HARD TARGET SEARCH: ERIK GUDBRANSON

jason smith11

Let’s face it. There’s nothing wrong with Jeff Petry except he’s not Jason Smith. The Edmonton Oiler fanbase likes their defensemen rough, tough, rugged and dirt mean.

The Oilers picked up Mark Fraser before the break, and he’s certainly hardwired for the physical side of the game. Fraser’s been an adventure defensively, but my long memory recalls Igor Ulanov looking so bad when he came over from Montreal in 2000. He was much better the following season, and maybe Fraser will show us more as time rolls along.

In 2000-01, Jason Smith’s boxcars read 82, 5-15-20 +14 120pims. That’s an ideal Edmonton Oiler defenseman—you show me that linescore in any Oiler season and I’ll show you the winner of the fan favorite award. Seriously. It’s always been that way, ever since the world began in Edmonton.

Smith’s other numbers that season: He played 21:39 per night, scored once on the PP (a mistake, I’d bet) and on the penalty-kill. He was 6.03, 220 and had 10 major penalties, one misconduct and one game misconduct. The NHL website doesn’t give the blocked shots and hits for that season, but he did record 151 hits and 176 blocks in 2005-06 when the NHL reported those kinds of things. Jason Smith was a lion, sweat buckets and bled gallons for the copper and blue.

they're real

REAL AND SPECTACULAR

Jason Smith was a helluva defenseman. We don’t have Corsi stats dating back to the heart of his career, but even late in his time in the NHL the big man faced tough zone starts. His shot differential wasn’t stellar, but a younger Smith would have pushed that river.

GREAT, WHERE CAN WE FIND ONE?
Erik Gudbranson

WHAT WILL IT COST?

I’m sure the price will be dear, but he’s big, strong, tough, has attitude and experience. The Oilers have lost their swagger since the Smiths and Prongers left town, and a guy like Gudbranson can hold back the water while the skilled men like Hall push the river.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

portman6

I’ve always maintained that no one should have a problem with acquiring big, tough players—as long as they can play the game. Erik Gudbranson appears to be all of that and then some. And he’s playing in the NHL. Back up the truck to the prospect bin and load it up until it’s enough.

Hard target search: Erik Gudbranson. He might be the one.

  • BLAKPOO

    Do we need him with Darnell Nurse and possibly Aaron Ekblad just a year or so away?

    It appears that Darnell Nurse and Eakblad will be making a case to make the team this fall. If even one of them makes the team along with Klefbom just maybe we have enough tougness on the back end.

    Allan, do you think that Yaks gets us EG??

      • nuge2drai

        I would have to agree with you……..but all the experts are saying that Ekblad is ready to step in to the league right away.

        Apparently he has the size and hickey IQ to operate at the NHL level. On NUrse he looked very good last year, so spending some time AHL for at least 30 games should tell us if he is ready.

        In any case if they are NOT ready then I wholeheartedly agree with you.

        • Lofty

          The old expression “anything worth doing, is worth doing right” rings a bell.

          Rushing a Dman is much more dangerous than rushing a forward.

          Nobody can expect someone who’s 19 to play with grit, truculence, edge… whatever, when they’re backed by huggers and playing against old man strength. Do everyone a favor afford Nurse a step rather than a jump in his progression.

        • BLAKPOO

          We should maybe keep Ekblad out of the conversation right now, as he’s not even remotely affiliated with the Oilers. Still a lot of games left, and assuming the stars align and he ends up on the Oil would be a mistake.

  • Lofty

    I am not a big fan of picking up Gudbranson for what i think it would cost, very over-hyped player IMO. He is still young and might turn out to be great, but he has played mostly sheltered minutes and is a bottom pairing D in Florida. Less than 18 min a night. Unless we can get him for a few D prospects (not named Nurse) like you suggested, Pass.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    would Simpson and next years 2nd be enough for Gudbranson? hell Id throw Petry in there just to sweetin the pot a bit.

    I just would like to see Petry move along, to much Poti in his game.

        • DSF

          Yeah, I’m sure they’re looking for a 5’10” smurf who can’t win a puck battle on the wall and has a toxic $4.8M contract.

          Players like that are hard to find.?

      • Zarny

        Probably because to date no one on your list has ever reached 40 pts let alone 5 times.

        If I had to guess.

        Edit: Ha…except Gomez. He was pretty good a decade ago.

        • DSF

          Oh golly.

          40 points while being gifted first line minutes and primo PP time?

          No, no they haven’t.

          But I would imagine Barkov, the youngest player in the NHL, and Bjugstad will have 40 points as a floor not a ceiling.

          Oh, BTW, Barkov is already 6’3″ 210, still growing, and is playing in the Olympics.

          Bjugstad is just a slip of a boy at 6’6″ 215 and, at 21, I doubt he has peaked.

          Unless you think Snowpants can supplant 6″4″ 220 Shawn Matthias as the Panthers future 3rd line centre, I doubt Tallon will have much interest in a smurf who can’t win a puck battle or a face-off.

          If I had to guess.

          • Zarny

            I’m with you on Barkov. Kid is an absolute stud.

            Bjugstad though? Sorry but 23 pt in 56 games isn’t impressive. He’s on pace for 33 pt. Gagner had 49 in his rookie season as an 18 y/o. Bjugstad is 21.

            By the time Gagner was Bjugstad’s age he’s topped 40 pt 3 times without having played a full season.

            To suggest 40 pt is Bjugstad’s floor is just plain silly.

            And while I agree Bjugstad probably hasn’t peaked; neither has Gagner. He was on pace for 65 pt last year without ever having a played a game in his prime.

            Sam will never be a 80 pt guy but over the next 7 years he’ll likely put up much better offensive numbers than Bjugstad and has a higher skill level.

          • Zarny

            He hasn’t reached 50 pts because of injury and that is fair. It’s also the reason the Oilers only gave him a 3 year contract.

            But his pt/gm works out to 50 over 82 games and last year was on pace for 65. Can’t really fault Gags for a shortened season.

            You also leave out that those 7 years were from ages 18-23. A players peak points by age are 25, 26, 24, 27, 28 and then 29.

            So the reasonable expectation would be that Gagner will produce closer to last year’s production when healthy for the next 7 years not what he produced as a 18-23 y/o. In a full season that’s 50-60 pt.

          • **

            So basically you are countering my facts with speculation. Say what you want, the fact remains Gagner has never reached 50 points. Last shortened season you can say anything, you can just as easily say he would get hurt and miss enough games no to reach those 50 points. You are talking about things that didn’t happen and that may or may not happen. Remember Jonathan Cheechoo?, the guy played his last NHL season at age 27-28. He is bigger than Gagner, and he actually has under his belt a 93 points season and a 67 point season.

            56 and 37 goals. That actually happened. And the guy can’t get a second look in the NHL.

          • None of those things happened while he was as young as Gagner is, and his last season was his 29 year old season.

            Your way of thinking is why 34 year old players get 7 year contacts big enough to cover their performance when they were 26.

      • toprightcorner

        Worst center depth in the league, other than Gomez 4 years ago, none of those guys have ever scored 30 points in the NHL! Gagner would be the most offensive player on the team. The would need a stop gap until Barkov and Bjugstad develop and when they do, Gagners contract will be over.

        • Worst centre depth in the league………..this coming from an Oilers fan.

          I remember 4 years ago when people were saying the same thing about the St. Louis Blues centre depth.

          I remember when a couple of those players couldn’t get 30-40 points…

          St Louis says hello.

      • Zarny

        Why? Because that C depth is terrible. Just because you list their centers doesn’t mean they have depth. Howden, Shore, Gomez, Goc, and Matthias, hell even Bjugstad and Barkov are inferior to Gags at the moment. I don’t like Gags as a C for the oil, but hes better than all those players. Only Barkov may end up being better.

  • Acumen

    The most Smith-like character currently on the market (maybe even currently in the league) is Girardi for me.

    Free agent or no, it would be huge if we could bring him in and take the available months to try and brainwash him. That or just pay the man. He exemplifies a whole helluva lot of what we’re missing on the back end.

    I wonder if a package based around one of our non Nurse/Marincin/Klefa D-men does it. Would Simpson and a late pick be enough to secure him as a rental?

  • CMG30

    I would be very hesitant to put Nurse in the lineup next year even if he has a spectacular 1st 9 games. He’s only going to be 19 and defensemen take years to develop properly…

    Spending another year in junior then time in the AHL will only help him -and the Oilers- in the long run.

  • Lofty

    It certainly would be worth a conversation with Talon. The Panthers are weak on the wing.

    I wonder if you could work a multi-player deal with Eberle as the centrepeice paired maybe with Klefbom for Gudbranson and Bjugstad/Mattias?

  • Spoils

    the word is drafting D is risky because it rarely turns out (which also makes rushing D prospects an even worse idea)…

    but the counter nobody seems to talk about is that the value of a true #1 D (Pronger, Neidermeyer, Keith, Weber) makes it worth it.

    I think D could be the reason Edmonton wins – in 2016ish, but given development time that won’t include someone from the next draft

    THUS – I would try to shop a 2014/2015 pick and one of our small skilled forwards for #1D.

    The question is what will it take.

    Would Nashville part with Seth Jones for Eberle and our #1 overall?

    is that too rich?

    • The Last Big Bear

      Now you’re cooking with gas.

      Eberle and this year’s first might not get you Jones, but that kind of package will likely get you some serious discussion about a first-pairing guy from some team I’m sure.

        • Batfink

          Josi, the guy that’s -10 playing with Weber? Marincin has played half the games he has this season and is +4. He would have to tank as only an oiler can to become Josi. Imagine Marincin with Weber? No, he wouldn’t be our best d-man. He would be exposed worse than he already has been playing with one of the games best defensemen on a historically sound defensive team.

        • toprightcorner

          Firstly, unfortunatly there are about 60 guys out there that could would be the best defencemen if they played for the Oilers.

          Secondly, I like Josi but next year he will be the 3rd best defenceman for Nashville behind Weber and Jones. He is not worth Eberle much less Eberle and our 1st. Gagner (and salary) and our 1st would do it with Nashville desperate for offence of any kind.

          Josi is not a #1 defenceman on an average team, if the Oilers want to be successful they need someone that would be a #1 defenceman on a good team and if Eberle is being traded in a package the Oilers should settle for nothing less than that. It cannot be assumed that Nurse will end up being a #1 defenceman in the next few years.

  • Bob Cobb

    Your blogs are a waste of time, you obviously don’t use your brain when writting them, and the 3.5 seconds of time it took to read it are seconds I can never get back.
    Thanks!!

  • THRNHJE

    I miss Gator but don’t think Gudbranson could fill that need. Although I do wish they had pulled a trade that draft year for him. Really the Oil needed to draft D early on in the rebuild. Although it’s very hard to pass on any of the 1st overalls they’ve made. Gag we and Hemsky need to go but it will be for project players. Ex. Zadorov out of Buffalo. But doubt Sabres would bite

  • This is where Peron makes sense as the centre piece of a trade like this.

    I’ve long been a Grudbranson fan and was a vocal supporter of Quicksilvers plan to trade up to up to draft him as well.

    I honestly think a Peron and a Klefbom could get you Grudbranson, or at the very least start the conversation. It might take a Peron + Nurse if your willing to give up tomorrow for today.

    I make the trade.

    • DSF

      That makes so much sense.

      Although with Kulikov hitting RFA status, he might be more available.

      Would you do that trade?

      The interesting thing about a a Perron for Kulikov trade would be sweet justice for those of us who wanted the Oiler to draft Kulikov not Paajarvi.

      Paajarvi for Perron for Kulikov would be a hoot.

      • **

        Both Kulikov and Gudbranson are rfa’s at season’s end. BEtween Jovanovski and campbell the panthers are stuck with over 11 million in just 2 d men. The rest of their d is going to be in need of either a new contract or replacement, so will their goaltenders.

        Mac. T should try and find a way to twist the knife there and get at least one of Kulikov and Gubradson. It might not even end up costing as much as we think.

          • **

            Florida has to re sign or replace 13 players in total. Tallon is going to have around 43 mill (bonuses excluded) to sign them all. Gubradson will want more than his current 3.2 and so will Kulikov at 2.5 Not a crunch, but not a walk in the park either.

    • The Last Big Bear

      The Oilers need more Perron, not less.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think the Oilers need to do whatever it takes to get a first-pairing defender, but their top-6 is also pathetically short of grit, physicality, and back checking. Perron is the only guy in the top-6 that brings those things most nights, and is one of the last guys that should be moved.

        • The Last Big Bear

          What poison are you talking about? The surplus of soft, offence-only forwards, paired with the worst defence in the entire league, is everything that is wrong with this team. Trading either of those guys for a serious defender is not “picking your poison”, it is a golden opportunity.

          Yakupov is a teenager with a crappy attitude, who just demanded a trade/threatened to go back to Russia before playing one full NHL season, while posting the worst +/- of any player in the entire league (and deserving it), despite routinely being benched by a 29th place team that needs all the help they can get.

          I’m fully convinced Yakupov will become a high-end scorer some day, but he is basically the poster child for everything that’s wrong with the Oilers right now.

          The Oilers would be better off choosing to keep Eberle over Yakupov, but If Eberle is what another team demands in return for a top pairing guy, then Oilers fans should be lining up to help him pack his bags.

      • Agreed on grit but, Peron has 2 seasons left, looking long term Gudbranson makes sense.

        Peron may never resign after his 2 years are up, Gudbranson has RFA status so he’s sticking around for years.

        Wingers with grit are far easier to find then top pairing defensmen with a pissed off attitude.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Dale Tallon is a smart hockey man. If you look at the roster he has assembled they will be contending soon. I don’t believe he would send Gudbranson to us without us giving away one or two of our untouchables. Talon built the Hawks the right way and he is doing it in Florida.

  • billythebullet

    I think I want the guy gudbranson was fighting(z.smith) more then gudbranson. Perfect 4th liner, and mact is good at trading for those. Is it legal to clone j.smith? Man I miss watching him deliver the forearm shiver to opposing forwards.

  • Zarny

    Gudbranson was a healthy scratch for 3 games in a row so he’s probably available. 7 pts and his Corsi numbers are slightly better than Belov’s. His trajectory is not top-pairing right now but he’s certainly plays the type of physical game the Oilers need.

    • **

      Gudbranson is only 22, in only his third pro season (never played in the minors, except for 2 games). He’s a 3rd overall selection.

      Way too soon to be saying he won’t be top pairing right now. HE;s a defensive d man, something the Oilers desperately need. Corsi is not a good stat, specially for a dman.

  • It will be funny to hear all the complaining from people about how good petry is on another team if he gets traded. Actually have an NHL caliber defense and pair him with someone who knows what they are doing on the second pairing and I bet he is great. Boyd Gordan is great but if he had to be the #1 center I bet he would be public enemy number 1. Point being you can’t fault a player for a poor roster.

    • **

      Yeah just like people are complaining about how good Dubnky is on another team, or how good Paajarvi is being on another more defensively responsible team. Oh wait…..

  • eastcoastoil

    I thought that ferance was supposed to our current version of gator.

    Problem with him, Petry and anyone else this year or next is that they are playing at least one spot above there paygrade.

    Nurse or Ekblad may be that guy that pushes everyone down a notch but that won’t be for two years at least.

    LT, a couple of years ago Dimitri Filipovic
    from Cunucks Army did a article about the top pairings in the league that was very interesting. Do you think that info still applies today?

    • toprightcorner

      I 100% agree, other than the top 6 forwards, eveyone else on the team is playing at least 1 slot higher than they should other than Smyth.

      This team would be really good next year if Gordon, Hendricks and Jones were replaced with better players like Ott, Setegochi and Moss and dropped to the 4th line.

      And if a new top pairing or at least two top 3 dmen were brough in pushing downthe reat a spot or two like a Tyutin and Orpik giving pairings like Tyutin/Petry, Orpik/Schultz, Ference/Marincin

      Knocking guys down a notch to get them to play well in a better suited spot would make this team significantly better

  • **

    I’d move klefbom, swap 1sts and a 3rd for gudbranson and shore.

    Then gagner for Clifford and muzzin. We may have to add a bit.

    Sign players like kulemin, goc, and girardi (unlikely but take a run at him if he goes ufa)

    Draft Bennet or draisaitl. I hope draisaitl turns it up to warrant the pick. We could use his size. If ekblad is there, I’m fine with that too. We need centres though.

    Then you can look to move petry or Schultz in a package for a 2nd line centre.

    Marincin girardi
    Muzzin Schultz/petry
    Ference gudbranson

    Then in a few years you would hopefully have gudbranson and nurse in your top 4.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Like your thinking LT.

    I’d offer them Yakupov and Petry if it would get it done. Ekblad, Gudbranson and Nurse would go along way to deal with this hockey clubs biggest concern right now. Oilers would still have stuffs left to go after Couturier. Perron, Klefbom and a prospect/dp.

    • toprightcorner

      I agree that Nurse, Ekblad and Gudbranson would go a long way in fixing the defensive woes.

      The problem is that Nurse, Ekblad and Gudbranson ARE a long way from fixing the defensive woes, if they even can.

      IMO we need to keep Perron as he is the onlly guy in the top 6 that gets his hands dirty right now. If you can replace him with a Chris Stewart or something then I would be fine selling high on Perron but until then we need his edge.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I see your point, but there’s no quick fix available to the Oilers right now. The fact is, the Oilers are going to have to continue to build from within/ grow their own, or take a huge gamble on a kid like Erik and hope he excels and reaches his potential.

        Figure Tallon might might be swayed by having Yakupov and Barkov playing together.

        Scrap that. Have you seen Gudbransons wife? No way she’d let her husband end up here.

    • Zarny

      Yeesh, there is no way Gudbranson is worth Yakupov or any of the kids let alone Petry as well.

      If the Oilers trade Yakupov or Eberle it can’t be for a 3rd pick overall who has been a healthy scratch for 3+ games this year and has 5 more career points than Marincin.

  • toprightcorner

    What is it with all the people here wanting Gudbranson and Weber? Those 2 clowns in their teams are at the bottom of NHL, would 1 of them make Oilers better? NO, it’s a team sports, if the forwards are not helping then those Dmen can’t win games for the team. Panthers and Preds are not winning and advance deep in playoffs in their career. So stop dreaming of getting them and trade away the 1st rounders to get them. We need a real coach to get the team winning with what we have.

  • Zarny

    I’d throw up in my lunch if the Oilers are going to target more prospects or guys who have less then 500 NHL games experience. If they’re putting together a package like Yak/Eberle, Gagner and the first rounder in this years draft I wanna see a higher return. We may have the market cornered on small skilled wingers but any team wanting pure offensive guys would love to talk turkey with the Oilers.

    Florida has guys like Campbell who I wouldn’t mind seeing in an Oilers uniform. I’m sick of the trotting out of defenseman who must learn on the job. I’d rather see the Oilers go for that home run if were giving up these types of players. Despite what some might say, there are teams out there that simply have trouble scoring. PP is woeful and some are looking for pure offensive players. Gagner, Eberle and Yak fit this bill, not going to give you much in the way of a sound defensive game. But their offensive game is what teams need.

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

    Gudbrason is a good target. What’s interesting to me is that in a small sample size, Marincins numbers are actually better than Gudbranson. They were both drafted in 2010 Gudbranson 3rd overall Maricin 43rd (?) or so. They are practically the same size, Marincin slightly better offensive numbers.

    So does that mean Marincin would return us a Eberle+ in a trade scenario?

    Marincin may be one of the few Oilers non first round draft picks that Way overachieves. God knows we are due.

    Also, while you trade ANYONE if the price is right….Perron is part of the solution here without a doubt….there is a handful of softies you move before him all other things being equal. You don’t move Perron unless the return is a clear overpay.

  • Chainsawz

    Re: Bjugstad

    I’ve been following this kid closely. Since Floridas coaching change, he was finally given an elevated role and has been producing at a 40 point clip since then in his rookie year on a terrible Florida team.

    I don’t think just because he is 21 should we should discount the fact he still an NHL rookie. He’s already producing and winning face offs at a similar clip as Gagner and while projecting players is to everyone’s own tastes, I think Bjugstad has a higher ceiling than Gagner. Factor in the size difference, there’s not a day of the week I wouldn’t take Bjugstad over Gagner on my team.