Today, we’re going to have a chat about Sam Pollock. Pull up a chair, cut it in half, cut in half again. Keep the smallest piece, mail the rest to Sam. That’s the quick version. The long version is over 400 pages and I am going to write it all down when I retire. After I’m dead, Mrs. Lowetide can take out all of the profanity and it should come in around 185 pages.
I can still see them in my mind’s eye, as they were when I came in. A team designed to replace age with youth in awesome and perfect rhythm. Sam Pollock’s Montreal Canadiens were so deep the AHL team could have won the West. The best example I ever saw was 1971, when John Ferguson, that generation’s Milan Lucic, was a spent force. I mean he was a ragged old Hab, slow and plodding and defeated. I enjoyed every shift. Ferguson’s linemate (on the RW) that year was Rejean Houle, a young two-way winger who was a brilliant hockey player from the word go. I knew who he was, this Houle, he had been chosen No. 1 overall in 1969 by Pollock’s Habs in yet another weird rule twist that favored the one guy who didn’t need any help.
I watched old fogey Ferguson and mannish boy Houle crush my Bruins, or at least hold them at bay so Frank Mahovlich could do it. Enormous, unending, pain. Ferguson retired at the end of the season, Houle was just beginning. The Habs circle of life. That’s the goal, although the modern era would never allow it.
Get good players, keep good players. The Al Arbour-Bill Torrey wisdom has an additional line these days (“and make sure they have value contracts”) and that’s what the Oilers need if they’re to trade Jordan Eberle today.
That doesn’t necessarily mean getting equal value for him. For instance, a trade that brings back a useful (but lesser) player while freeing up important cap space may mean the roster improves. That’s the kind of trade we should be looking for in the next 24 hours: By talent, by cap room, by roster maneuverability, the trading of Jordan Eberle must make the club better. Otherwise, why bother?
OILERS NEEDS LIST
- Negotiate the expansion draft rapids without giving up a valuable piece of the future.
- Find a second pairing D with two-way acumen.
- Find a stopgap measure to replace Andrej Sekera’s minutes until he returns.
- Find a C-R who can help the offense and cover off where Leon isn’t at the time and to replace Jordan Eberle if he’s dealt. Ideally a first-person shooter.
- Make enough cap room to get everyone in under the number with enough room to spare for the trade deadline.
OILERS AVAILABLE LIST
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Jesse Puljujarvi
- No. 22 overall
- Caleb Jones
- 2018 first-round selection
- Benoit Pouliot
- Anton Slepyshev
- Cap Space
- Jujhar Khaira
- Ethan Bear
- Griffin Reinhart
When Bob McKenzie says he thinks Eberle will be traded, best to listen. Some of the rumored names don’t match up tradewise, so we may see some three-way dealings (Colorado, for instance) if this comes to pass. I wonder if PC will get a second-round pick during his shopping today.
- LD Kris Russell FREE AGENT. GM and coach like him, good chance he’ll return.
- RD Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. The drums are beating loudly.
- RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Rugged D, good possession numbers.
- RD Mark Pysyk, Florida Panthers. Panthers young and emerging blue.
- RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. It would take the Nuge.
- RD Kevin Shattenkirk FREE AGENT (80gp, 13-43-56). One year at big coin?
- RD Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Talented, inconsistent.
- RD Cody Franson FREE AGENT. His fancy stats: Out of the blue and into the black.
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Power play option, chaos in his game.
- RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. A dream solution to 2RHD
- RD Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Duck killer, if acquired.
- RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Veteran D visited Edmonton as UFA last summer.
- RD David Savard, Columbus. Rarely mentioned but an interesting option.
- LD Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks. Someone said he was available.
- LD Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets. Doesn’t seem a fit.
- RD Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. Seems to be in the mix.
- RD Colin Miller, Boston Bruins. If available, interesting option.
- LD Brian Campbell FREE AGENT (80gp, 5-12-17). The man can still wheel.
- LD Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins. Played over 23 minutes a game this past season.
- RD Cody Ceci, Ottawa Senators. Late entry, 37 percent of 5×5 icetime against elites.
- RD Michael Stone FREE AGENT (64gp, 3-12-15). Last chance Texaco.
SIGNING KRIS RUSSELL
If you have been reading this blog all spring, you’ll know the author believed Edmonton would sign Kris Russell. In my RE earlier a few weeks ago, I wrote “I’ve said they would all along and remain convinced. Russell will sign with Edmonton and play LH side until Sekera returns. Suspect he switches to RHD at that time.” Source
Would I sign Kris Russell? No. Do I understand why Peter Chiarelli is going to do it? Yes. His coach played the hell out of him and the Oilers won a bunch of hockey games. Russell blocked shots, worked hard, plays a rugged style. I don’t know anyone who is flatly against bringing him back, but rather the money and term ($4 million times four is reckless in my opinion) and the deployment (he should play left side) make the fit less than ideal.
One other important thing we also covered in the RE: Connor McDavid’s numbers with and without Russell are stark:
- McDavid with Russell: 2.48/60, 48.7 Corsi for 5×5.
- McDavid without Russell: 3.07/60, 54.8 Corsi for 5×5.
If the goal is optimize the McDavid minutes, these two men shouldn’t be on the ice together. Impossible task if Russell plays second pairing, which he will, and that’s in 400 bleeding minutes. You can’t have that, in my opinion.
- LC Martin Hanzal FREE AGENT (71gp, 20-19-39). Has to be high priority.
- RC Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning. RFA 2017. 56 points per 82 games.
- C-R Ryan Strome, NY Islanders (69gp, 13-17-30). Rumors.
- R Sam Gagner FREE AGENT (81gp, 18-32-50). PP savant.
- R Justin Williams FREE AGENT (80gp, 24-24-48). Luxury.
- LC Nick Bonino FREE AGENT (80gp, 18-19-37). Two-way C.
- R Radim Vrbata FREE AGENT (81gp, 20-35-55). Scorer.
- R-L Thomas Vanek FREE AGENT (68gp, 17-31-48). Offensive option.
- R T.J. Oshie FREE AGENT (68gp, 33-23-56). Not affordable.
- R Brett Connolly FREE AGENT (66gp, 15-8-23). Inexpensive scoring on RW.
- R Patrick Eaves FREE AGENT (79gp, 32-19-51). Volume shooter!
- RC Derek Ryan FREE AGENT (67gp, 11-18-29). Fine utility player.
- L Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres (70gp, 28-15-43). Buy low power forward.
- RC Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. Averages 46 points per 82gp.
- LC Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche. Please please please Baby Jesus.
- LC Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues. Signed to a nifty $3.5 million times two.
- L Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey. Splendid KHL season, he’s coming back.
- L Patrick Marleau FREE AGENT. (82gp, 27-19-46). New addition.
- R Brett Ritchie, Dallas Stars (78gp, 16-8-24). Shoots the puck a lot.
- RC Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. UFA 2023. Would cost the moon.
- R Jaromir Jagr FREE AGENT (82gp, 16-30-46). Now 70, still going.
- RC Derek Stepan, NY Rangers. He would be higher, cap hit is very big.
- R Kris Versteeg FREE AGENT (69gp, 15-22-37). What he brings has value.
- R Ales Hemsky FREE AGENT (15gp, 4-3-7). Still brilliantly creative.
- LC Dominic Moore FREE AGENT (82gp, 11-14-25). PK and FO option.
- R Drew Stafford FREE AGENT (58gp, 8-13-21). Chiarelli type.
- LC Brian Boyle FREE AGENT (75gp, 13-12-25). He is on their list.
- R Jarome Iginla FREE AGENT (80gp, 14-13-27). He can still shoot the puck.
- L Patrick Sharp FREE AGENT. Depending on health and price.
- R Tyler Pitlick FREE AGENT (31gp, 8-3-11). Finally emerged, could return.
It’s difficult to guesstimate the forward coming in because there are so many options. Not a lot of rumors around either, there’s a bunch of useful players here. Expansion is going to make the prices go up, so this may be a trade as opposed to a free-agent addition.
Since it may happen today, I thought it would be cool to see how close we get. Please post your prediction in the comments section, I’ll park mine here.
- Oilers trade Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot to the NY Islanders for RD Travis Hamonic and G Jaroslav Halak. Oilers retain $822,000.
- Oilers trade R Jordan Eberle to Ottawa for RD Cody Ceci.
- Oilers trade R Jordan Eberle to Colorado for RD Tyson Barrie.
- Oilers trade C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Colorado for RD Tyson Barrie.
Friedman says he's not sure how interested NYI is in Eberle b/c he & new AC Kelly Buchberger have butted heads before.
— RCN (@akaRCN) June 16, 2017
Haha. Hahahaha. Oh my God. Please understand the wretchedness of this possibility. I mean, it’s incredible! Oh. My. GOD! I have a terrible sense of humor, but this made me laugh out loud. Thanks, RCN! You’re trying to trade your $6 million winger, have some interest, and a guy who the company employed since the Lester Pearson PM years flies to a new town and kills your trade. Oh gentle lord that’s a giggle.