason Gregor

            You should read slower…

            This is what his post said…

            Last 8 cups won by GM’s without any hockey experience.

            Now go read my post on the last 8 GMs… Thanks for playing.

        • D-Unit

          Gregor, it is not my place to talk for others, but I think it is not a great leap to assume that many people equate playing in the NHL as the same as playing hockey when referring to qualifications for NHL coaching or management. I think an analysis of the situation would reveal that there is no correlation between success as a player in the NHL and success as a coach or GM. People who suggest Grezky or Messier should ride in here on their wide horse and save the day should remember this.

          • Jason Gregor

            He said the last 8 GMs won the Cup didn’t have any hockey experience. That was incorrect. Two played in NHL, and others in AHL. Also, the suggestion that hockey experience only equates to being in the NHL, I don’t agree with. You can be a very smart hockey person and not have played in the NHL. Being in minor pro you learn a lot, and many are very resilient since they are always battling to stay in the glamour spots.

            I didn’t mention that Gretzky or Messier should be the answer, but I’m just pointed out that most GMs do have a high level of hockey experience.

      • Tikkanese

        Gretz was a brutal coach you say?

        22-36 the season before Gretz took over.
        38-39 in his first season as coach and stayed at or just below .500 his entire coaching career, coaching a team full of rookies.

        Hardly brutal.

  • outdoorzguy

    The whipping boy should be Eakins. For obvious reasons.

    Clearly the NHL is above his level of competence and skill.

    He should learn how to communicate on the bench (see Paul Maurice, 3 straight wins!!).

    The scowl has worn out its welcome.

    But keep grabbing at excuses to support these clowns.

    • bazmagoo

      Really can’t see how the current coaching staff makes it into next season, the Oilers will be the laughing stock of the league if that’s the case. Want a cushy job – go to Edmonton! Need a life long position with no accountability in a multi-million dollar organization, only one thing needed on your resume – you played for the Oilers in the 80’s! Don’t mind giving handies to billionaires so they won’t fire you? Come to Edmonton!

      This outfit is an absolute disaster, as of today I wouldn’t doubt if the Oilers finish in 30th place. People will hate on that comment, but it’s a distinct possibility with the way it’s going. 3 1st overall picks with at least 1 season of experience, a sought after college free agent gifting Edmonton his services, and we can’t even field a team competent enough around them to get off the bottom of the standings – pathetic!

      Fire them all!

    • toprightcorner

      The whipping boy shouldn’t be Eakins he was put in a position to fail. They should have brought in a Paul Maurice type to mentor him and show him the ropes. This is all on Lowe MacT and Katz. Eakins in in quicksand and getting deeper and deeper in the hole. Bucky Smith and that completely useless Freddie Chabot should have been long gone. Ralph would sure look behind the bench. Tell me where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Unfortunately there isn’t even a flicker truly sad

  • outdoorzguy

    For what its worth, Petry is Oilers best rounded defense man. I think in a real world he is not a top pairing guy, but the Oilers arent in the real world. His game degraded since he started playing 25 minutes per game and perhaps that is why he had 3 rd periods like he did today.. he is wacked out.

    He needs to play a grittier game for sure. Dont know if its in his DNA.He doesnt strike me as a rocket scientist and maybe thats why on many nights he cant play a complete game. He can skate, he can shoot the puck and has size.. he just hasnt put all togethers it seems.

  • PlayDirty

    Petry should have DRILLED Scheifflie! Only someone on the Oilers (all of them) wouldn’t. Kessel played with more aggression today than any Oiler – that makes me wanna vomit. What would happen if a team ever decided to throw down on the Oilers like at the start of the CGY / VAN game? Besides Gaz and Hendricks, who would even survive? AAAARRRRGH!

    OK – back to it.

  • Kr55

    Petry is in over his head with the ice time he’s given and so is Ference lately. These are the situations you get when your management group has no idea of how to build a hockey team. You have guys that would be 4/5 D-men at best on a good team playing #1/2 minutes. Good luck to them digging their own way out of the hole MacT and Lowe threw them in. Doubt help is coming any time soon. The Kevin Lowe and Lowe’s buddies collaboration process for making moves has been broken for a long time. Not sure if it ever really worked.

  • Who the fk wants to trade Petry? Are you kidding me?!?!

    Is this a case of the media creates a thing out of nothing?

    Petry has the best “number of shots directed on the other guys’ net per 60 minutes of ice time” on the team. Surely no fan would want to trade any d-man who leads any category…on a team hurting for d-men!

  • eastcoastoil

    If Petry has a lack of passion it’s from having his [email protected]# handed to him nightly. He makes the big hits until the third it seems.

    He is playing one or two spots above where he should be and there is no one else on the roster to relieve him.

    Petry is not the problem, lack of a true number one is.

    With Nurse, Ekblad and Klefblom waiting in the wings we have no one to mentor them.

    Mact is playing this right. Where does he get a number one dman from now.

    Erhoff is nearly the only guy available and he was -18 with the cunucks in the playoffs…


    Gregor – On the second goal you missed out on the biggest goat on the play Ryan Jones.

    He was facing Scheifele, with an opportunity to make a play and instead he turned away. Watch him on that play, if he played it better simply put despite the rest the goal doesn’t happen.

    Perron also had an opportunity at Scheifele before Petry and he didn’t want it either.

  • eastcoastoil

    Now away from reality

    I think PK Subban is a possibility.

    Yak would love to play with ALEX GALCHENYUK. The two of them together would be good for both of them….

    Give them Yak, Shutlz Jr and one or two of the young d prospects Marichin/Klefblom/Fedun hell throw in a pick like 2015 1st…

    Before anyone tells me overpay you have to pay thats what bold moves are.

    You have to give the Canadiens something they need to make it happen and it doesn’t happen till June.



    Belov- Klefblom/Nurse/Marichin.

  • toprightcorner

    One of the provisions in Katz getting his owner-friendly area deal is that he can’t move this team for 30 years. Sweet Karma. If Katz’s buddies in management (we know who they are) keep it up, the Oilers will be the worst franchise in NHL history, and even in this hockey crazy market, people will stop going to games. This has happened here before, and it will happen again soon.

    Katz will not be happy about a half-filled arena, with low concessions and jersey sales. And he won’t be able to move his team anywhere.

    Ain’t karma a b*tch.

  • Randaman

    On Trouba’s goal you’ll find that Belov was crosschecked into the goal by Trouba. Leaving Trouba all alone to score the goal. Smyth was closing on him but was in no hurry and consequently arrived late but inexplicably he went for the other Jet that Arcobella had instead of the wide open Trouba.
    Arcobella had and then didn’t have his man as he tried to cover Little’s passing lane as Petry had gone down. He missed the pass, Smyth was slow arriving and Belov was coming out of the net when Trouba received the pass and deflected it home.
    This as usual was a team effort at poor defense with the ref ignoring ther crosscheck on Belov to set Trouba free.
    Petry made a decision which could have been a good one but turned out poorly because Ladd made a better play. If Arcobella had tied up his man and if Smyth had hustled back and covered Trouba who was open because of his foul on Belov there would have been very little opportunity for Ladd.
    Also of note there wasn’t much hustle from the other Oiler forward who trailed Smyth after the turnover. One thing I have noticed on good teams all the forwards are busting their asses to get back … not so much the Oilers! That tells you something about their committment to team defense!
    I agree with your major points about Petry’s competitive drive and compete but this particular play is not all on him.

  • Johnnydapunk

    I agree with Petry not having enough passion in the battle type plays and not being strong enough or fighting hard enough in the tie up. In his defence I think the coaches have asked him to step up his physical play. If you watch the game tape over the past 15 games I’ve noticed he does take some pretty healthy runs at people and average has a few real nice solid hits per game. I think he’s added that recently and I love seeing it. I think the big whole is in the tie up battle. Hopefully he can learn and add that as well. Another 15lds wouldn’t hurt either.

  • I was at the game in Winnipeg, it was a tough one to swallow, especially wearing enemy colours in the oppositions barn.

    My major concern with this coaching staff is accountability. Aside from them having their own whipping boys in Yakupov, Belov, and Petry, where is the accountability? Jones playing second line minutes over Arcobello who can play the wing? Really? Or why Gagner is allowed night in and night out to play like an unethusiastic bum without so much as a second glance? (Taking into account Hemsky and Yakupov are both hurt I’m aware but prior to this at any point). Eakins coaching style has regressed this team in every stat category, on ice product, and in my opinion the level of content by the players. The guy is over his head, yet pundits in the media say this team needs continuity and MacT wants to save face on an idiotic 4 year contract on a coach who hasn’t proved a damn thing.

    You want to preach about culture changes, well it starts with finding the right coach. “Chop Wood, Carry Water”? Bull! Look at Torts last night in Vancouver. The guy is fuelled by passion and it translates into his team. Eakins can’t even get fired up enough on the bench to get his team going.

    You really want change on this team: admit Eakins is over his head, stop defending him. Let him suffer out the remainder of the year and bring in a whole new staff. Assistants, Goalie, Head, everything.

  • elpol

    What I don’t get is all the “Petry is a good player” comments. No he’s not. He’s weak on the puck, weak on his checks, makes poor decisions way more frequently than he makes good ones. He spends far too much time watching the puck and seems constantly unaware of what is going on around him (sounds like the entire Oiler defence, no?) Oh sure, he can skate. Ryan Jones can skate.. Who cares. No way, no how this team goes anywhere whatsoever without a bona-fide top 2 defenceman. Bullocks to more forwards – every waking moment on this team should be dedicated to fundamentals of defence.

    • Jason Gregor

      People said Tom Poti wasn’t a good player when he left Edmonton.

      He played another 539 games after leaving Edmonton and picked up 222 points.

      In his 285 games in Edmonton he was averaged .36 PPG.

      In his next 539 games he was a 0.41 PPG player.

      Petry is similar to Poti. They have good NHL skill. Skate, shoot, pass and can play 20 minutes a night.

      Poti played on playoff teams in NYR, NYI and Washington and he was always in their top-four.

      I understand people not liking Petry’s style of play. I agree, my concern is his passion and desire, but without a doubt he has NHL talent and skill.

      The Oilers can’t afford to trade him, because right now they don’t enough NHL skill on their blueline.

      When the Oilers traded Poti, they had Jason Smith, Eric Brewer and Janne Niinimaa, a nice mix of skill, toughness and size.

      Right now the Oilers don’t have that, so trading away Petry isn’t going to make them better.

      They need to add more D-men, and in a few years if Petry is still playing too soft or losing too many battles, then I believe the Oilers would deal him.

      Of course if they could move him for a top-four D-man with similar skills, but more toughness, I’m sure they would, but I doubt an opposing team would make that offer.

      • elpol

        At this point, you’re speaking in the hypothetical, imo. I don’t believe there is enough evidence yet to suggest that Petry is going to have a Tom Poti-like career. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, and thats what I’ll just have to wait to see: That Petry can become a solid, reliable career NHL defenseman.

        And, it’s not necessarily a fair comparison when Poti was coming up under a much better core of defensemen and leaders at that time, so much so, that he was bona-fide expendable. Petry has had… Smid? Whitney? Gilbert? Grebs? Souray? Some real heavy support there…

        Thing is, I never said Petry is expendable, at least not at this point. That bugs the heck out of me. It probably bugs MacT and it should bug everybody. His upside will become quickly irrelevant to Edm, if he doesn’t get some real coaching and team mate support from other bona-fide NHL defensemen.

        My sole assertion is that people are too willing to call somebody a “good player” when much of the evidence at hand currently suggests otherwise. He may become a “good player” – He’s certainly not very close to being there yet. Reality of our team’s position and state should be ample evidence of this.

        I get that lots of us are looking for positives here. I also believe that being truly honest about what we have will be our only hope going forward.

        MacT says he wants “Drivers”. Petry is not a driver. He would have shown us that he has some of that quality by now. He’s complimentary, nothing more.

      • Exactly Gregor. This addition by subtraction nonsense everyone talks about has to stop. Trading Petry will get you nothing in return and most likely the D will be even worse. We need more NHL defensemen. Petry is a good player and he will look even better paired with a bona fide 1-2 dman.

  • Randaman

    What a game on the left coast last night! Beauty!

    The only thing I didn’t like was that it took the refs an hour to figure out the calls. Not sure they had worked a game before. All that awesome energy lost. Puckin’ shame. What was even worse was listening to the (some) announcers bitch and moan. Holy puckin’ panties. Really?

    Anyhoo, aside from weak TV coverage and officiating it was a good game…

    Rant: Winning goal in the Peg.

    Yeah Petry was weak twice on that play and Belov was manhandled into his own net. Stop the puck, the player and yourself from going into the net. Just a thought… But, for me, if Gagner makes the hit on Trouba behind the Jets net and takes him out of the play or just delays him the outcome may have been different.

    The small plays change the flow of the game. You gotta finish your checks. Others were guilty yesterday too, but Gagner’s princess move lead to the winning goal.

    Unacceptable. IMO

    I’d bench him. You gotta play harder than that. Butter soft sh*t….

    On the other side. Welcome to the E, Hendricks. You play good…

  • gus1000

    So when I look at a defenseman, the first thing I look at is ppg?? I want them to keep the puck out of our net, by clearing the front of our net, and being physical in the corners to create the break out. Keep turnovers to a minimum, and if we are lucky they can contribute on the point side of the ledger.

    If the Oilers had any responsible defensemen, our GA this season would be much lower, thus our goalies would look better. And instead of losing the 3-2 games, we’d win them 2-1, using Saturday as an example.

    And the Tom Poti that you mention, yes he managed to get points, but in the ten seasons, he was a minus player in 6 of them and a plus player in 4. Hardly a solid, consistent defenseman. He got points, but was the effective turnover machine he was in Edmonton, and that is why he moved between 3 teams in those ten seasons. Inconsistent and not worth the turnover risk he presented nightly.

  • Phuryous George

    Petry is not a bad defencemen. You don’t want to trade Petry, you want to get the right dmen onboard to slot in, and move him down in the parings, give him the right match ups and a little less ice time. Petry is not a top paring dman, and unless he gets harder to play against (puts on weight and starts hitting), he never will be.

    He is playing a top spot in Edmonton,and would not be EXPECTED to do so anywhere else. Most guys on this team are asked to play above where they might anywhere else. The only plus side for that is a slight acceleration for the young players to mature and have success later, but more losses now.

    The only talk of trade this year, unless something crazy happens, should revolve around Hemsky and/or Gagner moving on at the deadline to help someone make a run at the playoffs. They are the only ones that might have some trade value that you would also want to part with.Even then, i wouldnt expect much, but the market is stingy, and teams might have to over pay.

    and i’m rambling now.