The Edmonton Oilers are improved for 2014-15, but there are miles to go. The roster has the Jacks and Kings for the rest of this decade—Hall, Nuge, Yak, Leon, Darnell—there’s only the matter of maturation for the top end. It’s those darn 6’s and 7’s and 9’s—Craig MacTavish used to find them five at a time a decade ago—that keep this team running in circles.

The Edmonton Oilers need someone like Marty Reasoner. Stat.


Marty Reasoner was drafted in the middle of the first round in 1996, a center with skill and some ability to play a physical game.

Reasoner’s early career in St. Louis was good to very good, and the Oilers picked him up as part of the Doug Weight trade on July 1, 2001. That was a heartbreaking trade for Edmonton fans, Doug Weight is a special name in this city to this day.

Reasoner was impossible to dislike, and after some wobbly bits (he was waived once) became a quality center and mentor to many of Edmonton’s finest young wingers. Marty Reasoner as an Oiler was able to adjust to the skills placed on his line, so there were times when Daniel Cleary, Fernando Pisani, George Laraque, Raffi Torres, Todd Harvey, Patrick Thoresen and others played with Reasoner in the middle. He adapted, adjusted, mentored and the line thrived with the funny guy from Honeoye Falls, New York kept on rolling.

Marty was part of the 2005-06 Stanley team until the trade deadline, when he was sent to Boston for Sergei Samsonov (that trade also saw Edmonton trade the pick that would turn into Milan Lucic). Later that spring, with injuries piling up and Marc Pouliot suffering from mono and Rem Murray signed back into the NHL, the Oilers could have used Marty Reasoner.


Marty Reasoner’s gift to the Oilers was twofold: he could mentor youth from the center position and he could cover up myriad errors from the kids until they could fly on their own. You may think in reading this it’s an overstatement, but under Craig MacTavish men like Reasoner and Fernando Pisani were vital in making sure things went smoothly.

And partly because of that, the Edmonton Oilers were a dynamite even-strength team during that time.


They can be found on the waiver wire, I’d bet tomorrow sees some names being made available who might fit the bill. Trades are the most likely source, a smaller deal for someone who has played in the league for a time and comes with a reasonable two-way reputation.

The New York Islanders have several forwards who might fit, I’d suggest someone like Josh Bailey might be available some time this season. As fans, sometimes we get fixated on the past and what has been accomplished instead of focusing on the future with the past as back story. If we look at Bailey’s season in 2013-14 via the Vollman Sledgehammer:

bailey vollman

He shows up in the tough portion of the graph (tough competition, extreme zone starts) and he has a nice blue bubble (represents a positive shot differential). He plays a lot with Frans Nielson—who is a brilliant player capable of pushing the river and dragging his mates along with him—but Bailey is a worthy bet. Edmonton isn’t going to acquire Bailey on the waiver wire or even at a low price, but he’s an example of the player they might want to look for this fall if things don’t develop as hoped for Draisaitl, Arcobello and Acton. I also like Joakim Andersson in Detroit, although he struggled this past season.

Then again, that’s exactly where Marty Reasoner found himself just before he turned his career around under Craig MacTavish.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I think they need to find a player that meshes with Yakupov… or risk losing him completely. Not sure what that player is going to look like either since Yak is pure Enigma.

  • Zarny

    Most positive stats of course generally favor winning teams , of which most are just as easily done by observing their superior size and weight distribution in todays game . Oilers , of our dynasty years , had many quarterback type players as I would call them . No matter what zone they got the puck in they could/would hold possession of puck and carry into opposition end forcing opposition to try and get it off them .
    They forced the opposition out of their zones and coverage and opened up many opportunities for our offence . They were adept at holding possession/driving the play by their possession , and rest of team setting up for a play/plays in the opposition end . Very few can do it today on our team , and most either dump it in or lose possession in opponents end far to fast . Play seldom develops because of it . You see it on other teams with even the likes of Jagr still at 43 . They drive the play . Can Draisaitl and Yakimov develop that remains to be seen . Nuge has yet to emerge as that type yet . Your certainly not going to get it from Lander , Arco or Acton – that’s a given . We need some end to enders to emerge here and rest to take advantage of the opportunities it provides .

    Our defence not adept at driving the play also , but Schultz shows signs and perhaps Nurse in near future . Our young players seem confused going into offensive zone as a group . Caught between defensive awareness/tentativeness and opening up creativity for scoring chances .

  • camdog

    We also have a history of flushing these player types – Brodziak, Cleary, Cogliano etc. Perhaps the mantra should be twofold – find good 2 way players (externally and internally) and then keep good two way players. The Barons lineup looks pretty good in this regard. Hopefully some of them ripen on the vine.

  • pkam

    I think we need Mark Messier and Chris Pronger more than Marty Reasoner.

    Adding Marty Reasoner, this team is still not a lock for playoff. Replace Acton with Mark Messier and make Acro the 14th forward, then add Chris Pronger to our defense and we look like a cup contender.

  • pkam

    I heard Brodziak could be available. Looks like a Reasoner.

    Can play anywhere in your line-up. I say offer Minnisota a 4rth rounder for cap space.

    Reasoner centering the 2 or 3rd line, and sheltering the Deutch Dangler is a nice thought.

  • Zarny

    There is no debating the Oilers’ rebuild has lacked quality veteran players who could mentor and support the young kids.

    I’m not sure Marty Reasoner 2.0 is the answer though. A good 2-way C who is 53.1% in FO and can kill penalties certainly wouldn’t hurt, but Reasoner’s high-water mark was 32 PT. He was a 3C at best.

    Realistically, Draisaitl can handle 3C duties on a softer minutes line with Pouliot and Yakupov. The gaping hole is a bona fide 2C. A better comparison from Oiler days gone by would be Jarret Stoll or Shawn Horcoff.

    Bailey is 25 and just entering his prime. His possession numbers are good but his career FO% is an atrocious 43.2% although he was 49.6% last year. He would have to progress to 45+ PT to really make an impact for the Oilers.

    Aside from the really sexy names a player like Carl Soderberg, Martin Hanzal or Travis Zajac is really what the Oilers need.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Hey stollie you see the Oilers beefed up the center position they have Arcobello and Acton.You don’t say Anze their going to be a force now then the uncontrollable laughter starts.
    This issue should have been dealt with months ago. Drai would be good for the nine games then send him back, the chances of him lasting the year are slim.Is there a backup plan if he and Arco struggle.God forbid RNH gets injured.On the bright side 2 more sleeps then the puck drops

    • Zarny

      The PP is a bit of a red herring.

      The Oilers scored 46 PPG on 271 attempts last year; good for 17% and 21st in the league.

      They only needed 8 more PPG to finish tied for 4th on the PP last year. 8 more PPG when their overall goal differential was -67 won’t move the needle much.

      • Spydyr

        Yeah, who cares the Oilers gave up a record amount of shorthanded goals last season.Then in the pre-season they have been outscored on the powerplay as long as the kool-aid is sweet everything is rosie.

        • Joe Shmo

          Preseason results have almost zero effect on the regular season. The fact that those players I mentioned above couldn’t score will have no impact on whether the actual pp players do or not.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I am still of the belief that this entire rebuild has been constructed wrong from the beginning.

    I have never heard of any successful organization, beginning a rebuild by drafting a slew of wingers, and feeding them to the sharks at a young age, thereby stunting their development, and showing them nothing but how to lose on the biggest stage.

    Draft a young skinny centerman and have his fragile body thrown at those same wolves once again, only to see him lose time to injury, and again stunt his development.

    Then 3 full years into the rebuild, realize the defense has been putrid since Pronger left town, so you try to shore up the blueline by drafting a talentented kid 7th overall. Everyone knows that defensemen take many years to develop into great players, yet at 19 or 20 years old they are going to try and take a stab at it with him, over at least 9 games.

    And then 4 years in, realize they are thin up the middle, so they draft a big centerman at #3. Both the 2013 and 2014 draftees are going to get the gate opened to these same F*$&ing wolves in a few days. For some reason, I don’t think this will improve thier development.

    Whatever happened to starting from goal and working your way out??

    Before you trash the hell out of the comment, think about how the likes Chicago and LA (two of the latest successful teams) have worked completely opposite of how the Oilers have. Their success is the proof in action.