MACT’S BEST MOVES, YEAR ONE

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The Edmonton Oilers have not enjoyed a good season, but there has been plenty of good work done. GM Craig MacTavish took over one year ago, and has been very active. Which move has worked out the best?

DRAFTING DARNELL NURSE

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The defenseman Edmonton is looking for right now? Darnell Nurse may be that exact player. A strong step forward in boxcars (including an impressive power-play spike) married to tough minutes means Nurse is displaying a wide range of skills in one of the best junior leagues on the planet.

SIGNING BOYD GORDON

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Extreme zone starts, penalty killing, and scoring more than we expected, Boyd Gordon makes a strong case for team MVP. The zone starts are the third toughest in the league. 

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Gordon’s crazy zone starts show up in the Vollman Sledgehammer. He’s playing very difficult minutes and has been doing it all season long. 

TRADING FOR DAVID PERRON

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The assets given (Paajarvi and a 2) had value, but Perron has covered them with a strong season. His offense is obvious, but he also plays with an edge and has provided the club with terrific even strength offense.

5×5/60, Oiler forwards

  1. Taylor Hall 3.15
  2. David Perron 2.10
  3. Mark Arcobello 1.93
  4. Jordan Eberle 1.79
  5. Nail Yakupov 1.60
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.60
  7. Sam Gagner 1.54

Perron’s 2.10/60 at 5×5 ranks him 64th overall in the entire NHL among regular forwards. That’s a helluva player.

ACQUIRING AND SIGNING BEN SCRIVENS

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He leads the NHL in save percentage, and his numbers have improved since he arrived in Edmonton. The Oilers haven’t had goaltending this good since Dwayne Roloson. The fact that he’s a pretty good interview and has that ‘goalie cool’ attitude make it even more fun.

I SAID PARDON?

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Which is it? The “perfect fit” defenseman Darnell Nurse, the shutdown center, the scoring winger with an edge or the show-stopper in goal?

I know this much: if Steve Tambellini had 12 months that included Perron, Scrivens and Gordon the Oilers wouldn’t be in this mess. Can MacTavish repeat things this summer? He’ll have to, and more. 

  • He most definitely will have the Cap Space to do it! and tons of dead weight become UFA’s this summer.

    There will not be a No. 1 defenseman UFA so the defense will continue to be the weakest link.

    only hope is to fast track it with a trade with a team that needs offence. Maybe the Jets missing the playoffs this year will make them deal Bogosian, or Byfuglien, – LA willing to deal Alec Martinez ??

  • smiliegirl15

    Give poor Darnell Nurse a break! We don’t need another kid rushed into the league who’s in over his head because no one else is better ahead of him.

    From all reports, Nurse is going to be a great defenseman but please, please, please don’t ruin him by rushing him onto the Oilers roster because they suck so bad. Do you need examples of why not? Case and point – Sam Gagner. Justin Schultz is another – he’s expected to be a first pairing defenseman when he should be allowed to develop. Throwing them to the wolves the second they’re in the door is not good for the team in the long run… and that’s what we all want – a long run!

  • Zarny

    Given how well Nichushkin has played this season, I am surprised you give MacT points for Nurse.

    Nichushkin would have given the Oilers top 6 something it desperately needed and would have done so right away, not in three years after the draft.

    At best it was a neutral move given the options, but to say it was one of his best moves doesn’t reflect the decision making reality he faced at the time.

  • Zarny

    The Oiler’s season was destroyed by management not recognizing how incredibly inept Dubnyk was at the start of this season and then not doing something about it. Dubnyk was and is NOT an NHL goaltender and the proof is clear to all now. Continuing to play him over and over and allowing him to completely drain this young team’s confidence by letting in one or two soft goals per game and averaging 4 or 5 goals against per game literally destroyed the entire Oilers team’s confidence this year (and the last couple of years as well). Let’s not forget that it was Dubnyk that got us 3 first overall picks. The “best move” MacT made was getting rid of Dubnyk and the results are clearly observable. After the trade Dubnyk played two games for Nashville and allowed 10 goals including Nashville being up on Calgary 4 to 1 and then losing 5 to 4 in his second appearance and that was enough for Nashville. They’d seen all they had to and he never played another minute for Nashville. Why couldn’t Oiler’s management see this and make some goaltending changes before it was too late? You build a team from the goal out. Anyone who knows anything about hockey knows that! Since the Oilers got rid of that inept, bungling fool the team’s goals against has improved dramatically and the kids have gained some of their confidence back and their current record reflects just that. No longer are the Oilers down by two or three “bad” goals before the fans have even taken their seats. No longer do you see the entire team’s bench deflated and hanging their heads after soft goals being let in. And where is Dubnyk now? Basically he is now a back up on Montreal’s farm team and the only reason Montreal took him from Nashville was because the Oilers and Nashville are paying three quarters of his salary. Confidence is a lot more important than people realize. Blaming it on defence and the Oilers not having a Weber, Doughty, Suter, Chara type stud defenceman is foolishness. 25 other teams in the league wish they had a stud defenceman too but seem to do ok with above average goaltending instead. Does Vancouver have a terribly weak defence? No – they simply do not have a quality goaltender any more and look at what has happened to them lately. Seven goals in the third period when they were up 3 nothing. It’s ALL about goaltending folks. The Oiler’s management mistakenly hoped Dubnyk would play himself out of his funk so they could get something for him and they waited way too long. And the rest is now history.