NOT ENOUGH

With time ticking down toward Monday’s NHL trade deadline, the guessing game continues as to who and what the Edmonton Oilers will receive in a trade for pending UFA defenseman Jeff Petry. Whatever the return, chances are it won’t be enough.

There’s been a growing chorus of “It didn’t have to be this way” as Petry has played the best hockey of his career in recent months, but that lament is equal parts hindsight and growing frustration over the failure of GM Craig MacTavish to get his team pointed in the right direction.

You can put me in the hindsight camp. I wasn’t for handing Petry whatever he wanted during negotiations that ended with him signing a one-year deal for $3.075 million July 7, but I thought, given the glaring lack of depth on Edmonton’s blue line, a deal for something in the range of $4-$4.5 million a season over four or five years was palatable.

It was obvious then that MacTavish and the Oilers didn’t hold Petry in the same regard as unproven Justin Schultz, the Norris Trophy candidate. They likely negotiated that way. The clock started ticking the minute Petry signed that deal. I thought there would be time to re-visit it before now. Save for recent talk about 11th-hour discussions, that hasn’t happened.

TIME’S UP

Time

I’ve said and written more than once since then that Petry and agent Wade Arnott would be best-served to test the UFA market and I still feel that way, but that shouldn’t have prevented the Oilers from making a concerted pitch to take negotiations beyond where they were last summer. Nope.

I’m not talking stupid money or ridiculous term – even if the Oiler have been guilty of offering both to other players – just an offer that would give Petry and Arnott reason to pause and contemplate. An offer that made it clear the Oilers saw Petry as a piece of the team moving forward. He’s not a first-pairing defenseman on most teams, but he’s the best the Oilers have.

Too late now. That clock strikes midnight Monday and, while there’s been talk Petry is happier under new coach Todd Nelson than he was under dour Dallas Eakins – and is playing better hockey – we wait to find out where he’s going and what’s coming back.

History shows us, more often than not, it won’t be enough.

DALLAS IN DENIAL

Even the smartest guy in the room gets it wrong or screws up from time to time, but you’d never know it listening to Eakins, who apparently still hasn’t come to grips with the reasons he was fired by the Oilers Dec. 15.

Talking on FAN 590 today, Eakins credited the turnaround in the play of Nail Yakupov with the arrival of Derek Roy – at the same time absolving himself of having any hand in how badly Yakupov struggled during his tenure as head coach.

“I’m only speculating here, but I’m guessing that having a veteran centre like Derek Roy has paid huge dividends for Nail,” Eakins said. “That was something we couldn’t give to him while I was there.”

Eakins is at least partially right on both counts. Roy has been a factor in the significant improvement in Yakupov and, yes, that’s not a luxury Eakins had thanks to MacTavish’s insistence on rolling the dice on Mark Arcobello and Leon Draisaitl to start the season.

I’d suggest Yakupov’s improved play has as much to do with being put in situations to succeed by Nelson – being used at key times during games, seeing extended use on the power play and being used in shootouts – and the confidence that’s come from that. 

No surprise there’s not a hint of mea culpa from Eakins. Rarely, despite his pitiful 36-63-14 record with the Oilers, has that been forthcoming from the smartest guy in the room. Anyway, you can read the full item here.

DEADLINE DAZE

For my money, the Oilers’ best work at or near the trade deadline in the last 20 years was March 2006 when GM Kevin Lowe added Dwayne Roloson and Sergei Samsonov, both of whom played a significant role in getting the Oilers into the playoffs and all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

Roloson was acquired from the Minnesota Wild March 8 for a first-round pick (Trevor Lewis 17th) and a third-rounder (Spencer Machacek 67th). Roloson went 8-7-4 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .905 save percentage down the stretch. He was 12-5 with a .927 save percentage in the playoffs before Marc-Andre Bergeron peed on the party by riding Andrew Ladd into Roloson and shredding his knee in Game 1 of the Cup final.

A day later, the Oilers shipped Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a second-round pick to the Boston Bruins for Samsonov. Samsonov scored 5-11-16 in 19 games down the stretch and then added 4-11-15 in 24 playoff games.

The downside of that deal, historians will note, is the Bruins turned that second-round pick into Milan Lucic with the 50th selection that summer and Samsonov was only a rental, moving on to Montreal.

MY BEST GUESS

SoLong

I’ve thought since it became obvious Petry would be traded that the likeliest destination for him would be Detroit. That hasn’t changed. GM Ken Holland is on the record as saying he’s been looking for a right-shot defenseman since the start of the season.

The other factor is Holland, like most GMs, is more likely to make a deal for a player he believes he can re-sign rather than just getting as a rental. Michigan is home for Petry and he’d have a chance to win, or at least contend, in Detroit. It looks like a fit from where I sit.

I’d expect the Oilers to get a prospect and a conditional pick (based on whether or not Petry re-signs) from the Red Wings.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • paul wodehouse

    michael…why so maudlin and sentimental over a decent honest Dman who has such little value to his employer…not to mention respect…that’s my ONLY assumption EVER!… if he doesn’t make it past Monday as an oiler that’ll be a shame…one year three years what difference does it make…The Strolls and so on are all old news …here’s a certainty>THEY ARE GIVING UP ON HIM when he COULD BE just coming into his prime at 27 years old…
    …stir in a change of scenery and loss of homecooking? you serious? what about homesick?

  • vetinari

    Eakins is a tool.

    If he would have come out and said “I made mistakes in Edmonton and there are things that I would have done differently if I had the chance to do them over again but I learned from those mistakes, and will apply what I learned to the next coaching job that I have”, I would have at least somewhat respected him although I did not like him. Instead, it’s “I was sold a bill of goods” by the organization.

    I will follow his career with interest to see if he lands another NHL job and if so, what he changes to be successful. Until then, I hope he screws off for a while on Katz’s dime, and while he’s at it, take Lowe and if necessary, MacT with him.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Ah, those glorious days of early ’06…

    Spacek, Roloson, and Samsonov, all in the span of six weeks!

    I miss that team. Balanced scoring, The Human Rake crushing everything in sight, Gator demanding everyone’s best effort, 94’s chicklets sprawled like fallen soldiers on the ice…

    Good times. More of that, please.

    • As an aside, the additions of Tarnstrom and Spacek made for a nail-biting day for yours truly.

      It was late January and we were in Los Angeles. I’d been writing for several weeks the Oilers were in pursuit of Spacek. I checked and double-checked sources. His name, and only his name, kept coming up with the people I was talking to.

      Matty, who I spent 11 years working with at The Journal, kept coming up with Dick Tarnstrom. He wasn’t hearing Spacek and every time I wrote it in The Sun, he’d shake his head. “I don’t think so.”

      We get summoned to the lobby — trade announcement. Dick Tarnstrom. I recall my first words being “F*ck me” as Matty shrugged and I looked forward to explaining to my editor why I got killed on the story. 30 minutes later, summoned again — trade announcement. Jaroslav Spacek.

      Yes.

      • Gerald R. Ford

        I’d forgotten about Tarnstrom, which is sad, because it had the dual pleasure of being Cory Cross’ ticket out of town. Tarnstrom was another nice pickup by K-Lowe. Funny how he didn’t always suck. For all of the grief the EIG got back in the day about being penny-pinchers, there’s a saying: “Success thrives on restriction.” Hmmm…

        Alas, Robin, that two-word expletive is now the rule, not the exception, in the Nation. Baggedmilk needs to get THAT printed on some t-shirts.

  • paul wodehouse

    So macT has failed. How is he making this team better? Didn’t take st.louise long to turn things around not the panthers from last year. Heck, even the flames are trending up. Management sucks and has for 22 years. Eakins preached patience. They had my patience in 2007, but it’s now run out.

  • Spoils

    I’ve posted this a couple times.

    I’d use Petry as a chip in a bigger trade.

    e.g.
    [Hall + Petry for Seth Jones ]
    [Eberle + Petry + 1st pick in 2016 for Seth Jones]

    I’d go after a young defenceman likely to be a 1st pairing D or a goalie prospect likely to be a top 15 goalie…

    in the case of a young D you mitigate the loss with Petry – so it is a deal that can be done now, likely at a better rate than in the summer

    • The scouts have failed....

      First off if we wanted Jones then we should have went all in at the draft when he fell to Nashville after Colorado didn’t take him.

      I admire the effort in a trade proposal but if you were in Nashville’s front office you would hang up the phone. Your tossing in a UFA as the defense replacement. In the eberle scenario your giving up a smallish winger who earns a kings ransom, if you switch his name with taylor’s then suddenly you ask yourself how many games a year can we live with him missing time to injury.

      They have Weber’s replacement when Shea walks away via trade or retirement. I don’t think Nashville has any intention of trading him nor should they after one look around the league and you see how important it is to have that kind of player.

    • pkam

      If I am the Preds GM, this is my thinking.

      Jones is 20 and is about 4-5 years from his prime. He still have 5 years left before UFA.

      Weber is 29 and is in his prime. He will start to go downhill in about 5-6 years.

      So keep developing Jones now. If he looks like a young Weber 3-4 years from now, sign him to a big long contract and start to shop Weber when he still has a couple of years left in his prime. This will give me 12-13 years of top pairing defenseman.

    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      I dont even have to reply to this but cmon really? Do you think thats fair value. One of the best LWs in the game + Petry for an unproven d-man?

      Hall would be worth a roster player, prospect and a 1st rounder at least.Id say stop posting that.

  • bazmagoo

    Dallas was so clueless, lol. I’m made a living of reading people effectively (in business and professional poker) and I knew Dallas was all talk and no substance 20 games into last season. Unfortunate thing is it would have likely been best to keep him around until the end of the season! #becauseoilers #mceichel

    • dougtheslug

      I’ve no doubt you are right that a full season of Eakins would’ve guaranteed McEichel. Not even the Arizona Panzers would’ve won that tank battle.

      The problem is it would’ve destroyed a few careers in the process. Yak is just barely starting to put himself back together and is two years behind in his development. Draisaitl, Schultz, Ebs, RNH, even Hall were all damaged by that charlatan’s reign of error.

      Eakin’s post firing comments only make clearer what a totally unreflective egomaniacal disaster he was. That heads haven’t rolled in the front office for this offence is all the evidence you need to prove how totally dysfuntional this franchise is.

  • vetinari

    lol STFU Dallas. “Yakupov has Roy”. Yakupov could have been playing with Gagner last season and I know for a fact he would have made Gagner better, BUT NO, you had to put him on the 4th line with Will Acton and your other ex-Marlies meanwhile Jesse Joensuu was playing with Perron and Gagner and being put on the PP.

    • BlazingSaitls

      Gagner was lost in the defensive zone last year. I still think his trade was addition by subraction.

      Gagner and Yak on the same line would have been a disaster last year.

  • vetinari

    Just listened to the full Eakins’ interview on the radio… why is it that when I hear him speak, I wish that I could roll him out to my curb in a blue box with the hope that he will be picked up and I never have to see him again?

    • That’s right? Why are we still talking about Eakins? The guy is a lousy coach, ruined Yakupov development, now he say it’s Roy helped turned him around? Nobody giving Todd Nelson credits?

      I live in Toronto, the Leafs are not hiring Eakins and let inter rim coach run the team. What does that say to everyone? Eakins coached the Marlies, so he would know their personnel right?

      Chicago just traded for Timonen, 40 year old and has not played this year because of injury, for 2nd round pick this year 2015 and 4th round next year 2016.

      Why are the writers and fans in Edmonton keep saying Petry will not fetch a good return? What’s wrong with you guys? Really?

  • Anton CP

    Does Eakins never wants to coach in NHL again? Any GM with any kind of intelligence after hearing his last few interviews will realize the guy is way over his head and unable to adjust his own mistakes. No wonder Dreger loves him so much since both of them are the same egotistic maniac who always believed that they know more than others.

    And for Petry, it is a game of stare down between MacT and every other teams. It is about how long can MacT hold on until the very last minute to squeeze out the best deal possible. However the one who is truly negotiating the trade should be Petry’s agent, teams are looking for Petry will be more interested to have him for long term due to it is much harder to treat a defenseman as a rental.

  • knee deep in it

    Robin, could you change the name of the article?

    I get to my computer, open up oilersnation and I see a picture of the soon to be traded Petry with the headline “Not Enough”

    %$#&* – mact traded him for a 3rd round pick and a no name prospect is my first thought. I slowly open up the article to see how bad mact got bent over.

    It was a relief to see the article is a prediction, not a post mortum.

  • nuge2drai

    At the season ticket holders’ ‘signature event’ I got Jeff Petry’s signature on an Oiler hat. As he signed I said ‘thank you for everything you have done for this club.’ He looked up and said ‘thank you.’ I sure wish it was Lowe and MacT who were leaving instead. I wished him good luck.

  • nuge2drai

    #sadsince07

    Three #1 picks in this draft year would be incredibly valuable assets.

    If Petry is traded I would hope we at least get a 1st rounder in the deal.

    I than hope we trade the picks for quality players because the “braintrust” has been questionable drafting.

  • Mact trades away established veterans for magic beans? Boy am I glad that has never happened in Edmonton town before.

    Things like what he’s done this year are why this organization is going backwards. That’s not exactly news R.B.

    Looks like both Mact and Eakins are living in utter denial. Surprise, surprise.

  • Oilers4ever

    If the oilers do in fact trade petry then both MacT and KLowe should be fired outright. This mgmt group continues to do NOTHING to show theyvwant stability with the players. Morons.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Posters here have unfairly vilified Mac; sure he has made some mistakes but look at the positives, people! Case in point, has anyone seen tonight’s OHL highlights? Kingston playing Sudbury, Sam Bennet running around, cheap-shotting and fighting and generally being a prick. Thank goodness we passed on him and his speed and aggression. Who needs that crap when , instead, Mac chose to draft a guy who CAN’T SKATE AND WOULDN’T HARM A FLY.

    • YFC Prez

      That guy who cant skate and wouldn’t harm a fly. Would that happen to be the same player that beat out all oilers in this years skills competition for fastest skater.

      If you can beat Taylor Halls speed, you can skate. Penner can skate, Lucic can skate, so can Draisaitl. It’s the “Big Man” effect, these players look a lot slower than they are.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      A head scratcher for sure. Leon looks to be just another Oiler marshmallow who will certainly get roasted when the heat is turned up/2pts are up for grabs. You’d think they’d have learned their lesson after they found 4,14,93,19 and 10 all unable to defend themselves.

      Throw another kid who needs a body guard onto the pile.

  • Rdubb

    I thought that I heard on the radio station TSN 1260, on several occasions, that the Oilers and the Petry camp have been in negotiations to sign a deal, is this true or not? I am almost positive that i’ve heard it by several different people, maybe even perhaps guests that are regulars on the station…would it be a surprise if the two sides can come to an agreement before Monday’s deadline?
    As far as Eakins goes, his problem as an NHL coach was that he couldn’t admit when he was wrong, and i see that this still continues to this day. There was little to no reason why he’d take the snacks away from the reporters, just because he was a health nut doesn’t mean he had to force his beliefs on everyone else covering this team. If he left the snacks alone and added veggies, then that would have been fine, but to take away the snacks, egotistical…or isn’t that the proper word? Perhaps arrogant?
    He was a terrible coach from day one. Edmonton’s PP and PK dropped significantly under Eakins. Many of the young guys regressed under him too…his defensive systems @ the start of his tenure where absolutely dreadful, no wonder Dubnyk’s numbers fell of the side of the map..
    Almost everything under Eakins went backwards. He just wasn’t ready or prepared to be an NHL coach, especially of a young inexperienced team…
    MacT made a mistake when he hired Eakins as he passed over a guy who grew in his organization in Nelson. A guy who coached many of the Oilers in the shortened season. A guy who coached many of the Oilers as they came through the organization. A guy who lead their farm team to two great seasons back to back…
    I am a fan of MacT, but he screwed up…I am not a fan of Eakins, and he really screwed up. His arrogance was his downfall and unless he starts to realize that, his coaching career in the NHL will be a short one…

  • O.C.

    The emergence or resurgence of Yak can be partially tied to Derek Roy. That’s tunnel vision however. When you have a thoroughbred, you don’t put him on the Budweiser Horse Team.

    A very good article today on the Score. The resurgence of Ovy was a change in the “required”, from the new coach. Barry Trotz excerpt below from that article.

    “I made it pretty simple,” Trotz said this week. “I asked him, ‘when you have the puck, I want you to do what you do, and when you don’t have the puck I want you to do what I want you to do.'”

    This is what the fans had screamed for 1.5 years. Instead, the players were supporting the coach, saying Yak wasn’t doing what was being asked.

    None of that is going to save Petry. At the very least, all the “what is wrong with Yak?”, and “The Oil should have traded Yak” blogs have quietly disappeared.

    Same can be said for Eberle.

    Hindsight is 20/20. In the end, management pulled the plug in time to save considering key player changes where none were required.

    Being smart at systems should not be at expense of harnessing elite talent.