Dog days of summer meet reality

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July 15th begins a long six-week stretch for hockey fans. The euphoria of the draft and free agency has subsided and now many start to dissect how their team’s roster looks like. It is obvious the Oilers are light on proven NHL centres, but are you so desperate to add another centre that Derek Roy’s signing in Nashville upsets you?

I can understand being concerned about the Oilers current state of centre position, it is a valid concern, but if you think Roy is the answer, then the question must be.. Which centre can the Oilers add that won’t improve their team?

I never read an article or a comment that mentioned Roy is a player the Oilers should target leading into free agency, so why is he suddenly someone Craig MacTavish missed the boat on?

Roy is small, not physical and his production has declined drastically in the past three seasons.

In the past three years, Roy has produced 22-76-109 in 197 games. 0.55 points per game.

In that same time span, Sam Gagner scored 42-80-122 in 190 games. 0.64 points per game.

Roy is not considered a defensive stalwart, so how he is an improvement over Gagner? He is 31 and has slowed down the past three seasons, I’d wager that Marc Arcobello could produce the same as Roy and he’d come in much hungrier.

I’m not enamoured with Arcobello as the 2nd line centre, but I don’t see Roy as an obvious upgrade, and adding him just to add a veteran centre reeks of desperation. I would have preferred Olli Jokinen or David Legwand but the Oilers were unable to land them.

MacTavish started the off-season with a plethora of holes to fill, and it was unrealistic to expect he’d be able to fill all of them. He added some solid pieces, mainly veterans who have a reputation of knowing how to play solid defense, but so far he has been unable to acquire a proven 2nd line centre.

The biggest reason was because there wasn’t many on the market and very few teams are willing to trade legit 2nd line centres. If you want one, you need to develop them and that’s why the Oilers handling of Leon Draisaitl is ultra important.

If MacTavish is unable to add a bonafide 2nd line centre by training camp it will be a disappointment, but I can’t say his summer was a failure. Which Oilers assets are worth a legit 2nd line centre straight up? Nail Yakupov won’t get you a proven centre, neither will Jeff Petry, and that’s why I never expected MacTavish to get his 2nd line centre this summer.

Of course it is possible, but there is a major gap between possible and realistic. Legwand would have been a solid stop gap, but he wanted to play out east. He choose Ottawa over Edmonton, which shows he was more interested in geography than winning. The Senators aren’t that much better than the Oilers now that they lost Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.

RIBEIRO

As for Ribeiro, he is a proven scorer. However, he just got bought out by Arizona, who count every penny, because he wasn’t committed enough on and off the ice. It would have been a risk for the Oilers to bring him into their young dressing room, but they did consider it. If things went awry with veterans like Shane Doan and Derek Morris, what would happen in Edmonton?

Brian Sutherby played with Ribeiro.

“I would have been a little bit hesitant being the Oilers and bringing him in, and I say that respectfully. He is a fantastic player and was a good teammate. He is a different guy..He doesn’t look like your prototypical hockey player in how he dresses. He does get a bad rap due to that. He likes to have fun off the ice. He isn’t a rink rat. You won’t see him come to the rink and spend hours in the gym prior to warm up. However, he was always committed to winning. He has a lot of skill.

“He is a pretty quiet, reserved guy. On a team like the Oilers, I think you want your older players to be guys who are going to bring the team closer together, and Mike is a guy who does his own thing. You want your leaders to be rink rats and sending the right message all over the rink, whether it is nutrition, watching video or just being around the rink.

“In Dallas we had a  good leadership group and I never felt like he was an issue. He produced, but I believe he fits in better on a veteran team,” said Sutherby.

The Oilers did reach out to Ribeiro’s camp, and they were indeed interested, but his camp clearly choose Nashville. Ribeiro admitted at his press conference yesterday that his marital struggles impacted his off-ice issues last year. He was honest and upfront about a very personal situation saying he and his wife are still trying to work things out. I was also told his camp was a bit leery of being in a hockey crazed market right after what Don Maloney had said publicly.

He is trying to save his marriage and his children and wife are comfortable living in the USA and they are used to the school system, so you can understand why they elected not to come to Canada. I hope he gets his life in order, and I can see why both sides had some trepidation about making a deal.

The Oilers lack of centre depth is a major concern. MacTavish has made it known he’s looking for a centre. He’s talked to numerous teams, and I suspect a deal will happen, but it might not occur until early in the season.

I don’t see the Oilers as a playoff team. I truly hope I’m wrong, because we are all tired of watching a losing organization, but I do believe they’ve improved. The Oilers will be more competitive next season, but last April I didn’t expect them to jump up six spots in the west and make the playoffs, and three months later, even after upgrading his defence and wingers, I still believe that.

And that’s why in my eyes MacTavish can’t force a trade. He can’t give up too much just to fill an obvious void. If not making a deal right away means Arcobello and Anton Lander get more icetime than people expected, that is a better alternative than making a trade that will hurt the organization long-term.

I know it sucks to be patient, but I don’t see a better option at this juncture.

COACHING THOUGHTS…

  • The Oilers have two vacancies in their professional coaching ranks. The need a 3rd assistant coach on the Oilers, a guy who will watch the games from upstairs, and they need a head coach for their ECHL team in Bakersfield. Troy Mann was the head coach, but he got the head coaching job for Hershey in the AHL. Rocky Thompson is a candidate for both jobs.

    Thompson has been an assistant in OKC for the past four seasons. The players love his enthusiasm and he is very good at breaking down video and very good technically. For the past few seasons Thompson would split his time in the game watching from the pressbox, and then coming down for the third period and coaching from the bench.

    He has experience in picking up things from upstairs and relaying that information to the head coach.

    The Oilers need a young, players coach on their staff. Craig Ramsay is an excellent teacher, Keith Acton is a veteran coach, but he’s not a guy who will lighten the mood. Thompson is a very bright guy, but his attitude and demeanour would be a welcome addition on the staff. Every team needs an assistant who can relate to the players, and Thompson could fill that void. He has some youthful exuberance. I think he would be a great fit.

    Thompson still has a home in from Sherwood Park, so moving home would be an easy decision. He’s also a candidate to be the head coach in Bakersfield. Does he want to be a head coach and forge his own path, or work his way up the assistant ranks in the NHL?

    “I’m interested in both jobs,” Thompson told me yesterday. He did meet with Dallas Eakins during the prospect camp. “My goal is to be a head coach, but NHL jobs don’t come around every day. Both positions offer different challenges, but I think I’m ready for either one,” Thompson said.

    Look for Eakins to make a decision regarding his third assistant coach soon, and I expect Thompson will be hired.

  • I’m hearing the Oilers will bring back goaltending coach Freddie Chabot. Chabot will continue to work with Sylvain Rodrique, who the Oilers signed last summer to help with goaltending development and scouting.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • shanetrain

    Rocky’s Dad Walt and my Dad worked together as well as getting promoted together around B.C. and eventually into Alberta. I got to know Rocky pretty well although I hung out with his older brother mostly. Jeremy was a fantastic athlete.
    The three of us used to ‘own’ Quesnel Golf and Country club lol.

    I am thrilled that he has worked himself into this position. It would be incredible to see him as a assistant with the big club.

  • There are a bunch of options out there for a center that shouldn’t cost too much.

    A couple examples: Toronto seems to be refusing to use Holland properly. Trade for him.

    Anders Lee is a center having to play wing in NY because they have too many. He’s young but has developed well and appears ready to take on an NHL role. Trade for him.

    There are both guys with enough of a track record to believe they could fill the role and not cost an arm and a leg.

    These are just the first two that came to mind.

    The best way to get a very good player at a bargain is to trade for guys who appear ready but haven’t accomplished anything yet. Just a single good NHL year increases their price dramatically.

    • Kudo! These are the value deals that MacT has to keep making to incrementally move organization forward.

      MacT could try for winning the valuation one-up in trade for more elite player, but this team isn’t close enough to winning that they can afford to lose value on unsecured players. i.e. getting player w UFA approaching and giving up years on young asset. When negotiating from weak position you can’t afford any misses.

    • Stack Pad Save

      The problem with sucking is that the holes are there causing the sucking. Read Willis’ articles on the AHL Road Runner franchise the Oilers had going.

      The Oilers are paying for the sins of the past right now. The Oilers managed there up and coming NHL players like crap in the 2000’s and dumped legit NHL players like Brodziak, Green and Stoll and got nothing in return.

      The Oilers of the 90’s and 00’s drafted like crap and couldn’t develop players, see how many NHL players the RoadRunners graduated in the 00’s.

      So, 2010 (insert any relevant date for rebuild) comes along, the cupboards are completely empty. Few NHL players of value, and nothing for prospect depth. So the rebuild begins via drafting.

      2014 is here and the Oilers suck at the NHL level, but have some potential stars to build around as they mature and now our AHL team is legit and starting to bubble over with depth.

      IMHO 2 years from now the AHL team will have overripe players like Yakimov, Moroz, Khaira, Klefbom, Musil, et. al.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        If that’s the case why didnt they trade hemsky for prospects when he had value? The problem with this rebuild was it was done half assed without any sort of plan and built around wingers

        • Stack Pad Save

          I totally agree with you. I would have chosen different players at the draft. I would have drafted

          1. Seguien because he was a center

          2. Landeskog for the size

          3. Murray for a D

          The point of my comment was that the Oilers where in the position they were in because of how they were managed in the 90’s and 00’s at the NHL and AHL levels. Which was straight up incompetent. So why anyone thinks the same brain trust would rebuild the team any better is beyond me.

          But as a fan I have some hope for the future. I like the things MacT has done. I think that there is some potential in the AHL coming up with Khaira, Yakimov, Moroz, Klefbom, Nurse. I am still being sold on hope. Also I think realistically it takes a long time to rebuild, like 10 years. Look how long the Blackhawks sucked for. They sucked all though the 2000’s, 10 years of crap to get to where they are now. I think the Oilers are 2 years away from competing.

          • Stack Pad Save

            I’d bet that Trouba will be better than Murray. Murray, Reilly and Trouba will all be great Dmen, but it’s more difficult to project Dmen vs forwards which is a consideration when you have a high pick.

  • slats432

    Gregor,

    While your opinion is respected and appreciated, it does not make sense that every possible option turned down the Oilers.

    Lombardi? Roy? Ribiero? Jokinen? etc etc.

    The fans are not angry about Roy. They are concerned that if Nuge goes down with injury we are going to run with…

    Arco, Draisaitl, Gordon, Lander.

    Think about how many wins that will get you? How about some depth? How about not putting yourself in a position that Draisaitl has to make this team or the centre position looks like a crapshow.

    I would most certainly try to add Loktionov/Mueller (Or Winnik and move Hendricks to C) to try to solidify the depth.

    • Jason Gregor

      Loktionov has played 155 games, but he’s small like Arcobello. Is he really that much better? If he was, how come NJ hasn’t resigned him for cheap?

      As for Mueller, he played wing last year. You could sign him, and he’d come to camp as much of a wildcard as Arcobello, Lander and Draisaitl. I don’t believe getting quantity of wildcards is better than finding quality.

      Winnik is still someone they could sign. In August players demands go down. The teams who are tight, or over the cap, will have to make some moves and MacTavish will calling all of them trying to make a deal.

      If camp starts and he only has RNH, Lander, Arcobello, Gordon and Draisaitl, then it is fair to rip on him.

      My point was grabbing Derek Roy, when he won’t help, just for the sake of adding a player wouldn’t have been a smart move.

      I expect a move to happen, but don’t see Roy being any better than Arcobello at this point.

  • Spydyr

    I agree. The 2 most important holes on this team is and has been for years a Top pairing dman and a 2nd line center. no excuse. Those arnt just holes, their the most important aspects on any competent NHL team.

    Lots of excuses and reasons as to why the continue to address either major void, but Dallas seems to have done a good job addressing there center ice. Fact is fact, this off season has been the same as every other off season followed excuses and fluff pieces. This team sucks

    • Lowe But Now High Expectations

      Then hit the bricks and go bandwagon on some other team, I love you sit there and say Dallas did a great job down the middle, how about you address the fact that Dallas’ success was more of being able to take advantage of other teams misfortunes (like the Oilers did last year) over anything else. One of their centres was deemed too much of a problem that one of the best GMs in the league was willing to lose a trade to get rid of the guy. As for the second one once again it is rather easy to trade for a guy who has only a hand full of teams that he will go too and one of those teams is yours. But humor us tell us how the oilers should have got a top centre like Spezza or Stastny, oh I know you will come back with some stupid comment like that is the GM’s job or some outlandish suggestion that ignores logic or reason.

  • oilbaron

    speaking of being patient…..cant we be patient one more year, let our layers develope properly and again get another lottery pick? you say getting a center is hard to do via trade and signing one seems to be unlickly for some time, why not go after one of the big fish centers in this upcoming draft? ONE MORE DRAFT, please be patient, all the pieces are finally gonna be coming together

  • Dan 1919

    I think it’s more likely if Edmonton brings in a center it is a third line guy as opposed to a second. The wingers on the third line are probably Pouliout and Yak. Drasaitl or Arco shouldn’t be the guy to help out yak defensively. Both centers would do better sheltered between Perron and Purcell.

  • The Last Big Bear

    This brow-beating article is simply ridiculous, and frankly a bit insulting.

    The 2014 Free Agency centreman crop included players from Paul Stastny, to Mikhail Grabovski, to Brad Richards, to David Legwand, etc.

    And now that every single centreman worth signing is gone, you show up with an article saying:

    “Oh, you wanted Derek Roy? What, like he’s some kind of Jesus on ice? He was going to make the Oilers win the Stanley Cup?”

    Nobody wanted Roy. Nobody is upset that the Oilers didn’t sign Roy. Derek Roy is a straw-man.

    People are upset because the Oilers didn’t sign ANYONE at centre.

    Lets say you go out with your buddy to pick up chicks. And as the evening goes on, all the hotties are filing out the door with other dudes. Then the average looking ladies start pairing off with other guys. And as the ugliest whale of a lady staggers out the door leaving you two by yourself, you start to complain about not getting any action, and your buddy turns to you and says “What? You wanted HER? She’s hideous!”

    No. This is not about missing out on the last ugly girl left at the dance.

    • YEGFan

      To use your terrible analogy:

      You show up to pick up chicks looking shabby with nothing interesting to talk about, and try to toss a little money around to make up for it, and you’re pissed off when they show the good judgment to avoid you?

      You don’t deserve any of the women. Maybe there is the odd lady whose situation perfectly matches yours, but in the end they all decide you aren’t worth the hassle. You simply are not in a position to attract women the way your life is now.

      You’ve started to exercise, read the newspaper, and work on your resume a bit, but you aren’t there yet. Get your life together and then maybe some lady will think you’re worth her time.

    • Simmerdown

      This is a moderately good analogy.

      However, here’s the thing;

      The reason why the girls are filing out with all the other guys is because the oilers (you and your friend in your example) are the man equivilent to the ugliest whale. The extreme makeover is ongoing. Until the oil shed the extra weight and stop wearing torn sweat pants and a stained wife beater to the bar (i.e. start WINNING) that’s about all they’re going to get for UFAs.

    • Jason Gregor

      News flash…The Oilers aren’t a top destination for UFA players. They won’t be one until they win consistently. If you don’t realize this you will be disappointed every summer.

      This isn’t new. Understand the reality of the NHL. Big name UFAs go to teams who have won or they think will win right away, or are close to home.

      • Even if the Oilers were winning, Oilers wouldn’t be a destination of choice. UFAs won’t come to Edmonton because people say Edmonton is colder than Siberia. Al Strachan started that and everyone believes it.

        • A-Mc

          These athletes make a butt load of money and spend most of their time away from the home town they play in because of a) they can afford to live abroad and b) their job has them traveling abroad quite frequently.

          For them, taking a job in Edmonton isn’t like you or i taking a job in Edm.

        • Really? I recall the Oilers not having very many issues attracting players in the 80’s… I don’t think much would change if the Oilers were a contender year in and year out. That goes for any team in the NHL. Geography plays a factor but as Gregor pointed out Athletes ultimately want to win.

          • A-Mc

            Good example is Detroit.. They are getting beat out regularly for Free agents now but in the hay day they almost had 1st choice. As for the actual city of Detroit? Brutal winters, major violent crime issues, massive poverty… etc etc. Put a winning team together in Edm and we will see more UFA’s willing to come.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Money talks.

        Legwand signed in Ottawa.
        Niskanen signed in Washington
        Miller signed in Vancouver.
        Hiller signed with Calgary.
        Grabovski went to the Islanders.

        None of these teams even made the playoffs, and none of them are winning anything near-term. They offered more money.

        Edmonton just committed $8.5m to depth wingers, and spent $8.1m on 3rd pairing defencemen who were 6th and 7th in TOI/game for their former teams.

        $8m+ will put you in the conversation for any UFA, at any position, in any year, no matter how bad your team is.

        The Oilers chose to pay depth players double what they’re worth, rather than pay impact players more than they’re worth.

        Stastny is good value at $6m. He signed for $7m with a contender. What would it take to get him in Edmonton? $8m? $8.5m? $9m? Everyone has a number.

        Is he worth it? No. But Purcell and Pouliot aren’t worth anywhere close to $8.5m either. If you’re going to overpay, you may as well overpay to high-end talent that meets your team’s biggest needs.

        • Jason Gregor

          Fayne is a 3rd pairing D-man. You should look up your facts before looking foolish.

          Statsny wants to win. He just finished a five-year deal making $33 million. Money isn’t is driving force. If you think guys who have made million care more about money than winning that shows you don’t understand how competitive athletes think.

          The Oilers aren’t close to winning. Making a bit more money but not coming close to the Cup wasn’t his focus. Again, this isn’t hard to see.

          Miller got $6 million dollars when there was no one competing for his services. He was average for Blues in playoffs. Why is he a great signing.

          The Oilers didn’t need Niskanen. They have Schultz and Petry. You don’t need all the same types of players.

          The Oilers offered David Clarkson more money last year than the Leafs did, but he choose to go home. Assuming the Oilers can just outbid everyone is incorrect. The only contract that can hurt the Oilers is Pouliots. The rest are short term, or in case of Fayne solid value for a very good defensive D-man, which this team desperately needed.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Fayne was 6th in TOI/game in NJ. He was so awesome, they gave him less ice time than everyone else on the bench.

            And for a defensive specialist, it’s curious that he was 4th in SH TOI/game, getting about half the PK ice time of guys like Salvador and Volchenkov.

            Yes, I know, he played against Tavares. I saw. Chris Butler’s most common opponents this season were Hall, Eberle, and Patrick Kane. Thats not that unusual for a 3rd pairing defender.

            And you’re playing bait-and-switch.

            You say that money isn’t a driving force for UFAs.

            But you are clearly and demonstrably wrong. The majority of UFA don’t sign with winning teams, and high-end UFA’s like Niskanen routinely leave contending teams to play for garbage teams.

            So then you change your tune to “the Oilers don’t need those guys” or “that guy is overpaid”.

            The fact remains. Money talks. 18 of the top 30 UFA contracts signed this year were signed with teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

            I don’t expect the Oilers to outbid everybody for every player.

            I expect them to be able to outbid them for any ONE of many available players in a position of crucial need for the team, when they have $15m-ish in cap space for UFAs.

          • Numenius

            When in the HISTORY of the Oilers have they ever outbid ANYONE for a top free agent, maybe one time and that was Justin Schultz and he came here for opportunity not money. They tried Forsburg, Niedemieyer, Hossa, and they LANDED NONE OF THEM. Like Gregor said it comes down to more than money especially at the top end (where you claim the crucial need is) where you “expect” them to outbid someone, maybe use some common sense once in a while.

          • Jason Gregor

            You should look closer rather than TOI. Feel free to look closer at the facts…Willis wrote them.

            Fayne’s been on the ice against John Tavares more than against any other player in the league. Claude Giroux ranks third, Eric Staal fourth. Other notables include James Neal, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik and Tyler Seguin.

            It’s a pretty impressive group.

            Fayne’s posted a positive Corsi against that list of 25, nearly three full percentage points better than the average opponent those players face (and keep in mind that as a rule they’ll have been playing against good defencemen).

            Fayne plays hard minutes. He is a solid defensive D-man, which Oilers don’t have. Saying he is a #6 is so wrong it is actually laughable. Try again.

          • v4ance

            Based on total TOI/GM, the 3rd (Salvador), 4th (Merrill) and 5th (Harrold) ranked D-men played 40, 52 and 33 games respectively. 6th placed Fayne played 72 games.

            Looking at TOTAL TOI for the year, Fayne was actually 3rd.

            In ES TOI/GM, Fayne was again 6th but, again, 4th placed Harrold and 5th placed Larrson only played 33 and 26 games so that bumps Fayne up to the #4 spot

            PK TOI/GM, Fayne was 4th

            PP TOI/GM Fayne esentially was zero. 3:11 out of 1318:25 total TOI for the season or roughy 2 seconds of PP TOI/GM

            To sum it all up, Fayne was basically 2nd pair hard minutes #4D with 4th highest SH TOI and 3rd highest total TOI for the defence of the Devils.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Unless you have some other esoteric system, where you are ranking defensive pairings and players by some system other than their ice time, then yes.

            If you play the 6th most minutes per game on a team, you are their 6th defenceman.

            There might be the odd niche role-player who’s an exception, but since Fayne doesn’t fight much, never plays on the PP, and is on a decidedly secondary PK unit, that doesn’t really seem to apply.

          • If you play the 6th most minutes per game on a team, you are their 6th defenceman.

            Fayne…never plays on the PP

            You just answered your own question. Fayne played much of the year on the first pairing at EV and was run out against the oppositions best with regularity.

          • A-Mc

            To support your argument of not looking at TOI alone: remember that Tom Gilbert had near 1st pairing TOI for florida. Is Gilbert now a 1st pairing defenseman? No chance!

          • Quicksilver ballet

            ” If you think guys who have made million care more about money than winning that shows you don’t understand how competitive athletes think.”

            Based on this, when will hall. Eberle and the likes start feeling the same way?

          • Jason Gregor

            Taylor Hall scored 80 points in his first year of his deal. He has become one of the dominant offensive players in the game. But he doesn’t care.

            Hall doesn’t compete? Seriously. Do you even watch the game?

            Can he improve his two-way play, sure, and he did late in the season. But if you think he isn’t competitive then you really don’t know what the word means.

            And I understand now why you wouldn’t post your real name, because you wouldn’t want people to know how low your hockey acumen is if you actually believe he isn’t competitive.

          • Dan 1919

            You missed my point. I wasn’t getting at hall not competing, we all know he does. What I was getting at is how long will he and the others be willing to endure this pathetic “rebuild”?

            I saw on TSN hall was against doughty for one of there gimmicky segments and the biggest knock on hall was he’s never played a meaningful game. That’s gotta be getting to him. His as competitive as they come, and he’s stuck on the worst team this decade. I can’t imagine him being happy with this team too many more years

          • Jason Gregor

            Losing sucks, and he has improved.

            Keep in mind Lemieux and Sakic never made playoffs their first four years either. They only made it once in first six seasons. They kept improving and led their teams. They didn’t make playoffs when 16 of 21 did.

            It is harder now and Hall is still very young. The hate losing, but the best players have to lead their team and make them winners. I expect Hall will lead Oilers to be more competitive in coming seasons…

          • The Last Big Bear

            I love the pathetic rebuild comment, are you that dumb to think that rebuild happen over night, let’s hear how long this “pathetic rebuild” should have taken when you consider:

            – that the team had no AHL franchise til 08 because ownership decided that was not needed,

            – the team had very few assets of value and those that they did they had to keep to continue to, continue to try to compete for a playoff spot because that is what the so called best fans in the NHL would demand.

            – the fact that teams that have had to rebuild have been terrible for much longer.

            Sorry I forgot that Pittsburgh’s 5 top 5 picks must have been pathetic, Chicago’s and LA’s decade of disasters must have been pathetic too. Like I said to someone else if you think this team is garbage then go hop on the kings or hawks bandwagon.

          • Big Cap

            You’re a pretty good oiler apologist. But I won’t call you names back. For every team you named I can name 1 that hasn’t gone thru a decade of suck to win championships and compete. Boston, Detroit come to mind first.

            Excuses are plenty for this team and I’m glad you buy into them.

          • Big Cap

            Detroit i might disagree with as they were no powerhouse in the 80’s and it was only the mid 90’s they started turning things around and became the powerhouse they did.

            The real test will be now seeing as before they got steals in the draft and the last couple of years they haven’t been able to achieve that. Free Agency wasn’t as kind to them as it has been in the glory years either as lots turned down going there for other places.

            I think Jeremy is valid on the point of no farm team though, if you don’t own a farm team then you are at the mercy of other organizations to develop and teach your prospects and let’s be honest, they aren’t there to look out for anybody elses but their own.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Yes the typical bs response – an ultimate oiler apologists, no it is actually having a brain and common sense, but good try. I am also waiting for your great answer of how this “pathetic rebuild” should have taken. Detroit was terrible for much of the 80’s and even after they got Yzerman they were terrible til they had one amazing draft followed by the ability to throw asinine money around. You are right about Boston however I am pretty sure that the GM having a prior relationship with one of the top d men in the NHL when he hit free agency did not hurt either, but hey why would you care about those facts since you have ignore them anyways. Humor me a bit more and let us know then how the oilers were suppose to become a Stanley cup contender, this should be good.

          • CMG30

            If Hall was as competetive as they come he would be doing anything he could to help his team win. He does not, all he cares about is points. Lets talk when he stops coasting back into his own zone cause he doesn’t feel like playing anywhere other than the offensive zone

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Money talks? How about we don’t turn into the next Philadelphia Flyers and go over the cap in a season.The Oilers most likely won’t be contending for a Stanley cup so no reason

          Niskanen’s contract is ridiculous, I’m glad the Oilers didn’t fork out the money for him plus we have promising prospects on Defence coming up.

          $8m+ will get you in any conversation doesn’t mean that its the right decision.

          Purcell’s contract was signed before the Oilers traded for him, I don’t know why you keep bringing his name up but if you want to make that a point we actually shed $300k with Gagner going the other way.

          Pouliot’s contract is the only one that is questionable without a doubt but over-spending isn’t the answer.

  • geoilersgist

    ~When I play NHL 14 I never have a problem signing 1/2 line centres or 1/2 dman. I just offer up a couple of prospects and a 2nd round pick. I don’t know what MacT’s problem is, this should be easy and have been done last season~

  • Gret99zky

    So, according to some, MacT has failed this off season because he can’t land a legitimate 2nd line centre and a top pairing defenceman.
    How many of these players are available? They are valuable to 30 teams in the league. If the Oilers trade for one of those, they create a hole at another position. Teams aren’t going to give up valuable assets for cast offs or prospects. If I was a GM and MacT called to offer Gernat and Musil for my second line centre, I would laugh at him.
    I guess all of the arm chair GMs that post here would be much more persuasive than MacT.
    Plus, the UFA stock this year was poor. With this fan base, MacT is damned any direction he chooses.

    • Dan 1919

      The Oilers have more than enough D prospects (including Schultz) that can’t all be developed at the same time. It’s time to be bold, decide who you’re committing to (Nurse) and trade one or two of the other guys for a C.

      The other option is draft a C next year, wait until him and Draisaitl are ready and make the playoffs when Hall is 56?

      • Simmerdown

        You’re right. They could go the old Sather route and trade quantity for quality, but then you are left with no organizational depth. But it could be done that way.
        What I was trying to get at was that there is a lot of vitriol about MacT failing to get a centre. The summer isn’t over yet. Plus, after the big name UFA centres (and there weren’t many of those) were signed, what remained were largely other teams’ cast offs.
        So, I would give him time to try to make that Sather trade, or something else. But, if October arrives and the centre depth chart has not changed, I will be as vitriolic as everyone else.

        • Dan 1919

          Yeah agreed I wasn’t a fan of the cast offs and absolutely the summer isn’t over yet. If I had to bet right now Id say MacT still ends up with something different than right now. Maybe not still perfect but better than this.

      • Dan 1919

        You know that project you’re avoiding starting because you have so many different ideas of how to do it and worry you may choose the wrong way, so you just never start?

        The Oilers are that project, it’s time to shutup, commit, and start the project.

  • Gret99zky

    I would like someone to do a resume on Freddie Chabot to show me and the rest of the fans what he has done to justify being kept on the coaching staff. His track record to the naked eye is abysmal

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Things to do during the offseason:

    1) Secure the services of a top pairing blueliner.

    2) Add a 1st/2nd line center, along with a 3rd/4th line center.

    Neither of these two glaring needs have been addressed, as of today. One could argue this is the same ship different year all over again.

    On the other hand…..Connor McDavid will look great in the royal blue, white and orange. Hope the young kids here now will continue to remain patient during the Oilers rebuild of the first rebuild.

    GO ESKIES!

    • Spydyr

      You’d think for someone with the skilled penmanship and drive to continually troll this site, such as yourself, would also have the ability to come up with fresh content.

      The dive for McDavid and perpetual rebuild comments are old and have even been highlighted by the Nation writers.

      If you have the magic bullet that doesn’t involve the first line, Yak, any of our current defensemen or the 1st which would be our shot at McDavid, I recommend sharing it before MacT does something wrong again!

    • Jason Gregor

      I like how people talk about how MacT should just simply go out and get a 1st pairing D and a 1st or 2nd line Center… Try for a second to consider what that is going to cost.

      Cost to acquire Top Pairing D man?
      Eberle + Marincin + Yakupov (May not be enough)

      Cost to Acquire 1st/2nd Line Center?
      Perron + Petry + 2015 1st.

      If this isn’t what you think it would cost.. Honestly tell me what you would think the cost would be.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        There’s no way a Yandle and or a Couturier cost near that much. Cut that by more than half of what you suggested. This is really all that is needed, on top of all the support type players Craig added over the last 3 weeks.

        If there was ever a time to cling onto your 2015 first rounder, this is that year.

        Craigs lack of willingness to fill the 2 most pressing needs, tells me he’s thinking one more (tank for 1 more year) no more. I can’t say that I blame him with the challenges of this market. It’s really the only shot at the Oilers landing a driver. Support type signings like the few over the last few weeks can be done in ones sleep.

        Grow your own [insert new 18 year old here]. Stay the course. Is there really any other option?

        • Craig1981

          If you think the deal to trade for those two is so good the Oilers are absolute fools for not doing it answer me this

          Why have none of the other 28 teams traded for them? Other teams are in need of feeling those holes too

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Don’t be playing dumb now Craig. Everyone has a price. Teams just wait for an offer that surpasses it.

            If there was ever a time to suspect Yandle could be moved, it would be now. He wasn’t even top pairing in Pheonix last season.

          • Craig1981

            That wasn’t my question. I agree there is only one player in the entire NHL that cant be traded for. As other posters and Gregor talked about its the cost

            My question was if Yandle is available at a price the oilers are fools not to pay, why has no other team made that trade.

            Hint: its because he isn’t and you’re wrong

        • Big Cap

          I don’t see what MacT has done so far as anything close to “tanking”. In fact I would say that all the D upgrades exceeds what 1 Yandle would of done for this team. Especially considering what would of been going the other way to acquire a Yandle.

          I also believe that Yandle would cost you similar to what I quoted. As well as Couturier. As a poster has said earlier Coutourier is likely not available.. If he was there would be several teams offering and the price would be fairly steep… This is why i asked the question. “What do you think the Oilers would have to give up in order to get a 1st pairing D + a 1st or 2nd line C”? I get the sense that your price list is quite a bit lower then what most would say.

          I think it’s important to note that this team is not looking to add a last piece for a final push to challenge for the cup. So this isn’t the time to unload the prospect cupboard for 1 or 2 players…

          • Quicksilver ballet

            “A poster” last summer also mentioned Tyler Seguin would never be moved for so little. Never say never. How many times has a deal gone down, and then many claim they didn’t even know he was available? Most higher profile players deals are done this way.

            All Craig has done this summer is add support type players. Without the so called driver types, these guys aren’t very likely to be successful on their own. He’s really only shuffled the deck chairs around somewhat.

          • v4ance

            Sure the trade looks one sided now, but Lou Erickson is not “little”. Who on our team is comparable to Lou Erickson the year he was traded? Perron maybe?

        • The Last Big Bear

          Bahahahahaha! Ahahahaha! Wow! Yandle would still cost an Eberle and a first. There’s lots written over the years about what it would take to get him, and the price is high.

          As for Coturier, Philly has again, and again, and again said he is not going to be traded. And really why would they. Right now he costs nothing and is playing great for them. For a team over the cap, there is no possible way they find an upgrade on Coturier for cheaper than Coturier, so in what world would they trade him?

          You really seem to think the NHL is like a videogame, where trades are inconsequential to other teams. Instead of thinking like an Oiler fan, try and put yourself int he shoes of other GM’s. You’re the GM of the penny pinching Coyotes, you have a top pair guy, playing on your second pair, at a really reasonable contract, what would it take to trade a player like that away? A lot.

          • Dan 1919

            Video games are fun:

            Philly =3mill over cap
            Couturier= solid young C(far from untouchable) with a cap hit of 1.7mill

            Trade Couturier plus another low paid player to the Oilers or someone else for a very good prospect still in the AHL (klefbom or whoever), and voila, you’re under the cap.

            Complete ludicrous and the most unrealistic thing ever posted on here I know (sarcasm). Doesnt have to be Klefbom either, could maybe be two slightly less valued prospects.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            So if you’re Ron Hextal, your cap solution is to trade away a future franchise second line C, whose cap hit is only 1.7 million?

            Or, and this might sound crazy, you could just trade Lecaviallier and then have a ton of extra room.

          • Dan 1919

            Oh Willy, not everyone overvalued their players as much as the Oilers. He’s a potential 2C, likely will be. That’s why I mentioned a potential very good Dman would be going back to them.

            “Just” trade Lecavlier? Who’s playing video games now. Huge overvalued contract but still an important roll on the team. That’s a very tough player to trade and come out with better/same team strength. Unless they’re conceding to a “rebuild” and are willing to just ship Lacavlier out, he’s a tough guy to move

          • Dan 1919

            We could both come up with hundreds of trade proposals and end up with hundreds of scenarios that will not happen.

            Point is Oilers need a centerman, and they’ll likely have to trade for one.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I agree they need a centreman, sort of, and to get one they’ll have to trade for him. All I was saying is that Philadelphia has said again and again and again Coturier is going nowhere. And at only 1.7 mil cap hit, it wouldn’t make sense to ship him out for all sorts of reasons.

            As for Lecaviallier, yes I think Phily is looking to ship him out for a bag of pucks to get under the cap. Problem is he was really bad last year, so who would want to take on that contract on a bad player. Second is he has the hammer with his NMC and NTC.

            Fair point about who’s playing videogames. But given the choice, Lecaviallier is who I would try and trade, not Coturier.

            As for needing a centre, I fall squarely into the Draisaitl on a soft minutes line to start. And the give Arco a shot camp. Now one big injury and that would be game over. But I don’t really see the team competing for the cup this year anyway. So why not get Draisaitl acclimated to the NHL, and see what he’s capable of, then either grab that really experience vet 3rd line centre next year to solve the puzzle. Or if all works out you promote either Yakimov or Jujhar, depending on who develops better in the AHL this year. Not to mention, next year is likely the year two of our 3 D prospects are really ready to play. So two of Klefbom, Nurse, or Marincin, will likely come in and help the D even more. In other words, I see all roads leading to next year.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Philly is really 2 mill under the cap, once you figure in Prongers LTIR.

            The Flyers are dealing with some buyers remorse after going for it last summer with the Lecavilier dealings and such. Hextalls crew could be a serious contender for a lottery pick next season by the way things have gone for them this summer.

            Still think Couturier and a salary dump (Coburn/Simmonds) leaving Philadelphia can provide them with some options.

            Could the Oilers even acquire Lecavilier (salary dump) if only to buy him out after one season? The Oil could certainly use more than one center this coming season. The Germainian dangler could use the coming season to work on his mobility/skating in PA.

          • v4ance

            You don’t understand the cap dynamics properly.

            The Flyers have to be cap compliant on the first day of the season BEFORE they can put Pronger’s cap hit on LTIR status. So that means they have to shed $3 million of salary to get down to the cap limit of $69 million. That means waiving non-protected players, buyouts, trades or whatever to take $3 million off their current cap commitments.

            After they’ve complied with the cap, THEN they can LTIR Pronger and spend to $73.9 million, using Pronger’s $4.94 million cap hit to “replace” him on the roster.

            Coturier’s $1.75 million contract only gets them halfway to cap compliance and being that he’s cheap, young and has uptapped upside, he isn’t the first option. Looking at capgeek.com, they’re probably not keen on dealing Voracek ($4.25M) or Matt Read ($3.625M) or Coburn ($4.5M) but those are the type of players, they may need to deal to get under the cap

  • Gret99zky

    Also, MacTavish didn’t start the off season with a ‘plethora’ of holes to fill. There were two holes, centre depth and a top pairing defenceman, that needed to be filled and he has failed to fill those holes. He’s had ample opportunity to do so. Perhaps he thinks the current roster is good enough, just like he thought last years roster was good enough, too. Is he a lunatic?

    • Jason Gregor

      The Oilers gave up the most goals in the league and you think they had two holes? Good grief.

      They needed to revamp the blueline, needed some forwards with NHL experience who knew how to play at both ends of the rink and yes they needed a centre.

      If you think he only had two holes, it is indeed you who is the lunatic. (using your word).

      • Quicksilver ballet

        CHT was implying those would be the most difficult holes to fill. He never mentioned those were the only holes needing to be filled.

        The rest you can buy at Walmart during the summer. Like Craig has done with Nikitin, Fayne, Pouliot etc. Support players will still come, if you blow them away with the money Craig offered them.

        Nice whipping the masses into a frenzy effort today Jason, well done. This baby could make it to a page 5.

  • Big Cap

    Bringing Rocky Thompson in to be the 3rd Oiler coach is Bucky 2.0 – No Thanks.

    Surely we can find a proven ex NHL head coach or asst. coach who could fill that role.

    • Jason Gregor

      How do you figure? Thompson has been coaching for over five years. He didn’t get NHL gig handed to him. He’s put in time and worked at improving as a coach.

      He would be 4th coach on the staff. No ex NHL head coach will take that job. Understand what the role is.

      • Big Cap

        Hey Gregor – Thanks for the reply.

        Coaching for 5 years and “putting in time and improving as a coach” does NOT warrant you a 4th position coach on an NHL team. We’ve been down the loyalty road before with players and coaches and this echo’s Old Boys Club thinking.

        I have no problems with Rocky, in fact I even like him. But this is a win first, results based business. Please show me who he developed in our system to make it as a pro, or what system he implements. He’s a Rah Rah kinda coach who pumps up players, just like he played, (25 NHL games) and that doesn’t always translate into a great technical guy in which his NHL role would be.

        My other issue is being an assistant for 5 years and no other teams are calling, makes you wonder why not? Probably the exact same reason Bucky was an assistant for so many years and was never considered for our head coach or any others. Its because he’s just happy to be there and the organization doesn’t trust him with any more responsibility.

        There are better choices of ex coaches, even check the CHL or even Ian Herbers with U of A who have a better understanding than Rocky at this role.

        • Jason Gregor

          Do you know what the role is with the Oilers?

          Head coaches in other leagues won’t take it. They want to be head coaches, not the 4th coach on the staff and a guy who isn’t on the bench.

          Do you know what his role was in OKC? Most don’t and that’s why saying you hate the hire, when he gets job, makes no sense.

          He was on a coaching staff that went to final four two of last three years. He has worked with the D-men. Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others. Are you saying they haven’t developed?

          His role has been to watch game from upstairs and then talk to coaches at intermission about the tendencies of opposition and how to counter them. The Barons won a lot of games, so clearly he had some impact.

          Winning teams have different elements, and having an upbeat, positive assistant coach is part of it. He has experience, has become very good on breaking down video and noting in game adjustments that can help.

          How is he old boys club? He never played with any of them. He was hired from outside the organization. Do you just want to hate every move and blame it on something? In this case none or your complaints match the facts.

          • Big Cap

            Head coaches in other leagues wont take a the 4th coach in the NHL??? Is it because these coaches will be making more money in the NHL or the fact they’ll be coaching at the highest level and have their foot in the door??

            I also believe its to early state to that Marincin, Fedun, Klefbom and others have developed into NHL’ers. They are on the right path, and we hope they will be, but there not there yet. Keep in mind we are a 28th team and there haven’t exactly made the jump yet to a depleted, weak D-core.

            Yes you are correct that he is NOT part of the Old Boys Club. However you justifying he’s been a coach with us for 5 years, and put his time in, and tried really hard, that IS the thought process of the Old Boys Club.

            Finally, I don’t dislike Rocky, or the job he does. I just believe there are better options.

            Thanks

          • I just believe there are better options.

            The problem isn’t your opinion, it’s the fact that you can’t justify it beyond “I think he’s just a rah rah guy.”

            Why would an AHL coach decide to be a 3rd assistant in the NHL? That is a demotion.

          • A-Mc

            The old boys club equates to people being gifted positions they did not earn via years of experience. Instead they get these positions based on a buddy system.

            Are you saying that Rocky would be getting the nhl job based entirely on a buddy system and less about actually earning it or him being a good fit?

        • Stack Pad Save

          Rocky Thompson is the furthest thing from the old boys club. He has no NHL playing days connection to the Oilers. IF anything Rocky Thompson looks like a decent development of a coach from the WHL with his days coaching the Oil Kings and than through the AHL as an assistant.

          I hate the Old Boys Club mentality of the Oilers, but this actually looks like coaching development which is an improvement to the usual state of affairs with the Oilers.

        • How in the world do you know what kind of coach he is? A rah rah guy?

          He has already been performing this exact role for what is widely considered one of the best coached AHL teams, but you think he’s just a rah rah guy so no thanks?

    • Marshall Law

      Looks like the Oilers have decided that developing goalies isnt a priority.

      They’re going to let Chabot continue to suck what ever life is left out of these guys.

      Wake UP!

  • Jason Gregor

    Gregor, why do you automatically assume that a trade to make the Oilers better now will be detrimental to them in the long-term? It sounds like a false choice to me. You know what is detrimental in the long-term? Finishing last place year after year and never giving the team a tase of success.

    • Dan 1919

      Exactly, the luxury of sitting around and drafting for 7 years has to be over immediately. By the time Draisaitl is ready and effective every night in the NHL (say 1-3yrs?) Boyd Gordon is retired or on his last few years. So then you’ve got RNH and Draisaitl(assuming Draisaitl pans out). The Oilers need a C now and in the future, there is no way around it. If that means making a trade with actual valuable assets leaving town(like what contenders do every year), that’s what it means.

      We’ve seen how bad the attitude of, “one more good draft pick and then playoffs the following year,” actually works in real life. It’s not a straight step into the playoffs as soon as a team decides they’re ready to be there. Very unlikely the Oilers finish dead last with this roster to draft McDavid anyway.

      The attitude from here on out has to be to try and make the playoffs every year, period. That means trading for a C this offseason.

      These trades are available, as Next Up, Conor McDavid often mentions Philly is in cap issues and would be a great dance partner for Couturier. If that’s not available or he’s not the guy they want, figure out who is and get him.

  • Big Cap

    Personally as a fan of the Oilers the losing doesn’t really get me it’s the being completely outclassed by other teams on most nights that really gets annoying to watch.