10 Questions

The other day we were discussing the Oilers without Ales Hemsky and how difficult the season would be without him. He’s ripping up the finals in the Hot-off currently which comes as little surprise to those of us who always felt he would one day win a major award.

I said a little prayer for Ales at Christmas Mass (along with a passionate plea for no further hair loss and more nights alone with that woman who was crazy enough to marry me) because it can’t hurt, right?

Anyway, during the discussion I decided to make a list of things we can talk about when the playoffs become a distant bell (I’m baiting Dennis with that sentence) :-).

  1. If they can’t sign Pitkanen long term in the new year do they deal him at the deadline? I’m a little unsure about the arbitration rules. I believe Philly offered him arb last summer before he was dealt, so it may mean the Oilers can’t do that this summer. Bottom line if they can’t get him signed the Oilers need to trade him for another NHL player. No picks, no prospects. Real, honest-to-God NHL players.
  2. Does Staios go? No. If they sign Pitkanen and Gilbert, keep Staios and add them to Souray, Greene and Smid/Grebeshkov (plus anyone I’ve missed), then it’s those guys and people like Taylor Chorney who will attempt to make the team out of camp. With Staios it’s a mess, without him it’s a lost cause.
  3. Is there a market for Roloson? I don’t think so, at least not enough to pull the trigger. They may end up doing a “Roloson and our 3rd for your 2nd” kind of deal but based on his age, play and contract for 08-09 his value is not high.
  4. Can Stoll recapture enough to make his contract a worry? Probably not. Stoll was never a world beater at EVs and since his PP time has been reduced (4:45 per game 06-07 to 3:33 per game this year) his stats would be off even if he was playing well, or even playing just poorly. As it is he’ll probably have to sign a “running in place” one year deal and hope to turn it around. That would be my guess, 1 year at around $2M.
  5. Does Ethan Moreau still play hockey? Yes and he probably will give this team a boost upon returning. However, Ethan rifles has some miles on him and is unlikely to past many 82′s in the GP column moving forward.
  6. How much pressure will the media put on Kevin Lowe for giving up Doughty (read: Denis Potvin) for Dustin Penner? Probably none. Hell, I can’t even work up a good lather amongst my fellow Oilogosphere comrads. In fact, it seems to be a one man army right now but don’t worry it still pisses me off no end. If we were watching Calgary do this we’d be giggling like idiots and if Toronto did it we’d all smile in a smug, knowing way. It’s a bad bet folks.
  7. If Katz does get control of the team, will he buy out the required contracts? Yes. Katz is a hometown boy and will want to make an immediate impact. When Lowe shows him the cap number and says “we’ll have to wait until next year” Katz will pull out his pocketbook and sign off on a Roloson buy-out. One of the best things about being an Oiler fan with Katz as owner will be deep pockets, followed closely by the “owner’s ego” which apparently is enormous too. Let the good times roll.
  8. If he does free up money, will he allow Lowe (or the new GM) to spend it on Spezza, Bouwmeester and other quality rfa offer sheets? Of course. Best player available. I haven’t seen a complete list but Bouwmeester would be a beauty option. There’s apparently a rule that states teams can only sign one rfa per two seasons, and if that is the case then Lowe can spend the money on a UFA or another team’s salary dump ala Michael Peca.
  9. Will the Oilers return to the old days of rational roster decisions? I have no idea what they’re doing now but do know that they’re throwing wins away by choosing Grebeshkov over Hejda, etc. It seems as though MacT and Lowe have decided to bite the bullet while they train the army to remain calm while gunshots fire over their heads. Frankly, it looks like a lost cause, or at least a 40% return. When does this work, and why wouldn’t the traditional way (bring ONE of these kids along per year) not be the better option? We can talk all we want about poor play by some of the veterans but when you’ve got a kid who can’t shave on your flank and a Russian diviziya about to roll over you I’m sure it’s hard to save the day every damn shift.
  10. Will they for once begin a season with balance on the roster? No. The Edmonton Oilers seem absolutely devoted to developing the NHL’s 2010-2020 defensemen in a three year window. I have no idea where Ladislav Smid will play the heart of his career, but basic training is underway in Edmonton, Alberta.

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34 Responses to "10 Questions"

  1. mc79hockey says:

    FYI, I’m pushing the name “Captain Barbaro” for Ethan. As for the whole local media giving Lowe a pass on Doughty for Penner…I’m on board with pillorying him for this. Unlike certain of my Oilogosphere buddies though, I’m trying to limit the extent of my beating on a dead horse (Merry Christmas Dennis!). As an aside, I think I’m going to class “pillorying” as one of those words that is being subsumed into another word that means something entirely different – I listened to Stauffer and Rishaug discuss “pillaring” someone last week and then heard it again on HNIC. Very disheartening. Maybe you can use pillaring in that context, but it makes no bloody sense to me.

    ANYWAY, (tip of the cap to Chuck Klosterman, who I first saw use this literary device, which is useful for those of us who are prone to digression), I said ANYWAY, Spezza is already signed. I agree with your analysis as to Stoll et al – I ran the budget last night and came in around $47.5. I don’t think buyouts make sense, particularly because there’s crap available. I’m not so sure that I’d be spending still more money on this horseshit outfit next year – if you’re gonna spend this year on the youth, you might as well stay with them.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. godot10 says:

    //If they can’t sign Pitkanen long term in the new year do they deal him at the deadline?//

    Pitkanen is a RFA. They can sign him in the summer time, or match if need be. Phaneuf and Weber and Bouwmeester are also RFA’s. Most coaches hate Pitkanen’s wandering style. If one is inclined to poach a RFA, those other guys are more likely to be poached.

    Yep…sign Gilbert and Pitkanen ASAP, but don’t fret if it takes till the summer time.

  3. godot10 says:

    //Does Staios go?//

    Unlikely, since he is part of the veteran leadership core of the team. 3rd pairing mentor defenseman.

  4. godot10 says:

    //I have no idea what they’re doing now but do know that they’re throwing wins away by choosing Grebeshkov over Hejda, etc.//

    Did Lowe have a choice in the matter?

    Hejda was a UFA. What makes you think that Hejda wanted to be back after MacT sat him for the first half of the season? Hejda might have just said…I’m outta here.

  5. Mr DeBakey says:

    Agreee with MC79 on the Cap
    I get $46 Milliion for

    Need – a 14th forward, a real centerman & winger with $8 Million to spend.

    Gone – Grebeshkov [or Smid] & Stoll. I can’t see them being worth the $$$.

    Roloson’s Cap Hit is bigger than his salary next season. There’s several sunbelt teams who might be interested in that.

    Forget about the Penner thing. Its done. Its not the worst thing Lowe did. Next summer there are bigger problems – see Stoll above.

  6. Bank Shot says:

    Is there a lack of dynamic forwards(Guys who will make Penner look like junk) in the upcoming draft? I’ve only really heard that Stamkos is the elite guy, and the others have warts.

    There are 4-5 defensemen listed in the top ten prospects depending on what you read and two of them (Schenn, Teubert) are basically guareenteed to bring limited offense to the NHL level.

    Lowetide: How do you think the top three (Doughty, Pietrangelo, and Bogosian) compare to the 2002 cluster of Bouwmeester, Pitkanen, and Whitney based on what the scouting services have said?

    I’ve only got Internet Database stats to go on. All three of the 2008 defenders have good offence coming in at around a PPG in the OHL. Bouwmeester’s PPG in the WHL seems more impressive though. Who knows how to compare Pitkanen’s and Whitney’s numbers.

    The 2008′s smaller group then the 2002′s as well with Pietrangelo the largest at 6’3″. Doughty is only 6 foot.

    In +/- Pietrangelo is at the top of his club with a +17, Doughty’s is I believe team worst at -17, and Bogosian is around the middle of the pack on his team at -9.

    Bouwmeester was a -3 on a poor team. I don’t know where to find all the +/- numbers for them. Would be nice to see where he ranked in realtion to his team. I do know scoring leader Lupul was +11, and outscored Bouwmeester by 45points.

    How many of the prospects this draft year do you think have the ability to make the Penner offer sheet look like a debacle?

    Hope everyone had some good turkey, and go Canada go.

  7. Bank Shot says:

    If Anaheim ends up with a 60-70 point forward or a defenseman that is a tier below Bouwmeester territory, I think that decision by Lowe doesn’t really hurt alot.

  8. Gord says:

    1) I am not sure of the cap increase regarding RFA’s but if a team offers us two 1st round picks, a 2nd round pick & a 3rd round pick (I’m guessing that is about $4.6 million per season), I suspect we let Pitkanen go… Otherwise we match…

    2) Staios might be traded – my gut feeling is we keep him unless we fall back so much we are guaranteed to miss the playoffs. (Or if we can get a power forward)

    3) We keep Roloson for one more year – it is only costing us $4 million for both goalies.

    4) I suspect Stoll is being showcased “right now” for a trade – he is getting lots of minutes & is showing he can still kill penalties.

    5) Until I see Ethan Moreau play again, I do not believe he exists.

    6) The media will forget about the 1st round pick for Penner – I will not…

    7) No contracts will be bought out.

    8) No RFA’s will be signed unless it is for less than $2.4 million (a 2nd round pick).

    9) The “IR”rational roster decisions only occurred because of the EIG panic trying to counter the Katz offer last spring. Expect Lowe to be smart from here on in…

    10) We just need one good power forward to become a balanced team. If we could trade Staios & Stoll & Schremp (or a similar variation) for Dustin Brown – I see a strong playoff team in the making a year from now…

  9. trader says:

    //When Lowe shows him the cap number and says “we’ll have to wait until next year” Katz will pull out his pocketbook and sign off on a Roloson buy-out.//

    LT – given Roloson’s age when he signed his contract (over 35) even if he is bought out his number still counts towards the cap.

  10. Lowetide says:

    bank shot: I have no idea about the 2008 v. 2002 comparison and wouldn’t know where to start.

    I looked at Doughty’s plus minus, despite the team being about .500 they appear awfully inexperienced on the blueline and Doughty may be one of the better options despite his youth. There was a game against Ottawa in November where he was -6, you’d think the coach might have gone with someone else if there were a better option.

    Bouwmeester’s draft year saw a tremendous turnover on that team, it might be an idea to break it down into segments if we had the time.

    godot10: If Pitkanen gets a huge offer sheet it’s a worry for EDM because they’re close up against the cap. Also, there was iirc a signability issue in PHI so it isn’t out of the question that the Oilers might deal him if they feel there’s only a short term deal available.

    As for the Hejda argument, at this point of his career I think you could argue Hejda would have taken a 2-year deal from the Oilers on a one-way.

  11. Lowetide says:

    trader: Well, damn. Thanks for the info, though.

  12. Lord Bob says:

    If the Oilers trade Pitkanen (aka The Great Finnish Hope), I think I might just give up and watch Russian hockey for the rest of my life. GO LOKOMOTIV YAROSLAVL!

  13. Dennis says:

    Is it just me or is the sphere a lesser place when I’m away;)?

    At the very least, some people miss me:)

    So, I’m taking a brief break from my holiday binge drinking, at least these days it’s reserved for holidays only;) to chime in.

    LT: Don’t worry about baiting me, worry about the first post when you come clean on Lowe. After that, we can have a sensible yarn again;)

    MC: Happy holidays to you too:) BTW, I don’t think it’s beating a dead horse when it’s telling the truth.

    Or at least that’s how I see it.

    I don’t have time to get into the rest but let’s just say that if Lowe further fucks the Pronger gaffe by letting Pitkanen walk, then it will be such an obvious fuck-up that perhaps even young Staples will come to his senses on Vish;)

    Enjoy your Smid, people. I’ll be back on a regular basis come Sat or Sun. In the meantime, enjoy that vacation;)

  14. jon says:

    I think that Lowe has had a terrible year and I really do hope that some of his moves end up looking better as time goes on. Saying that, however, one move does stick out as horrendous, the penner signing. I’m not sure how you tell the fanbase that your “reloading” without your first round draft pick.

    Now onto the buyouts…I don’t see it. I see this line-up at around 52 million for next year and early reports are that the cap will be 54-55 million for next year.

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky = 12 mill
    Nillson(1.5) Cogs Fernie = 5.2 mill
    Mr.Glass Reasoner(1)Brods= 3.5m
    Torres Stoll(2.4)Gagner = 6.3
    Thor MAP 2 mill
    Forwards 29mill

    Pitt (4.5) Gilbert (3.5) 8
    Souray Staios 8
    Smid Greene 1.9
    Grebs 1.1
    Dmen 19

    Goalies 4.8

    A total of 52.8 million and I know that this team is not going to win the cup but being 1 year older for the youngsters and being healthy…I wouldn’t be suprised for a playoff spot.

    This year sucks but if this core can stay together for a couple years I think that things will be alright.

    Merry Christmas :)

  15. Lowetide says:

    jon: The idea that Lowe will spend the entire summer saying “I know we were poor this season but we won’t have injuries like that ever again so we’re going to stay the course” bothers me a lot.

    Doesn’t it bother you?

  16. PunjabiOil says:

    Jon: Gilbert 3.5M? You’ve got to be kidding me

    Stoll is making 2.2M right now. I wouldn’t give him a raise unless he’s signed to a long term contract. Preferably, I’d deal him and Torres plus a prospect for a quality player this upcoming summer.

  17. jon says:

    LT: The one positive thing I took away from the Penner signing is that Lowe would make it incumbant that he finished higher than Brian Burkes team this year; however, he has done the same thing that he has done the last three years and that is look at giant holes on the team and say that the asking price is too high. I think lowe severely overvalues his talent and I remember him at a draft a few years back saying that he wanted to move up but the asking price was Rita and that he was untouchable.

    There is where my logic lies and I am seriously confused by your own contradictions. Firstly, LT you always say lowe should not have dipped into the free agent (restricted too)pool and should have stayed the course. So, when the suggestion is let the youngsters grow and gel you say that bothers you. The second contradiction is that people want to trade Stoll and torres. On this very site you have said that torres and stoll can not be this bad for this long, that statistics say they should break out of this slump. Where’s the paitence? Thirdly, I think we can all agree…I know you have, that Lowe sells people when they are on a high and buys people when they are on a low. Prior to Pronger I would say he was one of the best Gm’s for this practice. So, why would he trade torres and stoll for a bag of pucks. I remember a few years back every oiler fan and pundit screaming to trade Ethan Moreau, now he’s our captain. Trust me, Kevin Lowe may make a trade but it will not be torres and stoll because he will wait for thier value to grow. Instead it will be somone off the roster who people will be upset is gone because their value is so high right now.

    If he is going to save the year he needs to make a move in the next two-three weeks. Otherwise, it will be sell the few UFA’s at the deadline, hope we are out of the bottom 5, and start the spin machine for next summer (free agents won’t come, asking price too high, burke’s draft pick will score less than penner did, etc, etc)

    Punjab oil: I am sorry if I over/undervalued Gilbert I figured that Whitney has a 4 mill cap hit and since he has more points that Joni and better pedigree than gilbert that 3.5 was a decent ball park. So, instead of just insulting me why don’t you offer a guestimate.

    Merry christmas

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    Punjab oil: I am sorry if I over/undervalued Gilbert I figured that Whitney has a 4 mill cap hit and since he has more points that Joni and better pedigree than gilbert that 3.5 was a decent ball park. So, instead of just insulting me why don’t you offer a guestimate.

    Merry christmas

    First things first – it’s a bit too late for a ”Merry Xmas” ;)

    Second RE: Gilbert. No insult was intended – I’m just amazed how many people have pegged his value to be 3M+.

    How many players get that big of a raise, RFA offersheets excluded, after 1 good rookie season?

    Short term – I don’t see him getting much more than 1.75M-2.0M. Long term [4-5 years] we may see a figure closer to the 2.5-2.75M range.

    That’s what I think anyways. We’ll see.


  19. Lowetide says:

    jon: I never said “don’t dip into the rfa pool”, I said pick your spots (read: not 2008!) and get “the guy” which would be an elite level talent. I didn’t like the Vanek offer at all, the Penner offer suffered from the same problems.

    Also, I do think you need to give players 500 at-bats to see what they have, but good lord not all of them the same season! Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson, Brodziak and that’s before the injuries!

    Too many, jon. Way too many.

  20. jon says:

    Punjab: I am okay with that, I am not really an expert at guessing contract numbers…and if that is the number he comes in at than it shows “don’t panic, no need for buyouts”

    Also, Punjab I am not an expert at the CBA but I thought that the minimum 10% raise was still in effect. If not, sorry. If so, then that is what I based Stoll’s salary on.

    LT: I agree, way too many rookies FOR THIS SEASON, hence why I said I thought Lowe would make it incumbant to finish higher than Burkey. In order to do that he needed to find more NHL players and less rookies. However, he didn’t do that and I don’t see why we need to make another rash move (see ridiculous 5 for 1 pipe dream offers for Richards, G. Murray, J. Stall, M. Ryder floating around the internet blogosphere) I fully know that we need more firepower but my point is that if K.Lowe is willing to wait through a season with his reputation attached to the Penner signing what makes you think that he won’t wade into next season with the same kids? The only difference is that they are one year older, and those kids will be more effective next year.

    To your original question: does that line-up bother me? This year, yes it bothers me. Next year, I am willing to let the sophmores, not rookies, play (Nillson, gagner, cogs, brods, smid have shown they can play and will only be better next year)and if it works, awesome. If it doesn’t work, then at least we may have a chance at a good draft pick and at least resemble the proper way to build a championship team. Through good drafting and not rash decisions and taking other peoples over paid contracts.

    If anything, this is a realist approach rather than alot of the smut of ” if we package torres and stoll and a prospect we will find the missing piece and be back to respectability.”

    Too bad Punjab…it’s still a

    Merry Christmas for me

  21. Lowetide says:

    jon: There are teams (the Twins in maybe 1984 or 1985) that get a ton out of bad seasons. They find two starters a middle reliever and a young CF so they can trade their veteran for a power hitting 3b.

    The Oilers HAVE had some nice things happen: Gilbert Gilbert, Andrew Cogliano, the kid Gagner has shown some things.

    Even Nilsson is teasing with some offense although he hasn’t really played a full 60.

    However, EVERY rookie forward has too many at-bats to my eye. Brodziak has been up and down, Cogliano and Gagner too. The Oilers have given away tons of ab’s and not just the #8 hitter either. Top 2line minutes have been given to overwhelmed kids.

    And there’s no guarantee these kids will improve. I’ve seen some things from Gagner that tell me he’s learning and Cogliano can be useful even without scoring, but Nilsson is in and out and Brodziak (who I love as a player, great story) needs to sit a spell.

    Sometimes you send a rookie out and before you know it he’s a young veteran with 5 years experience, and other times it’s obvious the guy is going to spend the same amount of time getting 1 year’s experienec 5 times. I’m watching a perfect example of that tonight with Comrie who is Yvan Cournoyer without the speed when he has the puck.

    And he sure as HELL is Yvan Cournoyer without the puck.

    These edition of the Oiler rookies need more Fernando’s. This isn’t breaking in with Corson but it’s also not breaking in like Hemsky did either.

  22. mc79hockey says:

    Cogliano has really tanked offensively of late. I was looking at his shots numbers the other day and it’s ugly, ugly stuff. He’s been under 4/60 at ES for the last while. That’s Tie Domi territory. He’s a rookie, so of course you cut him some slack, but he’s well off where he needs to be in my view.

  23. PunjabiOil says:

    Also, Punjab I am not an expert at the CBA but I thought that the minimum 10% raise was still in effect. If not, sorry. If so, then that is what I based Stoll’s salary on.

    Nope. I believe the qualifier offer is the previous year’s salary. If Stoll rejects the qualifier, the Oilers can then offer him any more below that.

    Or, they can simply take him to arbitration. Seeing Michael Cammarelleri get 3.1M after an 80 point season, I wouldn’t be opposed to taking Stoll to arbitration.

  24. Lowetide says:

    MC: Cogs has certainly been off the pace for quite some time, which is why imo you sit him for a time. Let Gagner grab minutes until he hits a wall and then switch them. I’d include Brodziak in there too, ebb and flow and all that.

  25. therealdeal says:

    No offence LT, but you’re not the only one who was pissed off and still is about the Penner move. The day the signing was made I stated the only logical conclusion was that Kevin Lowe no longer has the desire to be an NHL GM.

  26. Lowetide says:

    therealdeal: No offense taken. I’m glad for the company. :-)

    Usually when I post something on the Penner signing it is met with “you just hate Penner.”

    I don’t hate Penner, he’s better than I thought he’d be, and if he were the final piece then that would have been an outstanding signing.

  27. jon says:

    “These edition of the Oiler rookies need more Fernando’s. This isn’t breaking in with Corson but it’s also not breaking in like Hemsky did either.”

    We agree 100% LT. However, I guess my argument all night has been that I just do not see a rational move that can get us more fernandos. The only real trading chips Kevin has is, 1st round picks (bad idea), Robbie Schremp, One of the young d-men, and that is it.

    Here is my reasoning,

    Won’t get you squat column:
    Stoll Torres
    MAP Moreau
    Jacques Reasoner
    Brodziak Thoreson
    Souray Grebs
    Greene Tarnstrom
    Any prospect not in your top 5

    Too valuable
    Hemmer Horcoff
    Penner Pisani
    Joni.p Gilbert
    Every prospect in your top 5 not including schremp

    What that leaves
    Smid Staios
    Schremp Nilson

    Where do we get the extra fernandos from? I’m honestly asking LT because I do not see much value to other teams, especially in the cap world. What would be your ideal plan? How would you right the course?
    My idea is use patience let them grow and draft well…I mean really well. Also, someone like tavares next year doesn’t hurt. :)

    Let me know cause I am curious how to make steak with meatloaf.


  28. jon says:

    Also, I’m a huge fan of your blog and you are a daily fixture in my routine of daily nhl reading. I appreciate your comments and I hope that you do not think that I am trying to argue with you but rather trying to gain perspective on your ideal future.
    Thanks for responding to my comments


  29. kinger says:

    PunjabiOil said…
    “How many players get that big of a raise, RFA offersheets excluded, after 1 good rookie season?”

    Kevin Bieksa.

    Around the same age: Bieksa a year older when he signed his deal, check.
    Similar path to the NHL: 4 years NCAA, 1 less year in the AHL for Gilbert, check.
    Similar draft pedigree: Check.
    Similar skill set: Check.
    Similar counting numbers: Bieksa has an edge, but his big season came when he was a year older than Gilbert. If Gilbert sells that year as part of a long term deal, expect it to be expensive.

    “Long term [4-5 years] we may see a figure closer to the 2.5-2.75M range.”

    You’re a fool if you think Gilbert will come that cheap.

  30. Lowetide says:

    jon: I’ve enjoyed our discussion a lot, you’ve made some excellent points.

    I think the Oilers could have gotten Mike Johnson off waivers, as a for instance. Here’s a guy who can play a role and who is to say that someone like MP or JFJ wouldn’t be farther along with more of a veteran presence on the 4line.

    I understand Lowe felt he had Sanderson, Moreau and Fernando for the 3-4 lines, like this:


    and then the injuries hit. Mike Johnson would imo have been a nice option here, give Brodziak a rest when he isn’t playing well and he could fill in on the 3line. If all the kids are playing well he could take a night in the pb without going awol.

    There are other players who’ve been out there this season, but the Oilers have given the jobs to kids all down the line.

    Except for Rourke.

  31. Black Dog says:

    kinger beat me to it – Bieksa

    and what is his contract? isn’t it around 3 or so per?

    Crazy but its the way it is now. Look at Mike Richards – three good months and he got a DiPietro

  32. Pat H says:

    Crazy but its the way it is now. Look at Mike Richards – three good months and he got a DiPietro

    Well, after one good year, Lowe offered Vanek about a half DiPietro. And after one full year in the NHL, Lowe offered Penner a 1/3rd DiPietro.

    I just like saying ‘DiPietro’, and enjoy using it as a measurement standard when speaking of lengths of other contracts. :)

  33. PunjabiOil says:

    You’re a fool if you think Gilbert will come that cheap.

    We’ll see.

    It should be pointed out, despite Pitkanen [4th overall] two successful offesnive seasons, he’s only making 2.4M. I’d wager, on a one year deal, Gilbert won’t be making more than 1.6

  34. Pleasure Motors says:

    Cogliano has really tanked offensively of late.

    In Cogliano’s defense, he has been playing really good opposition with really bad linemates since the beginning of December.

    His wingers tonight are supposed to be Zach Stortini and Geoff Sanderson. It would have been nice to see how Cogliano played between Nilsson and Pisani.

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