The Oilers Centre Depth Chart

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins2

A year ago, the Edmonton Oilers entered the year with a centre depth chart featuring Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner (both injured) in the top two jobs, Mark Arcobello as a fill-in, Boyd Gordon in the third-line job and Will Acton on the fourth line.

The results weren’t pretty. Where do they go from here?

The Givens


The first-line job seems destined to remain with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I’ve heard some complaint about that from Oilers fans – the consensus seems to be that he isn’t big enough – but this is what happens when a team does the kind of scorched-earth rebuild the Oilers have engaged in. Young players get pushed into hard jobs before they’re really ready for them.

Nugent-Hopkins is a special player; I think everyone realizes that. He’s a good bet to grow into the role and it’s difficult to see the Oilers finding someone better than him over the summer (Jason Spezza, to pick the obvious choice, would be a nice fit but he’ll be costly to acquire and he’s a year away from free agency). Barring something very unexpected, the Oilers’ best play is to leave Nugent-Hopkins in the top slot.


Boyd Gordon did a nice job in a tough role last season, but in a perfect world he slots in on the fourth line next year. The Oilers need to get some offence from their third line, and that would be helped immensely if the fourth line can take a pile of defensive zone draws and take some of the ugly defensive work away from the top-nine. With Gordon and Matt Hendricks, that’s a real possibility.



Sam Gagner has been traded on the internet countless times over the last couple of years, and this summer it seems a good bet that he’ll be traded for real. He’s a better player than he sometimes gets credit for, but he has significant issues and an injury at the start of last season helped highlight those.

In the unlikely event that Gagner stays, he’ll centre a protected scoring line. If he’s dealt, it will likely be to a team with a surplus of checkers and a need of some scoring. The names generally mentioned in rumour are guys like the Islanders’ Josh Bailey (6’1”, 194 pounds, career-high 38 points) or Nashville’s Colin Wilson (6’1”, 216 pounds, career-high 35 points).

The upshot is that the Oilers could end up with a second-line centre, a third-line centre, or something else entirely there.


Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander were both re-signed by Edmonton. Arcobello is a gifted offensive centre who showed a capacity to do a lot of different things last season, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if there was some hesitancy by the Oilers to pencil him into their top-nine. Lander is a gifted defensive centre who has struggled to convert his game to the NHL level; if he’s in the starting-12 it will likely be on the fourth line.

The Oilers also currently hold the third overall pick in the 2014 Draft, and the most likely selection is a centre. If the Oilers come away with any of Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl that player would likely be bumped immediately to the NHL as the centre of a protected scoring line – perhaps with Nail Yakupov on one wing and a veteran defensive winger on the other side.

So What Happens?

Craig MacTavish9

Edmonton won’t be able to finalize their plans until after this summer’s entry draft. If they add a centre, there really isn’t much room for Gagner, and trading him for a third-line pivot (and bumping Boyd Gordon down to the fourth line) makes great sense.

If, instead, the Oilers add a defenceman via the draft, things get more complicated. My guess is that they would still attempt to move Gagner for a third-line pivot and then try to find a replacement second-line centre via free agency.

The only certainty here is uncertainty. As Kevin Lowe might put it, expect the unexpected.


  • Word to the Bird

    Could C possibly be a greater need on this team than D? If so, forget drafting a center, sign/trade for one. I just don’t see how Bennett/Draisatl could help the team next year.

  • Harry2

    Brian Boyle would be a perfect fit between yak and perron. If Mac can land a him and draft one of the centers I see no need to rush a Gagner trade which will will allow the pick some valuable seasoning time in the CHL.

  • Sorensenator

    I think Arcobello ends up in that 3rd line spot. Gagner should be gone but we’ll find out what he gets moved for. They need some scoring touch on that 3rd line and if they can bring in a couple of wingers to play with Arcobello, it would be huge and allow Gordon, Hendricks and possibly Pitlick to play the 4th line.

  • Serious Gord

    Gordon is paid like a high-end 3rd liner. And Hendricks like a 3rd liner.

    They will play on the 3rd line. If you are playing 3rd liners on the 4th line, of course, it will be a good 4th line, but you aren’t going to have enough money to pay for enough 3rd and 2nd liners.

    A better strategy is not to think 1-2-3-4, but build two tough minutes line, one soft minutes line, and build a 4th line capable of D-zone faceoffs against everyone except the opposition’s best line.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle (tough minute line)
    Perron, Gordon (Kulemin-type-signing) (tough minute line)
    XXX, Gagner or replacement, Yakupov (soft minutes, protected line)
    Hendricks, Lander, Arcobello (4th line capable of D-zone draws)
    pressbox (Gadzic, Joensuu)

    That 4th line has 3 players capable of taking a draw. They can be aggressive in the circle, and they can chose the best matchup to take the draw.

    With a 4th line that can ease the D-zone faceoff burden on Gordon, Gordon’s faceoff ability can be used more in the offensive zone, to try and maintain ozone time.

      • crabman

        How many 4th liners get 4 year contracts? 4 year contracts for $1.8 million per season.

        That is 3rd line money.

        So if Matt Hendricks isn’t 3rd line capable, then MacT is a bad GM for trading for that contract.

        Money and duration tells a fan what role the GM thinks the player can play (in a hard cap world).

          • Matt Hendricks is 32 years old making 1.85 million for 3 more years and had 7 points last year………..That’s not 3rd line points and certainly not worth the money he’s getting paid, That has overpay and 4th line written all over it!

            Here are the Kings 4th line players during the regular season.

            Lewis – 11 points – 1.5 mill – x 2 more years is 27 yrs old

            Clifford – 8 points – 1.1 mill – x1 more year with RFA status is 23 yrs old

            Nolan – 10 points – 700 K – RFA next season is 24 yrs old


            This is L.A’s set up during the SC playoffs.

            Some actually think Hendricks is an acceptable 3rd line player at 1.85 million, how do you think the Oilers get better if they are over paying talent for the 4th line when a Stanley Cup contender like LA has better players and cheaper players playing in the right positions making less?

            Hendricks is NOT worth 1.85 million, not by a country mile.

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            Our team needs a few more Hendricks.

            What he brings to the team can’t be measured by points.

            He’s a warrior, defends his teammates and makes other teams more accountable.

            Who cares about the 1.85- you really think the Oilers are going to spend to cap this year?

            If so who will they spend the 28+ mil in cap space on?

            Would it matter if it was 28.75 instead of 28 million- seriously man who cares?

            Your wasting your energy discussing Hendricks salary.

          • Serious Gord

            No doubt we need Hendricks-type players, but not for that kind of money and especially not for that kind of term. Sure the oil might not be near that cap this year, but what about the next years?

            What this team really lacks is good pro-scouting. That is THE most under-reported failing of this team. Low-cost 3/4 line role players are out there – just look at the four teams still in the playoffs. Low cost 3/4 line players free up space to get top-flite 1/2 line players.

            That said, the oil ownership and management and their reputation makes the oil a no go destination for the majority of those top-flite players.

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            What about next year when the cap goes up ? You think we will be spending to cap?

            Unless we sign Statsny, Niskanen, Downie and Ott this offseason we will be no where near the cap ceiling.

            This year or next. Again talking about Hendricks cap hit, is absolutely pointless.

            We cleared Hemsky, Horcoff, Dubnyk, Smid, N Shultz, Belovs cap space and we have no one to replace those players with.

            Hence, Hendricks cap hit is the least of our concerns- now or in the future.

            Now if Hendricks played like a soft European we would have something to discuss or if his cap hit of 1.85 prevented us from landing Statsny- which will not be the case.

          • Serious Gord

            Agree that for the next couple of years the Oil appear to have some cap space and they if they could leverage this to either: trade for a need whilst taking someone else’s cap issue or sign a big fish, would help a lot. Even if the player is only here to 2 or 3 years. This is one of the reasons the Oil should seriously consider trading the No.3 pick if they can find the right deal.

          • Serious Gord

            Bingo. It is absolutely critical that the oil get a 1/2 D and C using salary and high draft picks via trades – free agents aren’t coming to at for this management team.

            And how confident can one be in MacT wanting to or being able to pull that off? All the talk about being bold and he has yet to make a trade or aquire another team’s 1/2 line player.

          • Serious Gord

            First Hendricks cap hit isn’t in and of itself a huge concern, rather it is the habit of this team to overpay/under scout for this type of player.

            As for the cap going up – it goes up for all teams thus it will end up being eaten by salary inflation – it is nowhere near the panacea that many make it out to be.

            The real short to mid-term beneficiaries will be those teams that are near the cap now and have lots of good players tied up to long term contracts. Edmonton is not in that group.

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            Every team has contracts of players who are being overpaid.

            Oilers actually aren’t that bad when you look around the league.

            MacTs actually don’t a good job of clearing a ton of useless cap space left from the useless Tambellini era.

            Dubnyk, Horcoff, Hemsky, Smid, N Shultz are some examples.

            Thats over 20+ mil in cap space – which will hopefully be used this off season.

          • 24% body fat

            It is never a bad thing to discuss good contract management in a capped league.

            If all the oilers were paid on what they should than we could afford to overpay a little when we are a competitive team. When that finally happens we will not have cap space.

            Eberle should be 5.4 not 6

            Gagner should have been signed the year before for four years at 3.9 or 4.1

            fair value for Gordon is about 2.4

            ference should be around 2.5

            look at how much we would save and think of the trade value these players would have if we didnt overpay them

            it is never bad to talk about properly managing your assets.

            p.s. get rid of that stupid oilers domination to follow crap. no one takes you serious because of it.

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            You do realize we got Vikto Fasth for Hemsky dont you? Smid sucks. He averages under 10 points a season at close to 4 million a year.

            Depending which ufa defenseman MacT spends Smids cap space on this off season will determine how good the trade actually was.

            Jury is still out.


            Smid(3.5) + N Shultz(3.5)


            Matt Niskanen(5.5), Horak, Broissot and a pick

          • camdog

            Fasth was the number 4 goalie in Anaheim, Horak signed in the KHL, Oliver Roy was traded straight across for Broissot.

            No matter how anyone shakes it the Smid deal was an awful trade for the Oilers organisation, not necesarily because Smid was good, but because the Oilers don’t have anybody else better than him in the organisation and the young guys won’t be better for 3-4 seasons, when his contract would be set to expire. And to top it off trading Smid exposed Petry’s weakness’.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            Agree wholeheartedly with everything you are saying here. But the current situation in Edmonton as it stands is that there is going to have to be a few overpays here n there to get players to come. While I agree Gagner was an error as he could of been had in a value contract or gotten value in a trade.

            But Ference and Gordon were going to get that pay cheques somewhere. Once the team turns the corner then attracting the free agents will become cheaper most certainly. So it’s important that they very carefully and sparingly choose when and where to do this in the short term. But I think we have to accept when a specific player comes along that a slight overpay is going to be necessary sometimes.

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            If we somehow became the only NHL team to not have a single poor value contract then we would have 33 million in cap space and not 28 million.

            Than we would do what exactly?

            Overpay and sign a bunch of poor value contracts when free agency hits?

            I can’t see us spending the 28 million let alone 33 million, there’s only 5-6 star Ufa’s and with the cap going up all the contendors have cap space.

            We don’t need value contracts we need value players and Hendricks is just that.

          • No they don’t.

            A warrior? Good grief.

            The Oilers need a number 1 defensemen.

            The Oilers COULD use a number 2 defensemen

            The Oilers need a whole 3rd line.

            The Oilers need a 2nd line center.

            Your talking perpetual rebuild with adding overaged over priced talent.

            28 million takes no time to get to.

            The Oilers have massive holes filling them with middling over priced players is a disaster waiting.

            Not to mention you have two big RFA’s coming up.

            When exactly do you want the Oilers to stop sucking?

          • Serious Gord

            A couple of weeks ago Scotty Bowman was on a radio show – I fail to remember which – saying that the 3/4 lines should not have an average per player salary much more than 1 million. What is the oil’s average?

          • Serious Gord

            I was hoping someone would know off the top as I don’t have access to paper and pencil or a laptop.

            So using my iPhone – the oil have seven mill tied up with only five players. That means 1.4 mill per player and we still need to sign another third liner.

            That’s way over the line drawn by bowman.

          • Serious Gord

            By my math 1.4 mill is 40% higher than bowmans recommended number. More significantly – take a look at what that over-spend is getting the oil: lander, joenssu, Gordon, Hendricks and arcebello – hardly top flite stuff compared to what contending teams have for similar or less money.

          • Serious Gord

            Mt point is that if “not more than” means $1.2M, then the overpay is about 15%. No doubt extra money spent on the bottom 6 is not ideal, but I would suggest that this issue doesn’t make the top 5 (or maybe even top 10) list of things wrong with the Oil.

          • 24% body fat

            3rd and 4th Line Players as they are currently lined up in the playoffs:

            LA KINGS = 2.89 Million/ Player on average.
            They however have a cheaper 2nd line(1.33 mill/avg per player).

            Chicago Blackhawks =1.79 Million/ Player on average.

            NYR = 1.61 Million / Player on average.

            Montreal = 2.85 Million/ Player on average.

            Hate to burst your bubble but teams don’t always stick to what you might think is a 3rd/4th line players. None of the remaining 4 teams in the playoffs come close to 1 mill on average. Either Scotty is getting old or this is an unrealistic # to go by.

          • Serious Gord

            Or I misquoted mr bowman… Wish I could remember who’s show it was then I could find the podcast – it was an excellent discussion on pro-scouting and cap management focussing on 3/4 line issues.

          • Serious Gord

            It seems like the most successful teams pretty much roll their top 3 lines in which case the 3rd line players have to be a high enough caliber to handle that load. This would stand to reason they are reasonably paid. The 4th line for sure should average 1 million/player or less however. So if you have a 3rd line that averages 2 mill and a 4th line that averages 1 mill. Then the bottom 2 lines are in the $1.5 million range. That seems like a # to aim for.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            While I do agree with what you’ve mentioned. Sometimes it’s hard to follow any structure when 3 out of every 4 players say, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the idea of working in this market.

            There’s certainly some beggars can’t be choosers karma going on here. Try to become competitive first, then whittle away at these monetary areas of concern.

          • Serious Gord

            And this is the catch-22* that the oil are in – a disgraceful franchise failing at almost every aspect of the business both on and off the ice with the most nepotistic ownership in North American pro sports – can’t attract the kind of talent both on and of the ice to resurrect the team.

            Thus the folly of discussing/debating on-ice issues without changes to oiler management…

            But it’s raining outside, what the hell else is there to do…

            * – excellent movie need to remember to watch it again soon…

          • nuge2drai

            Oiler Domination To Follow

            So Hendricks extra 300k in salary is preventing us from being able to bring in a #1-#2 dman and a #2C?

            I know those are our biggest concerns – they have been for the last 7 years…

            In no way is Hendricks cap hit the issue here.

            Horcoff, Hemsky were the reasons we were unable to balance the team and they are gone now.

            Team toughness has been an issue for the last 7 years as well- I think Hendricks contributes to the solution.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            The surf pounding is bit better at Venice Beach than the Ft.Saskatchewan River.

            Edmonton will always pay more to attract players.

            I know this was a trade, but Hendricks is what this club needs, better to over pay him by half a million $$$$, than a slug like Penner, overpaid by $3 million.

          • 24% body fat

            Agreed on that statement. Brandon Prust is a 2.5m hit for 4 years and is basically the same type of player. A very hardworking 4th liner who kills penalties and can mix it up.

    • crabman

      I really like your thinking on how to structure the forwards line. I don’t like Gagner and Yak playing together even on a sheltered scoring line. They played that role this year and still got eaten alive. Even on a soft minutes line Yak needs a more defensively responsible center until he can learn to be better in that way himself. Swap Gagner out(as you eluded to) for that type of center and I think this has the makings of a competitive offensive group.

      • If you played in the CHL, you have to be 20 by the end of the year in order to play in the AHL. So on that note, Draisaitl won’t be old enough to play in the AHL by that rule. There is some sort of exception though, and I’m not sure the exact details. I think it is for guys that aren’t drafted into the CHL. I don’t think Draisaitl qualifies here (to be exempt from the NHL-CHL transfer agreement) since PA drafted him in 2012, but someone can correct me if wrong. Pretty sure it’s CHL or NHL for Draisaitl next year, definitely the case for Bennett, Ekblad or Reinhart though.

  • Bucknuck

    I sure hope that the Oil start winning this year. The cesspool of negativity is so deep that even optimistic patient fans will drown in it.

    I’m still disappointed that they didn’t make Gagner EARN his ice-time last season. It made a liar out of Eakins as far as I am concerned. I wonder if that came “from above” or what.

    I’m not saying Arco is a #2 centre, but he played a lot better than Gagner last year and there is no reason he should have been demoted ahead of Gags. It was inexplicable… especially with Acton still playing.

  • This inspired me to do a little armchair GMing, and come up with a list of potential free agents to suit.

    First of all, I perused the list of D-men scheduled to have their contracts expire, and though I don’t see a lot of potential targets who look like good fits here, there are a few if they aren’t resigned by their teams.

    1. Andrei Markov – most likely gets resigned by the habs, I think, but who knows, anything is possible.
    2. Matt Niskanen – his numbers are inflated by the luxury of whom he gets to play with, but they’re also hard to argue with, certainly worth a look if he’s not extended by the Pens.
    3. Brooks Orpik – can’t stand the guy personally, but would be a great addition to the Oilers seriously lacking d-corps.

    There’s a laundry list of others who could be intriguing but are unlikely to still have UFA status when the window opens: Stralman, Diaz, Hainsey all have merits if they do hit the market, but it isn’t overly impressive to be someone who might help out the Copper and Blue’s d-corps.

    Now at forward there are actually a few names that would moderately intrigue me:

    1. Paul Stastny. – he was great for the Avs in the playoffs, and though he doesn’t play the physical style we all want in a complimentary C to #93, he’s the best free agent available who plays the position.

    2. Thomas Vanek/Marian Gaborik – a boy can dream can’t he? — Both these guys are likely to command huge deals in the off-season, but I’m led to believe Mr Katz has deep pockets. The signing of one of these two would open the door to a multitude of options for trading to acquire a (hopefully actual and not “potential”) top-pairing d-man.
    Possibly available at a perhaps slightly lower cap-hit: Matt Moulson, Milan Michalek.

    3. Steve Ott – likely to be highly sought after if not retained by the Blues, but would look great as a 3-line C who brings a touch more offense than Boyd Gordon and drives opposing players and fans absolutely nuts.
    Other potential options here: Mikhail Grabovski, Marcel Goc

    There are multitudes of players who could fill in spots on the 3rd and 4th lines between prospects moving up in the Oil organization and free agent bottom 6 forwards.

    But just as a potential unlikely to happen scenario, check out this theoretical roster!

    Hall – Stastny – Michalek
    Perron – Nuge – Yakupov
    Pitlick – Ott – *FreeAgent*
    Gazdik/Pinizotto – Gordon – Hendricks

    *top pair d-man through trade* – Schultz
    Ference – Marincin
    Klefbom – Diaz

    Interesting to ponder. Unlikely to come to fruition… if only the real NHL was governed by EA Sports Xbox/Playstation Logic.

    Though on the bright side, I did leave out anything to do with a draft pick, although that was mostly thinking it would take Eberle, Petry and the pick to get a bona-fide top pairing D man, which is probably the most unlikely part of my fictional scenario here

  • bazmagoo

    Arco/Lander should battle for the 3rd line slot, with Gordon as a 4th line pivot who can play extra minutes throughout the lineup would be a positive step. Hendricks, Gazdic and Joensuu are 4th line players at best.

    In my opinion the 2nd line center position and both wings on the 3rd line are holes that need to be filled with decent players for us to be successful at forward. On defense we need a left sided veteran d-man on a short term deal (3 years or less) or we essentially have to go with our youth which is a scary proposition. Our lack of depth on d has plagued us for years, and still continues to be our main obstacle.

  • bwar

    I think the offseason plan really hinges on who we end up with in the draft. Ekblad really forces MacT to address the 2C issue. Rienhart or Draisaitl probably force MacT to keep Gagner around for another season or someone else as a temporary fix. Bennet might be able to make the jump into the NHL and would make Gagner even more expendable allowing MacT to focus on other holes in the line up.

    • bazmagoo

      100% correct. Looking at it objectively, I don’t really see any way we can go wrong with any of Ekblad, Bennett or Reinhart. All 3 look like studs and all 3 could go #1 overall. I think the only mistake we could possibly make is drafting Draisaitl in the #3 spot, but that’s just my opinion. If we end up drafting Draisaitl, I’m praying it’s because we swap picks with the Islanders and not because we draft him 3rd overall.

      • bwar

        If it came down to choosing between Reinhart and Draisaitl, I could see the Oilers going with Draisaitl just because the Oilers feel he adds something to the team that we currently lack where Reinhart largely looks to be similar to the Nuge.

        I’m not saying this is the right decision but I’m just posing a scenario where the Oilers might end up choosing Draisaitl.

  • Sorensenator

    Yeah we all know Kevin Lowe needs to be fired. Almost instantly, management will be able to sign a centre like Paul Statsny without even blinking an eye, solely because that player will know Kevin Lowe won’t be in charge anymore.

    Piece of cake.

  • Sorensenator

    “A year ago, the Edmonton Oilers entered the year with a centre depth chart featuring Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner (both injured) in the top two jobs, Mark Arcobello as a fill-in, Boyd Gordon in the third-line job and Will Acton on the fourth line.

    The results weren’t pretty. Where do they go from here?”

    You neglected to mention the failed experiment to convert Hall to centre to replace RNH due to injury. It was a major distraction to say the least that led to the impossibility of making the playoffs.

    As noted in the discussions, there is a likelihood of picking up a centre from UFA; not so much with a 1/2 D.

  • Sorensenator

    Lets see who plays . Who get rid of Horcoff , Hemsky , Smid ,etc. for basically nothing as someone determines we do not need them and can be replaced with current roster or AHL member ? Yet those 3 can play good roles on better clubs than we can produce .I wonder why a new coach was bought in in thr first place ? To make matters worse ? It would appear so in hindsight . Now is Gagner going to be dealt for basically nothing as they were , and the next one inserted be worse than him ? Probably . People wonder why this club is getting worse instead of better ?

  • The Oilers has alot of needs. A 2nd line C, 3rd line wingers, a #1 d man and a depth d man. For tye draft I think they should draft either Ekblad, Leon, or Bennett. Whoever it is should be sent down to the CHL.

    Options for a 2nd line C are Anisimov, Hanzal, Wilson and Stastny.

    For 3rd line wingers are Moss, Downie, Boyle, and Winnik.

    For the #1 d man we just need minute eaters like Ehrhoff, Markov, Orpik, Muzzin or Niskanen.

    The depth d man should be a guy who can handle 3rd pairing min. and step up to the 2nd pairing when needed. could be Hainsey or Greene or someone from the farm like Klefbom or Fedun.




  • nuge2drai

    LOOK AT OUR LINE COMBINATIONS ON OILER SITE : Legit NHL’ers by position that we are probably keeping . Only 2 left wingers , 3 centers if we keep Gagner , 2 right wingers , and only 3 defencemen . The rest are either not being kept or are AHL’ers or rookies . A couple we just desperately need an upgrade on and should not be kept . At least 8 new bodies by combinations lineup on Oilers site.

    Either Mact. makes a big slash with 8 or more new players somehow , or we are stuck with AHL’ers and rookies to go into the season . Not much optimism exists under those types of circumstances . You wondered how bad things might get under Tams , well you might be seeing someone even worse . We may need another 5 years to clear up the mess left from last years failed turnaround . Looks like NURSE will be pressed into action with Klefbom and Marincin .

  • crabman

    I’m not a huge fan of having such a high paid 4th line with both Gordon and Hendricks adding up to almost $5 million but if they do get bumped down to try and get more scoring from a 3rd line having a cheap defensively sound player like Lander on the other wing could be the way to go. Lander is a good penalty killer and an extra center on your shutdown line. Most people will agree it is probably time for Gagner to move on and if we can get a real NHL 3rd line center who is a solid 2 way guy I could live with that trade. That leaves a big hole at 2C. If we draft Bennet and he earns a spot in camp like Monahan did with the Flames last year he could be a good fit on a very protected 2nd scoring like. My concern here is we have an injury or 2 and we are now relying on another kid to carry a heavy load. With any luck we can sign a competent 2C and let our draft pick develop in junior.

  • Let us get rid of Gagner just like Horc, Hemsky and Smid . Can you see the accelerated pattern here that got us into such a mess over last 8 years ? Getting rid of NHL players prematurely for basically nothing is still rampant here , and escalated under our new GM . Holes almost never filled with equals or upgrades . Basically same people only minus Tams now . It is a never ending story .

  • MH and LG give us more in team toughness and truculence and grit.You really can’t value that in monetary terms.

    Crosby got raped by opposing teams this playoffs because of the Pens lack of a guy who was willing to stepup and crack some skulls.

    How often did we complain this season about Hall,RNH and Ebs getting killed? remember the Yak Gazdic moment in the penalty box.You forget that before MH and Gazdic arrived that we were getting our clock cleaned regularly. we also added Fraser to level the field.

    We need to lookat a guy like Steve Downie this off season. Pinizotto was capable and willing too.Your bottom 6 need not be goons but there has to be a level of nastiness that offsets the top 6’s skill.

    • 24% body fat

      Do you really think that some guys tracking Crosby on the ice is the same as what a person feels like when they have been sexually assaulted? Do you really think your language is appropriate? Do the owners of this site really believe it is ok to post this comment?

  • nuge2nail # 55 and michael # 57, I agreed with you completely. In addition to the fact that “MH and LG give us more team toughness and truculence and grit” they are both good team guys. From what I can tell, they are good in the room and are well-liked but their teammates. There must be some good centres out there who can be signed or traded for to fill the roles we need even if they don’t solve all of the problems, they can improve the situation and strengthen the team.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i hate to mention this but maybe this is the year the Oilers SHOULDN’T trade their pick, with a right handed d-man and 3 centers available to fill major holes on this team. yes they are young, but all have been mentioned at various times this season as being NHL ready.

      • Serious Gord

        By the time that pick is ready to really contribute the stars will be into RFA and want more than the oil can afford. The team needs ready-to-play talent before the window closes.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          baloney! Reinhart, Draisaitl and Ekblad i have heard many times they could be NHL ready. if we drafted say Reinhart and he contributed what Monahan did in Calgary this year right out of the draft, there’s no waiting is there? and you don’t send a player back if he’s ready to contribute now, only if he’s not, and these 3 appear to be ready.

          • Serious Gord

            Go look at how perennially successful teams handle their budding stars and get back to me.

            NHL-ready does not necessarily mean that’s what you want to do nor that it is the best interests of the player long-term (gagner is a poster boy for that).

            This team needs PROVEN NHL 1/2 Line players – not prospects.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            there’s no way in hell you ever send a kid back to junior if he’s appears ready to play in the NHL….no way!! and Gagner being a “poster boy” for what fans perceive to be not as successful an NHL career as they’d like seem to forget that 40 to 50 points is likely all that Sam is able to give at this level. sending him back to juniors at the time would have been the wrong decision in my opinion simply because he likely wouldn’t have been any better than he is now, so it would have accomplished nothing.

          • nuge2drai

            I’d like to stay away from 18 year old that “appear ready” there is no question that putting a kid in too early can derail his career. On the other hand no one has ever been hurt by seasoning him in the juniors for an extra year

          • Quicksilver ballet

            This team needs PROVEN NHL 1/2 Line players – not prospects.


            Don’t think of them as prospects. Think of them as assets. What would the Oilers have for assets, if not for the last 4 entry drafts? There isn’t near enough assets gathered here yet to address the issues of this hockey club.

            The Oil are 3 yrs away from being a playoff team, correct/agreed?

            Keep adding prospects and make decisions who’s available and who you want to keep.

          • Serious Gord

            Assets? Yes – unproven assets at the NHL level.

            Very very few draftees make much of a solid impact in the first two to three years after they are drafted – including the likes of gordie Howe and joe Thornton etc. that period takes longer for Centres and d-men the two positions the oil are weakest in.

            Granted the only assets the current oil has are drafted picks, but those could just as easily be veterans that those picks were traded for. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they should have been)

            what the oil needs to do now is to get Ready to go veterans at centre and defense to compliment those picks. And the price is this years pick and $$.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Have to believe the effort to bring in sufficient veteran help has been a constant the last couple yrs. Between over valuing outgoing players and clinging to hopes the new ones will pan out, they’re against a brick wall.

            I think they feel the only way to fix this is to grow/draft their own appreciable players from within. The fans seem to be in support of this.

            You have to admit Gord, this is a rebuild unlike any other in the NHL before. Trying to accomplish all this in a B market has had its challenges, and perhaps shouldn’t be measured against other markets/rebuilds.

            2 or 3 more yrs should cover it Gord. You’ll just have to ride a few more years of this out like the rest of us.

          • Serious Gord

            Some high draft picks can play in the NHL in a support role and add value to a team during their entry level deals. However it’s a diffrent animal when your team is made up almost completely of kids and you’re relying on another kid to come play a major role on an already terrible team. That’s how you destroy confidence and stay a bottom feeder