Three Forwards

Craig MacTavish6

Craig MacTavish talked to Terry Jones over the weekend, telling the Edmonton Sun columnist that he plans to add 4-5 players, with one or two coming from trade and the remainder through free agency. After eliminating the two defensive positions he specifically mentioned, that means we’re looking at 2-3 new forwards for the 2014-15 Edmonton Oilers.

The Depth Chart Today

The future up front

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Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
David Perron Sam Gagner Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Jesse Joensuu
Luke Gazdic Mark Arcobello Tyler Pitlick
Anton Lander Steve Pinizzotto

The 14 names above represent what in my view is the Oilers’ most likely forward depth chart today. We can add a trio of likely minor-leaguers to the list – Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton, and newly signed Iiro Pakarinen – if we want to be thorough and be reasonably confident we have the legitimate NHL options surrounded.

To this group we can potentially add the player the Oilers will get if they keep the No. 3 overall selection in this year’s draft. If they keep the pick the player will compete for an NHL job, and with the possible exception of Sam Bennett my guess is that he’d likely end up on the roster.

MacTavish’s aim is set pretty high – three new forwards represents an entire line of NHL talent – although there are going to be subtractions along the way, too.

The Shopping List


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My guess is that the Oilers have identified the following positions as being in need of help:

Second line centre. No newsflash here. Sam Gagner is a dead man walking if the rumour mill can be believed, and the Oilers may not want to bank on whoever they draft being ready for major-league action. If I were betting, I’d say plausible free agent targets include Mikhail Grabovski, David Legwand and maybe Brad Richards.

Third line wing. Potentially the Oilers could get this player back in a hypothetical Gagner deal, but free agency has a bunch of players who can play minutes on the wing and it isn’t so strong in centres. Plausible targets include Nikolai Kulemin, David Moss, Daniel Winnik, Brenden Morrow, Devin Setoguchi, Benoit Pouliot, and maybe Blake Comeau.

Third line centre. This is the position I imagine the Oilers would address in a potential Gagner trade, and the names being batted in the rumour mill would work – Colin Wilson out of Nashville or Josh Bailey from the Islanders. There are also some potential free agent grabs: Steve Ott, Vernon Fiddler, Marcel Goc, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, Michal Handzus and the sure to be overpaid Dave Bolland.

When a Plan Comes Together

If all goes well, the Oilers’ NHL forward depth chart would look something like this:

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Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
David Perron [New Player] Nail Yakupov
[New Player] [New Player] Mark Arcobello
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Jesse Joensuu
Luke Gazdic Anton Lander Tyler Pitlick

*Luke Gazdic may not be ready to start the season, which could potentially open the door for both of Lander and Pitlick to make the team out of camp.

Whether or not that’s good enough is going to depend on who MacTavish lands to fill those vacant spots, but if we’re right on the plan it’s as ambitious as Oilers fans could ask for.


  • paul wodehouse

    The way I see it we only need 2 positions filled……..but filled out with quality players.

    2nd line centre, which in effect pushes Gagner down the roster line-up…….wing maybe?

    1st pairing defenceman…….this can only be done if a trade is involved. The last time Mac T went defenceman hunting he landed the smallest, least effective defenceman on the Bruins……..I’m not holding out any hope on this one.

    Perhaps the best we can do is sign a UFA for a couple of years and wait for our crop of defenceman to mature?

  • Just about everybody is of the opinion that if we draft a centre in the #3 slot that they should automatically go back to Junior.

    If we draft Draisaitl at #3 I believe he could play the wing for a year similar to the way Galchenyuk has been handled by the Habs. This will allow him to acclimatize himself to the NHL at the less demanding wing position. At the same time he provides a winger with size and offensive talent.

    I simply don’t think that using him in this manner would be detrimental to his development or to the hockey club.

    I would be interested in other peoples thoughts on this approach.

    • I actually think if we draft him and either replace or don’t give up Gagner, then why not create a brand new soft minutes third line. The Gordon line already eats the second most difficult minutes in the entire league. Our fourth line was a rotating disaster that leaked chances. And depending on the night, our top line got shut down and the Gagner Yak combo was disastrous. Keep our top line as power on power, give Gordon and Hendricks another big defensive winger for the current role of shut down line. Put Yak with Draisaitl on the soft minutes sheltered third line. That way you only need to give Gagner a better more experienced winger which should help shore up some of his defensive lapses, especially with Perron who was great defensively. And then you could give the young third line a veteran big body winger of their own to help stabilize. With all the buy outs and UFA options, there is no shortage of one second line RW, one Third line vet LW, and one fourth line big body two way shut down winger.

      If those names were say, Vrbatta, Heatly/Penner, and Winnik or Downie, then congratulations, the average size of the forwards is now in the park of the big western contenders. You have three actual lines with one incredibly effective shut down line. You split up the worst duo on the team in Yak and Gagner, and given Yak some relief from the pressure situations. And finally, you didn’t trade anyone to get this group.

  • Huh, lots of buyouts going on. It’s really starting to saturate the UFA market. I know Mac T said the market this year was full of second tier guys who will end up making first tier money cause there’s no one else, but with the buy outs happening it looks like some bigger names are landing on the open market. Not to mention guys like Thorton, Kessler, and Spezza all on the trade block. This is nothing but good for a team like Edmonton searching for help up the middle.

    Also, anyone be keen to go the offer sheet route? I know it’s like an unspoken rule but for a team like Edmonton no longer needing high end draft picks, but real NHL talent and no easy answers, it might be the way to go. Perhaps an offer sheet to O’Reily?

    • pkam

      The 4 western Canadian teams top Spezza NT list so forget about him.

      Kesler and Thorton will cost us a fortune to acquire and I don’t think any of them will consider Edmonton.

      Avs has already filed arbitration for O’Reily which means teams cannot sign him to an offer sheet anymore.

      What else?

      • I didn’t think Spezza, Thorton, or Kessler would come here. But that would take other teams who go after those guys out of the running on other guys like Brad Richards, David Legwand, Paul Stasny.

        As for O’reily, from TSN:

        “O’Reilly is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. The other 29 NHL clubs are still eligible to sign O’Reilly to an offer-sheet between July 1 and July 5 despite the filing, a change that was made in the collective bargaining agreement signed in January, 2013.”

        So there ya go.

        • pkam

          Sorry I didn’t know the rule changed in the new CBA.

          O’Reilly is making 6.5M now thanks to the stupid offer sheet by Calgary? He is still a RFA and if I remember correctly, Avs have to add at least 5% to re-sign him. So how much are we going to offer sheet him? 7M (can we offer sheet for less)? And give up 2 1st rounders + a 2nd and a 3rd? For O’Reilly?

          • I’m pretty sure you can offer sheet him to whatever you want. I don’t think previous years salaries affect new offer sheets. I could be wrong about that but that makes sense. The offer sheet is always higher than the players last year salary because that’s what ti takes to force the club to let the player go. If the avs currently want to pay him 5, why not offer sheet him to six and see if he’d like to come play on a team where he won’t be buried behind Duchene, Mckinnon, and likely Stasny if he goes back.

            The only real issue is that Colorado has the cap room to match the offer, so in that case give the offer some serious term since I doubt Colorado can keep O’Reily, Stasny, Duchene, and Mckinnon on long term. That would wreck their club. Sure he’s pricey but Edmonton finally gets that second line centre they’ve been pinning for. He’s in the 200 lb range, can win face-offs, had good numbers last year, and is known for two way play.

            Paying your top two centres 6 mill and 6.5 mill even in the current NHL is a discount.

          • pkam

            I think under the CBA, a team cannot pay a RFA less than the existing salary which means he will get at least 6.5M if Avs want to re-sign him. So why would he want to sign an offer sheet which pays him less? Will you?

            That is probably why the Avs bring him to arbitration hoping to pay him less.

  • paul wodehouse

    “…After another playoff flop…” where in your world does Joe Thornton end up if he can’t bring SanJose to the promise land…take all his regular season points and put them up in lights (u already did) but who wants a guy who’s 35 in 2weeks making that much money and not delivering (3pts in 7 games this year)…and remember…I never wanted him to accept a trade to Edmonton AB Canada

    • Zarny

      It’s a short list indeed and very similar to the teams Spezza and Kesler might end up on.

      Ana, Chi, StL are probably the top 3 options. Essentially any team that could win now. Lots of teams would be interested but Thornton likes the Cali lifestyle and unless there is a fan revolt I don’t see him getting traded.

      • paul wodehouse

        …mentioning the other two is interesting but I agree that jumbo doesn’t go anywhere…age and ask too high…Spezza I say gets buried in a Pheonix and Kesler finds his talents in sunny Miami far far away from the wet coast…all three have no “here’s the guy who takes us to the next level pedigree” mostly because none of them have been to that next level…last one I remember or care about was Ray Bourque…truly a guy who needed to win a Cup.

    • Craig1981

      San Jose went to SEVEN games against the team that won the cup. Not a flop and nothing to be ashamed about. If you get that close you don’t need to tear down your team. Iginla, Roenick, Lindros, Kariya, Bure, Alfredson, Neely, never won a cup and if I was a GM is would take them all

      …..Funny thing off the top of my head 4 of the 6 went to game 7 of a stanley cup, do you believe if they would of won that single game they would of been worth way more to other teams? That they would of gone from someone that “can’t bring ‘their team’ to the promise land ” to a leader?

      • I’d say blowing a 3 game series lead for only the fourth time in NHL playoff history is a huge flop. Especially since the sharks have a reputation of choking. That is the biggest choke since the Leafs gave up a 3 goal lead against Boston.

        • paul wodehouse

          …ask any ONE of the list (6 of 7 Iggy’s still in it) you mention what their biggest regret was/is in their respective careers…to a man they would ALL say NOT winning a Cup…

          …it’s ALL that matters !!!

          p.s. some of the regret Neely might have wore off a bit three years ago the day before yesterday when his Bruins won the Cup while he was the Prez…

          • Craig1981

            That isn’t “ALL” that matters. Would you take Craig Municaeer career over Pavel Bure’s because he won 2 cups to Bure’s zero?

            I never said players don’t want to win a cup, I said a player doesn’t drastically loose value if he hasn’t won one by 35.

          • paul wodehouse

            Craig1981…k so add players to your list in that Muni got his name on the Cup the same way Kyle Clifford got his name on the Cup this year…Bure still has zero Cups…actually you did ASK if their worth would go way up if they had won “that single game” and I said yes…(((“…do you believe if they would of won that single game they would of been worth way more to other teams?…”)))
            …ultimate success in NHL is at times based on whether you/your team won a Stanley Cup and even sometimes players who are deserving of induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame don’t make it because they never won a Stanley Cup…

            …I stand by what I said
            …winning a Cup? it’s ALL that matters

  • Zarny


    You can sign Ryan O’Reilly to an offer sheet and it’s something Edm should at least consider; but it comes at a cost.

    Highly likely O’Reilly signs for something between $5,046,585 to $6,728,781 which means you give up a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft pick to Colorado.

    Trading for and resigning O’Reilly may cost less.

    • Indeed, but Colorado has no incentive to trade him. Their filling of arbitrations shows that they don’t want to trade him, so if they are going to lose him, then they’re going to lose him for an overpay from another club.

      All these picks I assume would be in future years as well? Meh, getting O’Reily would almost certainly negate Gagner, which means we could get some of those picks back in trades going the other way.

      Basically giving up Gagner and our 2015 first overall for a player a team doesn’t want to trade. Is there a better player this package could land? Obviously I’d try and overpay in dollars for Stasny or Legwand or Richards before trying this, but baring those successful options, I think the team might be looking at making a really tough choice. With 30 other teams trying to improve, there just doesn’t seem like an easy way to improve the club, so it might be time to start looking at some hard ways to do it.

  • Zarny


    It all depends on what happens with Stastny. If they lose Stastny to free agency O’Reilly becomes more valuable to the Avs. If they resign Stastny I don’t think they’ll be able to carry MacKinnon, Duchene, Stastny and O’Reilly on big contracts. They would certainly be moving someone to the W.

    Colorado’s incentive to trade O’Reilly vs losing him to an offer sheet would be a preference for players/prospects vs 3 draft picks.

    With Col already being loaded at C they aren’t going to be interested in Sam Gagner.

    • No certainly not, I was thinking you could trade Sam to a different team if you got O’Reily. Hence why I like the idea as you gain a real player for picks, then use an expendable player to trade for some of those picks back, or help somewhere else.

      Say for example you get O’Reily and miracle of miracles end up drafting Ekblad. Well then you could really look at the proposed Umberger for Gagner trade. Then down the middle we’d have Nuge, O’Reily, Umberger, and Gordon. For defence the team would then only need two things to have one of the best D cores in the league: time and proper development.

      Our forwards are way bigger, especially if you add a UFA 2nd line wing and a UFA 3rd line wing.

      I think in a very short period of time this puts Edmonton into contention.

      Sure, a lot has to line up but again, no easy roads.

      • pkam

        I’ll go for it if we can offer sheet O’Reilly for around 5M but I doubt O’Reilly will sign an offersheet less than 6M, nor Avs will let him go for around 5M.

        And no Umberger, I’ll rather keep Gagner. At 4.6M, there should be better options.

    • Zarny

      You mean opposed to the $5.25M the Flames are paying Dennis Wideman lol?

      Or the $4M the Flames are paying David Jones or the $3.125M they have to shell out for Matt Stajan?

      As an Oiler fan…giddy indeed!

      • The Last Big Bear

        There’s nothing wrong with Matt Stajan’s contract. He’s a hard-minutes defensive centre, who’s basically the same as Boyd Gordon in terms of minutes, age, salary, and defensive ability, except that Matt Stajan’s career-worst production is better than Gordon’s career-best.

        Dennis Wideman is a 35-40 point defender, 2 years removed from being an All-Star, and is overpaid by about 25%. On a team that is currently below the cap FLOOR.

        The Oilers on the other hand have about as much money already committed to their forwards next year as the Flames have committed for their entire team.

        Edmonton’s forward payroll is higher than Chicago, higher than LA, higher than Pittsburgh, etc.

        Even if Gagner is on his way out, adding an overpaid UFA forward with term has very significant implications for the Oilers, who are already in the running for having the most expensive forward group in the entire NHL.

      • Zarny

        Easy to get giddy about other teams’ issues. Harder for Oilers though, as Wideman would probably be Oilers best defenseman, David Jones a huge presence and upgrade to the 2nd line, and Stajan easily fitting as 2C, if not pushing RNH down the depth chart. Well…. at least if better overall play and consistent effort meant something to Oilers rather than individual points and lackadaisical DGAS attitudes.

        • Zarny

          Wideman wouldn’t be Edmonton best D but he’s certainly better than Belov, Grebeshkov etc.

          @ $5.25M per year though? No thanks lol.

          There is no reality where Jones and Stajan are anything better than 3rd line players. Stajan’s pro-rated production over 82 games the last 4 years is 33, 24, 43 and 42 pts. At best, he’s a poor man’s Sam Gagner.

          Jones’ isn’t even worth listing.

          • pfff, anybody with half a brain would take Stajan in a heartbeat over gagner. Besides the first two years you list are when Sutter had him trapped on the 4th line for no reason. Stajan is a solid player, the kind that would make Gagner look terrible if he was on the same team. Also a 40pt player on the flames is a little different than most teams. Pretty darn good actually.

          • As I stated earlier, since you primarily focus on points Stajan doesn’t cut it in your view. There are other things than pts, like shut-down defense, consistent play, and leadership! He’d be a BIG upgrade on Gagner overall. Its no wonder the Oilers are where they are, seems management has a similar mentality.

  • A-Mc

    Could Sam Gagner get you a 1st (20-30) and a 2nd in a trade? He’s very young still and Despite what we say about him here, his ability to put up 40-50 pts (Maybe more on a good team) is undeniable. If you’re taking a couple low % picks in #25-30 and 55-60 and turning it into an actual NHL player with 10+ years left in him, It might be something to look at.

    Plan of attack:
    Offer sheet RO’R, signing him long term @6m/yr.

    Trade Gagner for a 1st and 2nd (Late round picks) to a contending team.

    Ultimate trade looks like this: O Reilly for Gagner + 3rd

    Doesn’t look half bad to me!

  • Zarny


    1) You’re still giving up the 2015 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks for O’Reilly which is a lot. I like O’Reilly but that’s a lot.

    2) It’s extremely unlikely the Oilers draft Ekblad. Any team who moves up to #1 will take him and if Florida holds the pick they likely take him too.

    3) I wouldn’t touch Umberger with my worst enemy’s d*ck. He’s a 1st round pick who did nothing until he was 25. He had a few good years in his prime (25-29) and now he’s back to being a bum whose legs are shot.

    • A-Mc

      not “The” 2015 1st pick. “A” 2015 1st round pick.

      If the Oilers can trade for the #30 pick, that works too i believe. OUR 2015 pick will be valuable as it’ll likely be in the top 5 again; but we dont have to send them ours i dont think

      *****UPDATE *****
      MY MISTAKE. Apparently the picks DO have to be your own. Ignore my previous RO’R offer sheet posts.

      • Craig1981

        Nope, you are mistaken. You have to send them your pick. That is why teams have had to sometimes reacquire their picks for offer sheets. Like the Oilers did for Penner.

        In the McDavid draft I don’t think a team that has picked 1st, 1st, 1st, 7th, 3rd should be moving their pick unless it is protected (which you can’t do on an offer sheet) Plus it is apparently a very strong draft year besides McDavid

        • A-Mc

          Ah crap. If it’s your pick, then ya that’s no good. our 1st is almost a lock to be top 5 (in all seriousness at this point), which is already almost 1-1 in value for ROR.

          No offer sheet for R. O’Reilly.

          MY MISTAKE!

      • Zarny

        Until the Oilers have more than one 2015 1st round pick it’s “the” 2015 1st pick which as you pointed out could very well be top 5 again.

        And while certainly not impossible, good luck obtaining another 2015 1st round pick considering McDavid and Eichel are available and it’s considered a very deep draft.

        Edit: As mentioned it has to be your own pick.

    • Meh, picks are picks, they’re not going to make the Oilers a contender. Not to mention, I really feel like the cupboards a pretty much stocked right now. The club could do with a year of not drafting a high end prospect to undo the development log jam.

      I really think this is just media hype. Let me ask you this, is Ekblad a better projection on defence than Jones? I would say no, and he fell to 4 after guys like Barkov and Drouin. Sure there’s no Mckinnon, but I would say Draisaitl, Reinheart and Bennet are projecting better than Barkov and Drouin. Not to mention the endless history of 1st overall defencemen who don’t work out.

      I just don’t see it playing out the way all of TSN thinks it will because it rarely ever does.

      As for Umberger, I don’t know I don’t really watch the guy. I would agree with you that Gagner is a better player, but I don’t think he makes Edmonton a better team, especially in the west where size is king. As a third line centre, he brings size and veteran presence, with way less defensive liability. Nuge, O’Reily, Umberger, and Gordon is some pretty deep centre with a good mix of everything. I would do that deal in a heart beat.

      • Craig1981

        The Oilers don’t pick between 3rd overall and 91st. I think they have had their year without picks and remember 2015 is apparently a very strong draft year.

        side note: Buffalo who has 3 1st round picks, and two 2nds may look to have a better rebuild with Pysyk, McCabe, Zadorov, and Ristolainen, set to develop on the back end, by the time their forwards they will pick in the next 2 years do.

        • Good point for sure. And it is going to be another great draft year next year where picks are sure to be hot commodities. But again, the team does not have the luxury of time, and it really seems time to make something happen.

          As for doing a better rebuild, well only time will tell. Personally I think the Oilers model is only now kicking in simply because while drafting our top end talent, every other pick was being wasted. Our rebuild should have really gotten started the Gagner year when they had 3 first round picks.

          It’s years like that which can either make or break a rebuild. Instead the Oilers have done I guess a good job with their first overall, then only recently done well with later picks.

          But a team like Chicago has drafted 13 players on their team, plus a guy like Buf. That kind of drafting in later rounds is why they are successful, and the Oilers’ failure is why they are still at the bottom.

          But still, all this gloom and doom, who knows what some competent goal tending and a year of the same coach could do for this team. I know we’ve been saying it every single year, but I can’t imagine the Oilers picking top five again next year.

          • Craig1981

            I don’t think every other pick has been wasted. I think the fact the had only one prospect in their system prior to the rebuild is what hurt them. Pitlick, Simpson, Moroz, Khaira, Marincin, Musil, Chase, and Klefbom are all developing and some will make the team in the next 1-4 years.

            Go to hockeydb and look at the players taken outside of the 1st round since the rebuild. It takes till 21-23 for most of them to make impacts. IMO

          • Yes, they are all tracking well, but they are also all outside when the Oilers should have been drafting deeper picks to surround the now superstars with an actual team. But even having said that, it’s still unclear how good these guys will be. They may be bottom pair defenders, fourth line guys, or who knows. Point being the earliest pick on this list Pitlick is in talks to maybe see some fourth line time this year and he was drafted in 2010. By now the Oilers should have graduated a lot more legitimate hockey players than just a few cups of coffee. Also again 2007 1st round. I know hindsight yadda yadda, but our scouting department missed out on Couture, Shattenkirk, McDonagh, Sutter, Pacioretty, Suban, etc.. Instead we got Gagner, Plante, and Reily Nash who was recently traded for the pick that turned into Marincin. So if Marincin pans out, then only by association will the 2007 draft look somewhat okay.

      • Zarny

        I fully support using the 2014 3rd overall or 2015 1st round pick as trade bait. Just not sure Ryan O’Reilly is the right return for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick. There may be a better deal available.

        I agree Ekblad is not a better prospect than Jones. His Jr. numbers align with Zack Bogosian and in many years Ekblad would be the 2-4th D drafted.

        Based on comments I don’t think Florida even considers Ekblad the best prospect over the long run; but they want to win right away and Ekblad is the most NHL ready prospect available. So teams looking to trade up will go for Ekblad and Florida’s desire to win right away pushes them to Ekblad. It’s not impossible he falls to 3 but it’s looking very unlikely.

        Umberger was playing 4th line in Columbus and looked atrocious this year. His legs are shot and he looks like a very old 32. At $4.6M for 3 more seasons I want nothing to do with him. Personal preference perhaps.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    let’s keep in mind with the UFA offer sheets that we have offered players more to come here in past years and they have turned us down. just because we offer it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically take it.

    • pkam

      From my understanding, you negotiate with the player’s agent the same way as UFA. But you can’t sign RFAs to a contract like you do with UFAs, you sign them to offer sheet after the two parties agree to the terms of the proposed contract, then you let the team owning his right to have a chance to match it. So if the two parties cannot come to an agreement, there is no offer sheet.

    • Also a good point. However, he did accept an offer sheet from Calgary which makes me think two things. Either he accepted hoping Colorado would match it which screws over Colorado, or O’Reily is looking for money and term and not necessarily a contending team. Plus, Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Perron, O’Reily, Umberger, Gordon, Hendricks, Yak, Scrivens, Fasth, and whoever we get through UFA and the draft? That’s getting pretty outrageous on paper. I think O’Reily could look at that and see something amazing happening.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        i always wondered if a player signs these offer sheets if they are gambling that the team they are with will match? then they can be outrageously paid while playing with the team they really want to be with anyways. though i guess their agent will warn them about signing the thing and having their team NOT match, then having to go play for a team you may not want to actually play for.

  • paul wodehouse

    Make Markov,and Stastny offers they can’t turn down,spend Katz’s money like a drunken sailor,it’s the least he could do for the loyal fans that still fill his building.

    • Zarny

      In a cap world you can’t do that.

      Look at the problems Pit has with Crosby and Malkin on the books for $8.7M and $9.5M respectively.

      Stastny is talking about 6 yr @ $6.6M from Colorado. How close to Sidney Crosby’s salary do you want to get for the services of Paul Stastny?

    • pkam

      I don’t think Katz ever tried to save money, but you can’t spend over the salary cap. I think the team spent up to within 2M from the cap limit at season start this year.

      And sometime money can’t get you everything. We all know David Clarkson signed with the Leafs for less. I also heard that Matt Hendricks turn down more money from Oilers to sign with Predators.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      though he failed with Joensuu, Gazdick, Larsen, Fraser, Belov, Horak, Grebeshkov, Omark, Brown, and LaBarbera as bottom end players, to his credit he succeeded with Hendricks, Gordon and to a certain extent, Ference, as well as apparently solving the goaltending problem. i hope he doesn’t spend too much time this year on the bottom end players and concentrates a bit more on trying to get a top end d-man and an upgrade on Gagner at center.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      There’s not enough cap space left to deal with this issue sufficiently.

      Edmonton may be far better off rolling just 3 lines and 3 sets of D as units. Eliminate the 4th line. Their 5-8 minutes a night could easily be absorbed by other lines. Puck tradition. There’s nothing traditional about the issues involved in this market.

      • Well that’s not true. If they draft Draisaitl and start him on the third line with Yak, then all they need to do is get a 3rd line LW and a second line RW (depending on where Perron actually plays). I would say there is plenty of cap room for that.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Perhaps Florida and Buffalo take notice how hockey fans up here have bought into this whole hope based angle the Oilers are milking. Maybe, after witnessing what Edmonton hockey fans have seen, they choose to go for the potential elite offensive forwards available in those attention getting 1st and 2nd spots. Offense, or in the Oilers case, perceived offense does tend to sell tickets, or has sure done so here.

    60/40 chance the Oilers still get Ekblad.

    • Sorensenator

      The amount you have to give up to acquire current elite level players isn’t worth it. One of the last teams to do it was Montreal bringing in Gomez, Gionta, and Cammalleri and they only have one player left. Even if it doesn’t cost you any prospects and draft picks, you are still eating up a tonne of cap space for players who won’t be with your organization for very long. Not the way to go.

      All the good teams today have built from within and developed their own players. I dare not need to make a list, you know who they are.

    • Zarny

      I think that’s wishful thinking.

      Florida wants to win now so their first choice is to trade the pick. Anyone trading up to 1st overall is taking Ekblad.

      Ekblad may not be the consensus BPA but he’s the consensus most NHL ready prospect. So given that Florida wants to win now, if they can’t trade the pick it’s highly likely they take Ekblad.

      It’s not impossible Ekblad falls to 3 but it’s highly unlikely this year.

      Which is fine. Even money Ekblad becomes Zack Bogosian opposed to Alex Pietrangelo.

  • A-Mc

    I’m still waiting for MacT/Katz to agree to acquire a player + 2nd/3rd round picks in exchange for using our 2nd Compliance buy out in a trade.

    Trade a player to EDM, EDM buys them out and the player re-signs with original team for less money.

    Edm gets a player (Of unknown quality dependent on buy out) and 2nd/3rd round picks in this years draft.

    The trade partner gets out from under a steep contract while still retaining the player they want.

    The player gets a nice chunk of change up front which should coax them into signing for lesser appropriate money.

    These are the kind of bold moves MacT should make in order to better the Oilers!

      • Quicksilver ballet

        What happens if the team who trades for this player for the purposes of a compliance buyout, also has no further interest in the player as well?

        The Oilers could still be compensated (couple of draft picks) by the original club for providing this service, no?

        Unless there’s a clause in the CBA stipulating you can’t buy out a player you didn’t originally sign, or recently traded for. This may be a loophole/opportunity to purchase more draft selections.

          • A-Mc

            Yes this is what i thought. That is why the player needs to be traded first before being bought out.

            So my scenario for EDM should work.

            Its a unique way to turn $$ into picks/players for a team that needs a boost.

          • Craig1981

            You want to spend millions for a couple picks?!?!? Katz has money, but not that much. Plus it could be much better used elsewhere… say nothing of these “loopholes” posts try and find would most likely be considered “salary cap circumvention” by the league (see kovachuk signing)

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I’m a little tentative with those last two words “I believe” there Will.

            Might be better to wait and see what Zarny has to say on this topic.

        • Zarny

          There is no clause and the Oilers do have 1 remaining compliance buy out.

          So theoretically the Oilers could, for example, trade a 5th round pick for a bad contract + 3rd round pick with the specific intentions of buying the contract out.

          It’s possible but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunities out there.

          • v4ance


            The NHL closed a loophole for compliance buyouts after some clever bargaining between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

            According to the New York Post, the two clubs discussed a deal that would send centre Vincent Lecavalier and an asset – possibly a draft pick – to the Leafs. Toronto would then buy out Lecavalier’s massive contract and Tampa Bay would sign him to a more modest deal.

            The collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from re-signing players they’ve bought out for one year. Upon hearing of the potential deal between the Leafs and Lightning, the NHL ruled such a scheme would circumvent the CBA.

      • A-Mc

        Are you sure?

        They cannot re-sign with the club that bought them out, but if the player is traded to a team that buys them out, they should be free to re-sign with their original team.

        LA trades Richards to EDM (plus another player + picks). EDM Buys out Richards. Richards re-signs with LA.

        This should be legal from what i’ve read on twitter and I swear i’ve seen a member of MSM suggest it should happen if a team gets desperate.

        • Zarny

          My understanding is what you proposed would be allowed.

          Here is the thing…Richards is owed $29M over the next 6 years.

          With your scenario it would be the Oilers (ie. Katz) who are on the hook for 2/3 of the contract ($19.333M) spread out over 12 years.

          I’m not sure Katz or any owner is all that keen to spend $1.611M for the next 12 years for whatever player or pick LA would give up even if the $1.611M doesn’t count against the cap.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            What if the deal was for Richards and a Krieder/a player the Rangers are willing to sacrifice type as additional incentive? Even send a Joensuu back the other way.

            Certainly silly type money up for discussion here, but there has to be one opportunity the Oilers could use to sell/take full advantage of that comp buyout. Was hoping the was a better opportunity than the 5th for a 3rd. If that’s the incentive, then it’s hardly worth the investment.

          • A-Mc

            I tend to agree with you; its a steep price to pay. That said, players are paid a zillion dollars to not play for their clubs anymore. That equates to a significant $ value paid out for 0 return other than cap space. Players are signed with insane signing bonuses for no other reason than to acquire them. UFA’s often make 1+ more than they are worth on the market because GM’s/owners are willing to pay.

            The point is, is that there are any number of scenarios where a team with money will throw money at players in order to make the team better; Whoring out your compliance buy out is 1 way to turn $$ into something, where that Something couldn’t otherwise be obtained.

            In my LA scenario, what if LA sent over a 3M/yr player, a 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2014 draft, so that the Oilers could buy out M.Richards.

            1.6M/yr + 3M/yr = 4.6M/yr payment on a player worth 3M. Add in a 2nd and 3rd rnd pick that the Oilers are lacking. Is it an overpayment for that 1 player? Yes. Could the oilers have acquired this player/picks with $$ alone in any other way? no. You’d only get those things by sending a Gagner the other way.

            It’s pricy but if the owner is in a cash positive situation and they want to reclaim some cache around town: something like this could go a long way to proving you mean business. Fans would appreciate it.

          • A-Mc

            Part #2:

            The question now is why would LA do this compliance buyout deal sending over a 3M/yr player + 2nd/3rd.

            Richards is a pretty kick ass 3rd/4th line Centerman and LA will want to continue to win Cups but they need to bring down that 5.75M/yr cap hit.

            If the deal is such that after being bought out, richards will re-sign with the club for 2M/yr for 6 years (Fulfilling his 6yr initial commitment), LA would be reclaiming 3.75M in cap space (6.75M/yr including the player that was sent the other way).

            Richards will get his 19M as well as an additional 12M (31M total) while still being on a Stanley cup winning team. He makes 2M more money. LA Frees up some needed cap space. Edm gets a player + 2 picks. Katz gets a city that finally has something positive to say about him. Mac T has his Bold Move. And at the end of the day everyone involved feels like they have made their situation better.

            I sure hope SOMEONE is trying to pull off something like this.

  • Zarny


    I live in Calgary and have watched Stajan play quite a few times.

    He’s brutal. His skating is worse than Gagner’s as is his offensive upside. Stajan’s 200 ft game is marginally better than Gagner’s but both are terrible at FO. Stajan is also 30 so enjoy the decline in his offense now that he’s past his prime. A decline from 40 pts. Gagner on the other hand is 24 and has played 1 yr in his prime.

    • Craig1981

      Stajan may be older, but he’s much more defensively responsible and is a guy that works his butt off. Gagner on the other hand is more suited to 3rd line duty than what he has been getting his entire career to this point and will likely suffer numbers wise when someone smart puts him in that position. Like back in the day when Val Bure was the flames top scorer, you could have said he was a 70pt player back then but on other teams….not so much.

  • Lets see . Vanc. offers up Burrows or Edler for swap of picks in first round . Oilers add Vrbada and J. Jokinen . Oilers trade for B.Marchand and C.Stewart . Oilers draft J. Virtanen at number 6 . What does it spell – playoffs for next year.

  • The league has to approve any trade before it is official. They have the right to block any trade. I imagine if Bettman saw Richards and a 3rd for a 5th he might think something is fishy. Plus why would the kings trust KLOWE to actually buy him out? What’s stopping him from keeping the player and the pick? Not sure that would work with any gm besides maybe Slats. He’s the only guy that would trust Lowe

      • pkam

        Better chat with some Canucks fans and see what they say about Booth.

        I read the CBC blog and hardly any Canucks fans there who don’t want to get rid of him.

        I guess you are having the mentality that Manfly described.

        • Just a Fan

          I live in Vancouver and watch all the games with my wife, I can tell you that it’s a lot like the Horcoff situation, the fans and the players all like Booth, it’s his contract nobody likes

      • Zarny

        The price to pick up Booth on waivers today is half his salary. What is that, 2.1ish? And it would stick the Canucks with the other 2.1 of his salary for this year blocking the compliance buyout. Wouldn’t it? Why aren’t we picking him up on waivers TODAY?

  • Zarny


    Claiming Booth off waivers is at full salary/cap, so $4.75M real dollars and 4.25cap for next year.

    You’re thinking of(now defunct) re-entry waivers(half salary/cap)

    He might be worth a look at the right price. I wonder if the concussions are still an issue

    • Zarny

      Makes sense. My bad. Ya at that price, no way. Booth just isn’t a top six guy anymore and his concussions make him a gamble. After he gets bought out, and at 1.5-2 he would be worth a shot. I think he would be open to living in Edmonton, I hear he hunts in northern AB

  • Chongler

    Sadly (for faithful Oilers fans) that third line looks vastly improved :). That would be my focus for the forward ranks as I’m not sure how much better a second line center the Oilers can realistically get this summer (I believe Gagner will have a bounce back season even though he is not the ideal second line center).

    Then sign Stralman and trade for Byfuglien!

  • Chongler

    Is the exact same picture of MacT recycled for every article about him promising change, or does he have a sponsorship from Botox treatment?
    I am not on the fire Craig boat quite yet, but DAMN does everything this guy says come off as a warm glass of milk?
    Even the promise of change looks like he is sweating his life, and doesn’t believe what he is saying.

  • Chongler

    You can at least applaud the passion of a Torterela, the sweaty no sleep look of a Burk.. but our staff look and sound like the main characters in some zomnbie movie?? Zero character or excitement for future change… just monotone promises and comments. it’s depressing.