There’s not much to say about the current edition of the Edmonton Oilers, so for our conversation today we’re going to play 10 questions. Here we go!
- Do the Oilers address defense, center or grit with the top pick? The Oilers will take a center and they go in the following order: McDavid, Eichel, Strome.
- Will the top pick play in the NHL this fall? If they draft No. 3 or lower, no.
- Will they take a goalie early? Yes. MacKenzie Blackwood, probably with their first pick in the second round.
- Will the Oilers make a bold move for a goalie at the NHL level? That’s my guess, suspect it’ll be a big contract for Niemi or a major trade for Craig Anderson. Either way, a big part of the cap number next season will be in net.
- Will the Oilers make a bold move for a defenseman? Yes. I think they will try to sign Johnny Boychuk if he’s available and should wheel back for Petry if he’d ever return (can’t imagine). After that, it’s a trade and that could be a very dear cost.
- Will the Oilers trade for an impact blue? It’s possible. A Hall-for-OEL style trade has been discussed on this blog and that kind of transaction would absolutely change the look of the team. It’s a dear price.
- Will Darnell Nurse play in the NHL next year? Yes. The only question I have is does he start with the big club. I’ll guess no but injury could impact that and I’m absolutely convinced Edmonton will have a 7D making north of $3 million next season.
- Will Leon Draisaitl play in the NHL next year? Yes. He’ll blow the doors off in training camp, forcing the team to keep him in a LW-C role. Probably bad news for someone like Matt Fraser or Tyler Pitlick.
- Will they sign Derek Roy? Yes, I think so. He’s a good match for Yakupov and if Leon forces his way onto the roster it’s not a massive deal to move him down the depth chart or to another city.
- Will we see a big addition on the wing? I can’t see it, honestly. Unless they deal Hall, Eberle or Yakupov, the club has five legit skill (Pouliot, Purcell) wingers. Add in Leon if he can convince the management and that’s a lot of talent.
— Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) March 6, 2015
RYAN AND JORDAN
|5X5 CORSI FOR %||50.4||50.7||52.2|
|OFFENSIVE ZONE STARTS||62.4||64.2|
|QUAL COMP||No. 1||No. 2|
The dynamic duo isn’t producing at a level we’d like to see (2+ 5×5/60) but they’re over 50% on the shot differential and face the toughest competition available. Nuge’s PP witchery from rookie days is gone completely and if he remains at about a 50-point player, I’m going to call him Dave Keon. That is a helluva player btw. His peak value, when point totals should rise to the 70’s, will be outstanding because of his range of skills. Who was the last Oilers center who could play a 200-foot game? Those big western conference centers are having their way now but our man is reaching the point (maybe a year or two) where the equation will change (they’re all getting older). Can’t wait. As for Eberle, if there’s one thing Ebs has been able to do the other men can’t do, it’s stay healthy.
From Friedge’s 30 thoughts: “If the Oilers think Jeff Petry is not good enough to dress in Los Angeles, it is time.”
— Phoenix (@Feniex17) October 15, 2014
The problem is you develop a past. If you look at Oilers history, transactions during specific era’s tell a very strong tale. Here’s a couple of moments in time that offer us a clue into the future and why we are here:
- March 8, 2004: Oilers trade G Tommy Salo and a 2005 sixth-round pick (Justin Mercier) to the Colorado Avalanche for D Tom Gilbert.
- August 2, 2005: Oilers trade Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch to St. Louis Blues for D Chris Pronger.
Two different trades but the added quality was franchise altering for the Oilers. It only lasted one year, but in the season Chris Pronger played as an Oiler, the team had a different look. They were defensively sound, aggressive and organized.
- June 25, 2014: Oilers trade a fifth-round selection to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the rights to D Nikita Nikitin.
- March 2, 2015: Oilers trade D Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens for a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection.
The exits and entries under Craig MacTavish are debilitating. This blog once concluded that Steve Tambellini’s signing of Cam Barker was a wayward and ill-advised move. If we’re to be consistent, the signing of Niki Nikitin has to be regarded as possibly more harmful (it’s a longer, more punishing deal). Trading Jeff Petry as a single transaction is one thing but there’s absolutely no reason to expect things to get better this summer.
In the next several months, the stories surrounding the Edmonton Oilers are going to be dire. Headlines like “Season ticket holders not returning” and “Plummeting ratings mean less for Oilers coffers” won’t appear but these things will come true. Darryl Katz could become famous for a very shameful thing: Killing the goose that laid the golden egg. The movie makers are going to need a new sell line. Something like: If you build it, make damn good and sure your product is worth watching (well, I tried).
In the long grind from 2006 summer through today, this is the second time I’ve been genuinely worried about this franchise’s future. The first time was in the weeks before the Vanek and Penner offer sheets, when the desperation of the GM ruled decisions. I’m worried this time because the rebuild is taking a bizarre turn: The Edmonton Oilers, in trading away David Perron and Jeff Petry, are flushing players they’ll need to reacquire in summer. Given the recent past in procurement decisions, there is no reason for confidence in this area. If you send away Jeff Petry and acquire another Niki Nikitin, what do you have?
We are less than six months away from a crisis in this city. When summer comes and the Oilers acquire players who have lesser value and ability than David Perron and Jeff Petry, what then? What happens on July 10, when Craig MacTavish has fallen short of the ridiculous goal (now FIVE holes that need to be filled) and begins to panic ala Kevin Lowe 2007? What happens then? Should we worry about something drastic? What happens if this team begins the season 7-22-7, what then?
What, in the name of everything holy, does the Edmonton Oilers fan have to hold up as hope today? What, on March 6, 2015, compels the Edmonton Oilers fan to believe in the future? Nine years. Nine years and they are still sending away useful players in their 20’s at the deadline because they have evaluated them incorrectly. The mind boggles. Mr. Katz: You need to do something. Now.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Trade deadline coverage, plus choosing Canada’s team for playoffs 2015.
- Corey Graham, TSN 1260 Oil Kings PBP. The current surge has the OK getting close to that first wildcard spot. It’s a big deal.
- Travis Yost, TSN Analytics. The Eagles-Bills trade plus that Wiercioch article.
- Paul Almeida, Saturday Sports Extra. We’ll talk Oilers-‘Hawks tonight.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Talk soon!