“Pending restricted free agent Taylor Hall”

4-Hall-13

By now, the Edmonton Oilers getting slammed for their willingness to pay young players early is a bit of a tradition. It goes back to Brian Burke complaining about the Penner offer sheet and it basically hasn’t stopped since. 

The counterargument is that phrase in the title. If Edmonton had signed its kids to the two-year bridge deals which are so popular around the league, Taylor Hall would be one year away from RFA status and three years away from unrestricted free agency.

The latest attack on the Oilers’ system of signing its players comes from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks. I’m not going to go through it line-by-line; suffice to say that we agree on some things (in particular Justin Schultz’s contract being illogical) and disagree on others.

The primary place we disagree is this paragraph:

But for no discernible reason whatsoever, the Oilers under Kevin Lowe’s watch have doled out a flurry of questionable second contracts to players straight out of Entry Level lacking any leverage, including the twin seven-year, $42 million deals with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Leverage

The Oilers can’t actually take credit for the strategy of signing first overall picks to big dollars before the end of their respective entry-level deals. Both the New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks did the same with John Tavares and Patrick Kane (in Chicago’s case, Jonathan Toews got the same treatment). There’s a method behind the madness.

The following breaks down how team-friendly each stage of the career of a first overall pick (or any other top prospect to make the team before their age 21 season) is:

  • First three years: Entry-level deal, very team-friendly 
  • Fourth year: RFA without arbitration rights, somewhat team-friendly
  • Fifth through seventh years: RFA with arbitration rights, increasingly unfriendly to teams
  • Eighth year through end of career: UFA, where teams pay through the nose

Lots of teams believe in what used to be called the “second contract” and what these days is generally referred to as a “bridge deal.” Once the player’s safe entry-level deal is done, this is the point where the team has more leverage than it will ever have again, and so teams often opt to push the player hard to sign a two-year contract. The two-year contract is the rule because it a) eats up a year where the player has arbitration rights and b) still gives the team two years before unrestricted free agency.

Moralists are often inclined to say that the team wants to see a player earn his money. In some cases, a lack of belief in the player is a factor, but many times that’s unadulterated horsepucky. A two-year deal is the sweet spot for a team looking to make every penny it can off a young player without letting him get too close to unrestricted free agency. A one-year deal doesn’t maximize the advantage; a three-year deal gives the player the option of getting a one-year deal in arbitration and then leaving via free agency.

I’m not saying teams are wrong to do this, but I don’t believe in moralizing salary negotiations. It would be nice if people (in the general sense; I’m not critiquing Brooks, who talks a lot about leverage in his piece) admitted that it’s all about teams having the hammer and opting to wield it rather than whining about the impertinence of John A. Youngplayer demanding money before he’s paid his dues.

So if a bridge deal is so great for the team, why have the Oilers (and Islanders and Blackhawks) given it up in so many instances?

Distributing the Load

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There’s a simple reason: Teams that pick in the first overall range are bad. This is pretty much true across the board, with the rare exception when some soon-to-be fired executive has traded a lottery pick for a veteran and had his team collapse anyway.

Bad teams all hope and plan to be good teams someday. There’s generally a connection between how good a team is and how much disposable cap space it has; it isn’t a coincidence that the two teams desperately trying to shed dollars before the season starts both have recent championships. So when that bad team lands a guy who is basically a cannot-miss prospect, what’s the logical thing to do? It’s obvious: give him a long-term deal that includes those expensive UFA years.

In the Oilers’ shoes, giving Taylor Hall a two-year bridge deal (at, say, $3.5 million) would have accomplished nothing; the team didn’t lack for cap space. It would have saved a few bucks in the short-term, probably annoyed the player and then been forced to negotiate a new contract this coming summer. Then the team would be forced to come to some sort of arrangement with Hall this coming summer, with Hall having arbitration rights and unrestricted free agency just two years ahead. It would mean a reasonably big payday just as the team hopes to be competing for a playoff spot and more.

If the team managed to get Hall under contract on a five-year deal worth $7.0 million, it would be spending the exact same dollars it did on the seven-year, $42 million contract that Brooks and so many others find objectionable. It would cost the team $1.0 million per year in cap space at a time when that cap space actually matters, and that’s assuming that such a deal were actually possible.

It’s an objectively worse situation for player and team alike. The player deferred getting money to later instead of earlier; the team deferred paying money to when it needs every penny rather than spending it when it had cap space galore. Just for good measure, the relationship between the two parties has potentially been strained by an acrimonious negotiation over a bridge contract and possibly even arbitration once that contract ended. It’s a lose-lose. 

So yes, the Oilers have paid Hall and Nugent-Hopkins before they absolutely had to. But they had good reason.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Grant

    Keep Hall happy.Next contract will be in the 9 – 10 million range.He is the best player on team and in the top 5 – 10 in the league.Should be paid accordingly.

    • Dan 1919

      Schultz and his ego better hope he wins that Norris trophy MacT was talking about or he’ll be ran out of town harder than Horcoff. Which are all good scenarios anyway, he either improves to being all around effective, or we get rid of a guy who’s bad at defence and sometimes good at offence. Plus he’d fetch an NHL player, Oilers can’t get enough of them.

      • Jultz’ defense is underrated IMO.

        He looks god awful on the Vollman Sledgehammer, but don’t forget he’s only responsible for 20% of the ice time that contributes to the color of his bubble. It’s not all that unreasonable to suggest that maybe Ference was a bigger reason for Jultz’ failings.

        It’s clear that Jultz’ defensive game isn’t strong enough to make up for having poor linemates, but that doesn’t mean he was the main reason for the poor shot diff. He just isn’t able to do what pronger did while he was here. And that is push the river no matter your qualcomp or qual line mates.

        Staples’ scoring chance +/- nbrs suggest Jultz was still able to out chance the opposition all year despite being stuck in his own zone for 58% of the time. In the long run, it should be damn near impossible to do that if you’re spending most of the season in your own end. Not so for Jultz. Not sure what the criteria are for Staples’ scoring chance nbrs, but still…

          • If I watch hall play that’s when I don’t understand how he’s not recording a 52% corsi all the time and getting 90+ pts… I use the numbers to keep my bias in check.

            What are you saying? Watching him play somehow makes him the 10th best LWer? 20th? how far down does he have to rank amongst LWers before his contract looks like a brutal overpay?

          • Burnward

            Oh, I think Hall is worth every single penny. Dude is a stud.

            That was a reference to Schultz. That kid is still pretty messy taking care of his own end.

          • agreed. I definitely think Schultz is a mess in his own end… I just think that his offense might be able overcome the defensive deficiencies. Maybe 42% of the shot diff is all that’s required this year for Schultz to outscore the opposition when he’s on the ice…. He doesn’t need much time in the Ozone to start looking dangerous. The problem is that the same goes for the D zone

          • THRNHJE

            Simple. One word “defencemen”. If Taylor Hall even had and average defence such as Vancouvers or even Torontos hed be 50% corsi and 85+ points easy. Im hoping the upgraded defencemen feeding him the puck translates to a monster year for the entire first line this season

      • Serious Gord

        Are you disagreeing with the statement?

        If there is one aspect of management that these contracts are symptomatic of -and there are countless other proofs – is that they are far to optimistic about the players they have and the ones they have coming up.

        They always assume the best will happen. Look at all the disaster this has wrought:

        Horcoff Pisani hemsky gagner dubnyk all were signed for too much and/or were kept on too long.

        The season we have them assuming two backups will develop into at least one starter, that a rookie right out of junior can be 2c, that the a couple of 2/3 dmen can play 1/2 even though they never have, that a coach who was a disaster and a spectacle last year can be an Elite one this year.

        The last thing fans need to be with such pollyannish management is to encourage and defend them.

        • pkam

          Horcoff, Pisani, Dubnyk.

          So your cutting down Mactavish for signings the Oilers made 5+ years ago when he wasnt even with the organization? Your negative BS knows no bounds.

          The puck hasnt even been dropped yet. Lets give them 10 games before the firing squad starts polishing their guns shall we?

          • Serious Gord

            I said “management” not MacT. He is part of the latter and very much has the over optimism bug – and that includes making dubnyk the starter last year.

            There is ZERO evidence that they have changed their ways. So why let up?

          • Managment hey? Correct me if im wrong Gordo but isnt Mac the general MANAGER!!

            Dubnyk being the starter last year was warranted who the hell saw an implosion like the one he showed last year? Especially baded on his earlier numbers. And what does Mac do? Trades for two new goalies. Ditto for Gagner.

            Remove yourself from the abyss

          • Serious Gord

            He is just one of the management organization.

            I did warn/predict that dubnyk was a potential disaster – as others did. That was MacTs fault

            He signed gagner to a ridiculous contract that devalued him to the long that he was given away for peanuts. Again his fault.

            Let’s see what these two goalies do before making any judgements but besides anaheim the oil has the least experienced goaltending tandem in the league. And anaheim has a starter that many think will be a superstar – no one is saying that about the aging Duo the oil have.

          • Oilers4ever

            Umm one of them there goalies you spout off about set a record last year remember? And the oilers don’t have 2nd worst goalie tandem. You’ve lost your marbles if you think they do.

          • Serious Gord

            Based on the numbers – and that’s what the commenter and I are working with – only one of the three so far can be classed as a win. That is not to say that the other two will turn out to be busts nor that hall will definitely be a win for the balance of the whole contract. This to say that these were good moves is far too premature. So far it’s a neutral. And these early years are when they are supposed to be a steal.

        • its nice to see that not everyone is drinking the kool aid at the start of the season. Oiler management is still using their never changing mind set that the fans will give us a chance every year. Without a #2 center and a true #1 D-man we will not make the playoffs again. Mac T did improve our bottom 6 but unless Ebs learns to play some 2 way hockey and RNH learns how to win face offs it looks like it will be up to Hall and Perron to carry us again.
          PS: Calgary sucks

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I see Johansen just got an offer sheet from KHL for 5M for one season . Getting tougher and more expensive to lock up star players on the rise ?

    • Grant

      Look at the money Johanson is asking for now.
      Taylor hall is one of the best players in the league and one day might be better than both Kane and Teows , who just got. $12 million per year.
      Money well spent on Hall if you ask me.
      The Oilers new the salary cap was going up and made a great decision!!!
      Brooks should start covering cricket!

  • Dan 1919

    As said before Hall is a great contract, Ebs is definitely at his peak value @6mil but realistically isn’t signing for much less anywhere else. RNH is not worth 6mil today long term, that could change in a month. Schultz is a brat RFA who took advantage of a team that had no choice but to overpay free agent VETERANS, but he’s only on a one-year anyway, and could possibly out perform that one year contract this year (best case scenario).

    In conclusion, with 2 over payment (Schultz, RNH), Larrry Brooks makes a valid point today. It’s very likely though that six months from now it will be just as easy to look back at Brooks’ arcticle and critisize him for being short cited and tell him it’s best he’s not a GM.

    Even if Schultz ends up being an overpayment, it’s only one year. I think most of still doubt at this point that RNH will be an overpayment.

    • Serious Gord

      Brat? He left because the CBA allowed him to do so. Nothing wrong whatsoever.

      If people don’t like it, the rules should have been changed.

      I questioned Schultz maturity, but after two years, I don’t see this entitled brat you speak of. He seems like a nice guy. He got paid well, and maybe the reality is he probably would not made the same money in Anaheim. I don’t understand begrudging a guy for such.

      • Dan 1919

        Between ditching ANA and this Oilers signing let’s face it, it’s perfectly clear the guy is selfish and strictly concerned about himself. Not surprising and far from unheard of. But, with his attitude I think he places himself square in the crosshairs to either perform, or be heavily scrutinized. And his brash attitude should have been met by Oilers managment, they should have taken him to arbitration where he would have been forced to sign for less.

        Again, if Schultz puts up the points and performs to expectations, the positive payoffs far outway these attittude issues. The problem right now however is that he hasn’t lived up to expectations.

        Hopefully he keeps both hands on the stick this year and doesn’t lose PP offensive zone possesion because he tries to recieve a pass from Hall with one hand.

  • There’s a simple reason: Teams that pick in the first overall range are bad. This is pretty much true across the board, with the rare exception when some soon-to-be fired executive has traded a lottery pick for a veteran and had his team collapse anyway.

    This. This right here deserves you a medal, Mr. Willis.

  • Dan 1919

    Brooks was most critical of the increased base salary for Schultz. He doesn’t mention that Schultz was at the 3.6 mil level with the bonuses he achieved. So there wasn’t a pay raise. The hall and rnh r the only thing they got right

  • Hall, Ebs, and Nuge all have steals for contracts. Not sure Brooksie realizes how lucky the oil are to have those three under the deals they are under right now.

    I VERY much doubt the Oil could get Hall for 7M/YR if they had to negotiate a new contract this year. I believe they’d be looking at something closer to 8M/yr for the game’s most offensive LWer. Same goes for Eberle, who I believe has put up the 5th most points for a RWer over the last 3 seasons behind Kessel, Perry, St.Louis and Kane.

    Even more dangerous would/could be the Nuge contract.

    Chicago paid Kane and Toews 6.3M AAV for five years when the cap started at 54.9M. That contract forced the team to lose several key pieces from their first cup with Kane on the roster. Woops. (I realize the silliness in saying woops when referring to a team that just won a cup… clearly the pony was worth the price)

    Edmonton paid Hall and Eberle 6M when the cap was at 64.3 in 2013-14.

    Although the circumstances are different, and Kane and Toews are a markedly better duo than Hall and Ebs… The hall and ebs contracts are equivalent to 5.1M deals during the year Kane and Toews were signed. Nuge’s deal is equivalent to having a 4.77M contract during the first year of Toews’ and Kane’s contracts. Not to mention the 10.5M contracts those two have right now compared to 6M for Hall and Ebs.

    In my eyes, the easiest counter argument to what I just said is to point to the Oilers’ record last year and chi’s record the first year of Toews’ and Kane’s deals, but I don’t think replacing hall and ebs last year with kane and toews of 2010 would’ve made much difference for the Oil.

    While not all the following contracts can be credited to MacT, they are the reason he was able to overspend on FA’s Pouliot,Fayne, and Nikitin (all currently overpaid) this summer.

    Perron 3.8M
    Hall/Nuge/Ebs 6.0M (18M total)
    Petry 3.08M
    Goaltending Tandem 5.2M

    Those are the best players on the team… and also the best contracts(although petry is on a one year deal and sadly appears to be the piece that will be used to shore up the centre position and make room for Klef/Nurse some time this season… I’m guessing)

    It’s fair to say the oilers are a mess of an organization because they are… but hall nuge and ebs all have great value contracts, and they represent the part of the line up that can often take up over 30% of the cap. In this case they take up 26%. Toews and Kane alone took up 23% of Chi’s cap space during year one of their deals.

  • Now the New York post is even righting and pointing out what bone heads we have for management in Edmonton.

    When will fans in this city realize what every one else in the league is saying. We don’t have great hockey minds, we have an old boys club that everyone laughs at and does not respect.

    This is the reason we will never attract a grade A free agent we need. This won’t happen until the “culture of losing” is changed, which won’t happen until the organization does a clean sweep.

    Get ready for another season of frustration.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      not “everyone else in the league” is entitled to offer up an opinion on how badly the Oilers have been run the last 7 years. the New York Islanders for example have been about as badly run as an organization can be. in the last 20 years, the Isles have missed the playoffs 14 times, including their own 7 year stretch of missing the playoffs from 94/95 to 2000/2001, as well as a more recent stretch of missing 5 years in a row from 07/08 to 11/12.

    • Couple points… …… righting? I hate spelling Nazis but come on.

      Moving on….

      1) Most fans in this city know exactly what everyone else is saying.
      2) Everybody knows why FA’s won’t come here, thanks for the newsflash.

      So you’re saying the oilers need to fire everyone and start winning?

      Tambo, Krueger, Smith, Buchberger gone…

      MacT, Eakins, Ramsay, Thompson in. Checkmark… maybe.

      Start winning…. please god.

      If I know the Oilers, and I think I do, the year that Eichel and McDavid are up for draft should be the year we finish 9th in the west. Therefore still missing the postseason and also missing out on the best available draft picks since malkin, Crosby, and ovechkin.

      So get ready for 9th place. There’s no real logic behind this prediction other than “What would be the worst outcome for the oilers?”

      BecauseOilers

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Now the New York post is even righting and pointing out what bone heads we have for management in Edmonton.

      easier to call someone a bonehead if you…. nevermind

    • Serious Gord

      Ok these comments are getting on my nerves. Free agents in my opinion don’t give a krap Kevin Lowe is in management. Unrestricted players want to be on a WINNING team or who pays more(sometimes). There decision has nothing to do with kevin Lowe being there. These statements are REDICULOUS!

  • passelin

    Nice piece JW.

    David Perron – he’s like the forgotten one when we talk about locking up the talent. They have to sign this guy. He’s gonna have another great year and end up being at least a $6M player.

    • Serious Gord

      I disagree. I dont think 57 points is worth 6 million. But if that is the price its gonna be awfully hard to resign him. Petry will probably be off the books next year so maybe that will help. Hopefully they can lock him up for 3-4 years at 4.5-4.75per

      • Based on the $5M Hemsky and Gagner contract negotiations a couple years ago, a chippy and defensively resposible 60-point guy negotiating with a salary cap rising all around him in a year’s time can ask for $6M with a straight face. Of course, there’s the hip….

  • A few points

    Hall contract after a 2 year bridge would most likely be well north of $7 million per season.

    Maybe Eric Staal type contract. Hall as a top 10 ppg player in his “bridge” years flexes more of the negotiating power to him than the team but essentially allows them first right of refusal on his offers.

    ——-

    Can you give me an example aside from PK that a team has bridged their PP 1 option Defenceman after the end of his ELC contract or at similar games played.

    My main thought is if Schultz had a 3 year ELC and not a 2 then no one would complain at all.

    The fact every team would have given a 3 year ELC at max dollars and Max allowed bonuses to be achieved with ease seems lost now.

    ——–

    The Oilers are getting bad publicity on these contracts solely for the reason that the team hasn’t improved.

    I would imagine that Schultz’s trade value is no worse on a 3.6 million deal than a 2.9. The opposing teams see a skill set that is hard to find.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      If it wasn’t for his offence he would be like Del Zotto. Offensively capable player such MDZ who was so brutal in his own end, he lost playing time. If Schultz regresses that 3.6 is bad, and you have an untradable asset. However, I predict he puts up 50 points, and we forget hoe aweful he is in his own end.

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    Moving forward the only one I really worry about is Yak. With the precedent set for big money to high draft picks with the Hall/Nuge/Ebs contracts, I fear Nail and more so his agent will be expecting the same.

    Now if Nail performs this year and truly turns it around then I have no problem with him getting mad money now – in fact I really hope he does as it will not only be great for him but that will probably mean more wins for the team 🙂

    If however he once again lands in Eakins’ dog house, I expect to see his agent flying to YEG once again to try to pressure management and or publicly state again they are willing to accept a trade. Their argument will be that Yak simply wasn’t given the same opportunity to succeed as 4/93/14 did. Starting out on the 3rd line, and I realize they envision 3 scoring lines here anyway, but the 3rd will most likely get less minutes than the other two. The icing on the cake will be if he doesn’t get much time on PP, or is on the 2nd unit. 1st unit PP’s usually eat 1-1.5 minutes of PP time anyway, leaving the table scraps for the 2nd.

    I’m not endorsing the idea that he gets 1st line minutes simply because of his draft pedigree – but I do hope he is truly given a fair shot – otherwise it will lead to bad blood and resentment.

    • Yup. His opportunities here have not been great.

      Getting 15mins a night and 2PP time …. not normal for a #1 overall, yet he’s still scored at a 20g/82gp over his first 111 gp.

      Yak should be pushing Ebs for the 1RW spot IMO and he should be able to at least prove he can split those minutes and get 17 each instead of 19 to ebs and 15 to him.

      Although if Yak stays on the LW then there’s pretty much zero chance he climbs higher than 2LW… maybe he can still make a case for 1PP RW, but he’s not gonna surpass hall as the 1LW.

    • You may be raising a valid concern but I for one am not going to worry about it.

      Any player that whines that he isn’t getting the looks he deserves (justified or not) I hope is shown the door. It’s a team game. Work harder, perform when given the chance, and just do whatever the coach wants if you don’t like your situation.

      Usually these things only happen when a team is losing anyway.

      Meaningful hockey in the new year will go a long way to cure any sense of entitlement or harboured disgruntlement.

      By the verbal, Yak appears to be 100% committed. He is quite possibly going to make or break Eakins career in Edmonton. Yak city, beeches.

  • jooks

    If you dole out cash early, reduce your overall cost, and retain the player while keeping a good relationship its a win win. Taylor Hall right now is a 7-8 million dollar player. The deal saved us money. Eberle is paid fairly, and Nuge will probably earn his. Luckily Schultz was not given the keys to the kingdom. Not sure what they do with Yakupov this year,

    • Absolutely. But what makes this such an excellent article by Willis is the way it shows that **even if you don’t save a dime overall**, it still makes a lot more sense to forego a bridge contract in the specific case of first overall picks because the team effectively gets to use spare cap space at a later date, when it is far more valuable to the team’s winning cycle. The only counter argument is that it is too risky to bet on first overall picks’ performance based on their performance during their ELC. That is a bad argument unsupported by the facts.

  • Serious Gord

    It seems that now Brooks has a beef with anyone he can know of in hockey these years….Milbury, Tortella, now the Oilers,….

    He blasts the Oilers for the salaries paid (which are reasonable) and yet, as an idiot himself, he doesn’t mention those other many stupid contracts like the deals to Weber and Suter, the deals for kane and Toewsa this year, those Bryzgalov and Dipietro deals, and even… how about the Daigle deal Ottawa did many moons ago for examples.

    Brooks is a bonehead.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ^he doesn’t mention those other players and their bad contracts because this criticism was aimed spacifically at the Oilers and slagging the Oilers has become the “in” thing these days, even by equally as inept teams like the New York Islanders who, dare i say it, are a MUCH worse run franchise than the Oilers are. slagging the Oilers also helps keep the fanbase of the other bad teams from focusing on their own teams’ problems.

  • PlayDirty

    Brooks is one of the biggest blowhards out there. The best/only thing I ever appreciated from Torts was him telling Brooks to go F! himself. He’s one of those guys who would poke and poke at you until you finally popped him and then he’d go cry to the teacher.

  • THRNHJE

    Great article JW.

    I’ll just point out a small editing error so you can fix it; the 5th through 7th years reference to the teams says reams instead of teams.

  • pkam

    Only Oilers do it? Didn’t the Caps sign Ovechkin to 15 years at 9+M and Backstrom to 10 years at 6.7M after their ELC? Didn’t the Penguins sign both Crosby and Malkin to 5 years at 8.7M after their ELC? Didn’t the Hawks sign Kane and Toews to 5 years at 6.25M after their ELC? How about Stamkos, Taveres, Seguin, Skinner, Evander Kane, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyler Myers?

    Why didn’t Brooks discuss how great the Canadiens do with PK’s contract?

    You may lose if you gamble, but you will never win if you don’t.

  • ubermiguel

    Regarding Schultz, were MacT’s comments about being a potential Norris candidate an attempt at motivating Schultz? If your boss came out publically and said “this guy has a chance to win ” that would grab your attention and give you a goal to aim for. Maybe Schultz needed that kick in the pants. That and having a boss believe in you to that extent is motivating as well.

  • oilerjed

    I wonder why anybody is concerned with anything Larry Brooks has to say. He is the equivalent of Geraldo Rivera during sweeps week. Its only a matter of time before he starts a regular column “Whose your baby daddy” for NHL players.

    @ Jonathon Willis
    Please tell WAYNE not to embarrass himself while waiting for Eberle’s DNA test.

  • Serious Gord

    And in regards to mr. Brooks: I wish to God this market a journo like him. He might be a PIA and an unrelenting pessimist, but r last as long as he has he must be doing something right and this market desparately needs a guy like him to hold the rest of the EDM media to account.

    • djc

      Maybe the letter writing campaign you have going on to all the general managers can be expanded to the media as well. The GMs are obviously all listening to your advice so it’s just a matter of time until the media does also.

  • Gord. Your heart is in the right place but for the love of all that is cold, covered in ice, and holy…

    This is the only time of the year where the unknowns permit us the sin of being optimistic about our team.

    Just allow us this.

    It may be irrational and unwarranted but no less therapeutic.

    15 games in we can resume the tumultuous tears of tormented travesty.

    SCREW YOU, CALGARIES!

  • D

    The Brooks article is pretty mean. But until the Oilers start winning, criticism of that nature is to be expected. In fairness to Brooks, he wrote some pretty harsh articles about the Rangers when they were consistently losing during the early Sather years. He’s let up since they became Cup contenders.

    For what it’s worth, the Oilers team on the ice this year has most of the pieces in place for a return to the playoffs. They may not be ready yet, but we’ll see much of this roster going deep into the playoffs in the future.

  • Scriv told me to shut it

    Brooks just continues the list of moronic NY sportswriters who comment on hockey and watch the Yankees. Brooks has also attacked the Blackhawks for moves they made in 2010 and they won the cup again a few years later. He follows the great Stan Fischler who in a hockey digest article he used to write called “who`s better” proclaimed that Trottier was better than Gretzky.

    Yes they are big money deals but we`re talking about 1st overall picks and Eberle, let`s not forget how the bridge deal worked out for the Canadiens and Subban.

    Remember Larry Brooks writes to be controversial and when you react he has gotten just what he wants.

  • Oilers4ever

    Never cared much for Brooks’s comments. He’s a moron in my mind and one that Torts told where to go many a time. He’s a guy who flaps his lips too much and would get his lights knocked out at a bar for doing it. Just sayin. Taylor will be better than any player the Rangers have had since the Moose played there. PERIOD. And I think we all know what kind of moronic money Slats has thrown at players there. Maybe Brooksy should concentrate on the team he covers. He has a hard enough time with that.