GDB 49.0: DEBATE IN DALLAS

Four years ago the Taylor vs. Tyler debate was just beginning. For the next six months both sides debated the merits of Hall and Seguin. The Oilers chose Hall and the Bruins happily settled for Seguin. Four years later both have developed into dynamic offensive players and both of them still have room to improve.

The debate isn’t as intense as it was four years ago, likely because both are producing and both fan bases are happy with the player the drafted, or in Boston’s case the players they received when they traded Seguin, but their individual success means the debate will continue and maybe even intensify in the future.

They play different positions, and in their first three years they played for teams at opposite end of the standings spectrum. Hall was saddled with the pressure of being the face of a franchise, while Seguin got his feet wet being surrounded by great players and winning a Stanley Cup.

When Seguin was traded to Dallas this past summer he was thrust into a situation similar to Hall. Both of them will now be looked upon to lead their respective franchises to the playoffs, and in the incredibly competitive western conference that won’t be an easy task.

This year their offensive totals are very close.

Hall has 18 goals and 43 points in 41 games.
Seguin has 21 goals and 41 points in 43 games.

Seguin is playing with Olympian Jamie Benn and Russian man-child Valeri Nichushkin. They’ve become a very dangerous line, and I’m curious to see Lindy Ruff will match the Seguin line against Hall’s line tonight. Ruff would get a better matchup playing Seguin vs. the Arcobello line; however, many coaches know that their best players like the challenge of playing against the other team’s top line. 

I’d argue that the Seguin trio is just as much of a challenge as facing Sidney Crosby’s line, and a bit different due to the size of Benn and Nichushkin.

Hall and Seguin will forever be linked together, and four years later I still think Hall is slightly ahead of Seguin, but only by the slimmest of margins. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Bryzgalov

No reason to change the forward lines. Keep them together and try to build some chemistry. I understand why coaches changes lines frequently, even the top teams do, but I’d keep the top-three the same for a few more games just to see what happens. 

Corey Potter is back skating, and the only player you might take out for a game is N.Schultz because he’s playing the right side. I wouldn’t do it, but that seems like the only option on the blueline.

QUICK HITS

  • The dilemma facing Craig MacTavish over the next eight months will be deciding how he wants to construct his blueline. Martin Marincin has looked good, albeit in only ten games, and if he keeps playing well do the Oilers plan to have him in their top-six next season along with J.Schultz, Jeff Petry and possibly Darnell Nurse?

    That would be three D-men in their top-six with less than 130 NHL games, and Petry will have less than 240 games under his skates. I don’t see them succeeding with that much inexperience on the blueline. For me, Nurse will need to be incredibly good to last more than nine games. Inserting more youth into the lineup won’t help. If all four of them make it, that means two of them will be paired together. I know Marincin and Petry have played together the past few games, but it is asking a lot of Marincin to be a top-four D-man next year.

    I would bring ensure I have at least three proven, steady veteran D-men at the start of next season, and if the young kids play well enough to keep them, then at least you will have some insurance when they hit a rough patch. I’d err on side of caution and start with more veterans and less youth on the blueline next October.
     

  • I agree with Willis that Petry is a competent NHL D-man, but my issue with him is his consistency at key times of the game. For instance during the 5-on-3 vs. Chicago. Petry has control of the puck, but can’t clear the zone. Keith keeps in it, and seconds later it is in the back of the net. Petry has to get that puck out of the zone. We don’t know if the Hawks could have regrouped, re-entered the zone and scored, but not getting the puck out allowed them to stay set up.

    Petry is a competent D-man on a bad hockey team, but I’m not sold he is a guy you build around. He might be a good complementary player, but I don’t see him as a backbone defender.
     

  • Ales Hemsky will be traded. Why would he re-sign in Edmonton to be the #3 RW. By March 5th, Eberle and Yakupov will still be on the team, so the Oilers won’t be able to guarantee him a spot in their top-six at that time. They could roll the dice and keep him with the hope they move one of the other two, because their value is higher, before free agency starts and convince Hemsky to stay, but I doubt that happens. So rather than lose him for nothing, he will be dealt before the deadline.

    There is a large contingent of fans and media who don’t like Hemsky, but you can’t overlook his skill. How many forwards can walk around Duncan Keith and score like he did on Sunday? Of course you’d like to see that more often, but that play is why opposing GMs will still be intrigued by Hemsky. Hemsky has basically been playing in a 3rd line role this year, but he has the skill to be a top-six forward. He is still fearless on the ice, and I suspect he will have success in a new situation.

    The question is what kind of return will Hemsky fetch? Teams have always overpaid for players at the deadline. An aging Robyn Regehr got Buffalo two 2nd rounders last year. The Sabres also received a first rounder for Paul Gaustad a few years ago. Every GM is willing to pay something different. MacTavish must be hoping Hemsky plays well at the Olympics, because a good showing there will increase his value significantly. 

TONIGHT…..

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Seguin each finish with two points, but the Oilers lose a close game 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Martin Marincin has another strong game giving hope to beleaguered Oiler fans that in the future the blueline will eventually improve.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of the Nation readers will send emails to Kate Beckinsale’s fanmail account after noticing she isn’t wearing a ring in the above photo. Good luck fellas, if any of you get a response let me know, we will post it on the Nation. After the Oilers loss, many will numb the pain by watching Underworld.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • vetinari

    Happier to have “Cannonball Hall” on the roster than Seguin… as for Petry, he needs more experience and is not a top 2 guy… Marincin will be here next year but I think Nurse will see another season of development in the minors before he makes a push for a roster spot, but that likely depends on whether we can score 2-3 veteran defenceman in the offseason… I think we’ll see Grebeshkov, Nick Schultz, and Potter gone by next year, and although I want to see Belov get another year, I don’t know if he will want to re-sign here (he’s a UFA)…

    GDP Oilers 4 Dallas 3

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      which is ridiculous because he’s our most talented player and along with Nuge are the two i wouldn’t trade. but keep in mind, there are those who never want the Oilers to succeed so no matter what we do, it’s wrong!

      • pkam

        If Boston drafted Hall, I doubted they will trade him away. And if Hall is a Bruins, what is the chance he plays for Team Canada?

        Despite he has two big Olympian wingers, Seguin’s PPG is not better than Hall.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          given the fact the B’s already traded Seguin away, i’d say they’d have been happy as pie if they had gotten Hall. needless to say, he’d still be in Boston right now.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I can see the debate over which player (Hall or Seguin)is better continuing for the rest of their careers. They are both excellent young players and I don’t think we’ve seen the best from either one yet.

    In my mind however I’m glad we took Tyler.

  • A-Mc

    The oilers aren’t going to go from bottom feeders to stanley cup champions over the summer. We all know we need #1/2 defensemen but they are likely home grown.

    Realistically speaking if we can snag a couple #3’s over the summer, it’ll go a long way towards seeing the Oilers climb out of the pits of hell that they’ve been in for the last 8 years.

    TLDR; we want a show stopper trade for a stud D but if we can’t get that, can we please get a couple #3’s to get us headed in the right direction!

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      While I agree with your premise that they will not climb out of this overnight, and that the best top D are home-grown, I think you overestimate the ability to climb out in any reasonable period of time. The Oilers won’t be able to have any truly serviceable, top 4-Dmen that they developed themselves for years still. It takes dmen longer to be really NHL ready, and we need them to be the kind of guys who would be top-4 pairing guys on contending teams, not just the Oilers. That is going to take a lot of time–imho, probably 4 years before we see glimpse of the kind of dmen we really need. 4 years from now to see GLIMPSES.

      That’s still a long time for people to need to be patient, and watch as holes are filled temporarily and shoddily, waiting for the saviors/young-homegrown-D to arrive

      • A-Mc

        I didn’t overestimate anything. We both agree that home grown has the best chance of anything close to a #1/2 D. We both agree it takes a LONG time for even a star young player to turn into something useful.

        All i said is that i would like to see a couple #3’s added to the roster so that we can start seeing improvement. 2x #3’s wont get us the playoffs, but they will help us to start advancing.

        An extremely successful summer, to me, would be to start the next season with 2x top 4 defensemen, 2x bigger forwards and a decent starting goalie. That’s a big wish list! But with even these changes, i dont think the Oilers are a solid playoff team.

  • I still think it was a huge mistake not to draft Nichushkin, huge!! Size, skill and plays a little mean. No offense to Nurse, but I don’t see the same upside.

    I like Petry but he is a butter soft player, not competitive (tough) enough for me.

    Hall all the way, Seguin is good and lord knows we need him in the worst way, but Hall’s the better player.

    I feel better about the return for Hemsky then I do for Gagner should they trade them both.

    Do the Oilers trade Smyth, Bryzgalov & Dubnyk by the trade deadline?

    I keep hearing the Oiler will turn a corner here the last 40 games, I don’t see it, the Oilers will be off loading competent NHL players and replacing them with AHL talent, that will start taking place shortly, so unless the Oilers push January (doubtful) and Feb is a write off, come march this team will be stocked full of AHL talent for the remainder of the year.

    29th overall = Ekblad.

    • pkam

      Nichushkin is playing on the RW in Dallas, he would not have taken a spot on an AHL team. So unless the Oilers could have traded one of their RW for some value, where would Nichushkin play on this team, and what incentive would he have had not to just bolt back to the KHL.

      Keep in mind at the time Yak was coming off a great rookie campaign.

      That Benn, Seguin, Nichushkin line could grow to be one of the most dangerous top lines in the game.

      I actually think Hemsky will resign here as he did not want to be traded last time. So playing on a bottom dweller really doesn’t seem like it bugs him. And for all the hope that he will actually get traded for something of value, he has played pretty well this year in whatever role he’s been asked. The last blues game I watch him get absolutely wall papered to make a play. Lots of respect for that. I’d much rather see them trade Yak or Ebs as the return would be greater, and they might actually get either a big RW, 2nd line centre, or solid top 2 D.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Petry is a good defenseman, but it’s hard to judge our defence this year under Eakins defense always system.

    This system has turned off any opportunity or ability for the defence to join and support the play. It’s only when we are behind in a game with two minutes left that you see any defenceman taking a chance.

    Without exception every defenceman has regressed under this system and your advanced stats will prove it!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Hall and Seguin both great young players. The stars are mired in a 6 game losing streak could be a ring a ding dong dandy tonight. I have to give Hall the edge at this time, he is getting better and better each game. He will be the oilers captain very soon.

  • Bryzarro World

    I would like to see MacT aggressively pursue guys such as Ehrhoff, Shattenkirk, Byfuglien this summer. Guys who are at least serviceable in a 1-2 position. Realistically if someone like that can be picked up, plus and additional 3-4 guy. Plus a mix of Ference, Petry, Schulz, maybe Nurse or Marincin. That is a solid mix of vet talent to support developing defensemen.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i’d be surprised if the Blues offer up Shattenkirk! then again if they could get Eberle out of the deal, i could see them doing it. they’d have Ebs but still have Pietrangelo and JayBo on the back end.

      • vetinari

        I feel Eberle for Shattenkirk straight across is an overpayment on our end. It would be nice to acquire someone like Morrow or obviously Stewart as well but then high prospects or picks would have to be attached from our side as well.

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    Petry is a competent D-man on a bad hockey team, but I’m not sold he is a guy you build around. He might be a good complementary player, but I don’t see him as a backbone defender.

    I don’t actually think we’re all that far off here, Jason. I don’t see Petry as a top-pairing guy; I see him as a useful second-pair right side option. The way guys like Belov and Marincin have fared with Petry as their second-pair partner makes me think that if he’s the number four guy on the blue line you probably have a pretty decent blue line.

    Mostly though, the Oilers’ defence is a wreck and so I think Edmonton’s in a position where they have to make the most of the useful defencemen they have – Petry, Ference and Justin Schultz.

    • Jason Gregor

      Yes their D is a mess, but my major concern with Petry is his inability to get good position in front of the net. He refuses to, or can’t, lift guys sticks. Happened again tonight on 3rd goal. Better players will make team better, but winning battles is on the individual regardless of how good rest of team is. I’m not saying trade him, but when this team becomes good I don’t see him as a key piece.

      I don’t see anything that Petry is doing that makes Marincin better. Marincin has a better stick, has made smart reads and for a guys with only 11 NHL games under his belt is playing with more confidence.

      I’m not a big believer in WOWY. It suggests that Petry influences Marincin, but doesn’t’ include the 3 forwards who are the ice. I think it gives to much credit/onus on one player. That is just me though.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      I said this in the other thread.

      You need to look deeper into Belov’s WOWY numbers.

      http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1802&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

      Not only is Belov’s number better with Petry, but so is Petry’s number with Belov. And both are worse apart.

      Also, everyone (minus Larsen) plays better with Belov.

      He looks to me like a competent 5-6 guy on a playoff team. The Oil should re-sign him.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    You know, I’d like to believe this will continue to be of debate, of this continuing. But that said, if Hall is stuck on a perennial bottom-dweller, sooner or later this talk will fade out. Not saying Dallas is a real winner, but people care a lot more about debating between players on competitive teams. If the Oilers cant get it together over the next 4-5 years, Hall will likely just be one of those players who “could have been, should have been” so great, but was limited by the crap he was mired in…