The Oilers have about 25 percent of their roster on display in Russia, and святое дерьмо they are looking good. McDavid might reach 20 assists by the end of this tournament and lose the scoring championship to Hall—who is having a Cy Young start to the WHCs. Leon has worn himself down so badly over the year he now resides in Fraggle Rock, but Matt Hendricks continues to wind up and work like a bugger and Andrej Sekera is a fine, fine blue. Cam Talbot? He has played well so far. Good days, these. Go Canada!
Line back to normal
Hall Brassard Perry
Duchene McDavid Marchand
Jenner O'Reilly Gallagher
Domi Scheifele Stone
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 13, 2016
THE WORLD IS DRUNK WITH SOLUTIONS
If you are not sick of talking about the Oilers and defensive options, you may have a problem—but read on! I believe Peter Chiarelli should not trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a defenseman. That is my opinion. Nuge has five seasons left on a completely reasonable contract and is coming off a subpar season. If the Oilers had shopped him a year ago? Major return. This year, the club would be getting far less in trade. Demers is my top option (here) among defensemen who are realistically available. Here are the four defenders at the top of my list:
I have sorted them by 5×5/60, all four players are similar in that category. As you might expect, all but Demers are solid power-play options and Barrie gets the nod in individual high-danger scoring chances. Demers is the Corsi king and also does well in scoring chances against. According to WOI:
- Demers plays second-pairing comp but the top two pairs seem tightly packed.
- Barrie is second pairing.
- Faulk is absolutely top pairing, meaning the numbers above are more impressive.
- Vatanen is third pair.
It comes down to this for me: Trading Nuge for blue is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It doesn’t improve the overall balance of the team, it just moves the chairs around. Sign Demers, trade for a lesser blue like Ryan Pulock or Damon Severson—keep Fayne—and run with it. There is no good reason to trade RNH on the downbeat. None.
He is not a coke machine, but he is an actual NHL player. He is the right play here, for Peter Chiarelli. I came to the conclusion that Demers is the right call over a period of two months, and it was a long and winding road:
- March 10—RD Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. The more I look at his numbers and performances, the more I like Demers as the top option. I am comfortable saying Hamonic is still No. 1 choice, but getting Demers might be part of a substantial summer. I wonder if the Oilers trade for his rights ala Nikita Nikitin, and then sign him? Dallas has some cap issues. Source
- April 7—Add two defensemen who are actual NHL players. We have discussed this at length, I will only say that at this point I am fairly convinced that Hamonic and Demers are the best available (if Hamonic is) options. Source
- April 22—Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom. The reason Jason Demers appeals to me is that the investment is only money, not assets plus the money. Edmonton doesn’t have a massive group of talents bubbling under, and adding Demers would represent real progress. I think people are missing the point a little here, thinking that the Sekera addition didn’t move the needle. However, adding Sekera merely got Edmonton back to even, as they had traded out Jeff Petry at the deadline. One of the most galling things about this century of Oilers movements has been their incredible blindness to the lack of actual NHL players on the blue line. If they add Demers to Sekera, Mark Fayne and Oscar Klefbom, with Brandon Davidson also in photo, we are officially cooking with petrol. Not a playoff grouping yet, but a really nice foundation.Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom. Source
- April 23—D Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. Not as popular in the comments section as he is with this blog’s author, I already have several blog titles lined up for when he signs. Effective defenseman, he costs only money. Source
MY BALANCE LIST (AGAIN)
- Find balance. Since Chris Pronger was traded, the Oilers have been so far from balance the mind boggles. Balance can come in very specific ways (a righty center to tip in the high passes, or a hammer from the point—even a renowned penalty killer, BUT it starts with blue).
- Add two defensemen who are actual NHL players. We have discussed this at length, I will only say that at this point I am fairly convinced that Hamonic and Demers are the best available (if Hamonic is) options.
- Re-stock the system. The 2015 draft looks good early, Edmonton needs to do it again. As well, signing college and CHL and Euro free agents (doing very well this spring in this area) is vital. Some for the 50-man, more on AHL deals.
- Keep the centers three. Why? It sets up everything, just everything. Look, Todd McLellan doesn’t use his 4line at 5×5 too much, but a third line (featuring Nuge, and say, Pouliot) will give the opposition fits on the road, and give cover to the McDavid and Leon lines at home.
- Light a candle. I don’t believe in voodoo or witchcraft or the power of a seance, so will go with a simple lighting of a candle. The Oilers have very little depth, so staying healthy will be vital to any success we see next season.
- My original five things for this season was longer than five and is here. This five things list originally appeared here.
My long and winding list of possible additions is a righty list, I wanted to highlight some lefthanders. I was never totally convinced Travis Hamonic was coming here, and it is quite possible Peter Chiarelli finds only one RH defenseman this summer. There are some lefthanded options who are attractive. I know this isn’t ideal, but bringing in one of these LHs might make trading an incumbent blue possible (for a RH).
- Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars. If the Oilers needed a LHD, we would be talking at length about him. A fine defenseman with a complete skill set.
- Keith Yandle, NY Rangers. Fantastic power-play option and he had 50 percent in possession this year.
- Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers. Old as the hills and twice as dusty. He can play.
- David Schlemko, New Jersey Devils. Not a monster option, he shows up in interesting places.
- Matt Irwin, Boston Bruins. One of the few LHs from the other list, he could be an effective depth signing.
IT DON’T COME EASY
- Bob McKenzie: “I don’t know that there’s any talks whatsoever between Edmonton and a team like Anaheim, but I’m sure everybody will be watching Anaheim to see how they handle contract negotiations for Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm, and what they do with their goaltending there, and how all that shakes out. It’s not easy to find Top-4 and it’s almost impossible to find Top-2 defensemen in the National Hockey League via trade, but that’s kind of what the challenge is for the Edmonton Oilers right now, and it won’t be easy.” Source
If the Oilers could send over Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov for Sami Vatanen and Brandon Pirri, would you?
— Dave Lee (@davelee1968) March 7, 2014
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Fascinating final four. Who you got?
- Jump the Shark. We attempt to skype our brains out in St. Petersburg.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point-Counterpoint a big, franchise altering trade.
- Rob Vollman, Hockey Abstract. Bet the Penguins?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!