WWYDW: Defence or Goaltending?

ForkInTheRoad

Peter Chiarelli’s to do list in his first summer as the Oilers’ General Manager a long one. This team has about as many holes as it does legitimate assets. For every Taylor Hall we have there is a a #1 d-man/starting goalie sized hole to balance things out. This is a problem. Which is the bigger problem? That’s what I need you to tell me.

Depending which side of the fence you’re on you may think that one position is more important than the other (at least that’s what I’m banking on for this article). It’s no secret that the Oilers desperately need upgrades on the backend and in net, but I’m wondering which you think is more important? Is one more important than the other? If you had to choose a route, which would you start on first?

If you improve the defence first, you could argue that the goaltender would have an easier time keeping the puck out of the net. If you go out and get a new goaltender you could argue that it makes life easier on the defence. I guess the question is whether you’ll go for the chicken or the egg in this theoretical scenario?

THE OPTIONS…

Options

As we all know, last year was a disaster. That’s why I need you to tell me how we’re going to solve this goaltending/defence Sophie’s choice. Just how bad did things get in the 2014-15 season? Let me refresh your memory.

Defence:

  • -85 goal differential
  • Combined -114 to end the season (defence left on roster at the end of the season)

Goaltending:

  • Save% – .892
  • GAA – 3.29 (Scrivens & Fasth)

To say that we need improvement in these areas would be like telling Jimmy Page that he’s pretty good at playing guitar… 

PICK YOUR POISON

Poison

Once you’ve decided which way you’ll go – defence or goaltending – I also want you to let me know what your solutions are. If you’re thinking defence, who are you chasing after? Are you going after cap crunched teams, and hoping to find your solution there?

If you think goaltending is most important who are you going to land us to solve the problems we’ve had in net? Would you go out and bid high on the best UFA goaltender available, or would you look at trading for someone that may need a change of scenery? Who are these mystery men and why should we believe that they will lead us out of the basement?

  • Morgo_82

    We need a bona fide NHL caliber goalie, not someone else’s back up who could possibly, maybe, perhaps be our starter. We need some bona fide D, not a has been Russian who wanted top $$ or a fitness freak whose wish is to run his own gym and be a personal fitness trainer to the stars. These gaps in the roster are of tantamount importance, but something just as important, if not more so is a GOALIE COACH, a proven, top notch coach, one who doesn’t get his guys to flop around like a fish out of water, a GC who can work miracles, who can turn a goalie’s career round like Dubnyks was turned around. Until THAT position is filled, we need to hold our breath.

  • CMG30

    When I think back to 2006 when the stars aligned for the Oilers, I think of Chris Pronger. Without a doubt my target this summer is defence.

    We all have our wish lists filled with Seabrook’s and Anderson’s, but if I’m Chiarelli I’m not trading Yakupov. I know his value is high being on a nice contract and finishing the year strong, but I don’t want to see him streaking down Jonathan Town’s wing for the next half dozen years. No thanks.

    My number one free agent target is Cody Franson. A right handed shot with a strong game in both ends. He’s young, he’s a legit top pairing guy, and can probably be had for 5×5.

    My number two target is Paul Martin. He’s strong at both ends, has won a Cup, and knows how to play within a dynamic offense. What a mentor he would be for Nurse and Klefbom.

    I know these aren’t the sexiest names out there, but realistically Chiarelli isn’t going to trade away any big talent after the Seguin deal went wrong in Boston. And he isn’t going to fill his wish list in year one. What Garth Snow pulled off last summer was an anomaly, so we need to temper expectations. This leaves plenty of assets to trade for a decent goalie, and gives options to buy out Nikitin or Ference. It also keeps together an unmatched nucleus of talent up front.

    Whatever happens, it’s going to be one heck of a summer. Go Oil!

  • Morgo_82

    We need a goalie coach that is proven and can help the goalie. I’d be chasing Talbot or Ramos. I’d package the 16th pick a prospect to Nashville and pry Ellis/Jones away. Even if it took more, I’d be going after either guy. Nikitin and Ference would be off the team via buyouts. I think the bold moves we’ve been waiting for are on the horizon.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Is Seabrook the next Shea Weber on this site?

    Why do so many people think we can get Seabrook? Chicago will dump Sharp, Bickell or Oduya before they would even consider getting rid of Seabrook.

    If you want to talk about something realistic, then Oduya is the guy to target as he is a UFA.

    • CMG30

      We were asked what would you do??

      We all know what you would do!!

      But….If Chicago got offered something they couldn’t refuse and help get them under the cap why wouldn’t they ATLEAST think about it

  • CMG30

    First of all I sign Kari Ramo to be our starting goalie 7 days a week and TWICE on Sunday!!!

    If we take Phaneuf (Toronto’s Captain) then they can have our’s (Ferance,) , Purcell and 2nd round pick!!

    Then offer J.Shultz and Yakupov to Winnipeg or Chicago for Big Buff or Seabrook…

    Sign UFA’s Mike Green to do everything Shultz was SUPPOSED to and sign Chris Stewart to bang body’s and play body guard on Hall and McDavids line…playing along side McDavid I’m Positive He would snipe 25 Gino’s

    1.Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle
    2. Hall-McDavid-Chris Stewart
    3.Draisitle-Lander-Pitlick
    4.Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer
    Press box. gazdic

    1D. Phaneuf- Seabrook or Buff
    2D. Kleffbom- Green
    3D. Marincin- Fayne
    7th Dman Nikitin (unless bought out)

    1G. Ramo
    2G. scrivens

    UCKS YEAH!!!!

  • CMG30

    Goaltending first!

    We don’t even need a superstar in net, lets just go with average. There’s no point in blowing the bank on defense until the net situation is taken care of. We could have Weber, Pronger and Neidimier in their primes, but as long as the goalie keeps letting in peewee level shots we’re toast.

    With the putrid display in net over the last couple seasons, for the defense to win games they’d have to not just defend they would have to stop every single shot on net. If they were able to do that, well we might as well ditch the goalie all together and run with 4 forwards!

  • As much as everyone hates Justin Shultz he’s not nearly as bad as we think if we can get 3 proven defence man plus we have klefbom Shultz and fayne that’s a pretty good top six plus nurse as our 7th then we can trade defence and Nikitan cause I gaurentee as soon as Shultz goes somewhere else he will put up 45-55 points and we as fans are gunna look stupid

  • Anton CP

    Things about fixing D is more important than G because it helps not only on improve team’s record also good for young D cores to have someone they can learn from. If you look around the league that many teams are running with 1A and 1B system with their goalies, most of goalies are not so far apart from each others. When you have a guy like Hammond came out of nowhere and carried Sens into playoffs that sometimes you just need some luck on finding one of those goalies.

  • Kevwan

    A great goalie can mask defensive deficiancies. This could make us look better than they are next year which doesn’t help us towards our ultimate goal. Just ask Colorado… I’m not saying we shouldn’t go after and try to improve our goaltending but if we have to prioritize the defence is far more important. Also, development of the young high potential D will be furthered if they have someone to show them the way. Let’s all agree this is not Ference.

    I believe the opportunities are many and I have names I would love to see but the two best opportunities given cap restrictions and need for change are Chicago and San Jose. The two Brent’s should be targets. Many have spoke of the opportunity of landing Brent Seabrook, I believe Brent Burns would be as good in some respects and better in others. He’s huge, he’s fast, he looks ridiculously good feeding Taylor and Jordan, he knows the coach we’re hiring, and he’s in his prime. Not saying it would work but I would be on the phone if I were the GM. Would our 16th overall, any defensive prospect not already playing in the NHL and not named Nurse plus a second in 2016 get a hang up or more discussion. Would we need to include Merincin?

    I would then add Sekera or Petry to further shelter the youth. I would say send Schultz but I doubt they would be so foolish. Buyouts for nikitin and Ference are also then on the menu.

    That’s my take for what it’s worth.

  • Tony Montana

    defence first

    Normally I would say you build from the net out. But in our case if you are spending major assets (prospects and/or picks in the top 50). It has to be for a top pairing d-man. Preferably RHD. My targets for trade would be, in no particular order..
    Vlasic
    Braun
    Seabrook
    Jossi – long shot
    weber – long shot

    My free agent targets would be, in order of preference.
    Sekera
    Franson
    beauchamin (would be higher if he were younger)
    Green If we strike out everywhere else

    In Goal

    I would personally look at a guy along the lines of Talbot or Lack or some other such goalie who could hopefully be had for Montreals 2nd rounder, and possibly a lower level prospect. avoid Niemi in FA (won’t be a problem if McLellan becomes our HC)

  • deantime419

    It’s a no brainer for the Oilers to target UFA goalie Antti Niemi in free agency. He’s a proven NHL starter and is already familiar with the soon to be head coach Todd Mclellan.

    As for defence, I think the oilers should make a push to sign UFA Mike green. He is a veteran player with decent size and playoff experience that can also provide offence from the blue line. Although his defensive game has shown holes over the years, his pros far outweigh his cons.

    Another player that should be on Edmontons wish list is Dan Girardi. Girardi has good size and is capable of playing tough minutes against quality competition. He’s also a durable player that can consistently put up 20 points in a season. He’s a right handed shot and would be complimented well by either klefbom or green on the left side.

    To acquire Girardi the Oilers would probably need to give up the 16th pick and a prospect/roster player.

    Projected D Pairings

    Green-Girardi
    Klefbom-Fayne
    Ference-Schultz
    Nikitin

    Projected goalies

    Niemi
    Scrivens
    Broissoit

  • If I were the gm of the Oilers I would start by hiring Todd Mclellan as head coach. Next I would draft Mcdavid (obviously) and then trade the 16th pick and marincin for a quality second or third defencemen like Dan Girardi. After the draft I would buy out Nikitin and say good by to other UFAs like Roy and Fasth. Then I would agressively pursue Anti Niemi and Mike green in free agency. And boom The Oilers aren’t fixed but they now have a legit NHL starer and 2 top 3 defencemen.

    • TKB2677

      Oh god…. If I was GM i would trade my castoffs for a 1st pairing defenceman and then I would turn rocks into gold and would make world peace…. its so simple WTF guys….

  • My number one concern is defense. I realize goaltending can win or lose a game but goalies are inconsistent and hard to predict.

    Number one on my shopping list is Nic Hjalmarsson

    Hjalmarsson is one of the Blackhawks best defensemen. He takes tough zone starts and excels. The Blackhawks kept him around instead of Leddy last year and Leddy has become a top pairing dman in NY. Hjalmarsson probably could be acquired in a cap relief deal with Edmonton sending the 16th overall pick or next years first round pick(depending on whether a deal is made before or after the draft) and maybe a mid round pick or prospect.

    I would like the Oilers to also sign two of these players
    Sekera
    Franson
    Green
    Oduya

    Or trade for Voynov if he’s not deported or expelled from the league.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    As I have been saying for years now, the Oilers blueline has been the #1 reason why they are the laughing stock of the league.

    Don’t think so? Look at Calgary. Their defense made their forwards look a lot better than they actually are, and the same for their goaltending.

    Now I fully realize if the defense is issue 1A, then the goalie is 1B.

    Saying this, I would package up Yakupov and the Pittsburgh 1st rounder to Nashville for Seth Jones. This kid is an absolute stud and will be for years. I would even sweeten that pot if I had to. Fill in another UFA defenseman as need be in the top 4. Having Nurse and Jones chew up minutes on opposite shifts for the next decade would be a dream come true. Klefbom will be great in that group as well.

    Add either Talbot or Ramo in next with Scrivens as a backup. Patrick Sharp is going to be available this summer….he is a beauty. I doubt all of this could be done over just a single off-season, but Seth Jones and Talbot/Ramo would be a huge win in my mind!!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Get Eddie Lack for the 2 2nd rounders and Purcell.

    Marincin(or Shultz), the 16th, Moroz and a conditional 2016 1st rnd for Byflugin(sp).

    Sign Cody Franson or McQuaid.

    Buyout Nikitin.

    Lack/Scrivens

    Byflugin/Klefbom
    Franson(McQuaid)/Fayne
    Ference/Nurse(Shultz or Marincin)

  • deantime419

    Rid ourselves of Nikitin.
    Trade away one of Schultz/Ference.

    Sign Neuvirth/Ramo (I don’t want to overpay Niemi and I’d rather not give up assets for Talbot or Jones).
    Would also consider trading for Ryan Miller if the price was right.

    Trade for Wisniewski (shouldn’t cost much as Anaheim doesn’t like spending $$$ and he’s currently being healthy scratched).

    Sign Sekera (I think he’s a bit better defensively than Franson).

    Ekholm/Ellis are interesting trade options from Nashville too but I’m sure it’d cost us that 16th overall pick.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    First of all I sign Kari Ramo to be our starting goalie 7 days a week and TWICE on Sunday!!!

    If we take Phaneuf (Toronto’s Captain) then they can have our’s (Ferance,) , Purcell and 2nd round pick!!

    Then offer J.Shultz and Yakupov to Winnipeg or Chicago for Big Buff or Seabrook…

    Sign UFA’s Mike Green to do everything Shultz was SUPPOSED to and sign Chris Stewart to bang body’s and play body guard on Hall and McDavids line…playing along side McDavid I’m Positive He would snipe 25 Gino’s

    1.Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle

    2. Hall-McDavid-Chris Stewart

    3.Draisitle-Lander-Pitlick

    4.Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer

    Press box. gazdic

    1D. Phaneuf- Seabrook or Buff

    2D. Kleffbom- Green

    3D. Marincin- Fayne

    7th Dman Nikitin (unless bought out)

    1G. Ramo 2G. scrivens

  • Ever the Optimist

    Scrivens had a full year to prove himself.

    What he proved was is that he is not an NHL starting goalies, and likely never will be.

    Buying a bucket with a hole in the bottom is folly.