MACT’S BEST MOVE, YEAR TWO (YOU MAKE THE CALL)

mact common7

Year One for Craig MacTavish as GM saw several impressive moves (covered here) and despite bitter disappointment there was hope for the future. As year two of the MacT regime winds down, what did the GM do to improve the team?

DRAFTING LEON

draisaitl capture

I’m certain some will say “how hard is it to draft the right guy” or “Sam Bennett was the right guy!” but big Leon has delivered under unusual circumstances. I’m absolutely on board with his being mishandled (which will be covered when we do ‘worst moves’) but the player is rock solid and should have a strong future.

SIGNED POULIOT & FAYNE

In free agency, MacT delivered a solid possession winger (Benoit Pouliot) and a veteran NHL defenseman in his prime. Again, I can feel you screaming at your computer screen but let’s discuss the positive in this post before we get to the negative.

Pouliot’s ability to play up and down the lineup, score timely goals and be a nuisance are all commendable skills and he’s full value (the injury aside) as an Oiler. Mark Fayne’s game doesn’t shine when a team loses every night but I’m comfortable with him as a tough minutes defender (as shown by the Vollman Sledgehammer).

fayne vollman mar 2015 on

This is Corsi Rel and shows Fayne in the ‘death corner’ that Shawn Horcoff used to occupy during the period many Oilers fans were down on his performance. It’s very important to include some context when discussing a defensive defenseman. Fayne is playing the tough competition and he’s getting severe zone starts (although not as severe as Andrew Ference) according to the Vollman. Notice the good work of Martin Marincin here (along with Oscar Klefbom). 

TRADED FOR DEREK ROY

The cost was Mark Arcobello but the benefit came when the veteran center helped Nail Yakupov unlock the key to finding his considerable talent on the NHL stage. The combination has been impressive and the results for Nail Yakupov since the new year are obvious:

  • October through December: 38GP, 4-5-9 -20
  • January through today: 32GP, 8-11-19 -13

Yak’s post All-Star performance (23GP, 7-9-16 -12) is even stronger. The Derek Roy trade and Yakupov’s uptick in performance are tied to our final candidate for best move of the year.

HIRED TODD NELSON

There’s a tendency to blame all the ills of the Oilers on Dallas Eakins, but he (and Nelson) were/are dealing with a badly flawed roster (more when we get to the downside of MacT’s year). One could argue the club made an error in firing Eakins or that firing him ignored the real problem. I have a lot of time for that line of thinking.

Having said that, I believe Nelson’s hiring helped in several areas, including a number of young players improving in the NHL. I think Nelson’s hiring is a candidate for best move of the year.  

LET’S HAVE A CLOSER LOOK!

lovethis dog

So, choose your poison. The new coach? Free agency acquisition Pouliot? UFA Fayne? Roy? Leon? YOU make the call.

  • LT,

    You’ve shown Yak is doing worse with Roy.

    October through December: 38GP, 4-5-9 -20
    January through today: 32GP, 8-11-19 -13

    Are we sure about these stats?

    .56 ppg to .40

    *grabs bowl, leans forward, and shoots himself in the face*

    * waves flag with half a brain left*

    P.S. HELP.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Craig even botched up the firing of Eakins.

    He fired him 40 games too early. The last thing they needed was the 3rd or even 4th selection in this draft. Good luck selecting a kid who won’t make the team for 2 or 3 years, if ever.

  • Guys, guys, GUYS!!!!! Craig has only been on the job for what is it… 20, 22, 24 months, give or take, so it’s way to early and almost impossible to tell what moves have been good or bad.

    Yup, were going to need at least three more top 5 draft picks before we can properly access Mac T as a GM.

    • Darth Oiler

      I’m sorry but I can’t tell if your serious or not. I can understand the whole not jumping to conclusions thing, but if the Oilers get three more top 5 picks that means they have to suck and be at the bottom of the league for another two years. If MacT can’t get this team out of the basement in a year I think it would be obvious he hasn’t improved the team during his tenure so why wait till he has three more top 5 draft picks to realize that.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    In my opinion getting rid of Eakins and bringing in Nelson is the best move done all year. My thinking in this situation is based on basically all of our young guns regressing in scoring this year when he was the coach to having two of the hottest players in the league when Nelson is coaching. The other thing that stands out dramatically to me is the attitudes of the players. From interviews I’ve read from Eberle and Yak they feel like the mood is better, the practices are more uptempo and closer to actual game speed which is showing in their ability to start games and not be down three before the first period ends. The other thing I read that really stands out is Eakins coaching style of sitting around a chalk board and explaining his “cutting edge” ideas then by the sounds of things making the payers feel stupid or at the very least talking down to them if they don’t get the nuances of his teachings. With Nelson not so much.

  • WTF2

    Drafting Leon, because SIZE. Can’t wait to hear him draft Crouse.

    Pouliot/Fayne These would be good signings on a team that was looking to make a push for the cup. Some solid players that added depth to a capable line up. Pouliot too much money and term. Fayne a solution to a problem the oilers didn’t have, middle pairing Dmen.

    Derek Roy This move only looks good, because the team only had 2 centres to start the season. This might be his best move, but only if he resigns him. The FA pool is week and it would be highly arrogant of MacT to think he could find someone better or that Leon/this years top 5 pick can play right away.

    Hiring Nelson Firing Eakins was the right move, but is Nelson the right coach moving forward. The results are nit exactly outstanding. The oil still have the fewest wins in the league and are only loser pointing themselves out of hockey Jesus status.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I don’t consider Roy a trade that was good when in fact it was desperation and a trade more by default than a smart executive decision. He was passed over in off season, could have been claimed off waivers and would have been by oilers as a desperation move that turned out to be prosperous. It’s called a trade only because edm needed to free up a contract in order to get him. Last resort move that panned out so far so no credit for mact for that. Hiring of Nelson also appears to be a smart move but again much of the same circumstances as in Roy’s case. Had to fire Eakins and in desperation of finding a interm coach as a quick replacement. He has not been announced as next yrs coach with new contract for all we know as of now is an interm coach. Also overlooked in past two off seasons. It may look like a smart move on Mact’s behalf but as in Roy’s case, these moves fell in his lap rather than him seeking these guys out as good fits for club. Basically moves that have worked out in spite of gm’s judgement. Perron was his best move but the way he was used in second season ruined all hopes of a long lasting relationship so that can be erased from equation. Firing Eakins was good but Mac hired him and Eakins should have been let go at seasons end last yr so can’t count this one. Drafting Leon appears to be good but to early to tell. Goalie tandem, well I won’t even go there. Nikitin, not worth mentioning either. klink and Fraser are after thoughts for a flawed roster so that’s out. Really all that’s left is pouliot and fayne. I like both but with all due respect to them, I wouldn’t consider either of them as significant or impact roster players. Pouls is having a good yr and fayne is really steady, nothing flashy but does his job and for that I would have to pick that one. Ok moves not great or bold. Mac t might end up being a great gm someday but for an inexperienced org like edm, I’m not sure if the team can afford to wait on his learning curves as a gm. I have heard Eakins and Mac himself say ” he/I have only been on the job 18 or so months”, truth is he’s only been a gm for that long. I respect him as a coach but have yet to as a gm and the team can’t afford to have him learn how to be one!!

  • WTF2

    This is a very thin list.

    Pouilot is a good pick up!

    Fayne/Niktin got the money we should have given Petry.

    Roy was because we gave up Gagner for a soft winger.

    Nelson was because he had too clean up his own mis-directed coaching coach.

  • camdog

    SO WHY IS THE TEAM IN THIRD LAST PLACE?

    Lowetide says Mactavish made four “impressive” moves last year. And he lists six moves above as his BEST for this year. Have you looked at the standings recently?

    I know the narrative. We have been hearing it for nine years: “wait until these young players mature…then the team will be great”. It was BS nine years ago and it is BS now. The team is terrible. There is no end in sight. Much of that is on MacTavish. Everybody needs to stop drinking the Kool-aid.

  • WTF2

    SO WHY IS THE TEAM IN THIRD LAST PLACE?

    Lowetide says Mactavish made four “impressive” moves last year. And he lists six moves above as his BEST for this year. Have you looked at the standings recently?

    I know the narrative. We have been hearing it for nine years: “wait until these young players mature…then the team will be great”. It was BS nine years ago and it is BS now. The team is terrible. There is no end in sight. Much of that is on MacTavish. Everybody needs to stop drinking the Kool-aid.

  • M.O.O.G.

    Knowing what we know about this team and its vision; the lack of accountability at the management level; Katz’s taste for nepotism; and the astronomical prices the Oilers are sure to gouge the fans with…

    Who here is going to either renew their season tickets or continue to wait on the Oilers waiting list?

    Thumbs up if you’re sticking it out. Thumbs down if you are tapping out.

  • CMG30

    MacTavish’s best move was to send down LD. I say this because I hope that the move was accompanied with the GM finally starting to understand that you can’t rush players who aren’t ready. You need actual NHL players on your roster in key positions in order to be competitive.

    If that lesson has actually started to seep in, then the Oilers have finally taken the first step away from the basement.

  • camdog

    Who would have thought that trading for a guy that at this stage in his career is the equivalent of Sam Gagner would be on a list of top moves made by Mact this season. Sam’s faceoff winning percentage is over 10% points better than Roy’s is…

    I didn’t want to go this way when considering the article was team positives, but you know it’s been a really bad year when you trade for a veteran Sam Gagner and that actually was an improvement on the team that started the season.

  • WTF2

    Wow, the choice of positive moves is really weak. In less than 1 year as GM, Jim Benning hired Willie Desjardines, signed Miller and Vrbata and drafted Virtanin, McCaan and Demko. Looks like Vancouver is run by professionals while the Oilers are run by amateurs that are learning on the fly.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Gee. Maybe after 45 years they are getting it right! Now if they can only find fans with enough grey matter not to burn down their own city after a loss…… I am not holding my breath on either scenario occurring.

      And if they have turned into an actual NHL organization – it took a kid from North Edmonton to figure it out.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Eveyone in the HOCKEY UNIVERSE now knows how stupid a decision it was for Mact to fire a totally good coach, ( Krueger) overlook a great coach, ( Nelson) and hire a total DUD in Eakins………everyone except you Allan.

    Let’s see, Eakins started the season exteremly ill-prepared. He did not have the team prepared for the pre-season games let alone the start of the season. It took him 10 games to sort out the roster, figure out who plays where, send down players to the AHL, and then formulate some playing lines. In all this he benched his best defenceman ( Petry) , promoted AHL players with NO merit, and intorduced a new system of play……..that no one understands, except the coach himself.

    He sat in the stands during practice, spoke in platitudes, and benched players for reasons we will never understand. He banned donuts, preached fitness, and in the process lost the entire team, save Ference his fitness yoda. To say the team was broken would be a massive understatement. This all happened under Mac T watch and he alone bears all the responsibility.

    Now Nelson come in a totally changes everything including the psychology of the players. He has them beleiveing in them selves, and playing a team game. All this while his best player is hurt and his best defenceman traded.

    The best way to describe what Nelson has accomplished is …….. miracle worker. Your comments on Nelson not understanding STATS therefore he can’t be a good coach approach, is most confounding.

    A team that plays good creates good stats………a team that plays bad creates bad stats. The stats NEVER creates the play or how the game is played.

    Allan you need to ask the players if they review stats at any time, before, during , or after a game………..the only two teams with a statician are Toronto and Edmonton……..funny how stats have helped them.

    • camdog

      “Allan you need to ask the players if they review stats at any time, before, during , or after a game………..the only two teams with a statician are Toronto and Edmonton……..funny how stats have helped them.”

      Rob Vollman was on Lowetide’s show on Friday and he cut up teams that hire bloggers to study advanced stats rather than statisticians. It’s important to never confuse the two. Personally I don’t know if Dellows or the Toronto hire are statisticians or not?

  • Reg Dunlop

    Mac T is terrible. Would not hire him to cut my lawn.

    Brutal, brutal, brutal is how you can call Lowe and Mac T for the last 10 years. If anyone accepts that his is valuable, look at all the players that excel when then leave Edmonton.

    Something wrong with management.