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The Oilers can’t be sellers

The Oilers are coming out of the bye week sitting third last in the Western Conference with only Chicago and Los Angeles below them. While they are just three points back of the final wild-card spot, they need to jump five teams to get there. That’s a tall order especially considering the fact that they dropped their last three games heading into the break.

Take all of that and combine it with the fact that they’ve only gotten consistent offensive production from three players, their defensive core can’t stay healthy, their goaltending has been suspect and things don’t look good.

They also don’t have a General Manager and even if they did, he wouldn’t really have the organizational depth or cap space necessary to make a big splash at the trade deadline.

On the surface, this team should be a seller at the upcoming trade deadline, or at the very least, they should simply hold onto the cards they have, ride out this season, and wait until the summer to make any decisions.

But I don’t think the Oilers should do that and here’s why:

1 – THE MESSAGE

Dec 13, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) look on during the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been lots of talk about what Connor McDavid thinks about the change in management and the current direction of the team. Some fear that McDavid would ask out if things don’t get better over the next few years, although I don’t buy into that line of thinking.

Regardless, if the Oilers go into the deadline and sell of the likes of Chiasson and Talbot or even if they just stand pat and don’t do anything, what kind of message does that send to McDavid and the rest of the team’s young core?

I don’t think it’s the best idea for the Oilers management to look at Connor McDavid and essentially say “your team is only three points out of the race in a weak conference, but we don’t believe in you and this group”.

I’m not saying I agree, or disagree, with them selling off at the deadline. I see, from a hockey perspective, why getting a bunch of draft picks and setting up your next GM for success makes sense, but the Oilers have Connor McDavid and considering what he means to this franchise, they owe it to him to not just keep this roster in-tact on February 25th but they should look at adding a winger. Not a player that would cost the first round pick, but someone who could come in and make this team better.

Don’t take this as me saying Connor McDavid would demand that the Oilers make a trade or anything along those lines, I don’t believe him to be that type of player, but the Oilers can’t just accept 2018-19 as a lost season. They owe it to their franchise player to at least attempt to improve this team and give him a fighting chance of dragging this team into the playoffs.

2 – A HEALTHY BLUELINE

Dec 16, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) waits for the faceoff in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t underrate the importance of Oscar Klefbom being back in the lineup. He’s their number one defenseman and there’s no other way to put it. He gives them a reliable top pairing d-man who gets the puck to their forwards efficiently and can simply eat minutes. He will also help out their powerplay, which has been struggling as of late.

In the Oilers last ten games before Klefbom went down they were 7-2-1. They allowed just 22 goals (2.20 goals against per game) and Klefbom has seven points over that span.

With Klefbom out of the lineup, they went 6-12-1 and allowed 72 goals (3.29 goals against per game).

Now, you could point towards the goaltending as getting worse but I think the play of the goaltenders can be directly linked with the absence of both Klefbom and Kris Russell, who missed close to a month with injury as well.

They should be welcoming back Andrej Sekera to the lineup within the next few weeks as well. I’m not sure how much Sekera will be able to contribute, but if he’s 100% healthy, he will no doubt help the Oilers back end. A healthy blueline is definitely a reason to be more optimistic about this team heading into the second half.

All these bodies returning also means they could try to deal Matt Benning or Alex Petrovic in order to find the cap space necessary to make a deal.

3 – THE TRICKLE DOWN

Dec 27, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) makes a pass in front of Vancouver Canucks defensemen Derrick Pouliot (5) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Trading a mid-round draft pick and a prospect for a player like Marcus Johansson or Andrei Burakovsky, or even if they pay a slightly higher price and get someone like Ryan Dzingel, might not seem like the type of move that elevates a team from a the edge of a playoff race to being a legit playoff contender, but it could make a huge impact on the Oilers.

The team has an elite duo on their top line with McDavid and Draisaitl. They also have an elite second line centre in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he just needs a little bit of help. If they could bring in a winger that clicks with RNH, not only would it give them a consistent source of secondary scoring, but it could push someone like Jujhar Khaira to the third line and allow him to try to spark some offence from the bottom six. Call me a homer for suggesting that, but Khaira’s game has taken a strong step in the right direction since the calendar flipped to 2019.

They don’t need to add a player that drives the play, if they just add a nice complimentary piece to their top six, it could result in an increased level of production from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and also push a piece like Khaira or even Jesse Puljujarvi to the bottom six, which could spark offence from even lower in the lineup.

It would also allow them to potentially find a little bit of consistency in their lines, which could even make the trio of McDavid-Draisaitl-Chiasson even more dangerous. If Chiasson keeps getting comfortable and you don’t have to always be double shifting McDavid and Draisaitl, that’s only a positive.

Maybe this bye-week has made me a little crazy with optimism, but the Oilers aren’t out of the race yet. Now that their defence is healthy, or close to it, that should help their goaltending out. That will go a long way in solving their problems when it comes to allowing goals. They also have the best player in the world leading their offence and if they can just give him a little bit of help, it could solve their problems in the goal-scoring department as well.

  • 18% body fat

    the reason why they can be sellers.

    1. moving manning, benning, spooner along to recoup any sort of draft pick or cap space helps this team, all 3 can be currently replaced with replacement players as good as them.

    2. the message is loud and clear if you do so. If your not performing you are gone, we will call up callahan, currie, malone, russel and let them earn a big day paycheck. We will reward and play those who perform and try, *key to this statement is “and” not or.

  • moosewacker

    If they can get anything higher than a 3rd round pick for Talbot. If they can shed themselves of a spare part/contract like Spooner or Manning do it. Other than that, keep Chiasson, and if you can add anything without sacrificing too much do it. Don’t go too crazy, but give Connor and Co a vote of confidence !

  • Hemmercules

    I don’t think trading Talbot sends a bad message to the team. The guy is inconsistent and hasn’t helped the Oilers win games in a year and a half. If you can snag a decent pick or prospect for him it almost needs to be done. If they do re-sign him its probably going to be a classic Oilers overpay anyway.

    I would keep Chiasson unless someone calls you with a crazy offer like a first rounder. Maybe try to sign him back this summer but again, it’s likely to be an overpay at that point.

    I don’t think any of the Oilers are foolish enough to think they can go on a cup run this year. Playoffs yes but they have no chance of beating a top team in a 7 game series with the guys they have. Especially if they take even one defensive injury to Klef, Russel, or Larsson.

    • Hemmercules

      Just to add to my comment. I dont think the OBC want to be big sellers anyway, regardless of pleasing McD. I fear they want to be buyers and make some stupid trade to try scrape into the show so they can pad Katz pockets a little with a few playoff games. The team and the city need some playoffs no doubt but I hope Bobby sticks to his word and doesn’t mortgage the future with no GM in place.

      • When has he stuck to his word? We are not going to rush our prospects.Lie. We are done bringing players back early from injury. Lie. Platitudes and lip service are bad enough, these are just two examples and it was just a few days ago. #firethemall

        • Hemmercules

          Klef hasn’t played a game yet and they sent down a couple guys. JP should be sent down too but Bobby hasn’t fully gone back on his words, yet. I think Hitch wants to keep JP around. He would be in the AHL right now if that wasn’t the case. If Klef plays tomorrow then I will agree with you on the rushing guys back part. Im just clinging to hope here that the OBC will start to do the right thing after learning a very hard lesson with Chia. See what happens.

          • Hemmercules

            Chias firing is still pretty fresh. I get the hatred fo the OBC, I share that, but they haven’t done anything stupid since Pete was let go. I refuse to believe they haven’t learned a lesson and I have to believe there is a brighter future just having Chia gone. All we can do is hope as usual. In a perfect world Katz just cleans house but he won’t so Bobby is what we get for now.

      • MrBung

        There is no decent trade that will get this team into the playoffs. If the clowns that are left running this circus believe that, they are truly delusional.

  • FanBoy

    Couple trades I would consider are:
    Manning for Gagner. Change of scenery, we need a 3rd line centre.
    Spooner for Weise, Change of scenery, both in the AHL.

    Drai/McDavid/Chiasson
    Khaira/RNH/JP
    Lucic/Gagner/Weise
    Rieder/Brodziak/Kassian

      • Hemmercules

        I would actually do both of those trades. Manning and Spooner are just as useless and the Oilers save money. I didn’t realize they have to pay Spooner 4 mil next year. Puke.

          • Regardless, name one other team that goes out of their way to acquire any player , then puts him on waivers, nobody makes a claim, and PRESTO, all of a sudden he is good enough for second line minutes and second unit powerplay. And the entire hockey world continues to laugh.

        • Odanada

          Trades like Spooner are on Nicholson as much as Chia. Chia should have been on a short leash by that point – if he wasn’t, that’s on BN. If he was, then the trade approval is on BN. Anyway you look at it, it’s not the water, it’s Nicholson.
          The Manning deal is just as bad if not worse.

          • camdog

            Chia was on a short leash, he knew his days were numbered. Nothing worse than a bad GM, becomes a desperate GM. If you go into the season thinking you may fire your GM if the team performs badly, you already have made your decision. This season is on Nicholson, if you have to ask the question you already knew the answer. Nicholson was too weak to make the move, when the move needed to be made.

          • Die Hard Oiler Fan

            Last summer Nicholson had to defend Chia’s continued employment on numerous occassions, saying he had met with Peter on numerous occassions and believed in Peter’s plan. I’d love to know what the plan was (“make knee-jerk trades to squander the talent pool, while putting us in cap hell” ??), if in fact Chia ever presented one. From my stand point Nicholson essentially “doubled-down” on Chia following last summers forensic audit (which failed to uncover that there was and still is “something in the water”), and he was wrong. As such, I think Bobby Nicks should be gone as well, but I guess you can only fire so many people. How could he have missed that Chia had just be fired in Boston for depleting talent and ruining their cap situation. Someone has to remain to hire a new GM and perhaps a President of Hockey Ops, so I guess we’re stuck with him…..for now.

      • Towers-of-dub

        i don’t think anyone can accuse Gagner of not competing. You can accuse him of being slow and lacking hockey intelligence, but he’s a competitor.

    • Odanada

      Weise and Lucic are close personal friends LOL!
      Looch threatened to kill him in the handshake line after the Habs eliminated the Bruins in the first round in 2014

    • Big Nuggets

      We should keep Manning in this scenario, that way we can promote forgiveness. Kassian and Gagner can finally become buddies after the broken jaw ruined Gagner best season and severly sidelines his career. Manning and Connor I’m sure are cool after that admittedly on purpose broken collarbone. And Lucic and Weise can let bygones be bygones. Are there any other players that hate each other we can acquire as we build a winning culture.

  • Shane

    1. The message: Chasing the playoffs with this dogs breakfast of a roster means we’re the same old Oilers. Shortcuts are fine because we’re the smartest people in the room. 5 cup rings says so!
    2. Klefbom hasn’t even finished a practice yet and is injury prone. You want to risk everything on him?
    3. Can’t afford a good playoff rental and even if we could, Sidney Crosby isn’t even a good enough add to drag a team with no #1 goalie, no #1 dman and tweeners on your first line wings.

  • Gofucoffee

    Uh I read this morning the Oilers are open to resigning Talbot to and extension? Making financial commitments with contract extensions should probably be left to the new GM they hire as he’ll need to find quality secondary scoring and try and fix our horrible cap situation. Why wold they make this decision now?
    Suppose it could be to up his value a bit but?????

    • Hemmercules

      I felt a little sick when I read that too. I think its just pumping tires though, trying to say to the league they still have confidence in him. They played their cards way too early with that Koskinen contract. That immediately said to the NHL that Talbot is available for dirt and now they are back-peddling and trying to add value.

      Its clear they want Koskinen as the starter going forward by giving him that money. If they bring Talbot back for a penny over 1.5 mil per season they are just as stupid as we think they are. Good teams don’t pay their backups any more than that, especially with Talbots record in the last 100 games.

      • That’s exactly what it was. Talbot has been getting interest from other teams who need a backup. There really is no goalie market this year, so telegraphing to interested teams: “You better hurry with your offer or we’ll sign him like we did with Kosk” might not be a bad strategy.

        But also, are the Oilers confident enough in calling up Shane Starrett with his 21 GP, 2.43 GAA, and .914 SV?

        • Hemmercules

          Sadly, almost anyone would be a better option than Talbot right now. Might as well give a kid a chance if they do in fact end up trading Talbot. Wonder what happened to Talbot? Pretty solid that one year and then fell off a cliff.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Asset management. Extend at CBA-mandated increase for 2-3 years. 1) it increases his trade value instantly (this is the main reason); 2) it shows that popular Oilers “veterans” (Cam is liked in the room) get a chance to stay a part of the group + it doesn’t undermine what Connor has said to the media about believing in this group; 3) it shows that we do not reward under-performing players, but also do not treat them like garbage. If the deal is the minimum increase, it checks more boxes than it leaves unchecked.

  • bwar

    If Klefbom isn’t ready to go or gets reinjured, I think it changes things for the oilers. Right now you are probably looking at cap related moves and maybe a small rental.

  • Flint

    The Oilers need to do everything at their disposal to get BETTER. If that means send a positive message, fine. If that means whatever rationale you’ve stated fine, but they have to be sure.

    The Edmonton Oilers are not a good team. Not even close. And they need to create a solid, sensible and achievable plan to improve. If that means moving a coming UFA for a certain asset going forward it must be done.

    Should they be reckless sellers? Of course not. Should they be sellers for the sake of being selllers? Also no. Should they not trade Talbot or Chaisson if the return was 2 first round picks for fear of sending a certain message or upsetting someone? Are you kidding me?

    Connor would be more pissed if they didn’t than if they did.

    • Flint

      One last thing, the Oilers play 11 more games before the Feb.25th trade deadline. Fine, don’t be sellers today, agreed, but if the Oilers don’t win at least 7 of those 11 games, if not 8. It’s over. Then…. plan to get better, next year.

      • IRONman

        Need 2 seasons to flush the bad contracts out. Sekera?? Kelfbom?? That’s 9 million that could be spent on 2 solid d that play 75 games a year. I like Klefbom but if he is not healthy then why have him. Defence needs fixing. Spooner and those others guys expire 2 years. How can you even trade spooner?

        • socaldave

          If you think Klefbom’s salary/contract is a problem, I have a hard time taking anything you say as anything other than ill-informed, inane and uneducated BS. Sure, he’s not the poster child for an iron man streak, but there are not many teams out there where he wouldn’t be welcomed straight into the top pairing.

  • Axe

    I think it’s safe to say that there is some confusion in the organization as to how to approach the deadline.. Read on TSN that they have had positive talks with Talbot in regards to re-signing him.. So yeah if we can maybe get a competent GM sooner than later that would be great… before we commit nine million to two inconsistent goalies. And speaking of GM John Shanon reporting that the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with ppl who think they can get the job done here..however the candidates the oilers like are not available in the immediate future so the gong show continues for now…

    • camdog

      I like it when the organisation doesn’t telegraph to the league what they want to do. If they pretend they are looking to sign Talbot, they might get a good pick for him. If they tell everybody they are moving on they’ll be lucky to get a 4th for him.

  • Spoils

    “In the Oilers last ten games before Klefbom went down they were 7-2-1. They allowed just 22 goals (2.20 goals against per game) and Klefbom has seven points over that span.

    With Klefbom out of the lineup, they went 6-12-1 and allowed 72 goals (3.29 goals against per game).”

    we know this because we are the organization that road Pronger to SCgm7

  • Spoils

    I think you can buy AND sell.

    not sure exactly who you move – Spooner / Manning etc. but look to use the trade deadline to shed some cap. heck you could have one GM thinking you are selling and another thinking you are buying. announce the deals on the same day.

    adding one more scoring winger would be pretty great.

    if Sekera slots in. if Klefbom plays well and reignites Larsson… Jones resurges in a bottom pairing roll.

    McDavid has shown he gets hot near the end of the season…

    I worry about Koskinen, but if he fails there’s a chance Talbot could pick it up…

    Oilers top Flames in 5 first round.

    BOOK IT

  • Die Hard Oiler Fan

    Tyler.
    Not sure just what you are smokin’ but it must be good. I wrote a long detailed response, but it seems to have vanished when I tried to post it……below is a shorter summary….
    》 We are now 5 points behind both DAL and MINN. Those two play each other tonight. Somebody has to get 2 points, so the situation will get worse.
    》The events of yesterday’s practice may set Klefbom’s return back a bit. No doubt our D is significantly better with him, but doubt he returns and immediately plays at the level he was at pre-injury. As you stated the team’s record without him is 6-12-1. ….that won’t result in any playoff run.
    》 Sekera. We can’t even bring him off LTIR until we find a way to make his $5.5MM fit within the cap. Even then, what are you expecting from a veteran who has had two major injuries and has not played in roughly a year ?
    》 Per Tankathon NHL (a great site if you are like me and unfortunately already looking ahead to the 2019 draft), the Oilers are 6th last in the league (we were 13th last about 3 weeks ago…….not heading in the right direction to even consider being a buyer in attempts to make a playoff run). On a pre lottery basis, a #6 overall pick would land a very talented young forward, which would further strengthen our prospect pool, a provide the young cheap talent (protected from the Seattle expansion draft) this team needs a few years down the line. Making a drive for the playoffs would only result in lower pick, both in terms of selection order and talent.
    》 Connor. He knows what Chia has done to this team, and that to truly correct it will take years. That said I’m sure he would rather have some young talent around him even if it takes a few more years, than to keep trading trying to plug holes, and simply damaging any long term prospects for success.
    To summarize. Per above, there is no way we should be buying in an attempt to get in the playoffs. In fact, given the number of holes on the team and the cap mismanagement under Chia, players not considered part of the longer term solution should be shopped, and if possible traded for some combination of draft picks, or maybe a prospect or two.

    • Odanada

      I’m doubting you could give away Spooner, Manning or Lucic.
      High cost – low ability. That’s Chia’s legacy and that’s on Bob Nicholson alone.
      Did BN have his head buried so deep in the sand that he couldn’t see what Pete was doing? Really? That’s not steering the ship, that’s dereliction of duty. Chia has royally screwed the Oilers for the foreseeable future, while on BN’s watch.
      Nicholson isn’t and never was an NHL calibre hire. It’s bloody obvious he was not up to the job and keeping him on is just like that additional failed year of Peter Chiarelli we had to endure.

  • toprightcorner

    You simply talk with McDavid and tell him that if a week before the deadline that the Oilers are still within 3 points of the playoffs with 2 or less team to jump, the team will make a push. If they aren’t, the best way to speed up a turnaround is to try to get some assets and relieve some cap space so the new GM can more easily make some changes.

    If you ask Conner to choose between maybe squeezing into the playoffs this year and making it harder in the off season to improve the team or being out in a better position to do more than squeeze in the playoffs and also likely to make the playoffs every year afterwards, I think it is obvious which one he would choose.

  • toprightcorner

    Personally, I think the team should do both.

    Trade to add assets

    – trade Petrovic for a 4th ( most contender ad defensive insurance)
    – trade Manning, retain $750k of his cap for a 3rd (lower cap hit than burying him, you get a 3rd instead of 4th for retaining cap)
    – if you can trade Talbot for a backup and a 2nd and retain some cap to lessen the load, then do it. (WSH, PIT and BOS have had injury issues and an experienced backup is cheap insurance and all teams have gone that route in the past)
    – Spooner not tradable at deadline, even if you keep $1 mill cap. Only hope is he scores 25 pts in 20 games in AHL and you can trade him in the summer.
    – I don’t trade Reider. As an RFA, he can probably be resigned for $1.3-$1.5 for 1 year and since this season is an outlier, it is likely that he returns to his normal 12-15 goals and 30 pts in the 3rd line and that is great value. That is much better than the 4th or 5th you would get for him.

    Add rentals to test drive for free agency and to push for playoffs.

    – trade 4th and prospect (Berglund) for Panik
    – trade 3rd (from Manning) and prospect (Marino) for Johansson (similar to Maroon return)
    – if you get a 2nd for Talbot, trade that for Dzingel and offer a 2020 4th if he resigns.

    You add a Dzingel (RW), Johansson (C/RW/LW, left shot) and Panik (LW/RW, left shot) to fill out top 6 or top 9 with scoring.

    All 3 are 20+ goal scorer with Draisaitl or McDavid. After a test drive, you have a lot less risk if you want to sign one as a UFA and after they play with McDavid and Draisaitl, they will be more likely to stay for the opportunity. Panik would be under $3 mill, Johansson would be under $4 mill and Dzingel would be around $4.5 mill.

    With some moves in the off-season like trading Benning, Spooner or other, the Oilers could potentially add 2 wingers that ha e shown they click on the top 6.

    This way you add assets, use them to add players for a push but most importantly for a test drive and you don’t give up too much for picks and you only trade prospects where the position is deep.

    The goal should be to out the new GM in the best position to be successful for long term success and this method gives him more info to resign a winger from a test drive as well as nit use up any current assets.

      • Beer_League_Ringer

        @Trainwreck…
        Please for the good of ON don’t post things like this. toprightcorner put some thought into that post, you just posted the same BS you always do. I mean, obviously no one can stop you from doing what you want, but you really do come off as someone that wants to harm rather than contribute sometimes. I don’t get it, because you are neither bereft of insight, nor knowledge.

        I would do the 2nd+ an AHL’er for Dzingel even if we didn’t get another 2nd (e.g., Talbot). Dzingel would be fantastic with any of our 3 centers.

  • Gravis82

    McDaivd Nuge and Drai need to be the first line. And the second line needs to be cheap players overplaying their contract. That is how we win a cup.

    We could have won it with the second line of hall nuge and eberle, with Maroon McDavid and Draisaitl on the top line… but would have needed the D to instead outplay their contract.

    Perhaps we should have drafted better younger D men, then we would have been set? No?

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I would argue that the Oilers CAN’T be buyers this deadline.

    We have no hope of doing any damage this playoffs. The year to buy was 2 years ago, but we had to second round pick to help us that year.

    Personally I don’t believe we will make the playoffs this year so we should sell off any pieces that we don’t believe are part of the long-term plan…and those salaries that are deemed too expensive for what the players bring us.

    Get out of salary-cap hell first – THEN build. This will likely take a couple of years, but is necessary to be a contending team. Then we can do some damage in the playoffs!

  • Derzie

    Layout what the team should do: OBC will do that thing as poorly as possible (i.e make the team/cap worse) or do the polar opposite of what is right. We have a lot of evidence to look back on and test this theory.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      The fact that you use the term Old Boys Club, which is an inferred, behind the scenes cause of everything Oilers as “evidence” for a “theory” is just plain wrong. You have no direct evidence MacT, or KLowe are making decisions other than the “well, what else could be the reason” angle. There is history which suggests there are extant problems in the Oilers organization. All the deduction in the world is not “evidence” for what precisely is wrong.

      • CMG30

        There actually is direct evidence. The former GM has mentioned numerous times that he runs decisions by the ‘brain trust’ and it has been stated numerous times throughout the years whenever members of the OBC are brought into the fold for no particular purpose, that their value is as a ‘voice of experience’. There is also the question of who selects the GMs.

        • Beer_League_Ringer

          “mentioned”… Sorry man, you need to look up the definition of direct evidence. Hearsay is the primary example of the exact opposite of direct evidence.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    The Problem with the Oilers, rewarding poor on ice performance.
    What message does that send to the rest of the players on the roster?
    Milan Lucic, on the 1st line????
    (Thatta Boy Hitch)

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      I posted this in another thread as a reply to a similar post criticizing Hitch:

      So what (precisely) would you do with the lines? I wouldn’t know where to start, but my guess is that Hitch is trying to balance the lineup to squeak out boring, trap-type wins. Not by balancing scoring, but balancing the boat anchors with the sails. I’m not sure what else he could do.

      • Kneedroptalbot

        I would play the forwards in pairs that would stay together 90% of the time.
        Mick David/Draisaitl, (Chaisson)
        Nuge/Rattie, (Puljujarvi)
        J Khaira/Brodziak, (Cave or Kassian)
        4th line players (can be rotated). This would give us 2 scoring lines, 1 checking/shutdown line.
        Defense pairs:
        Nurse/Jones
        Russell/Petrovic
        Gravel/Klefbolm (once he’s back) shelter his mins till he’s 100%

        • Beer_League_Ringer

          There we go… Hockey talk!!!
          All sarcasm aside, thank you.
          How do we deal with the bottom six? Without miracles I mean.
          I don’t mind your plan because it did seem to work well before, but I think that Klef being out has exacerbated the (many) holes in the lineup
          . All this to say: do you thing the bottom 6 (and bottom 3 D) can allow less goals against than our top 6 can overcome?

          This is why I think Hitch is distributing the “dead weight”. I think he has changed HIS approach back to the first 3-8 games he was here. Grind grind grind, maximize the chance to get the point and see if our talent can be the difference in enough games to make it.

  • CMG30

    I also belive that there is an outside chance this group makes the playoffs. With the return of the D corps to full health, our defence will go from putrid to OK. That may be enough to allow Connor to drag this bunch kicking and screaming over the line…

  • Reinman

    Lucic at 6M/year is supposed to be the 4th elite player, that would solidify the top 6. That failure to assess Lucic properly, will cost us to the end of his contract. No Fault of Lucic’s, but in todays NHL, Lucic is worth about 2 million, and we signed him for 6. Draisaitl as well, should have been signed for around 6, on the outside 7, not 8.5. Right there you got 5.5M to bring in a real top 6 winger. I wish that Edmonton could have went after Matt Duchene and Max Domi when they became available. Had we not signed Lucic, we probably could have afforded them both. And with both of them in our lineup, all of a sudden we can field 2 pretty potent trios. Speaking of which, why do they never try Nuge and Draisaitl together?

  • Darcy yaceyko

    They will not make the playoffs and they don’t have anything to sell as nobody values anything edm has other than Connor Leon Nuge Chiasson. Let’s all hope Katz sells the team

  • Darcy yaceyko

    The oilers are lucky I’m the nhl. If they were a regular buisiness with an owner and management team like this they would be bankrupted and run out of buisiness in the first 3 months..

    • Darcy yaceyko

      Sorry my last post should of said the oilers are lucky they are in the NHL if they were just a buisiness they would of bankrupted and run out of buisiness in the first 3 months with an owner and management team like this.