Can Penn & Teller Make this Disappear?

Kevin Lowe has signed LW Dustin Penner to an offer sheet. 5 years, 21.5M in exchange for the Oilers’ 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks.

It’s an awful bet. I didn’t like the Vanek offer sheet, and this one is worse. Vanek has had one impact season in the NHL and is a candidate to go backwards.

Dustin Penner? He’s about to turn 25 years old, has had one good NHL season and is being rewarded for one good year as handsomely as anyone in memory. He is an undrafted college player who put up a quality number in the minors and had a nice NHL season.

He played against the soft parade (572/676 according to Desjardins’) and he played with two of the most kickass young linemates God has invented this century. Let’s start with the ballpark numbers:

  1. C Ryan Getzlaf 82gp, 25-33-58, +17 (11-20-31pp)
  2. LW Dustin Penner 82gp, 29-16-45, -2 (9-7-16)
  3. RW Corey Perry 82gp, 17-27-44, +12 (4-16-20)

That -2 clearly was gained when playing on another line. Let’s look a little deeper. Can we agree than Even strength scoring/60minutes is a nice way of making the playing field level in terms of evaluating quality?

  1. Ryan Getzlaf 1.95EV/60
  2. Dustin Penner 1.92EV/60
  3. Corey Perry 1.81EV/60

Remember, this is against the soft parade (although Penner did play tougher competition during the regular year, as Perry and Getzlaf ranked 664th and 665th out of 676 players ranked by Desjardins) and that Penner was not as effective when he wasn’t out there with the two kids (-2 versus +12 and +17).

1.92EV/60 is almost exactly what Raffi Torres did this season, but Raffi was playing tougher opponents (67/676) and had a -7 plus minus result. So although Penner surely would play with Horcoff and Hemsky (and against tougher opponents than he did a year ago unless the Oilers adopt a new system) it’s not clear he’s a better player than Raffi (save for PP results, see below).

On the powerplay, Penner delivered about 4-points-per-60 minutes. This is slightly below both Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll, who added to Ales Hemsky mean that Penner is taking someone’s minutes off the PP (unless they use Stoll on the point and then why bother signing all those defensemen?). I’m not going to argue about Penner on the PP, it would seem to be a good fit.

Penner’s selling point for Oilers fans is that his skill set is not duplicated on the roster. He’s a big, big man who would have to be considered one of the biggest powerforwards going right now (he’s basically what the Oilers would have had if one of those Coke Machine draft picks had turned out). He’s effective down low, can’t be easily moved and he has at least decent hands.

On the other hand, he’s not a fast player (which I thought was a big consideration re:Hemsky, wasn’t the problem with Sykora foot speed?) although he’s not Yvon Lambert either, and Penner really should clobber more people based on his size.

Plus he’s going to cost the Oilers their first round pick in a deep, deep draft. A pick that could be a lottery selection. Are you going to be happy if the Oilers lose an impact player rolling out past 2020 for this guy? I know the answer will come back “these picks are a crapshoot” and I call Bull Durham. The Oilers are (from my pov) a team with an excellent shot at a top 10 pick WITH Penner, and that pick goes to Anaheim should Burke pass on the opportunity to match. That pick in this draft should mean an outstanding prospect, easily the best in the Oilers organization.

If the Oilers opened the season tonight, the forwards might be:

  1. Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
  2. Stoll-Torres-Pisani
  3. Pouliot-Moreau-Sanderson
  4. Reasoner-Nilsson-Thoresen

It’s better than they had at the end of the season, but the fact remains that signing Ryan Smyth last summer was the better plan and this is really just Kevin Lowe using the only available assets left (money, draft picks) to put together a roster that won’t get killed every night.

The Edmonton Oilers have some nice things, but they aren’t going to win the division and they aren’t going to make the playoffs. And THEN we’ll get to watch as Brian Burke drafts a fine young piece for his Anaheim Ducks who will play long past Dustin Penner.

As bad as it felt to lose the SCF, or endure Pronger being dealt, or even to watch Ryan Smyth crying at the airport, this takes the cake. Kevin Lowe has mortgaged the future in his search for mediocrity.

If you like average, you’ll love the Oilers.

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81 Responses to "Can Penn & Teller Make this Disappear?"

  1. jon says:

    It’s becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint how good or how bad this new Oilers team is. Something tells me that Lowe has one more trade for a topflight centre coming (Horcoff, Greene/Smid, roster prospect going the other way), and after that point the team will be so dramatically different that it’ll be hard to say if this move makes sense or not. Given the degree of change and a superficial comparison of this team to other bottom-dwellers-to-be (Phoenix, etc.), it looks like this team will be a lot closer to average than lottery pick. Other than that, it’s very difficult to conclude anything about this team’s future performance beyond that. I guess we’ll see once this team is 20 or so games in.

  2. zale says:

    nhl.com says Penner was -2 not -20, and dejardins (and my memory) says that Penner played the first half of the year with Shannon and Marchant

  3. Cam Fraser says:

    Yikes! Let us know what you really think.

    I just wanted to say that every time you post line combos I get faked out because you list the centre first as opposed to the left winger.

    Also, Penner is a right winger. To me, this deal is about securing that second-line RW banger to play with Torres.

  4. jerk clown says:

    I don’t like this deal either, but this line is ridiculous:

    “…and he played with two of the most kickass young linemates God has invented this century…”

    Step away from the pipe, LT.

  5. Nolton Nash says:

    I like it. He’s just as good or better than Hartnell at 4.1 mill. Keep it up Kevin, go after Cammaleri next.

  6. doritogrande says:

    Grebeshkov
    Tarnstrom
    Pitkanen
    Souray
    Garon
    Sanderson
    Penner (If the Ducks don’t have the cap space)

    Theres our 6-8 new faces we were promised. Looking on the bright side, Lowe gave us what he said he would, so I’m happy.

    I may be a little biased on Penner, because he’s a Manitoba boy, but I think he could be worth the picks to this team if they let him play to his advantages. Scrap low in the corners and then get his big frame to the net.

    I think he’ll be more suited to the Stoll-Pisani line than the Horcoff-Hemsky tandem personally, because Jarrett and Fernando play his style of game better than Hemsky. Add that to the fact that Torres can play against tougher opponents at this time, it makes for better matchups. Maybe we scrap our forward system entirely and make a soft line with Penner, Nilsson and Pouliot or Schremp to throw soft minutes at, keeping Hemsky Horcoff and Torres/Pisani for the hard minutes.

    If Burke doesn’t match this offer, this may be an exciting team to watch come October.

  7. cram says:

    gosh, so negative LT, i generally agree with your POV, but you are going over the deep end here! I could take you wanting to trade Hemsky not too far back, calling it good asset management, I could take you saying Gretzky symbolized everything you didn’t like about the 80′s team, and I know this is your blog to post your thoughts, but the more I read you the more I realize that you’ve now become the Larry Brooks of blogging, i may be wrong, but I am tired of you pushing your personal agenda especially when the Oilers make a move that is not within your realm of thought.

    there, off my chest…keep blogging! Thanks!

  8. Lowetide says:

    zale: Thanks for the correction on -20. I saw -2 and wrote -20 (twice!).

    jerk clown: Both of those players Penner played with are outstanding. Plus they’re still kids.

  9. digger says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding you a little inconsistent these days LT.

    Just the other day you’re talking about Mike Cammalleri as a ‘very attractive option’, but the idea of acquiring Dustin Penner and only giving up picks and $$ in the process has mortgaged our future and ‘takes the cake’ for the worst move Lowe’s done this summer? Do you think a 5’9″ midget center like Cammalleri would be that much of an improvement in the win/loss column, especially given God knows what it would cost to pry him out of Lombardi’s paws, over acquiring a 6’4″, 240 lb power forward winger that this team desperately needs?

    I really can’t see how one can be viewed as a great idea, while the other is pure stupidity.

    And BTW, Corey Perry is nowhere near kickass. He’s a candyass 2nd line forward who tries the same toe drag deke he used to pull in junior, and should kiss every horseshoe he can find that he has Ryan Getzlaf around to pump his results.

  10. mc79hockey says:

    Do you think a 5’9″ midget center like Cammalleri would be that much of an improvement in the win/loss column, especially given God knows what it would cost to pry him out of Lombardi’s paws, over acquiring a 6’4″, 240 lb power forward winger that this team desperately needs?

    Agreed. I think that the league gives you two wins for every inch of team height above 5’9″.

  11. jerk clown says:

    LT –

    Getzlaf is a good player, he has some jam, you can see it, whomever the competition may be – Corey Perry is vastly overrated and carried by his linemates. He IS Joffrey Lupul…you can’t bash Penner for playing the ‘soft parade’ and then cream over his LINEMATES who play the same minutes…that’s non-sensical.

  12. Lowetide says:

    digger: If Cammalleri had cost the Oilers that high draft pick next season I would have had the same reaction.

  13. godot10 says:

    The point of these signing is to raise the price of RFA’s for everyone else.

    Anaheim now has a Getzlaf, Perry problem. Calgary has a Phaneuf problem. Nashville has a Suter Weber problem next summer. Pittsburgh has a Malkin Stoll problem down the line.

    Better Penner than Parise.

  14. Lowetide says:

    jerk clown: I see 2 guys who are 22-years old with plenty of room to get better and a guy several years old cashing in on one season. How many guys Penner’s age improve from here?

    One thing Penner has going for him is Hemsky, but giving up that possible lottery pick next season is just unbelievable. I thought it was a mistake for Vanek for crying out loud.

    I don’t hate Penner btw, just this deal.

  15. Bendelson says:

    I would think Burke will match as the offer isn’t completely ridiculous (like the Vanek offer).

    I hope he does… three picks (yes, including a potential lottery) for a 20-goal Winchester doppleganger seems like a crazy high price.

    The way for other (likely very irritated)GM’s around the league to put a stop to KLowe’s new asset aquistition stylings is to NOT match the offer sheet and make KLowe eat it with upcoming draft picks… matching the offer doesn’t hurt the Oilers at all.

    Either way this turns out – KLowe IS a man of action and this is quickly turning into one hell of an interesting off-season for the franchise.

  16. jerk clown says:

    LT –

    I don’t meen this in a derogatory sense, but you’re draft and prospect geek. I sense that would have been your reaction for most any player, Vanek, Penner, Cammalleri, Parise…

    We’re not the Oakland A’s anymore, it’s time to stop acting a little less like Billy Beane and a little more like the fucking Yankees and Red Sox. After all the A’s have won jack shit!

  17. jerk clown says:

    LT –

    For the record…I hope they match. I don’t like Penner that much and I think it’s an overpay too. But it’s not the end of the world as you post seems to convey.

  18. Lowetide says:

    jerk clown: OF COURSE that would be my reaction. The Oilers have been swimming in mid-level players for almost 20-freaking YEARS! Since Mark Messier left town you can basically count the number or true impact players (or even All-Star calibre) on one hand.

    How do teams acquire these players? Smart trades (Pronger), bad trades by opposition GMs (Pronger), smart UFA signings.

    And the draft. Mostly the draft. A lottery pick in an impact draft can change an organization’s fortunes for a long, long time.

    Kevin Lowe gave up a chip at that table for Dustin Penner. That’s a bad trade.

  19. PunjabiOil says:

    My thoughts:

    http://punjabsoil.blogspot.com/2007/07/dustin-penner-pros-warning-bells-and.html

    Pros, Cons, and Warning bells.

    Not as down as the move as Lowetide, but not exactly breaking a pump fist either

  20. MetroGnome says:

    Agreed. I think that the league gives you two wins for every inch of team height above 5’9″.

    ZING!

  21. Bill Needle says:

    Since Anaheim will likely match the offer, this really is just a response to Katz saying his Oilers would spend to the cap, ie., the Oilers management isn’t trying hard enough to improve the team.
    It’s just a grandiose gesture by Lowe, Nichols etc., to show the Oiler fans that they really are trying to improve the team, when in fact, they are not.

  22. Asiaoil says:

    LT – I agree that you are being a bit inconsistent here – but who says we have to be :)

    You can’t nick Penner for his quality of opposition and then pimp his linemates at the same time – Perry is also Lupul’s body double. Didn’t you watch how hard it was to play against Penner this past year – he’s a pure beast and seems to be one of those big guys who develops late. These guys do exist and they are very very hard to project from junior, college or AHL stats.

    I would play him with Stoll and Pisani without a doubt – not Hemsky.

    Torres Horcoff Hemsky (decent ES)
    Penner MAP Pisani (good ES)
    Moreau Stoll Johnson (very good ES)
    Sanderson/Nilssen Reasoner Stortini/Thoresen

    That forward lineup is very respectable at ES – and combine that with the improvement to the defense, golatending and PP – it’s a playoff team.

    You are also MASSIVELY over-rating the value of a mid-round pick in the next draft – sure the top 5 are great but after that it’s the usual crapshoot and we still have the ANA picks.

  23. digger says:

    Look at this in the light of the near certainty that Burke will have to match this. If so, isn’t this just Lowe screwing around Burke’s cap situation even more, and helping reduce his financial wiggle room coming into a season where the Oilers own their 1st round pick?

    Too much of the analysis going on is focusing on a very unlikely situation, the situation where Brian Burke doesn’t match this offer sheet.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Penner made out like a bandit with those two linemates and the opposition. I don’t really think I’ve overstated it at all t be honest, he played with very good players and in the best possible situation at EVs and delivered what Raffi did carrying a boulder every night.

    As for overrating the value of a mid-round pick, I’m not talking about a mid-round pick. If the Oilers finish last in their division (who are they better than right now?) they have a shot at the lottery.

  25. Lowetide says:

    digger: I can’t imagine he’ll match this offer.

  26. digger says:

    digger: I can’t imagine he’ll match this offer.

    I guess we’ll see.

    I think it’s a near certainty he will match, if only because of ego.

  27. Kyle says:

    OMFG

  28. jon says:

    By the by, Penner did spend a very large portion of the year actually playing on a line with Shannon and Marchant during the stretch where the team was having a lot of injury issues. It’s an interesting situation to be sure, much more of a gamble than the Vanek offer sheet.

  29. RiversQ says:

    I suspect and hope Burke will match the deal.

    I’m a fan of RFA offer sheets especially in your own conference. Generally, they’re almost a win-win situation. However, in this case, I’m not a fan of paying Penner all that money when he’s carrying a somewhat unique resume.

    I like the concept, I just don’t like the target. This move reeks of desperation and I don’t really see where Lowe has a plan here.

    Lowe rationalized the Smyth deal with a trinity of errors. He thought Smyth was not an elite player, he thought he was too old for the term and he totally misjudged the market by his own admission. Then come the contradictions – he goes after the considerably older Nylander with a long term deal. Now he’s throwing big money at a player that’s clearly not an elite player.

    I’m asking this central question: On what planet do you let Smyth ride and then make mega offers to Nylander and Penner, two players that perfectly represent both facets of the justification in letting Smyth go in the first place?

    To me Vanek made all kinds of sense. (Yes, LT, everybody in even this upcoming draft is a massive crapshoot compared to a player that has already done something.) I’m not liking this one.

  30. Black Dog says:

    I liked the Vanek gambit. A guy who scores 40 plus and is a plus 47, even playing soft minutes, is a pretty good gamble. The price was high but the guy has 50 goal scorer written all over him. Imagine him and Hemsky?

    Penner, on the other hand … 29 goals is nice and I think he is a decent player but that money, like the Souray money, would be better spent on some midrange guys for a year and then reupping Stoll, Pitkanen etc. And I don’t think he gets them out of the top ten, maybe lottery for next year.

    I’d like to be wrong on this but I think this team is going to suck ass this season. With or without Penner.

  31. rickibear says:

    From “Bound for Glory” Lowetide responded to Doritogrande:

    “I think he needs a shooter, as MacT calls it a “one shot scorer.”
    Someone who shoots a lot. Glenn Murray in Boston had 201 shots in 59gp which puts him about 280 for an entire season.
    They need a shooter.”
    July 23, 2007 11:40 AM

    Lets look at Penners #s:

    204 shots 14.2% shooting%
    Career 12.8%
    20ESG 9PPG
    11:00 ESTOI 3:00 PPTOI

    Goals Based on Career%: 18 Esg 8PPG

    On Edmonton expect:
    13:30 ESTOI 4:30 PPTOI
    Which project to: 22 ESG 12 PPG
    His Shots Should be in the 265 range. 34-35 goals puts him in the top ten goal scoring at his position RW.

    If we get him I hope this is the player we signed and the shooter Lowetide is looking for.

    This would be a good start at replacing needed goals.

    I like the risk.

  32. rstahl says:

    Implying that Penner and Getzlaf faced a similar QoO is a bit misleading. While you can say Penner was ranked 572 out of 676 by Desjardins in Quality of Opposition, it is misleading. Using the same measure, he played the 13th toughest minutes (8th among forwards) out of 30 players on the Ducks. Getzlaf and Perry played the 7th and 8th easiest (23 & 24th hardest) minutes on the Ducks. Getzlaf and Perry played against the soft parade, Penner got the middle of the road.

    I think the QoO number has more bearing within a team, because Travis Moen will likely see a more comparable QoO than say Patrice Bergeron.

    Penner also had the 18th (of 30) best On/Off Ice +/- on the Ducks. I’d interpert this as Penner playing against average opposition while posting average results at even strength. Not bad for a rookie that has great size, potential, and something on the PP.

  33. RiversQ says:

    Yeah, I agree with that. If Desjardins’ Qual-of-Opp numbers have any value, it’s strictly within team stuff… Even that’s a little dicey.

    As far as those linemates go, i think Getzlaf is a player, but I’m not big on Perry at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure Penner is, and will continue to be a better player than Corey Perry.

  34. dave says:

    I like the move. He may be first line but I doubt it. I think he will be second line and we WILL be trading for top 3 forward. And as long as it doesn’t involve horc or stoll I don’t care how much goes the other way (Roli included, I’d roll the dice on Garon right now, he had the same numbers in LA…) I don’t think we would be any less shallow than we already are and different from a few months ago we would have some serious teeth.

  35. Lester Mittendorf says:

    “As bad as it felt to lose the SCF, or endure Pronger being dealt, or even to watch Ryan Smyth crying at the airport, this takes the cake.”

    You’re telling me that signing a player to an offer sheet is somehow worse than losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals?

    Lowetide, man, I like your stuff, but that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  36. Lowetide says:

    lester: The 05-06 Edmonton Oilers lost the SCF in G7. THAT was a team to remember.

    THIS is going to be a team to forget.

  37. Jesse says:

    LT, I think you may have finally gone off the deep end. Now I’m not sold that this is a great move (if not matched), but if you really believe that it somehow dooms the Oilers to mediocrity, you have to be making some insane assumptions.

    First, you have to assume that Penner won’t come anywhere near earning his pay over the contract. I think that there’s a chance (maybe even a good chance) that he outperforms this contract in a couple years. And even if he flatlines, we can always trade him to the Leafs once he’s a bit older. Secondly, I think you must be working under the assumption that the top 10 in next year’s draft will all be much better than anyone already in the system. That’s crazy (a bird in the hand, etc, etc). Thirdly, I’m not sold that this team is a lock for the bottom five by any means…the Oilers have improved more than pretty much any of last year’s other bottom feeders, imo.

    This might not be a great move, but I think that maybe you’re not seeing the forest for the trees anymore.

  38. jon says:

    Does this mean that when the Oilers don’t finish in the bottom 10 of the league this year, those of us who are saying so now can come back and remind you incessantly that you were wrong when you thought you knew better than a veteran GM in the NHL? Not that I care to kiss KLowe’s ass or anything, but so many of you seem to have pre-determined the fate of a team which bears very little resemblance to last year’s team. Hell, last year’s team with its ridiculous injuries wasn’t even a lottery team, how exactly is this team going to be one? Unless you seriously believe our current defensive and forward core is worse than the one we were sporting for the final 20 games of last season? Get real. It’s very possible or even likely we don’t make the playoffs given the division we play in, but this is not a bottom 5 team, period.

  39. McLea says:

    Are you going to be happy if the Oilers lose an impact player rolling out past 2020 for this guy…..that pick in this draft should mean an outstanding prospect, easily the best in the Oilers organization.

    Who knew that draft picks were such a sure thing.

  40. choppystride says:

    Geez, I really hope that Burke wasn’t bluffing and would match. Penner is an overrated sack of shit who had the good fortune of having his ass carried around by Getzlaf and Perry. I mean, Christ, didn’t anyone watch the playoffs? What does it say about you when your coach has had enough of you that he decides to replace your spot on the line with the immortal Brad May (whenever his legs are rested enough) and that line instantly improves.

    I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a long time….whoever is responsible for evaluating forwards (pro & amateur level) in this org needs to be canned.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Jesse: Going off the deep end is a healthy reaction to this off-season. I love the Pitkanen move, the Garon move and won’t bitch about Tarnstrom and Sanderson.

    But the Souray signing has huge impact moving forward, and now this offer sheet makes the Souray signing look terrific because at least they didn’t give up a chance at an impact player in the deal.

    There’s an excellent chance the best player in the Penner deal is that Oilers first round pick.

    If he arrives at 20 and starts helping his team win at 22 that’s 5 years from today that player begins a run.

    Are the Oilers going to win the Stanley in the next 5 years? Is Dustin Penner the missing link?

    Well he sure as hell better be.

  42. Jesse says:

    Are the Oilers going to win the Stanley in the next 5 years? Is Dustin Penner the missing link?

    A lot can happen in 5 years, LT. I’m not saying this is a good move necissarily, but I think that you’re off base suggesting that this move prevents us from ever improving our team in the future. I thought Kubina at 4 million would be unmovable for Toronto, but one year later there were Oilers fans saying we should trade for him.

    There’s definately a good chance that the Oilers 1st turns out to be the best player in the trade by 2015, but there’s also a chance that he doesn’t. I think you’re putting next year’s draft on a pedistal, and that’s a very dangerous thing to do with 16 year olds.

  43. Lowetide says:

    jesse: How many really valuable players do the Oilers have? We probably have different lists, but here’s mine:

    1. Roloson
    2. Pitkanen
    3. Souray
    4. Staios
    5. Horcoff
    6. Stoll
    7. Torres
    8. Hemsky
    9. Pisani

    Did I miss anyone? Okay, they have lots of guys who COULD end up being valuable (Smid, Pouuliot, lots of prospects) and maybe I should have Moreau on the list but let’s go with those 9.

    Now. How many of those 9 is Dustin Penner clearly superior to? Must be a ton of them since the Oilers have spent tons of Stoll’s rfa money, tons of Pitkanen’s rfa money, PLUS a 1st round pick in a deep draft. Not to mention the lesser picks.

    I really hoped Lowe could get through this summer and not give up that pick. He’s done it, and now the Oilers best chance to add a player who can be an impact type is gone for another several years.

    For Dustin Penner.

    I don’t hate Penner, the price is the issue.

  44. IceDragoon says:

    Good evening, Lain & all.

    My grandma gave me this nugget of wisdom…

    “When your senses have been pummeled, remember to breathe. The brain needs oxygen to function properly.”

    After filling my lungs (several times, I might add) a thought came to me.

    MacT said, “YES”.

    The breathing came a little easier. So… then the timing hit me and I started laughing. me and my tangents ;-)

    GMs settled back into their comfortable routines… KLo appeared to go on vacation… Katz’s made news… x 2… and then… out of the blue…

    Yippee ki yay, mofo.
    Vish is packin’ again.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer Burkie. Perhaps things would have been different if Getzlaf had been on the table in the FCP return.

    ………

    As you well know, Lain, this past year has given my perspective some major adjustments… There are things that are in my control and there are things that are not in my control.

    Hang in there…

    L8r
    Louise

  45. Joe says:

    As soon as I saw the news about Penner, I ran over here to see LT’s reaction on it.

    I would say the price is a bit steep for Penner. For a team in this league that is middle of the pack, trying to have a long playoff run or move the next step to becoming a legit contender, it could be a good move. For team that has been absolutely humbled and brought to its knees and has shown no serious ability to get back up? For that team, its a terrible move. And that team is the Oilers.

    Restricted free agency is not the way to build a team. You cannot continuously give big money and trade groups of potential players to single individuals, gambling that they’ll live up to what you just put on their shoulders. Restricted free agency IS a good way for a team to rebuild on the fly, a team like say, Colorado, this year, would’ve been justified in spending a few draft picks on a very talented young man. They’re in a position where the draft picks are going to start being high enough to not be that important again, so its ok if they lose them for a quality player. Restricted free agency IS a good way for a team to add that missing piece, a team like say, the Red Wings, who seem to be a couple strokes of luck and one or two players away from another Cup. They don’t ever use their draft picks anyways, so you might as well use them to acquire a quality young player, right? But again, restricted free agency is definitely NOT the way to build a team from nearly nothing. And that’s where the Oilers are at, whether they want to admit it or not. They’ve made some truly disastrous moves and had absolutely atrocious luck, and that has brought them to their knees. They need to accept that, and hard as it may be, begin building over again. The draft is ALWAYS the best way to rebuild a team from scratch, but you can’t do it if you never have any draft picks because you give them all away for a couple of individuals.

  46. Joe says:

    Also, why didn’t the Oilers go after Parise? To me, he was probably the best RFA out there, aside from Henrik. Is there anyone out there who thinks Dustin Penner or Thomas Vanek is worth that much more than Parise?

    If I were Parise, I think I’d be kind of miffed about that, because in my mind, neither Vanek nor Penner are anywhere near Parise.

  47. Jesse says:

    I don’t hate Penner, the price is the issue.

    And I don’t love Penner or the price, but if we’re going to ask how many of those players you listed Penner is better than, we should also ask how many of them [unknown 2008 draft pick] is better than. I guess we’ll know in 8 years.

  48. matt says:

    Lowetide:
    I think you are way off in the value you place in draft picks. The view that the Oilers have no chance unless they are shitty enough to get some can’t miss prospect is ridiculous. This is the thinking that gets you the Vancouver Grizzlies or the LA Clippers. You get these great prospects develop them and watch the rest of the league reap the benefits when they leave.
    Now to the point of Penner: He isn’t going to make this team a SC contender but no one would. Remember when we had the “great” CFP we needed a miracle weak goal through the legs of JSG just to make the playoffs. However, considering the circumstance this is a fantastic move. Clearly Lowe has the blessing from ownership to spend and he did. The opportunity cost of this deal is NOTHING next year. There are really no UFA worth signing out there. What would you rather him do with the cash?? Now to the draft picks: Sure they have value but I present you 2 key points: Assume the oilers finish somewhere btw 10-20 next year. I looked up on the draft picks from 95-04 at that range. There were ONLY 2 players who would be in the category of franchise changing (Iginla & Hossa) I am very comfortable with our odds that this pick doesn’t turn out to be anything special. I’m very comfortable in giving this future upside for another key piece in the growing group on kids (Hemmer, Stoll, Horc, Raffi, Smid, now Penner). The second point is the organization is stocked with your kids at all positions. We just had three freaking first round picks. The pipeline is filled… relax…hopefully one or two of those kids turns out to be something. In the mean time at worse we have a solid 20-30 goal scorer for the second line for the next 5-10 years…Show me the downside LT…I’m not seeing it!

  49. Lowetide says:

    matt: The downside is the Oilers sign Penner, are still shitty and Brian Burke picks the next Peter Forsberg and he comes to town 6 times a year to kick our asses.

    That is all.

  50. Asiaoil says:

    I seriously can’t believe how much people are over-rating a mid-range draft choice in this upcoming draft. Add that to the fact that the Oilers do not need any more draft picks – we are full of them and actually need to clear out a few young guys. Plus we have a glaring need for more size in the top 6. Is Penner the answer to all of these issues? Maybe not – but getting all worked up about this deal over draft picks makes no sense at all.

    At $4 million Penner is MAYBE being overpaid by about a million. What do you think a gigantic, young almost 30 goal scorer goes for these day – peanuts? No that is old school RFA thinking – Penner is worth at least $3 – $3.5 million in the new NHL. Look the market has spoken and Lowe has been the highest bidder again – make no mistake – we were not the only team who made an offer.

    I’m not saying Lowe is a genius here – the Nylander offer made a joke out of any sort of plan that I thought Lowe had – Vanek offer was good – Souray was questionable – Garon great. Lowe has just kind of been all over the place this summer – good and bad.

  51. Lowetide says:

    Asia: The Oilers have to beat 6 teams in the conference to get a midround pick, and that likely includes a NW team.

    I like the goaltending, am warming to the defense (although it would be nice to have a Don Awrey type and send away a puck mover—can’t believe I’m saying that after the season we just went through) and up front I’d give a lot of money to slam this rig into reverse and get back to last summer pdq.

    I respect your opinion: give me your reasons why you think the Oilers can beat one NW team (if you would).

  52. Asiaoil says:

    LT – I have a much better chance having a night at the blackjack tables in Vegas that makes me rich than ANA will have getting Peter Forsberg with the #16 pick in the upcoming draft.

    First touting Cammaleri as the perfect answer to the Oilers issues (how does another undersized offensive forward do this?) and now suggesting that we are giving up an unknown superstar who may never turn out, who may not be available, who may get injured , who may be a flake , who may have a girlfriend in California, who may etc etc etc etc etc

    Unless you can somehow guarentee the Oilers will finsih bottom 5 mnest season and win the lottery – you are just plain wrong. Burke likely matches anyways – he knows the value of draft picks in the new NHL – negligible.

  53. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Where did I say the Oilers should give up next season’s 1st rder for Cammalleri? I like Cammalleri A LOT and don’t think it’s a good move.

    Bottom line, there is NO one player who can help the Oilers enough to justify sending away a potential impact player.

    Which team do you see the Oilers beating out in the NW?

  54. matt says:

    ok but lets look at this based on historical data rather then worst case scenario hysteria. I could have missed someone but in a sample of 10 years there is about a 2-5% chance that he turns out to be Peter Forsberg. This is the key point which makes this a very sold move. I think there is actually a far better chance that Penner turns out to be a 5 time all star getting 35-40 goals a year and a key part of team Canada in the Van. Will we still be shitty next year – sure maybe… But oh well – we still have a great group of young forwards (cogs, RS, MAP, O’Mara, Gagne) to come through the pipeline and improve this team in the future. The last thing we need is another young prospect. Your big point at the start of the off season was this team needed NHL READY bodies. How come you have such problem adding promising young star signed for the next years. Your responsive that we just lost the greatest prospect this franchise will ever see is absolutely ridiculous. Where are the facts to support this?

  55. Joe says:

    Whats with you guys thinking that the Oilers could possibly be good enough for a mid range draft pick next year? Mid range insinuates that the pick will be between #10 and #20, and if you recall, #14 and higher are playoff teams. That means to have a mid range pick, the Oil would have to be either IN the playoffs, or contend for them. Does anyone here honestly believe that even with Penner, you’re even thinking about making the playoffs? Every single playoff team last year should at the very least contend for the playoffs this year, and you also have the Avs, Kings, and Blues having serious chances to at least challenge for the #7 and #8 spots. I would venture to say that all three of those teams are very likely better than the Oil, in addition to the 8 playoff teams from last year. That puts you down to #12 in your own conference, ahead of only Chicago, Phoenix, and Columbus. If Havlat is healthy, Chicago could challenge you for that #12 spot. You have at least 10 teams in the conference that are legitimately better than you, where do you get this silly idea that the Oil will be good enough to push for a playoff spot?

    Even if they make the playoffs, is it in their interest to barely make the playoffs and get pimp slapped by the Wings or Ducks, and lose out on top prospects in the draft? When you get yourself into that no mans land of finishing just out of the playoffs or barely in them, you screw yourself out of good draft picks, and if you’re not good enough to pull of a few upsets, your team just kind of stagnates in that spot until you finally fall out and into rebuilding mode.

    Besides, given the incredible reputation of the Oilers as a franchise that players really want to sign with, how else do you intend to build your team up, besides the draft? UFA obviously hasn’t worked, and RFA only gets you one player a year, at high prices.

  56. Lowetide says:

    matt: You’re comparing those seasons against the one coming up, which from all we read is going to be a beauty. Hell some of the kids from the ’08 draft were outperforming the ’07 kids in leagues and tournaments this past winter.

    I’m not saying the Oilers are going to get a good pick at 15, I’m saying that the Oilers are extremely likely to finish lower than the team who will pick 15th based on the division they play in, the talent on their current roster, and Dustin Penner as an addition.

    Kevin Lowe is working like hell to make this dish something special but it looks like porridge to me.

    PLUS Anaheim gets to use the EDM selection. I’ll be very interested to see how long Burke takes to react to this offer sheet.

  57. Asiaoil says:

    LT – injuries happen and always kill a team that seems good – never know who that will be but it happens every year.

    Vancouver had a year where they had outstanding goaltending and a lot of luck – wanna bet lady luck is so generous 2 years in a row.

    Minnesota is banking on an unproven young guy and an unproven old guy in net – bad idea.

    Colorado has no goaltending at all

    Calgary has Kennan behing the bench and that whole show could collapse in a big pile ugly chemistry

    Shit happens every year and last year was our turn plus the the predictable SCF hangover. Our goaltending is solid and even improved with the arrival of Garon. The defense is improved – and although still not an allstar squad – it’s light years better than last years bunch in terms of moving the puck out of our zone effectively. For the forwards – lupul is gone (worth a good 10 points IMO, Moreau is back, little chance of Torres, Pisani, Horcoff all having another off year. Add one more soild vet like Johnson and we can ice a pretty decent ES unit and darn dangerous PP team.

    Realism is fine – but the outright pessimism that abounds this year is not warranted at all this early.

  58. Asiaoil says:

    PS – gotta agree with Matt – there is a much much better chance that Penner turns out to be a star than the pick the Oilers give. It’s not even close really – plus we still have a first rounder from ANA.

    The Oilers have Hemsky signed for 5 more years at a bargain rate – that is what matters and what should be driving every decision. Whoever we draft next June will not help the existing young core of Hemmer, Stoll, Torres, Pitkanen, Smid, MAP one bit – but Penner would and he’s the right age.

    Giving up lottery tickets to build around Hemmer for the next 5 years is not only a sensible thing to do – it’s the only thing to do – and giving up 3 picks in one draft is no biggie.

  59. Puff Smokey says:

    Yes you’re absolutely right Lowetide. We should save all those draft picks a) because we’ve been so terrific at turning those into quality NHL’ers the past few years, and b) because about the same time as all those wonderful prospects become NHL ready Hemsky will be down the road. Far better we just sign him to a wonderful contract and then give him nobody to play with. (cue the shakes head and rolls eyes icon)

    Yes the Vanek offer was a huge gamble and we stood to lose 4 first rounders in the process. This is one first rounder in a year where we have two and you want to bemoan giving up a second and a third? Give your head a shake man.

  60. Puff Smokey says:

    MC79 said:Agreed. I think that the league gives you two wins for every inch of team height above 5’9″.

    What isn’t as apparent is the 10 wins and multiple Stanley Cups those +- stats at even strength give a team. Like the ones Ryan Smyth garnered for us during his stint here, and all thoise Pisani and Horcoff have yet to rain down.

  61. raider says:

    Yes, the money for Penner is high, but you couldn’t pry him from another team while getting a deal. That said, how many poeple would not trade 1) Mikhinov 2) Winchester 3) Ljubimov for Penner. They are our 1,2,3 rd picks in 2000. Or 1) Niinimaki 2) Green 3) Radunske from 2002. And 1) Pouliot 2)Mcdonald 3) Joukov from 2003. Aside from Hemsky in 2001 and Stolly, there isn’t a set of players I wouldn’t trade.

  62. Puff Smokey says:

    [There's an excellent chance the best player in the Penner deal is that Oilers first round pick.

    If he arrives at 20 and starts helping his team win at 22 that's 5 years from today that player begins a run]

    Perfect then. Right around the time Hemsky will be bailing ship. Good thinking. The time to try and win is while Hemsky is still around but bully for you having so much faith in the Oilers drafting abilities. apparently you’ve been in a coma the past 6 years.

  63. jb says:

    I disagree, A 1st, 2nd, 3rd, is not a steep price to pay. As you said yesterday, Cammelleri would be “perfect”, do you really believe he’d only cost 1st, 2nd, 3rd round lottery tickets?
    The future is far from mortgaged atm, but getting Cammelleri from the Kings, would have cost us a significant roster player.

  64. Pat says:

    I agree 100% with your original post LT, particularly the last few paragraphs.

  65. PunjabiOil says:

    LT
    “If he arrives at 20 and starts helping his team win at 22 that’s 5 years from today that player begins a run. “

    Penner turns 25 in September.

    Sort of raises a warning bell, although he has started to come around only recently.

  66. Pleasure Motors says:

    Lowetide,

    Shut up, man. Brian Burke might hear you.

  67. RiversQ says:

    Puff Smokey said…

    What isn’t as apparent is the 10 wins and multiple Stanley Cups those +- stats at even strength give a team.

    Huh? You win games by outscoring the other team. Most goals (about 60% of all goals) are scored at even strength.

    This shit is not hard.

  68. choppystride says:

    The problem is not so much about overrating the draft picks, but more so about overrating Dustin Penner.

    I agree with LT that Penner had benefitted tremendously playing with very good teammates on a very good team. When I had the chance to watch him closely in the playoffs, what I actually saw is a guy who had troubles keeping up with Perry & Getzlaf, both speedwise and skillwise. He has very limited ability do create chances. To say that he was the passenger on that line is an understatement – he was an anchor. He’s a slow-footed pylon with mid-range skills who is not good enough to play with elite players on a long term basis. And despite his size, he plays soft most of the time.

    I have nothing against using picks to land a good player. But Penner is the wrong guy and now is the wrong time. Lowe should wait til next summer because a) the core of the 2003 draft class will be up for contract renewals, and b) all potential RFA’s & their agents now realize that the open market is a very viable option. Instead, Lowe is overreaching into the current limited RFA pool which is lacking in quality and quantity. He is in panic mode grasping at straws, and in the process, could be wasting away assets that ranges from very valuable to extremely valuable.

  69. RiversQ says:

    Personally, I think LT is right about this move not making sense. I have no idea what Lowe is doing this offseason. It seems he’s perfectly alternating between good and bad moves.

    I also think LT is pretty close to being right about this team’s chances. The forwards are bad and Penner’s a long way from the answer to the problems.

    Having said all that, I don’t agree with him about the magnitude of this move relative to recent Oiler failures and I disagree with him regarding draft pick value and offer sheets in general.

    It comes down to this for me: Can the Oilers do a lot better with $50MM and four first rounders rather than spending them on Thomas Vanek?

    That’s a tough question. It’s really close and I lean towards Vanek. The Oilers have made a lot of 1st round picks in the last five years and none of them are close to scoring 40 NHL goals against soft opp. Period. Same goes for many NHL teams out there – especially having that production at such a young age. Then consider the UFA problems and I think it’s a done deal personally.

    Now can the Oilers do better with $21.5MM, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in this next draft rather than spending them on Penner?

    You have to think so. Just the money alone is a hefty down payment on an elite player.

  70. voxel says:

    give me your reasons why you think the Oilers can beat one NW team (if you would).

    Injuries.

    As for Penner, overpay yes and the picks are precious, but our kids are almost ready and Hemsky is ready… so any roster player that can score will do. It didn’t need to be Penner tho’ – he maybe just another Lupul.

  71. Dennis says:

    Let me just start out by saying there’s some outstanding discussion going on here. Lots of guys coming at things from different angles and I don’t know if there’s anything that’s been missed.

    One thing I liked was the guy who said the Oilers should be looking to win while Hemsky’s in the mix. I think that one makes a lot of sense because I really don’t think we have another Hemsky in the pipe so it’s probably a good idea to try and win while’s he’s on his current contract. Let’s say we draft a real gem in ’08, and don’t get me wrong I think that without Penner we have a real chance of being in the mix for a lottery pick, would this guy A: wind up being as good as Hemsky or B: wind up being good quickly enough to be able to compliment Ales?

    He’d basically have to be an impact player in any of the years ’09 to 11.

    What are the chances of that happening? If you don’t like those odds, then the loss of the THE pick doesn’t matter a whole lot. The other issue is that yes you’re also giving away some money that would’ve been earmarked for Stoll and Pitkanen and you’ve raised the bar as to what Stoll can expect in his next pact. But does anyone else think that Lowe made this offer because he has a good feeling about Katz taking over the team? If he does and if he believes we’re going to the cap every season, well then you don’t spend like a drunken sailor but at least you can really start spending and all of a sudden there might not be enough money to pay everyone, but there’s enough money to pay a lot of someones’

  72. MetroGnome says:

    The kool-aid drinkers, emboldened by their cult leaders show of strength, attack the unbeliever with rabid denunciations and spurious logic.

    I agree with you LT, for what that’s worth coming from a Flames fan. Even though Calgary is in a “win now” mode I’d go apoplectic on Sutter if he pulled a stunt like this for Penner.

  73. Grub says:

    Lots of good comment, but one aspect of this and the Vanek OS that seems to be ignored is the strategy of forcing existing team of RFA to match. Reports are that matching for Penner will put Anaheim over the cap, or at least severely curtail their ability to go after anybody else at the high end of the scale (i.e. Selanne if he decides to return). All I’m saying is don’t evaluate the +/- of this move without considering the effect of the move on Anaheim’s ability to compete for other players.

  74. IceDragoon says:

    Methinks KLo and Katz are in Kahoots. mmmmmm… Kool-aid…

    I was in the WTF!?!?! crowd when I first heard. After clearing my head…

    If MacT wants the guy, I’m Kool.

    This off-season Kevin did say that he was going to overpay… did he not?

    more on the timing of this move…

    According to the team 1260, yesterday was Burkie’s day with the Cup. :-D

    L8r
    Louise

  75. PunjabiOil says:

    All this brings to the point – are we good enough to finish better than any team in the NW?

    Colorado: Who goes head to head against the Smyth Sakic Hedjuk line?
    Budaj isn’t a bad goaltender either.

    Vancouver: They’ve solidified their backend by signing Miller, and Luongo is a guy you can count on to steal games for you.

    Minnesota: Perhaps, although I like the make-up of their club, and a healthy Gaborik who is a top 10 player in the league

    Calgary: I’d like to believe so, but on paper they are better at the moment.

  76. Shannon says:

    You guys trying to justify this as a good move because you want to win with Hemsky are kidding yourselves. This Oilers team is at least two seasons away from making the playoffs again. In the three years following that, you honestly expect to be a Cup contender with Roloson being old as the hills by then and probably already gone (yeah, good luck signing a top flight goalie, when UFA’s already hate your city, and other better teams are going to make runs at the same goalies), the same very “meh” defensive core, and a couple of good forwards surrounded by a much of “hey, we’re still in the NHL!” ones?

    Don’t fool yourselves with “parity” or the glow from your last finals run. Just because theres a salary cap and “parity” doesn’t make the trek from worst to first an easy or sure thing. It’s a hard road, that takes time. And just because your team caught lightning in a bottle two years ago, for the first time in 15 years (and coincidentally, in what was for most teams a very strange, “feeling out” type season), doesn’t mean its going to magically happen with Rollie and Hemsky, just because you won some Cups in the 80′s and think Edmonton is the Mecca of hockey. Being good once upon a time never guarantees anything.

    Face it, your team is broken. These things happen. If you keep trying to make stopgap solutions, you’re just gonna find yourself in the same position 5 years from now when Hemsky leaves because the team sucks, saying “Dammit, we should’ve built a good young team around a guy like Hemsky”. And then you’ll have to rebuild anyways, and will have lost 5 years in the process. Good luck with that.

  77. godot10 says:

    metrognome wrote:
    //I agree with you LT, for what that’s worth coming from a Flames fan. Even though Calgary is in a “win now” mode I’d go apoplectic on Sutter if he pulled a stunt like this for Penner.//

    Sarich’s 5 years @ $3.5 million is a much more boneheaded move than Penner’s contract.

  78. godot10 says:

    //But Penner is the wrong guy and now is the wrong time. Lowe should wait til next summer because a) the core of the 2003 draft class will be up for contract renewals,//

    But you can only get one guy next year. So Lowe is getting one guy this year, and a second guy next year.

  79. RiversQ says:

    godot10 said…

    Sarich’s 5 years @ $3.5 million is a much more boneheaded move than Penner’s contract.

    Oh yeah, that makes all kind of sense. Signing a player with a significant NHL track record for $750K/season less while not giving up any draft picks whatsoever is always considered to be “much more boneheaded.”

  80. Jamie says:

    2 things to think about, even if Burke doesn’t match.

    1. Remember the Mikael Renberg deal with Tampa Bay a few years back, when he was actually good? Tampa was supposed to give up 4 draft picks, but they traded a couple players to Philly for those picks. We all know Burke undervalues draft picks, so a young roster player or two might give the Oil the best of both worlds. At least there’s precedent.

    2. Penner may not have demonstrated the greatest skill under the playoff microscope, but I guarantee he was hurt. He worked his butt off every minute he was on the ice. So, in the end, he’s a probable 20-25 goal guy with the potential to net 30-35, with a strong work ethic, and the physical tools the Oil so desperately need. Given the money thrown at some RFAs this summer and the fact that the salary cap has increased 130% in two seasons, I don’t think 4 million is a ridiculous price at all.

    Of course, Anaheim will match, so this is all moot. But not a bad move at all by Lowe, IMO.

    And as for the standings, let’s just say there are only two certainties in the NHL. Toronto will not win the Cup, and Marian Gaborik will be injured. So everything else is a crapshoot. Holding out for a lottery pick is never a solid tactical move, unless you’re monumentally bad and have a shot at #1.

  81. AnonymousBlogger says:

    One can analyze numbers all they want. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it doesn’t. Look at the Blue Jays and their GM Riccardi. He is all about analyzing numbers. Doesn’t seem to have worked for him.

    I’m guessing Lowe & Co has seen Penner play and seen something in him that they like.

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