THE PITCH: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Whether you go by gut-feeling or spreadsheet, there’s no way of knowing for sure if Ben Scrivens is the real deal the Edmonton Oilers have been waiting for in the goal crease, but there’s no question he’s making a compelling and timely case that he is.

I gave my take on Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov and Edmonton’s goaltending situation a few days ago as both approach UFA status, so I won’t re-paint the big picture I outlined, but it’s difficult not to look at Scrivens again after he made 35 saves in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.

With six games in the books for the Oilers, the 27-year-old stopper from Spruce Grove has stopped 219 of the 231 shots he’s faced, which translates to a .948 saves percentage. He’s 3-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average.

Small sample size (as the stats guys are fond of saying)? Sure. Does six games mean GM Craig MacTavish should back up the Brink’s truck for Scrivens to convince him not to test the UFA market? No. This could be a remarkably hot stretch, nothing more.

REALITY CHECK

That said, the reality is MacTavish does not have the luxury of taking a longer look than what he’ll get beyond the end of the regular season where Scrivens is concerned. There’s an element of risk because of that.

The way I see it, MacTavish would be well-advised to make Scrivens and agent Jay Fee an offer sooner rather than later. At the same time, it makes sense for Scrivens and Fee to let this play out and test the market. I tend to think that’s how it’ll unfold.

One thing’s certain, Scrivens couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best goal of his brief NHL career. Every time he puts in a performance like he did against the Rangers, his price goes up. While he’s not going to play at a .948 clip indefinitely, he’s going to get paid.

ALL THAT TALK ABOUT SAM

I’d like to think that even Sam Gagner’s harshest critics, and there are many who fall into that category, understand that trading him to the Los Angeles Kings for Kyle Clifford straight up is a move only a fool would make. Say what you want about MacTavish, he’s no fool.

While it’s nonsense on so many levels, at least as a one-for-one swap, there’s so much smoke surrounding discussions between L.A. GM Dean Lombardi and MacTavish that there’s got to be some fire there. One supposed insider even suggested today via Twitter Gagner would be shipped to Tinseltown before the New York game. Well, no.

The only way a swap involving Gagner and Clifford makes sense – I’m not the first to suggest this – is if there’s other players involved on both sides, and I’m not just talking about Lombardi flipping the draft pick the Oilers gave up for Scrivens back to Edmonton.

Youngster Tyler Toffoli, a centre, was the subject of much speculation as an add-in from the L.A. side of things, but that tips the scales too far in favor of the Oilers for Lombardi to bite. If this talk turns into a trade, there’s got to be somebody from Edmonton’s end going south to square it up.

WHAT ABOUT RAMSAY?

If the Oilers are looking to add a coach to their staff in support of Eakins between now and next season — they are — they should be taking a long look at Craig Ramsay, who was sacked by the Florida Panthers last November when head coach Kevin Dineen was let go.

Ramsay, 62, who has made coaching stops with Florida, Ottawa, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2004, is the kind of teacher and technical coach who’d be a fit here.

WHILE I’M AT IT . . .

. . . I said it on Twitter today and I’ll say it again: while I see a need for MacTavish to bolster his forwards with grit and size that can play in the top six, I’d like to think he’s making calls about proven defensemen. You won’t get a top-pairing blueliner for Gagner, but I’d like to think he can fetch a veteran capable of playing in the second pairing here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • 2004Z06

    Anyone else find it interesting that Scrivens pads and mask still retain his old teams colors? At least Bryz wore a white mask and pads. Scrivens is not re signing here folks.

    • camdog

      Isn’t it quite a bit of work to break in a new set of pads? Doesn’t the mask go good with the pads?

      Personally I don’t think he’s made his mind up yet.

      • 2004Z06

        Thanks for the bulletin. I am well aware of how long it takes to get equipment custom made. But it takes days to get a mask painted, not weeks. You can bet he has a spare!

    • pkam

      If that’s all you have to be concerned about, you are a sad character. Maybe he LIKES his Shakespeare quotes, maybe he’s too busy worrying about relocating his family, schools for his kids etc., maybe, just maybe his spare time is occupied with intense training to be the number 1, with trying to find a home for his family and with less mundane things to think about rather than changing his mask right now.

    • SRELIOFAN

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but his equipment doesn’t even have the Kings logo on it! It looks pretty awesome, so why should Scrivens rush getting new gear when he doesn’t even know if he’s going to be staying here?

  • pkam

    I think the Bernier model would be appropriate for Scrivens as well: 13-14 = $2.400 .. 14-15=$3.400[cap numbers]/

    Bishop was signed to 2.33 x 2 yrs.
    Schnider 4.00x 2 yrs
    Backstrom 3.400 and Harding 1.900
    Mason 4.100 x 3 yrs. [ new contract ]

    So lets not think in millions here. He still has to prove himself for a long term deal.

    Will have to find a cheaper and younger back up.
    Bryz.. see ya.

  • camdog

    Given our recent history of really bad goaltender……..I would be ready to sign a cut out. I think it would be wise to make Scrivens an offer now on a two year deal, if he will accept that?

    Robin I heard your assesment along with Gregor and you both brought up some good points on Gagner. What if LA offered their first round pick along with Clifford, would that do it?

    The asset would be gold around the draft and could be traded for a real player that the Oil need.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    players this, players that… what concerns me after watching the final 1/4 of the second and full third yesterday against the Rangers was that this team is just extremely sloppy with (and without) the puck.

    the “puck possession” model here is complete bogus. this team plays in a panic and rarely executes a crisp pass that sets the tempo (it’s been like this for at least 3 seasons, anyway). they are NOT in control of the game. adding bigger bodies going to fix that? adding some non-skinny Nintendo Hockey D-men going to fix that? adding one assistant going to fix that? it might help a little but are those truly the fixes or is there something deeper and more fundamental about the hockey IQ and overall passivity of this collective?

    Jeff Petry’s brain farts worry me at his age.

    mad props to the Taylor Hall being the chaos creator yesterday for Gagner to get that pass to Yak. must be nice having someone who works their butt off and isnt scared to help create something for your teammates. get Gagner out of here – sooner the better. ive been waiting 3 seasons, at minimum, for that sham to be over.

  • Linus Omark waived by the Sabres . . . another organization that has failed to understand his offensive brilliance and potential. If you can’t hack it in the NHL on two bottom-feeders, then chances are you just can’t hack it in the NHL, period.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Scrivens is gone at the end of the year. No way will he sign with the worst managed team in the league. Wife is from the sunny south.

    Some other team that actually wins will sign him, because his stock is going up.

    • Spoils

      See I think what you forget is that as much as we all see the negativity around KLowe and the FOKs we forget that on any other team in the league these players would be getting severely reduced minutes or starts.

      You don’t think Scrivens is doing his best right now because he wants to be a starter. He’s not going to get magically signed elsewhere in the league to be a starter. He’ll get signed as a backup goaltender. Why would he want that? He wants to play hockey and show that he is a starter. If that means playing a 60 game worth season for the Oilers and bringing them up the standings teams will notice and he’ll get signed the big bucks.

      How do you think Luongo became such a high end goaltender on the losing Florida Panthers? Because they let him start he proved he is an NHL starter and then moved on from there. If Scrivens can prove he is a legit starter in the NHL then when his Oilers contract ends (if he resigns here) he’ll move on and get paid top dollars.

      Until then, the best he does is backup to someone who has a winning record and an established goaltender.

      • Truth

        Nope, he’s gone. There is some smart manager out there on a winning team that will recognize his value.

        Don’t disagree with what you are saying, but 14 years worst team in the league. What agent would give advice to sign with this team over a dumb one. Not any smart agent that’s for sure.

        Until management changes and the agents and players don’t view Edmonton as a joke, the Oilers are going nowhere.

        • The kind of agent who is thinking about his players future moneymaking efforts rather than a short term gain.

          If Scrivens develops while playing as the starter here, he will be much better off getting lots of shots a night and proving he’s the best damn thing. Compared to sitting on the bench behind another tendy watching them play all the time, getting a few nights in.

          You forget that players, coaches, managers and fans recognize that the Oilers are just missing a few pieces before they are a contender for being a competitive team in this league. Everyone knows that when they play their game they will light you up BADLY. It’s playing consistent and getting the defensive zone covered.

          THEY ARE MISSING A TOP TWO DEFENCE AND THEY WILL BE UP THERE.

          So for Scrivens to fly away now from his home town team, he would be giving up a prime opportunity to play and make lots of money if he doesn’t Devan Dubnyk this whole thing.

          We all talk about the management and team as a joke because we are the ones who watch every game and feel angry every time we see a loss.

          Besides KLowe, who else in management do you want gone? MacT, he’s done more to improve this team than any GM in years here. He tried Eakins out at coaching, he is struggling in his first year but slowly things are coming together and improving.

          They had a set back this year in their progression through the rebuild, players they thought would perform clearly are not. So now MacT has the hard task of putting in a temporary fix to the defensive game and the small forward mix he’s given. Those are EXTREMELY HARD PROBLEMS TO SOLVE BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS THOSE PLAYERS.

          If MacT makes no attempt at improving the concern areas over the next 9 months, then you are absolutely right fire them all and start fresh with a new expansion team in Seattle or Greater Toronto.

          • The whole works needs to go. Lowe mac t and all the old boys. 14 years. No player wants to come to an organization with the worst management in the league. They will be chasing 4th liners and bottom players as long as they are in charge.

            Are u paying 15000 a year for the past 10 yrs to be the last place team. The lowe type 1 fan is tired of it.

          • The only people who should be shelling out $15,000/year are people who wouldn’t complain about having shelled out $15,000/year for a bad product.

            Ever consider no one wants to trade with the Oilers because we don’t have anything they want…?

            Lowe I can’t understand shoo’ing away, same with Bucky and Steve, MacT has no hand to play, and Eakins is still trying to learn to coach the NHL.

            The only people who can make an IMMEDIATE difference, are the players on the ice. End of story, if they don’t play smart, they won’t win. Kevin Lowe isn’t magically holding their sticks or threatening them “IF YOU PLAY WELL I’LL CUT YOU!” and if he is, then yeah I can see your point.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Bens holding all the cards at this table. I’d use this break and make the decision if he’s part of this group going forward. There should be enough faith earned from the Oilers for a 10 million over 4 yr offer I think. If he wants the full UFA experience, he could probably get 3.5 per out of a desperate Oiler squad July 1st. See if he’ll jump at that 10 over 4 yrs. If not, move him at the deadline. 3.5 on July 1st will trump all other offers he’ll get by a country mile. Save the possible July 1st snub and try and get it done now. Marincin/Pronger jr. looks like a lock to be inside that top 3 group as far as blueliners go on this team.

    If Gagner for Clifford are the only players trading places in that deal. Only thing that makes sense is if the Kings take on the full 4.8 over the duration of his deal. Thought Gags and Hemsky together would fetch something decent at the deadline for a playoff bound team with a little cap space left. Maybe get back a second and a third rounder they lost in the Paajarvi /Scrivens deals.

    Should be interesting to see if this team can force Eakins into the gas chamber before the summer. Many a night it appears they don’t care much at all for this passionless leader when it comes to game time. It doesn’t matter if a 6th coach inside of 7 yrs is needed. If the players aren’t going to respond to the coaching staff, it needs to be removed again despite what’s happened in recent years/coaching changes. These kids need competent direction now. Not in a few years when Eakins finally gets his act together…. FREE YAKUPOV!

    • MacT isn’t firing Eakins between now and the start of next season.

      He will add a veteran coach — my vote as of now is Ramsay — before they change the head coach again. My sense is Smith and Buchberger are on shakier ground than Eakins.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Even you have the democratic right to be wrong Robin. Don’t let your post announcement routine taint your 30 yrs of watching this game.

        This experiment has crashed and burned. The players haven’t improved at all during the season. It tells me the important players on this team have already tuned him out. These kids want/need an example. What has Dallas done besides demand their respect. He doesn’t have the balls/experience to side step earning their respect.

        He’s already damaged Yakupovs desire to play the game. Don’t think MacT has the time to allow the players to send him this message even further. A veteran coach like Maurice is worth 20 more points in the standings. What the frigg has Eakins done, besides start making every mistake in the book once or twice. I’m sure Yakupov can’t wait for Dallas to get the boot.

        Me score goals, win game…..good, no? Love his passion for the game.

        • Spoils

          Yak looked great to me last night. Good positionally, not all over the map as he was earlier in the year. The goal he scored was due to him being in position, third man high.

          Yak’s got plenty of emotions and talent. He just needs to channel it in the right way and last night, I did see a lot of that.

          • A-Mc

            I actually thought he looked a little like a spectator on that line with Hall and Nuge.

            I tweeted out that all he should be doing is finding a way to get open in a shooting lane, and let nuge/hall work the puck around (Yak is no good at that part).

        • Zarny

          You’re delusional.

          The Oilers started 4-14-2 in their first 20 games. They are just below 0.500 since so they’ve obviously improved.

          The first 20 games were an anomaly due to injuries hitting a roster that is paper thin and garbage goaltending. With decent G they would have 5 or 6 more W and would be sitting Nsh, Car and NJ which is a better reflection of where the team is at.

          Eakins has already damaged Yakupovs desire to play the game?

          Get a grip. Maybe you are weak-minded and quit that easily.

          Guys that make the NHL? Umm no.

          • Zarny

            Stalling or not developing a player properly is not the same as “damaging their desire to play the game”.

            It’s clear from comments that many posting on ON are quitters, because they assume that’s how hyper-competitive athletes think. They don’t and that mentality is pathetic and embarrassing.

            I’m sure Eakins isn’t Yak’s favorite coach, but “damaging his desire to play the game”.

            Get a grip.

          • The first statement, 4-12-2 since then they have improved? Where exactly can a 29th or 30th team go but up?
            Does it mean there actual getting better? Or are they now seeing other teams Qual Comp less?

            When was the last team to play there starting goalie against the Oilers?

            How much time did the other teams star players play against the Oilers? (I’ll give you a hint it’s lower then the average)

            They have been out shot, out chanced and dominated 5X5 in their last wins, including being dominated at times by the 30th place Buffalo Sabers.

            http://oilers.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm?season=20132014&gameType=2

            “The first 20 games were an anomaly due to injuries hitting a roster that is paper thin and garbage goaltending. With decent G they would have 5 or 6 more W and would be sitting Nsh, Car and NJ which is a better reflection of where the team is at”

            This is a bit of a stretch as well, if you recall last season The Oilers were down to just 2 centers for the most of the year, one which couldn’t lift his arm past his head, the Oilers never had a true number 1 or number 2 center almost all of last year due to injuries.

            This season they are actually performing worse.

            All the core players are.

            http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/05/has-craig-mactavish-done-better-than-steve-tambellini-did-as-gm-of-the-oilers/

            If you can’t see the change in Yakupov’s game the I guess almost everyone including the stats are wrong?

            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhMC4T3agcfmdG9OWkZvaVQ4bXJtT3Jub29BcnRsMWc&usp=sharing

          • Zarny

            Well Walter…the last team to play their starting G was SJ on January 29th…4 games ago. The game before that Vancouver started Luongo. Nsh starter is injured but the game before that was Phx and they started Smith. The 2 games prior to Phx were Van and Wpg. Again both starters played.

            Star players playing lower minutes against the Oilers?

            Well let’s see…against the Rangers McDonaugh, Girardi, Callahan, Staal, Stralman, Stepan and Nash all played equal to or more than their average TOI/game.

            Against Bos Chara played 27:50 compared to his season average of 24.57. Boychuk played 20:09 to his season average of 21:05. Krejci played 20:15 to his season average of 19:31.

            So nope…other teams aren’t playing their star players less against the Oilers I’m afraid.

            Last season Nuge missed 8 games and Gagner missed none. Horcoff was the 3rd line C not 1 or 2. That’s who missed significant time last year.

            So I’m afraid last year the Oilers actually had their 1 and 2 C for most of the games. This year both started the year on the IR. Nuge’s shoulder bothered him last year but he started the season in peak condition after playing in the AHL during the lockout.

            This year he started the year on the IR with Gagner and was not in peak condition when he came back considering he was coming off surgery and wasn’t able to train in the off-season.

            It’s not a stretch in the slightest that the first 20 games were an anomaly considering they’ve almost been at 0.500 since. That’s the definition of an anomaly.

            Had the Oilers started 8-10-2 instead of 4-14-2 and picked up 1 or 2 wins after with better G they’d be sitting exactly where I stated with Nsh, Car and NJ.

            Now that certainly isn’t something to plan a parade around; but it also doesn’t warrant wetting your pants and completely losing touch with reality like we’ve seen on ON.

          • The two teams you mentioned were NYR who are in a battle to stay in the playoffs & BOS who are trying to catch PITT so those players are playing more.

            again, missing the point, my point is the Oilers are going to see more and more of the back up’s, coaches are going to start resting the starters against the Oilers as the season closes, that’s just the way it is.

            If by “peak” condition do you mean the same RNH that played 25 minutes in a game upon his return? That same not in peak condition player? The same RNH that has played 25 minutes in a game four or five times this year?

            http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/02/07/ryan-nugent-hopkins-out-for-up-to-10-days-with-new-shoulder-injury/

            http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=681750

            http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=681375

            http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/02/06/ryan-

            nugent-hopkins-shoulder-injury-means-edmonton-oilers-injury-train-grows-by-one

            That goes back to 2012, with RNH & his shoulder injury, so with RNH out basically the whole year last year, that’s your number 1 center going down & not playing anywhere near the way he should have played in the NHL & AHL as he missed time there as well, that means Gagner played a lot of top line minutes, Gagner is not a number 1 center…

            As mentioned earlier, both Belanger & Horcoff being down a substantial amount of time that left the Oilers only 1 functional Center.

            “It’s not a stretch in the slightest that the first 20 games were an anomaly considering they’ve almost been at 0.500 since. That’s the definition of an anomaly”

            The first 20 games are what they were a terrible stretch by a bad hockey team, or should I mention that Scrivens 970 SV % is an anomaly and will come crashing down to reality to the mean of around 920 SV% resulting in more goals and loses for the Oilers?

            No, I won’t, I am concerned about and what you seem to think where an improvement has
            been made?

            “The Oilers started 4-14-2 in their first 20 games. They are just below 0.500 since so they’ve obviously improved.”

            I’m looking at the numbers and they don’t lie

            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhMC4T3agcfmdG9OWkZvaVQ4bXJtT3Jub29BcnRsMWc&usp=sharing#gid=0

            You show me the improvement there? You talk about the 4-12-2 as an anomaly, I’m here to tell you that the anomaly is the Oilers recent winning streak & Scrivens while obviously a good goalie will come crashing down.

            These numbers tell a different story then the one you preach.

            I want the Oilers to start winning just like the next person, but it’s hard to get jacked up when numbers like these are being made.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Zarny is another one of those Oiler employees trying to contain this supposed disturbance in the force. Guess we should just forgive him of his sins since he’s only doing his job.

            If I cherry picked 20 “chosen” games out of this seasons shedule, I could argue that 2+2=5 as well.

          • It’s not that there just being out-chanced on occasion.

            They are being out shot, ,out chanced & the SV% is well above the NHL average almost every game

            This is a Disastrous combination.

            If Winning is just the main thing then you have the Maple Leafs.

      • Serious Gord

        That’s what they said last year – that they were just going to get an assistAnt to help kreuger…

        My guess is that if a FOK coach becomes available in the summer Eakins is out on his ear. And if it’s messier who’s interested he could be gone as early as this afternoon.

        And no way they hire an idependent-minded assistant.

  • Randaman

    Ok this is one of those times when you have to put the stats aside and instead use your eyes with your brain to judge goal-tending capability.

    Look at the way Scrivens plays. Look at the Callahan stop and listen to him explain his reaction on the play.

    Look at the San Jose game… Dubnyk would never make be able to make some of those stops

    Sign this guy up now, he’ll be worth every penny

  • Spoils

    I’d like to see these three trades made:

    -Gagner + next year’s first pick for Seth Jones

    -Hemsky + next year’s second pick for Kyle Clifford

    -Scrivens for someone’s second pick

    Also- I’d much rather get Tyler Toffoli than Kyle Clifford, maybe there’s a sweetener to get that.

  • Randaman

    Trading away Gagner for a winger seems inconsistent with the stated goal of this team being a possession type team. You need guys at centre and defence that can control the puck. The Oilers don’t have enough of these possession-type guys at either position. I can understand moving Gagner and filling the void with a better 2-way centre for the 2nd line, but that means you’d better have another deal in your back pocket.

    And then there is the issue of finding a top-2 Dman, which means another deal, but you’ve traded away two bargaining chips already.

  • nuge2drai

    Draft the future second line center at the draft this year….

    Gagner is too small, dump his cap, trade him and fill some team holes…

    Clifford, King and Muzzin

    For

    Gagner @2.4 for 2 years

    • A-Mc

      There is no possible way that trade would ever happen.

      Muzzin has the 3rd highest TOI of all LA defensemen (making him part of the 3/4 tandem) and his salary is 1m/yr. LA wouldnt part with that kind of value even if it were straight up Muzzin for Gagner @ 2.4.

      There was an LAK insider on the Gregor show last night that said LA is quite high on Muzzin and they have no plans to move him for anything other than part of a much bigger deal. Specifically, nothing involving Gagner as the sole item coming back.

      At this point, I think we might be lucky to get Clifford and King for Gagner but something tells me even that wont happen (from LA’s point of view).

  • A-Mc

    Remember folks, There are only 4 games between now and the trade deadline. The situation teams are in today is likely the same come March 5th.

    You wont know any more about Scrivens as a player by the Trade Deadline than you already do. Mac T has this time to negotiate and see where the scrivens camp is at.

    Also, In terms of teams grabbing players in the next 20 mins, it doesn’t make much sense for them because they’ll be paying that salary over the olympic break w/o any games being played. Might as well wait until afterwards.

  • Truth

    Omark needs to play one more game for any team in the NHL in order for Buffalo to be forced to give the Oilers a 6th round pick. What is stopping the Oilers from picking him up off waivers and dressing him for a game instead of Gazdic?

    Is there a rule preventing that?

    A six round pick likely turns into nothing at all, but it could also be a lottery ticket to the next Pavel Datsyuk. Better to have a ticket than nothing.

  • Gagner is playing the worst hockey of his career right now, and sure enough everyone in Edmonton thinks that now is the right time to trade him.

    so brutal. Why the hell would you trade a guy when his value is at its lowest?

    The offseason was the right time, before the jaw injury. Now he’s worth nothing more than a package that is centered around Clifford? wow.

    Gagner will rebound next year, that’s when you trade him. Trading him now would be devastating.

    • oilerjed

      Next Year?!?! Enough with the next year talk. When is a good time next year? around the trade deadline when another season is already decided. There is a finite amount of time with these players and the time for them to start learning winning is NOW! Then when they actually get in the playoffs they may stand a chance instead of 1-2 one and dones and suddenly we are talking extensions on our core with no history of being able to win. Not advocating cleaning out the cupboards of the future, just start fillingholes now. It may take 2-3 years to fillem all.

          • Spydyr

            If MacT was considering a bold move I’d be in favor of Hall for Doughty but I seriously doubt the Kings would do that deal.

            I would trade Hall for 5 or 6 D-men in the league.

          • Yes, I would. A guy like Drew Doughty, Weber etc would do more for the Oilers then someone like Hall imo. Though I respect Hall’s game immensely he has traits that he needs to lose.

            Taylor Hall is far from the best player in the league, you know that right?

          • He’s also a franchise player, a player like Eberle, Yak or Gagner are expendable assets. Hall is the kind of player you try and build a team around. Is he the same caliber as Crosby, no, but he’s the kind of player you don’t ever want to trade because of what he does for your team.

            I would trade some serious pieces for Weber in a heart beat, but certainly not our best player.

          • Zarny

            You could say I rate my “Production” players by performance, points and +/- equal performance when that is why you’re on the team. Some players perform and others do not.

            Maybe it’s the coach, maybe it’s the players with him, maybe he doesn’t like the professional game; regardless, he is barely visible most nights and an impact player for other teams on other nights. The odd night (like last night) he made a small difference for the Oilers.

            But as it is right now, Yakupov is -29 and staying pretty steady where he is.

          • Spydyr

            Umm..re-read my comment..

            I’m telling you that I don’t think he’s worth the $4.8mil and that there is no way Lombardi wants to pick up that kind of contract straight up in exchange for a big forward. Unless the Oilers were retaining a huge chunk of Gagners salary it’s not happening.

  • A few thoughts on some of the issues and topics at the moment for the Oilers. First off their play has seemed to settle down quite a bit, their are those moments where they still look like a fire drill in their own zone so this needs to be remedied by adding a couple of veterans. Second is the play of Scrivens, if I were this guy I would accept a tabled offer from the Oilers at say maybe a 2 yr deal to show what he can do next season. 2 yrs for a tryout seems a bit much but in the end its Scrivens himself who holds all the cards as of now. His play has given the team some of its lost confidence knowing he can be relied upon to make the big save if need be. He would be wise to accept an offer like that too because he basically got given up on by both LA and Toronto in favor of Bernier and Jones.

    Third thought is the trade value of lets say Gagner and Hemsky. Everyone knows that they have had a couple of off years and Gagner isn’t going to cure you of your ailing defense deficiencies but he is a useful player. He’s almost strictly an offensive player at this point of his career. No more no less, any team that wants him will pay handsomely because he can score and pass. All other aspects of his game outside of that are a wash. Gagner straight up for Clifford makes no sense on our end. Best course of action is to wait until the trade deadline or maybe even the draft. At the draft you can package him to get a defenseman unless a team gets really desperate at the deadline and offers us a top 4 defender. Same thing he nothing less then a top 4 dman for Gagner. Hemsky will get us a prospect or a first rounder. A team like lets say Anaheim, Pittsburgh or New Jersey will be choosing late in the first round so something like this doesn’t really haunt you. I think the best course is trade away Gagner, Hemsky, Petry and anyone who may get us some picks that we can swap out at the draft. Then we’ll be able to retool and use that high pick to net us a top 4 dman and a center for the second line who’s north of 6’2 220.

  • Zarny

    James Mirtle wrote an great article chronicling the rise of Finnish and Swedish goaltenders over the last 10-15 years. I would include the US too but for different reasons.

    Finland realized that goal-tending could be a great equalizer for a tiny country. They invested heavily in G development to the point where most minor league G in Finland have trained G coaches. Sweden then started borrowing from Finland improving on the system.

    The results are evident. Finland beat Sweden for the Gold at this year’s World Jr’s. Finnish and Swedish goalies dominate the best league in the world.

    I think there are parallels between tiny countries like Finland & Sweden and a small market like Edmonton.

    Short of being Stanley Cup favorites, Edmonton will always have difficulties attracting top free agents. As we’ve seen with Scrivens goaltending can be a great equalizer.

    Since drafting Dubnyk in 2004, the Oilers have only drafted 5 G in 9 drafts and only 1 in the first 4 rounds. They bet it all on Dubnyk and lost.

    I agree MacT should make Scrivens an offer sooner rather than later. He’s unproven so anything over 2-3 years is risky; and the only teams who will be looking for starting G are Edm, Florida, NYI, Buf (if they trade Miller) and maybe Calgary.

    MacT can’t stop there. The mentality of waiting for 1 prospect/player and assuming they’ll develop has to end. Especially in such a critical position like G.

    There are numerous young G who have done well this year. They won’t cost Yakupov, Eberle or a 1st round pick. Go get one to push Scrivens.

    Going forward the Oilers should always be heavily investing in G. Anh has 4 G who are better than anything Edm has except maybe Scrivens. That should be the Oilers.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Pittsburgh needs a RW to slot in with Crosby and Kunitz. Hemsky and N. Schultz for the Pens 1st this summer.

    After all these years we’re still in sell the farm mode.

    @ Wes….great, got away for 6 weeks and back at it. Never a dull moment, trying to fix our Oilers. How about yourself?