HARD TARGET SEARCH: FLORIDA PANTHERS

mact common7

Craig MacTavish partnered with St. Louis last season in a deal that helped the Oilers. David Perron was one of the few bright spots in a long season. MacT may go south this summer, as the Florida Panthers offer Edmonton some nice possibilities.

Dale Tallon, Florida’s General Manager, is looking ahead to an active summer, and it sounds like he’s going to be aggressive. A couple of quotes from late last month:

  • On #1 overall: “I’m looking at everything. I’m open for business. You have three options — you either take it, move back or trade it. So that’s what we’re looking at. What’s the best deal for our future, that’s the key.”
  • On what they’ll do this summer: “We have a commitment from (owner) Vinnie Viola to win, and to go after the top players in free agency and make this team a winning team right away. That’s what we’re selling.”

So, it seems fairly clear the Panthers are going to re-set. They’ve fired their coach, have said nice things about Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette, and are giving off the impression they plan to turn north next season. 

THE OILER TARGETS

  • First overall pick: Why not? If he’s open to trading the pick, and Edmonton could acquire BOTH Aaron Eckblad and (say) Leon Draisaitl? It would depend on price, but that’s an option.
  • Dmitry Kulikov: A nice young defenseman who has frustrated Panthers management with errors, but has learned the lessons and is an effective young player.
  • kulikov es
  • That’s a nice player. Full stop.
  • It doesn’t sound like Tallon is of a mind to deal his veterans—Campbell, Upshall, Boyes, Goc—but there may be a window of opportunity for someone like Sean Bergenheim. The veteran winger is a $2.75 million cap hit and one year froom free agency.
  • bergenheim es
  • That’s a nice two-way player, we’ll call him the modern Pisani.

So, by my count, we’re talking #1 overall, the defender Kulikov and winger Sean Bergenheim. Not sexy enough? I disagree. Would love to have all three assets. Let’s see what it’ll cost. 

POSSIBLE PANTHERS

  • #3 overall. It would be nice to gather up #1 and #3, but that’s going to be a massive investment in moving the cluster down the line. May not be possible, let’s see how this shakes out.
  • Sam Gagner. He’s a monster cap hit, but 89 is a skill guy and can help a team offensively—especially on the power play. 
  • gagner es
  • Plus, he’s consistent. I bet you a 2-4 he’ll score between 40 and 50 points next season. Panthers have some nice young centermen, so may be able to move 89 to the wing without any trouble. Or, they could run him at center with responsible wingers. Either way, he has value and the Panthers are miles from cap trouble. As rough as Gagner had it this past season, he would have been the second leading scorer on the Panthers (leader: 38 points).
  • There are several other possible Panthers, including David Perron, Oscar Klefbom, Andrew Ference, Jeff Petry and Matt Hendricks. Let’s take what we have and see what we can find that fits.

TRADE PROPOSALS

Let’s start with two things Edmonton might want to accomplish:

  • Offload Gagner
  • Acquire Kulikov

The cap hits are wide, but Gagner’s 4.8M is a hard cost, while Kulikov is an RFA this summer, coming off a contract that paid him $2.5 million. It’s not a massive stretch to suggest the Russian will get over a million in raises annually, maybe more. Both had ghastly plus minus numbers and coverage issues, but both are young and extremely likely to recover.

I think there’s a trade there, with Edmonton needing to add something at the beginning of the negotiation. That might be an agreement to pay a portion of Gagner’s cap hit, or maybe Edmonton throws in a prospect. Florida could add Bergenheim and the first overall, forcing Edmonton to deal Gagner, #3 and something significant from the Perron-Petry list above. There’s a lot to discuss.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL!!!

Using Gagner for Kulikov as the foundation, is there a deal here? I think there is. You?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

baseball

I think Craig MacTavish is going to have to employ a little slight of hand this summer, but I’m confident he can do it. Sam Gagner has value, and there’s a underachiever somewhere out there in a town like Miami who could help here.

Gagner for Kulikov. It just makes sense.

    • 2004Z06

      And what does the 1st and 3rd overall get us? Oh yeah, another 3-5 yrs of rebuild. We need NHL players now, not 3 yrs from now! This isn’t even a great draft year. None of the top 5 are predicted to be franchise players. This IS the year to trade the pick.

      • Harry2

        I kinda want another 3-5 years of rebuilding simply cuz it would put more pressure on Katz to finally get rid of Lowe. I’m at the point where I don’t care anymore until Lowe is gone. I would hate to see the oilers scrape their way into the playoffs in a year or 2 and see Lowe with his feet up in the pressbox feeling vindicated and patting himself on the back. And yes, I despise Lowe that much

        • 2004Z06

          As do I, but I really think that Oiler fans need to resign themselves to the fact that as long as Katz owns this team, Lowe is not going anywhere unless he retires. He already offered to resign but Katz refused to accept it.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Trading this summers 3rd overall pick will not get you an impact player. It will not put the Oilers anywhere near a playoff spot next season.

      Trading the third to win now is fools gold. Like it or not, this team is 3 yrs away from making the post season. Trading the 3rd to just move up one or two spots next season is insanity. Insert Cory Schnieder example here. Devils improved only 2 spots with him in their lineup.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        3 years away? Is it me or does the time frame on this “rebuild” keeping getting longer after every year?

        I’m of the belief that you can’t teach winning by losing. This team needs to what what it’s like to compete in this league. You can’t just suck until you filled every position with a lottery pick then snap your fingers and expect them to win a cup. But this seems to be Lowes model

        • Quicksilver ballet

          The Infinibuild is taking hold.

          The longer they stick with this management group, the deeper the hole will get. Ray Ferraro knows something the fans don’t. It’s going to get a lot worse, before it gets better.

          Keep drafting high, and hope to hitch the wagon to a winner (Connor McDavid) He just may be good enough to get Lowe and Co. off the hook.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I go back and forth between trading the pick all together for help now in an area that’s needed (2c, or 1-2 dman in a package) or trading the pick, as part of a package, to move down to say 10-15 spot and get a guy like Jared McCann and a roster player.

      #3 and Gagner to Nashville for Del Zotto and #11?

      #3 and Gagner to Pittsburgh for Sutter and their pick?

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      LT – Your proposed trades/acquisitions make as much sense as everyone elses. Unless and until major changes to the management are made and a purge of the current group is completed then I think all the proposed changes to player personnel are at best speculation. The GM did little to inspire hope in the fan-base in his first year. You can add up the acquisitions obtained this past season and Perron is the only successful addition. When players leave because the coach is an a-hole and that atmosphere is not dealt with who will be the next to demand a trade out of Edmonton?

      I wouldn’t want to play here nor would I recommend Edmonton if I was an agent advising a client. How can you overlook a situation that is so patently obvious to everyone but the KoolAid soaked Edmonton media wretches? I don’t get it.

    • Anton CP

      IMHO attempting to trade up to the #1 pick would be a colossal waste of time and energy. There are three kids projected to possibly go #1. Any of them would fill a hole in the Oilers roster, and we are guaranteed to have an opportunity to draft one of them. Oilers need to take which ever one is left and focus on making a quality second round pick instead of looking for diminishing returns on an already guaranteed great prospect.

    • Anton CP

      I think this quote sums up about Oilers right now:

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      So drafting all the top prospects haven’t worked out so far, solution? Draft more prospects!

    • Anton CP

      Completely off topic….

      Watching Draisatl at the IIHF World Championships at 5 am live against the US…..DRAFT THIS KID…second period, 1 goal and 1 assist so far in a 3-3 tie.

      WOW…hands, speed and size….man against men….

      Sorry for the interruption

    • bwar

      Lets hope MacT. does much better this year than last ! Last year was to be a breakout year not a busted one as we witnessed . Certainly not sold on what MacT. has done so far to make team better . More steps backwards than forward for my liking . Status quo and you have got to say no or whoa .

    • HockeyYoda

      I don’t think a management change alters trade possibilities.. That just seems redundant to the fact the oilers will not buy high and sell low, and they shouldn’t!

    • HockeyYoda

      Yakupov+Gagner+Gernat+2015 2nd rounder(possibly 1st) for Kulikov and the 1st overall this year.
      Oilers select Ekblad and Bennet.

      Does that seem fair? Are the Oilers overpaying? Should Florida kick in another player?

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

      I find it funny that we all want change, yet literally every trade idea/option that people suggest gets trashed hard unless its a completely unrealistic trade where the oilers get a superstar for gagner (which surprise, isn’t going to happen).

      People don’t want Kulikov, they want a “legit #1D-man” unfortunately when a team finds one of those they usually don’t give them up. Similarly, teams like the oilers need to trade for players that perhaps have the potential to be a #1 but aren’t yet. That or prepare to trade one or more of the kids.

      You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I for one want MacT to make a ballsy move, and I would be more than happy if that move was to obtain Kulikov.

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

        I don’t mind your trade, except we do not need another left shot d-man, and one that is only 6’1″ , when we have a lot of top prospects for that position already. But you make it for a forward prospect and the first, then it starts to look like a good trade.

    • vetinari

      There’s a match of needs between the Oilers and the Panthers, so I could easily see something come together on the draft floor. However, I can’t see the teams flipping draft picks– we need stud defencemen and centres and we are almost guaranteed to land one in this draft so paying a premium to move up isn’t really a good use of our assets. I think MacT will likely try to land one or two young defencemen (Kulikov? Coburn?)via trade instead.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      I think I’d try to make a deal with Florida centered around Yak. I love the kid, and I do think he’s going to be an excellent player, but as everyone here knows, you don’t build up the wing. If you could trade Yak+ for this year’s first, and bring in Ekblad and Bennett/Draisatl with the two picks, that’d be dealing from a position of relative strength to add some high end prospects to two positions that really need it. Marincin/Klef/Nurse/Schultz is a good start, but with the state of the Oilers blue line, no amount of prospects is too many.

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

      Oilers fans are about the most loyal anywhere. They repeatedly are subjected to the worst crap from owner and management. WE deserve better.

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

      Would Brian Campbell be a better candidate than Kulikov? Campbell’s contract is crazy, yes. But there’s only two years left which I think is a nice bridge to let Klefbom, Marincin and Nurse develop properly. Campbell is an older player with lots of experience under his belt that you know can play top pairing minutes and he’s extremely proficient at moving the puck.

    • Zarny

      Everyone with a man-crush on drafting another 18 y/o should take a boo at Florida.

      Gudbranson and Huberdeau were drafted 3rd overall (sound familiar?) in 2010 and 2011. 4 years later Gudbranson was a healthy scratch for a few games and still isn’t a top pairing D. Huberdeau’s scouting report was as good as any C in this year’s weak draft. 3 years later he put up 28 pt in 69 games.

      The talking point from Florida is to win right away. That may steer them away from Ekblad since he’ll take 4-5 years to develop. Tallon has stated he is shopping the pick but you can forget about acquiring the 2014 1st overall for the Oilers 1st round pick in 2015. That does nothing to help Florida win right away.

      Florida’s depth at C is way overstated which is another reason I think they’ll target Bennett or Reinhart. Barkov looks good but he isn’t MacKinnon. Bjugstad was drafted in 2010 with Hall. Last year Hall put up 80 pts; Bjugstad only managed 38. Pirri was drafted 5 years ago and still hasn’t played more than 28 games in a season. Gagner’s skill behind a big C like Barkov or on W may interest them. If they draft Reinhart or Bennett Florida may find Bjugstad expendable.

      Kulikov and Gudbranson are potential targets on D. Neither is perfect and both carry a degree of risk. That’s what MacT should be targeting though; similar to Col acquiring Erik Johnson.

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

        Hi Zarny,

        In terms of helping them right away, what do you think Florida can get for their 1st overall? ( with the Cory Schneider trade being some kind of weird anomaly)

        For example: A Gagner + Ference+ Oilers 2015 pick adds two roster players and retains a high end first round pick. I wouldn’t under estimate how much GM’s value retaining picks.

        Of course Florida could package the 2014 first overall with a couple of top end prospects to try and obtain a Tier One Star player….but that seems less probable as well, as teams generally don’t like to give up proven talent, age 24-28, for prospects. ( which is the reason that the highest probability is that Florida retains the 2014 pick)

        It’s typically very circumstantial….finding a trade that works for both teams….

        As for 18 year olds helping in the short term, not that I like it, but I’m fairly convinced by their actions that Oilers Management is focused on a window that is 2 to 5 years away…and that all talk of immediacy and boldness is to appease the masses, fans and media alike.

        Otherwise, they’ed be trading their 3rd overall pick.

        • Zarny

          I don’t consider the Cory Schneider trade some kind of weird anomaly. Same with Phi trading Carter and Richards or Bos trading Seguin.

          What all 4 did have were special circumstances. With Schneider it was Luongo’s contract; with Carter, Richards and Seguin it was concerns with off-ice activity. To me the lesson is never assume. GM’s will always publicly say players are not available. What they say in private is much different when tangible assets are available in return.

          I don’t see Tallon trading the 1st overall for Gagner + Ference + Oilers 2015 1st rnd pick. If the pick isn’t top 2 next year the player Florida drafts probably won’t be as good as who they can get #1 overall this year plus they are a year behind in development. I don’t think Gagner + Ference mitigates that risk enough.

          Who could Florida get for the 1st overall or a package including?

          I think the obvious names are guys like Evander Kane. Some off-ice issues in Wpg but really high upside. Or the players in Phi that are often mentioned in Edm: Schenn, Couturier, Simmonds, Coburn. Yandle + prospects in Phx. Perhaps Josi and a prospect like Forsberg in Nsh. Spezza in Ott. The Staal brothers in Car. Kesler in Vancouver.

          For less obvious names I’d look at good teams who did a face plant in the playoffs like Pit, SJ and StL. I won’t be shocked if Pit trades Neal or Letang (obvious health risks). I think StL is more likely to go after guys like Spezza or Phaneuf but I don’t think it’s impossible they move Shattenkirk or Backes or Oshie for a lottery pick package. Marleau and Thornton are both 34 and haven’t carried SJ to a Cup final so I wouldn’t trade the 1st overall for either straight up, but a package including their 1st round pick or Hertl etc could be possible.

          I’d also being dialing up Colorado who have a glut at C but need help elsewhere. A package including ROR or Stastny (pending resigning) and Col’s 1st round pick perhaps.

          Big trades are certainly difficult to make but I don’t buy line that players aren’t available or that the 1st or 3rd overall pick would not yield top line players or 1-2D. 29 teams fail every year and 30 GM’s have to manage a salary cap that likely won’t go up as much as GM’s hope with the drop in the CDN $.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Serious Gord is laughing his head off. This post actually to me makes sense. How could you?

        Bjugstadt is the perfect 2cd line center for this team.Gagner is the perfect second line center for the Panthers. Just score baby.

        The Panthers defence is better than ours in terms of experience and could easily make up for Gagners lapses.

        Cap space for Florida is not an issue.

        Zarny what would you give up for a Gudbranson is the question?

        Also what do you think about the suggestions that Bergenheim would be a good fit for a 3rd line left wing?

        I like the thought of Kulimen from Toronto too.

        • Zarny

          Hard to say what Tallon would want for Gudbranson. Nino Niederreiter was drafted 5th overall that year and Min got him for Cal Clutterbuck and a 3rd round pick.

          A package with Gagner + pick(s)/prospects or Petry perhaps. There is probably a deal including Yakupov or maybe Perron.

          I think Bergenheim could certainly contribute to Edm’s 3rd line mostly because it’s so bad right now. My concerns are that he’s 30 so he’s past his prime and he’s never reached 30 pt even once in his career. So he’s not a guy who can move up the lineup if Hall or Perron get injured. He’s a better version of Matt Hendricks right now but that isn’t necessarily saying much.

          I would prefer Kulimen because he’s younger and has more offensive upside; but he might cost you more than Bergenheim and that’s a factor for Edm.

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

      Grabbing the #1 is interesting. If this thing is as broken as everybody says it is, then why not start fresh? Add two key cornerstones in two key positions in this year’s draft, then add one of McDavid or Eichel next year. It would be a short re-built from the current position today…that is of course if the fan base doesn’t chase Katz out of town after another last place finish.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Finally, someone else who can realistically see the writing on the wall.

        With all the soft spots on this roster, it’s going to take a heck of a lot more than trading that third selection for a B level defenseman. The Oilers need a Shea Weber to show these kids the way, and that isn’t possible. Lets not even go to the center ice issue on this hockey club.

        Trade the 3rd for help now….give your head a friggen shake. This team is miles from shore without a paddle still. There certainly appears to be more than a few here who’ll gladly trade that 3rd for a 25th place finish next season.

        • Zarny

          I wouldn’t say it’s that bad. We need defencemen that can manage the puck. The Oilers were terrible in this area last year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team be so consistent at turning over the puck if the D-to-D passes exceeded one.

          To be a possession team, the Oilers need that option. Sometimes the option to move the puck up the ice just isn’t there. The opposition is defending too well and if you force it, you’re going to turnover the puck in the neutral zone. What you need to reset and put it back to your D and try to find a lane to move the puck or get the puck deep.

          There’s a few older/injury-plagued options via UFA that might fill that need for now. I also floated the idea of acquiring Brian Campbell as part of a Sam Gagner deal.

          If you blow it up and start again, will guys like Taylor Hall decide they’ve had enough?

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

      Would many have drafted much differently ? Perhaps maybe defence first with a stellar goaltender by trade ,etc.? Perhaps after Hall it might have been the way to go . Colorado has done fine going the forward route basically . We keep surrounding our developing stars with less than adequate supporting staff and expect the youth to excel and carry them . Has not worked so far . We are not getting much in way of help with the trades we have made beyond Perron , and that even surprised Oilers .

    • Arius Mumin

      Just get rid of Gagner already. Since he has been here, and as long as he is here: the Oilers will continue to suck.

      Gagner is a lost cause who made his name riding Kane, but he sure as hell ain’t able himself.

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

      QUICK SILVER:
      Ray Ferraro goes on Canucks TV. He is a Canucks guy!

      People are not stupid.
      they have to be able to see what we have from 1996 to 2007 drafts.
      Gagner
      Petry.

      Katz took over in summer 2008:
      Stu Macgregor headed Scouting!
      MacT stated Tambalinni developed a structured scout system!

      At the MIT conference there was a chart that shows the % chance of each pick getting a 200GM nhl player.
      9 in 10 at pick 1
      4 in 5 at pick 3
      3 in 4 at pick 5
      3 in 5 at pick 9
      1 in 3 at pick 21
      1 in 4 at pick 30
      1 in 5 at pick 40
      After pick 100 less than 1 in 10.

      2008:
      Eberle 32.4%
      2009:
      MP 56.5% traded with pick #33 2014 (24.6%) for Perron.
      Lander 20.8%
      2010:
      Hall 91%
      Pitlick 25%
      Marincin 18.9%
      hamilton 18.6%
      Davidson 7.6%
      2011:
      RNH 91%
      Klefbom 36.4%
      Simpson 12.8%
      Gernat 8.8%
      Tuohimaa 6.6%

      At this point MacT was brought on as tech advisor for Personel. He stated scouting lacked direction. Skill; Skill; Skill. All being equal skill can be traded.
      2012:
      Yakupov 91%
      Moroz 24.6% 6’3″ 215lb
      Khaira 17.6% 6′ 4′ 215lb
      Zharkov 12.8% 6’4″ 210lb
      McCarron 7.9% 6’2″ 225lb
      2013:
      Nurse 66.5%
      MO Roy 17.8%
      Yakimov 14.95 6’5″ 220lb
      Slepyshev 13.7% 6’2″ 190lb
      Houck 11.9% 6’1″ 195lb
      Betker 7.7% 6’6′ 215lb
      Chase 6.3% 6’0″ 205lb

      We have a whole collection of Big Skilled and effective Forwards 20 years and younger to fill in cheaper cap hit spots over the next 5 years.

      Tambo failed!
      By trading Strong Even goal scorers for Draft picks (Cogliano and Brodziak)
      His UFA choices were weak.

      MacT knew he had to get answers this year.
      Goaltending?
      Centers?
      Defence?
      We replaced Dubnyk; Labarbera and Bryz with Scrivens and Fasth.
      He brought in Ference.
      Traded for Perron
      Replaced Smid and N. schultz with Marincin and Klefbom.
      Traded horcoff for Larsen.
      Brought in 6 yr younger Gordon.
      Traded for Hendricks.

      Hall-XXX-Yak
      Perron-XXX-Eberle
      XXX-RNH-XXX
      Hendricks-Gordon

      Ference-Petry
      Marincin-Schultz
      Klefbom-Larsen

      Scrivens
      Fasth

      Pro scouting was aproblem before that.
      He brought in Howson who completely rebuilt the Columbus blue jackets.

      Of the columbus team only Two were drafted before him and 1 (horton) was signed as a UFA.

      I am ok With Ference; Gordon; Hendricks;
      Perron; Larsen; Scrivens; And Fasth.

      So i am oK with
      1.Macgeregor with defined Direction in amateur scouting;
      2.MacT at GM
      3.Howson directing Pro scouting.

      Man: Yakimov and Slepyshev.
      .20+GPG and .30+PPG in there 18 year season.
      Semin
      Ovechkin
      Malkin
      Tarasenko
      Koklkachev
      Yakipov
      Slepyshev
      Yakimov.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Obviously the game is different to you. You’re all about laying blame at the feet of the many priors/Pendergast types. Now I see why teams have so many people contributing in management nowadays. Nobody takes responsibility anymore. Oh, scouting isn’t my job, that’s KPs, lets fire and put the blame on him. All while the person in charge steers the blame in other directions.

        It’s become apparent Kevin Lowe knows as much about building a winning organization, as Daryl Katz does about owning an NHL team.

        The Gong Show will go on with these two i’m afraid. If only someone knew what they were doing in this organization.

        People aren’t this stupid. They know whose been in charge here since 2001. Only see Ferraro on TSNs National broadcasts. Not sure what that has to do with the Canucks.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        So that’s how we worked up our way to 24th and then back down to 28th so successfully. Keep up the good work and we could be back to 30th . Glad you like it .

    • Old Soldier

      Okay sorry folks but first chance I had to reply to my earlier comment. Someone compared Draisatl to Gaudreau in the game this morning, and yes Gaudreau had a great game, but he played 10 more mins than Draisatl with a better supporting cast against a German defence and goaltending.

      Draisatl stood out with less time, just as quick, and the TSN boys brought up that he is now 6’2 not 6’1 and is up to 216 lbs….at 18….3 years younger than Gaudreau.

      I have watched the top 3 centers play this year, and this kid will quietly blow the other two away…plus he is low maintenance.

      If the Oilers could walk away from the draft table with Draisatl and Kulikov I would be pretty damn pleased….A big skilled low maintenance no 2 center, who may end up 1b. Look at Getzlaf, Kopitar, Malkin, Toews, etc….wouldnt it be nice to have someone who could line up against them

      Once again sorry for the late response.

    • Old Soldier

      Nice to see the corporate trolls out in force. Ever notice how anyone who dares to utter a negative opinion regarding certain management types gets trolled with great prejudice. I couldn’t give a crap about the thin-skinned management types with the shaky corporate egos. But they sre absolutely incompetent and this train wreck of a franchise is far from hitting bottom.

      Good luck with future ticket sales ‘ thou of the 6 rings ‘.