What would (Jesus) Pollock Do?

Did you know there was an American home improvement chain called Lowe’s? This is their logo and their website says “STILL DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN?”

Which is about where I’m at with this hockey team. As a fan I learned about team building through Sam Pollock and Harry Sinden of the NHL, and guys like Whitey Herzog and a man named Ewing Kauffman who was so far ahead of his time it was to laugh (example: Baseball Academy).

Sam Pollock’s moves could be seen a mile away. Reggie Houle got some at-bats in during the spring of 1970 as Claude Provost (an oustanding checking RW) wound it down. By the following spring, Houle was playing a key role for the Cupbound Habs, playing on a line with John Ferguson as he rode into the sunset.

Also retiring in the summer of 1971 was Jean Believeau, so Pollock needed muscle to replace Ferguson (Pierre Bouchard was the enforcer, Mahovlich the tough guy who could play with the skill players) and a franchise player to replace Beliveau (which he did at the draft by plucking Guy Lafleur).

The NHL has more than doubled since the spring of 1971 and it’s harder to dominate a draft or to fill holes with such ease in this day and age. However there are more tools made available to modern General Managers these days, including unrestricted free agents, the vast European pool of talent and of course offer sheets.

It seems to me that the Oilers have left the station unbalanced in each of the three seasons since the lockout ended and players returned under the new CBA. In the fall of 2005, the Oilers had some question marks in goal, in the fall of 2006 the Oilers had some worries on the blueline and this October we fretted over the actual number of NHL players on the roster and the number of players who weren’t old enough to be legal in all areas of recreation.

In the first of the three seasons mentioned above, the Oilers were strong enough to hover near a playoff spot until they were able to address needs (long list, basically G, D and F but mostly G and D) and get handsome return for pedestrian assets (Roloson, Spacek, Tarnstrom, Samsonov for a 1st, Rita, Salmelainen and three weeks of Marty). The key for that team was they were able to hang with the other teams near the playoffs. The trick was to outlast the also-rans so they would give up and trade their soon-to-be UFA’s for draft picks or secondary prospects. Last season, Lowe (I believe) realized he didn’t have enough on D when the plane took flight but couldn’t acquire anyone to help in time, or the asking price for immediate help was too dear.

This season, he has no choice.

I think the following statement is true: Kevin Lowe cannot survive an Entry Draft in which Brian Burke gets a lottery pick from the Penner offer sheet. Is that a fair statement? If Burke gets Doughty this summer, that has to be too much to take. Kevin Lowe would get bumped upstairs, Craig MacTavish (or someone else) becomes GM and a new era begins. Oh, and by the way Anaheim picks 2nd.

That being the case, it is my opinion Lowe needs to improve this team and soon. He stated during the injury phase of this season that the team would wait until everyone returned and he could evaluate the situation. Well, we’re almost there and the team is improved. The Oilers are 6-3-1 in their last 10gp, which is the third best record in the Western Conference during that time. They are tied for 11th currently and safely out of the race for the top pick overall in the 2008 Entry Draft.

Still, it’s an uneasy place. There are a mere 6 points between San Jose in 2nd place in the conference and Edmonton, Nashville and Chicago who are tied for 11th. The Oilers have only 4 points clearance from bottom feeders Phoenix and Los Angeles.

The Oilers are an interesting bunch of players and contracts currently. Here, let’s do a healthy depth chart:

  • G-Garon, Roloson
  • D-Pitkanen, Staios, Souray, Gilbert, Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov, Smid
  • C-Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner, Cogliano
  • L-Penner, Torres, Moreau, Sanderson
  • R-Hemsky, Pisani, Brodziak, Nilsson
  • Extra-Stortini, Gagner

I’m not trying to be funny by listing Gagner as an extra, but he would be a guy imo who probably rotates in the 10-14F group with Stortini, Sanderson, Cogliano and Nilsson.

Even with all of that talent healthy, I think Lowe needs to make two deals:

  1. Another D to play top 4 EV minutes with Pitkanen, Staios and Gilbert. You may think Tarnstrom is the right man for the role, but MacT has HS’d him this season so it’s not a lock and everyone else has legit holes.
  2. Another veteran forward to improve depth and step into the lineup when one or more of Cogliano, Brodziak and Nilsson are struggling.

These aren’t superstars, but the Oilers need them. Possible trade pieces might include the ANA 1st rd pick next summer, any of the kids down on the farm (including Schremp, Pouliot, Jacques), Jarret Stoll (who might respond to a change of scenery) and Raffi Torres (whose time with MacT may be coming to an end).

If Lowe trades Stoll or Torres, he’s robbing Peter to pay Paul and would need elevated efforts from Reasoner and one or all of Sanderson, Brodziak or one of the minor league kids like Thoresen.

I think he has to make a deal and soon. His job as GM probably depends upon it, and the fact that the Oilers are improved over the last while should not cloud the real issue.

Which is (and has been since summer 2006) not enough NHL players. The auditions need to be cut way back.

And right soon.

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57 Responses to "What would (Jesus) Pollock Do?"

  1. Selena says:

    I see Rourke has been put on waivers.

  2. Pat H says:

    LT:

    While your analysis makes sense, I can’t help but think that with each point we squeak out (often through the shoot-out), Lowe breathes a lot easier, and becomes less desperate to make a trade. I think that’s a poor mindset to have, but I really can’t help but think that this is how he’s running things right now.

    Your mention of the home building store “Lowe’s” had me laughing out loud. I think the catchphrase for our Lowe would be a little different. Keeping in mind Lowe’s appearance on Oilers live, I think it would be something like “Let’s rebuild something together – but not a total rebuild”.

  3. original fan says:

    Your analysis is right on. thank you. 6 wins outright; 16 losses outright; 27% winning percentage; 10 ties with 8 of those as SO wins. Only concern is that Lowe signed a 4 year extension so is his job really in jeopardy?

  4. Lowetide says:

    Pat H: What inspired me to post this (and I should have mentioned it) was Vic’s pendulum swing post over at IOF.

    There’s no way the Oilers continue this shootout mastery.

  5. Lowetide says:

    original fan: I don’t believe Lowe can surive an ANA lottery pick.

  6. Ribs says:

    Kevin Lowe cannot survive an Entry Draft in which Brian Burke gets a lottery pick from the Penner offer sheet. Is that a fair statement?

    Penner on pace for 20G, 26A, +15 this season.

    ……Just sayin’.

  7. godot10 says:

    //I think the following statement is true: Kevin Lowe cannot survive an Entry Draft in which Brian Burke gets a lottery pick from the Penner offer sheet. Is that a fair statement? //

    I don’t think that is a fair statement.

    0) Barring more significant injuries, the Oilers are not likely to be in the lottery.
    1) Kevin Lowe isn’t a quitter, certainly not with the talent that is on the way. And I doubt that the EIG would fire him.
    2) Penner is looking better by the day.
    3) Burke would have to be drafting 1st and picking Stamkos. If he’s drafting second or higher and picking a defenseman who likely won’t make an impact until Hemsky’s contract is nearly over, who cares. Plus, the Oilers have Chorney and Petry.
    4) There would be no Gagner if he had given the six million dollar man (with a negative plus-minus) a retirement contract.
    5) By the end of this season, it will be evident that the Oilers are on the right track again.

    Kevin Lowe is a good GM with a good record, and competent GM’s are hard to find. He wouldn’t be unemployed for long.

    All the rotisserie “moneypuck” GM’s and the Smyth-fanboys in the blogosphere forget that there is something to be said for organizational stability.

  8. Lowetide says:

    godot10: You really do think he could survive that? The EIG needs to have a GM who can hold the confidence of the fanbase. Once Brian Burke’s hoof hits the stage the world changes for Kevin Lowe.

    Book it.

  9. godot10 says:

    Stamkos would be tough to take, but the odds of Burke getting Stamkos are pretty slim. Washington looks to be last, (and Bettman will fix the lottery in that case so that the Capitals get Stamkos).

    And I’m pretty optimistic that the rest of the season is going to go reasonably well.

    Penner isn’t going to be a dud. Gagner and Cogliano engender a lot of optimism. Chorney might be a Hobey Baker finalist (so who cares if Burke is drafting a defenseman who won’t contribute for 3 years).

    I don’t think the Oilers are going to be a lottery team (mainly because of the Garon signing…some dufus GM signed him) if the Oilers don’t have serious injury trouble. Reliable goaltending for all 82 games.

  10. doritogrande says:

    Not to nit-pick, but we also gave up Cross and Yan Stastny for the Cup run.

    Also, I’m a little confused by your “healthy depth chart” if this is a depth chart of who’s healthy right now, then axe Moreau and Sanderson. If it’s a depth chart of what we have when healthy, then you missed Matt Greene.

    I’m still unsure where to place this team after all the chips are down, but I doubt we’re a lottery team if MacT gets it though his head to make Garon the starter, and the 27-10-83 line continues it’s effectiveness. When the kids start to contribute on a more regular basis, look out.

  11. Black Dog says:

    Oilers could be sellers and buyers this year. Similar to Philly last year. Move guys like Torres and Stoll, Sanderson and Tarnstrom, for kids and picks. Move same picks and kids or some of who they have now for guys to replace them.

    I think with everyone becoming healthy Lowe takes a look and makes a move soon. The team has momentum and some extra bodies. If he can dump a little salary with Pouliot for an improvement up front or on the back end he can sell it as a reasonable move. Especially considering that while the shootout has gotten them where they are now the fact is they are in the mix. And this is with some injuries and a few guys who have really disappointed.

  12. Lowetide says:

    If Bettman was going to put in the fix on anyone, Crosby would be in NYC or LA.

    dorito: It’s a healthy depth chart when all but Greene are back, but my understanding is his injury is a much longer term item.

  13. Shawn says:

    LT you’ve said a number of times that you really believe Lowe’s job is at risk here. I can’t believe that’s true.

    Not that I’m saying he could do anything he wanted and not get fired ore moved upstairs, but you don’t lock a guy up for that long term a deal when you are thinking about getting rid of him at season’s end.

    I don’t think anyone who looked at this team in the pre-season really thought they were a cup contender. I imagine EIG knew this and bought into Lowe’s plans anyway. They knew all his off season moves BEFORE they gave him his extension.

    You may think his job SHOULD be on the line, but what makes you believe it really is?

  14. godot10 says:

    For all the Smyth fanboys out there:

    The six-million-dollar-man was minus 3 tonight.

  15. Shawn says:

    BTW I do agree he should make a move or two. We have a glut of marginal prospects and not enough pro players. Trade some of those guys and get a decent NHL player who can play tough minutes. Another Pisani/Moreau type.

  16. Pat H says:

    godot10:

    I’m not sure why that remark was necessary. Did Smyth’s 7 points in the previous 3 games really burn you up?

    LT:

    I think Shawn has a good point. I see the EIG as a group of businessmen who realize the advantage, from an optics perspective, of having the OBC hero Lowe remain at the helm. Lowe has a built-in status that no other GM could offer, unless of course, it were another OBC guy. The EIG must know this, and they realize that it ‘s beneficial to ensuring that the fans remain on board, keep the faith, and stay in the seats. Lowe is a crucial component in all of this. The whole organization is a big PR machine, imho. It’s systemic.

    Besides, there’s another component at play here: the (lack of) hockey knowledge of the EIG. I think I once mentioned this on BD’s site, but my belief is that the EIG doesn’t really have the capacity to search out another GM. They don’t want to (for the reasons stated above), but I also don’t think they’d know where to begin. Who would undertake such a task? God forbid it would be Laforge.

  17. Mustafa Hirji says:

    Pat H: the EIG will find a GM the same way they did last time (right after Sather left)—they’ll promote from within the organization, possibly looking for an old Oiler hero. That means Prendergast or MacT, I think.

  18. Lowetide says:

    Pat H: Two things.

    1. I want to be clear here: I’m not “hoping” he loses his job, hell I’m a fan. Still, decisions like the Pronger trade have been mentioned in a critical fashion publicly by the EIG and I’m certain a lottery spot for ANA would also have an impact.

    2. The description you gave could just as easily be accomplished in a “president hockey operations” role by Lowe, allowing the decision making and dealing to fall to MacTavish.

    Really, we’ve already seen a taste of it with the news in the spring that MacT would have “more input” into the roster decisions.

    I suspect it’s evolving. Lowe will still be the voice of the franchise because he does it so well, and MacT (or someone) will make the hockey decisions.

    Lowe’s been in the job 7 years now. How many years does the average GM hold a job?

  19. dwillms says:

    No point for me to post about Smyth, where ANA will pick, or Lowe’s future. That stuff takes care of itself.

    Where to improve the team?

    Scoring. 2.44 GF/G, 25th. Outside of 10-83, where’s it coming from? Some from 12-89-34, can we count on that to continue? We need to either acquire a top-flight LW and bump 27 to the 2nd line, or someone that can provide the scoring touch 14-16 have been missing this year.

    Our defence hasn’t been that strong either (3.06 GA/G, 26th), but we haven’t iced a full lineup in awhile either. Bringing in a stay-at-home guy would help, but I have no prob going with something like 25-77, 44-23, 24-37/5.

  20. Bohologo says:

    LT, you’re much more a student of the game than I, and while your admiration of Pollock is well-document and certainly merited, is it fair to say that some of his success as a GM had a foundation in the pre-1963 rules about exclusive rights to players & regional development hegemony? I’m just wondering if the Pollock legend requires some balance.

    With regard to your recent assertions that Lowe would get bumped (out or up) if Burke wields a high enough pick next June, your points are reasonable and rational. However, we are dealing with an organization that demonstrates unreasonable behaviour, and as such your analysis is untenable. Should Lowe be fired? I think so. Will he be fired? I think you underestimate how bulletproof he is. Think about how long Milbury stuck around the Island, as one example of how ownership can fail to exercise due diligence while facing mounting evidence of incompetence.

    So, if you don’t mind me saying-I think you’re projecting a bit. Want you want to happen isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen. You and I both would like to see the EIG tie a can to Lowe, but you assume we’re dealing with people who will always make the right decision. What prompts your faith that Doughty in a Ducks uniform will turn the EIG around on Lowe? Keeping in mind that recent bluechip D like Johnson and Johnson have yet to become difference makers. I just don’t trust these guys to do the right thing and make a change.

  21. DBO says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens when both Sanderson and Moreau come back. Suddenly we have a more MacT style of team with more veterans. I think it woudl be a good thing if gagner sits a few times just to get a rest. So who gets sent down when those two come back? Thoreson and Nilsson? Stortini?

  22. rickibear says:

    DWilliams: Go to NHL.com/nhlstats

    Select leftwing and lets see if Dustin Penner is in the top 30 in scoring for left wingers.

    Have you done that?

    Not bad for a sophmore guy who was out of shape and coming off a long stanley cup run. He is going to get an education in summer training Oilers style. Unless the team is busy in the spring.

    He works with the first line and Nillson-Gagner-Pisani makes an effective Third EV line.

    I agree with you on the need for an adjustment to the second EV line.Cogliano is a good start to a second line. The question is who do we move Torres/Stoll to start that line. Does anyone want them without us eating large salary.

    Does the team believe that there are options for next year out of the system. Say Mikhnov out of the RSL and R. Nash (1.6pt/gm last 6) at Cornell.

  23. Lowetide says:

    bohologo: For the record, I hated Pollock and the Habs. He rigged the 1967 expansion draft (it’s somewhere in here on this blog) and ran circles around the expansion teams (Imlach sold all his players, the dummy).

    I actually hope they don’t fire Lowe as GM. Honest. My ideal scenario has Lowe:

    1. making two deals to add a top 4D and someone like Dvorak.

    2. dealing Roloson at the deadline.

    3. signing Pitkanen, Gilbert and Stoll.

    4. Going back to the things he does well (let the procurement department choose the bpa, signing quality Dmen who are not obvious choices but work out well).

    5. Keeping his draft picks for the next several years.

    6. Signing Horcoff to another value-wise contract.

    I don’t think it happens, though.

  24. PDO says:

    So…..

    When would Pollock make a decision on the kids?

    I mean, lets assume that no major pieces are dealt, shall we? So that means that the top 9 is basically set in stone as 10-83-27-34-16-14-18-13-89 and the top 4 D is set in stone as 25-77-24-44.

    Up front that leaves:

    Nilsson, Pouliot, Schremp, Thoresen, Brodziak, Stortini, and any possible surprises (Nash, Reddox, am I forgetting anyone?) fighting for 3 spots and 2 pressbox spots, and that’s assuming no vets are brought in or brought back (Reasoner, Sanderson).

    On the back end that leaves:

    Smid, Greene, Grebeshkov, Roy (he cleared right?), Rourke (they like him, even though he’s not a kid…), Chorney, Petry… am I forgetting anyone? Fighting for 2 spots and a Pbox spot.

    I mean, at some point, someone has to be dealt and packaged and decisions have to be made and lived with before it’s either too late to get value or too many don’t get the necessary AB’s and instead sputter with their wheels turning forever.

    RIGHT?!

  25. Dennis says:

    I don’t think Lain has much to worry about here. When Lowe needed to do something to save us last year, he did it by dealing away Smyth. And Lowe’s the master of the quanity for quality deal so I’m sure he’ll prop us up in no time!

  26. Mr DeBakey says:

    “my understanding is [Greene's] injury is a much longer term item.”

    I agree.
    Ankles are a bitch.
    Turn left Turn right
    In the corners
    Fight , fight , fight
    Don’t count on much from Greene this winter.

    “We need to either acquire a top-flight LW”
    Reinprecht.
    For Schremp.

    “Say Mikhnov out of the RSL”
    He’s interesting
    He seems to have turned a corner.
    Here next season or trade bait?

    “R. Nash (1.6pt/gm last 6) at Cornell.”
    No, too soon.

  27. Lowetide says:

    PDO: The Habs used to be better than everyone else, or at least good enough that making the playoffs was rarely a problem.

    So they’d put someone on a skill line (not to get too French-English on the matter, but it was usually a guy named Arnason or Lefley) and pump up the volume for a year or two and then trade him for a first round pick.

    The Oilers can’t do that because they can’t throw away points.

    I actually think the Oilers have already decided on a lot of these guys now. Certainly Pouliot and maybe Jacques are players that may not be back, and Stortini appears to have found his way.

    Nilsson’s jury is still out, but he’s got a good batting average. A guy like him always has to worry because he’s always going to be one prolonged slump away from being sent out.

    It’s hard to score 40 points in 80 games with Nilsson’s skill in today’s NHL I suspect. If he can do it, can it do it again?

    Because sure as hell some kid is coming up behind him and he’s already been passed by Gagner and Cogliano in less than a calendar year.

  28. PDO says:

    Lain:

    So they’d put someone on a skill line (not to get too French-English on the matter, but it was usually a guy named Arnason or Lefley) and pump up the volume for a year or two and then trade him for a first round pick.

    The Oilers can’t do that because they can’t throw away points.

    Two points here…

    Firstly, was his name ever Nilsson? Because both Desjardins, and the treatment that Nilsson has received in terms of opponents and linemates since he’s come here, would certainly point to that conclusion.

    Secondly, why can’t we afford to throw away points? I mean, without serious love from the hockey gods, the shootout gods, the post gods, the injury gods, and the “Kiprusoff thinks it’s October in January” gods… well, we’re done now anyway. I know it’d hurt like hell to see that pick in the lottery…. but it’s a sunk cost at this point, is it not? All we should be worrying about is ourselves, not where Anaheim is picking… doing something that makes us worse in ’09 to make sure that the pick is 8th instead of 6th is lunacy, is it not?

    I actually think the Oilers have already decided on a lot of these guys now. Certainly Pouliot and maybe Jacques are players that may not be back, and Stortini appears to have found his way.

    Well, if they’ve decided on Parise already, ;), then why are they both still here? Surely their value only goes down from here, does it not?

  29. RiversQ says:

    You’d sign Stoll, LT?

    I don’t think it’s possible to do 2,3, and 6 all at the same time. I doubt the cap goes up much this time around and those two young dmen are going to eat up all of Roloson’s cap all by themselves. Horcoff will want and deserve $6MM/yr on his extension when the time comes. How does that hapopen with the current payroll structure and Stoll on the books for probably $2.5MM/yr?

    I think a realistic assessment of Stoll’s future as an Oiler needs to be made. His cap hit is non-trivial. His EV performance is definitely not elite and actually he hasn’t put up quality EV outscoring numbers in his career outside of a 20 game stretch in 06/07. Furthermore, based on the recent PB duty, doesn’t one have to wonder about his status as “future captain material” as well.?

    I think they should let Stoll walk this year. Deal him or let him go to an offer sheet at the end of the year hopefully after he has pumped a little life into his value.

  30. YKOil says:

    I think that if:

    – Lowe can make a legit trade of quantity for quality, and
    – the player acquired keeps Anaheim well out of lottery

    then he will rehabilitate his reputation, among many, to that of NOT being borderline incompetent.

    That said:

    – he has only made that kind of impact trade once, and
    – he has no Cap room to speak of, and
    – few others have Cap room to speak of, and
    – he has too much salary tied up in players who won’t earn their dollars

    So barring a CRAZY thing happening on another team so as to make their GM send us a quality player for spare parts prospects…

    … it ain’t gonna happen.

    However, like others, I don’t see Lowe ever getting the can here. Lowe is their teflon shield and they’ll hold on to it long after their arm has been ripped out of its socket.

    Final note – people are looking at a 40+ pt season out of Penner and calling that good. Wow. Barring a massive upgrade in the team over the next few years I don’t see him as being much more than a 40 – 50 pt guy and I don’t see that as an efficient use of $4+ million a year to be honest.

    On the plus side… he’s no Souray.

  31. ClaytonMagnet says:

    I would like to see Lowe do something to help this team as much as anyone, including Lowe. But doesn’t it stand to reason that ‘quality’ wingers or Dmen just aren’t that easy to be had? I mean, he couldn’t improve the team this time last year presumably because the price was too high. What makes anyone think the price hasn’t gone up? So, if we send three kids away for a ‘Dvorak type’, aren’t we just becoming the Maple Leafs?

    Totally switching topics… Horcoff. Dang. He is quickly filling the heart-and-soul vaccuum, no?

  32. Pat H says:

    Mustafa Hirji:

    I agree with your prediction of what the EIG would realistically do IF Lowe were to get fired/promoted. Promote from within, or hire another member of the OBC. My focus was more on suggesting that the EIG is either incapable, or just flat out unwilling, to consider possibilities outside of that very limited sphere.

    LT:

    Don’t get me wrong, I DO realize that you’re not on the ‘fire Lowe’ train. For what it’s worth, and from what I’ve seen around since following some of the blogs, I’m probably closer to a guy like Dennis – I admire your ability to analyze what’s going on, but I’m a little baffled by your personal opinion regarding Lowe. No need to delve into that further, though – I’ve seen some of your reasons in other discussions, and respect them.

    I do agree with items 2-6 on your list of what Lowe should do (including the sign Stoll part). I might agree with item 1 as well, but it depends which bodies are involved in the exchanges.

  33. Keegan says:

    I wish that his job were on the line but I dont think it is one bit. I think your analysis is sound, but I think that the EIG dont give a shit to be frank. But yes… Hope.
    Beyond that I think overall I am more concerned about locking up Gilbert & Pitkanen for a good long while.

  34. YKOil says:

    No question – we are prime candidates to become the Leafs of the West. Lowe’s next moves will determine our fate well enough I suspect.

    Souray and Roloson have the two contracts that hurt this team the most near future – I can hope Roloson gets dealt this year but the Souray millstone will be a gift that just keeps on giving imo.

    And Lord forbid Stoll gets paid for his 2005/06 season… all kinds of suck if that happens.

  35. YKOil says:

    Last note (bedtime for me) my FAVORITE player to target right now is Boyd Gordon out of Washington.

    I would dish a lot to get him on our team. Great, underrated, young player.

  36. PunjabiOil says:

    Final note – people are looking at a 40+ pt season out of Penner and calling that good. Wow. Barring a massive upgrade in the team over the next few years I don’t see him as being much more than a 40 – 50 pt guy and I don’t see that as an efficient use of $4+ million a year to be honest.

    I don’t think people will be happy with a 40-50 point season in years 3,4,and 5 of the contract.

    Fact of the matter is though, he’s improves his game on EV, and gives fans a reason to be optimistic going forward.

    It’s not the salary that’s a big issue – you’re going to end up overpaying every time you go the RFA route (Hartnell – 4.1, Nylander 5.5, Gomez 7.5, Drury 7.25, Handzus 4M) – it was the fact that Lowe gave up the draft pick. Personally I believe as long as the Oilers finish no worse than 22nd, the Penner is worth the compensation.

    As for Stoll – I think it’s time to cut him loose.

    RiversQ – I just have doubts Horcoff will be getting 6M. I recall last time you predicted he’d get Jokinen money (5.5M), and he ended up getting far less. Sometimes the market just tends to undervalue certain guys. I think he’ll get signed for 5.25M or less.

  37. PunjabiOil says:

    Sorry, I meant the UFA route.

  38. dwillms says:

    DWillms: Go to NHL.com/nhlstats

    Select leftwing and lets see if Dustin Penner is in the top 30 in scoring for left wingers.

    I guess I should have been a little more clear on 27. I think he’s been playing well lately, and although it’s helped being back with 10-83, he’s definitely picked up his play since the start of the year.

    I say we need a top-flight LW so we can at least start to form 2 scoring lines, not b/c I’ve been unhappy with Penner.

    The biggest problem with making a deal right now actually isn’t the salary cap, it’s the standings. Right now, there are only 2 ‘elite’ teams (Ottawa & Detroit).

    In the East, 2nd-15th is a 9 point spread. In the West, 2nd-15th is 11 points. It’s getting close to the midpoint of the season, and all 30 teams still have an honest shot at making the playoffs.

    There’s no team that’s 15-20 points out already and an obvious seller.

    A few names from teams who might drop-off, any thoughts?

    LW Reinprecht (PHX), $2M
    C Stumpel (FLA), $2.25M
    LW Zednik (FLA), $1.6M
    C V.Kozlov (WSH), $2.5M
    LW S.Kozlov (ATL), $3.7M
    RW Hunter (NYI), $1.5M UFA

  39. godot10 says:

    //6. Signing Horcoff to another value-wise contract.//

    Geez, everyone was for a retirement contract which overpayed Smyth.

    But everyone else has to be value-wise.

    Horcoff is a better player than Smyth. Smyth has gone back to being a minus player without Horcoff.

    //Souray and Roloson have the two contracts that hurt this team the most near future //

    There is nothing wrong with Roloson’s contract. It was a market contract and not excessive. He got what Gerber got, and Gerber got one more year. Next year is the last year, and it can be bought out for $2 million in the summer, if necessary. The cap hit of Roloson and Garon next year is less than $5 million. There is nothing wrong with keeping that tandem. One will probably want to extend Garon in the summer.

  40. Lowetide says:

    godot10: Sweet Jesus, there’s nothing wrong with Roloson’s contract? If Lowe can deal of Roloson’s contract at the deadline I would consider that a positive. It’s a lot of money for a guy close to 40.

    RQ: Yeah, I’d sign Stoll. He’s no EV monster but he has some nice secondary skills (PP shot from the point, FO circle, PK) and he should be fine next season after his concussion haze year. Also, they should be able to get him for a decent price.

    IF they have to trade anyone it’ll probably be one of the defenders, as they have Souray, Greene, Staios and all the young kids not named Pitkanen and Gilbert under contract.

    pat H: Yeah, I understand. I think sometimes we just have our own bias which we can’t see and that’s probably where I am with Kevin Lowe. I liked him BEFORE the run to the Stanley so lord knows I’m going to like him after that.

    PDO: That’s a very good point re: Nilsson-Arnason, I never thought of that. Excellent point. If they can create value and then offload the guy at some point that would certainly be a positive (not that I hate him or anything, but the bastard is making me look bad because of my Pouliot attachment). :-)

  41. DBO says:

    Good discussion lads.
    I think they’ll sign Horcoff to a 4year $20 million dollar deal. It’s a 33% raise, and is still market value (just under Jokinen). Stoll will get no more then $3 million, and I think KLowe is hoping for an offer sheet so he can say goodbye.
    I think at this point we shoud be trying to deal Roloson and either Stoll and Torres (along with a prospect) to get a better player back. The question is who? How about Torres and Rollie for Malone and Sydor? We save almost $2 million in cap space, get a solid two way player in Malone who can score, and a vet in Sydor who can help our top 4. The issue with Sydor would be he’s under contract next year, and do we still consider him a top 4 defenseman?

  42. DBO says:

    Another thought that might work. Would tampa do this deal:
    Rollie, Torres and Tarnstrom ($7.867) and a pick/prospect
    for
    Boyle, Prospal, Denis ($8.1).
    Fits cap wise, they unload two potential expensive free agents, and get a goalie upgrade and dump Denis’ contract for next year. The Oil get two top flight players and make a run at the playoffs. Not sure if it makes sense, but if Lowe is really serious about keeping out of the lottery it gives us an upgrade on our top 2 lines and top 4 defense.

  43. godot10 says:

    //Sweet Jesus, there’s nothing wrong with Roloson’s contract? If Lowe can deal of Roloson’s contract at the deadline I would consider that a positive. It’s a lot of money for a guy close to 40//

    15 teams have a higher paid (cap hit) goaltender than Roloson.
    14 teams don’t.
    And next year, a couple of goaltenders will pass him. And next year, his actual salary is only $3 million.

    He’s right in the middle of the pack for starting goaltenders. He got almost the identical salary to Gerber, in the same free agency year.

    Roloson doesn’t have an excessive contract. And next year is his last year. However, at the trade deadline, he is probably trade bait.

    But next year, the cap hit of Roloson and Garon is less than $5 million, which is middle of the pack.

  44. Dennis says:

    Lain, I was a Pouliot guy too; and we’ll always have that HNIC game in TO to keep us warm;) but at the best of times, I wondered where his goals would come from.

    At least with Nilsson, we can already see some of the same places he’ll try and score from. That shows he can bring a little of his “A” game to the show.

    That being said, it would be nice to have Pouliot ready to take over for 19 and maybe he get’s the last chance at the ’08 camp when we no longer have waivers on him, ala 51.

    But once 13 and 89 showed up, that made the sledding a whole lot tougher for everyone. And if Pouliot winds up somewhere else and he’s a player, then the blame will go on MacT for not giving him better linemates.

    Meanwhile, I think jacques even more done than MP. The Oilers need his skillset more than Marc’s because they lack toughness and some of the kids who will be players, ie 13-89, that’s not an element they’ll ever really bring. But the other day MacT was speaking of Winchester and saying how JFJ had a chance to fill that toughness gap and he never did.

  45. rickibear says:

    Dwillm: I kind of came off like a dink there.

    What we have in our system for next year will partly dictate what we do.

    I too thought Reinprecht in Phx.
    Or maybe Upshall in Phi.

    Mr.Debakey: You are probably right that I am being to optimistic about Nash. But pre-draft the scouts said he had the most complete game in draft. Plus reading people compare him to Neiwendyk’s college years.

    I do not get everyone questioning Nilsson when you see him live he generates offence. He just stands out. Plus his buetiful passes are now going to Pisani’s stick instead of Torres. They will be finished at @ 14% clip rather than a 6% clip on Torres stick.
    I like to the IIHF site to look at the top 20 scorers at each world juniors. It is usually a very productive NHL list. Look at his years.

    If we do not sign Horcoff for yrs @ 3.875M I will scream.
    6M 5M 5M 4M/ 4M 3M/ 2M 2m

    The first 4 yrs average to 5M which is in the Savard Jokinen range. The next 2 are 3.5M average for age 35/36 plus the 5 4 4 3 transition is similiar to St. Louis in Tampa. The 2M 2M parts of the contract for age 37/38 create the cap discount. Plus the potential to buy out if he drops off.

  46. RiversQ says:

    RiversQ – I just have doubts Horcoff will be getting 6M. I recall last time you predicted he’d get Jokinen money (5.5M), and he ended up getting far less.

    No, I never predicted that. You misunderstood the argument at the time. It had absolutely nothing to do with predicted salary.

    At the time I argued that Horcoff had always been an equivalent or better player than Jokinen and a much better player in terms of value.

    Horcoff’s counting numbers are catching up to his true value right now. Mostly because he’s shooting the lights out.

    You basically get paid by counting numbers, so if he’s putting up Jokinen numbers, he’ll get paid 2009 market rate for Jokinen numbers. That’ll be $6MM easy, going by what Drury and Gomez got.

  47. Pat H says:

    godot10:

    No, I do think Rolly was overcompensated for his brilliant playoff performance. Whether or not 15 other teams have higher priced goalies really doesn’t justify Rolly’s contract in my mind. Besides, at least some of those 15 are 1st tier goalies, who deserve more than Rolly: Luongo, Giguere, Brodeur to start, and I think there’s another half dozen or so we can fuss over.

    On the flip side, consider the guys who have a lower cap hit number this year. I’m going by nhlnumbers cap hits for this year, and while I admit that this is skewed in a few places, and doesn’t tell the whole story for some of these players, it’s still food for thought. Anyhow, some names with a lower cap hit than Roloson: Emery, Biron, Kiprusoff, Backstrom,Miller,Toskala…all guys who I would take over Rolly, and all guys who are much younger than Rolly.

    Not that I want to quibble over this too much, but I do think your support of the Roloson contract is a little out in left field. In my mind, we acquired a career second tier-goalie, who admittedly had a few brief brushes with success on his previous teams. He got us 12 out of the 16 wins necessary to get to the promised land, and Lowe gave him the moon as a reward.

    It’s a comparable situation with Pisani – I believe punjabioil noted elsewhere that Pisani’s camp had offered the Oilers a 1.1/yr deal in January of 2006. The Oilers declined, Pisani becomes a hero, and suddenly Lowe has no qualms about throwing him 2.5. Lowe was just super-eager to reward, or over-reward, two guys who got hot at the best possible time.

  48. Mustafa Hirji says:

    The biggest problem with making a deal right now actually isn’t the salary cap, it’s the standings.

    I hear that Brian Burke is trying to make a deal and unload some salary so he can slot in some new defenceman.

    Just saying . . .

  49. toqueboy says:

    a few things.

    the whole notion that lowe will be moved upstairs and macT will manage? you people can’t be serious?! in my extimation, that’s like saying RS is ready to be moved up from the AHL and take over horcoff’s position on the first line. I find it hard to believe that in his 7 years, this is the first year that macT has had input into players, and if he did, which players? MacT doesn’t want to be playing 5 rookies and i can’t imagine that he was the reason we got HS Tarnstrom, souray, etc. The only player that i see MacT having a decent influence on might be Stortini, which everyone in the blog world can’t figure out. For me, defacto macT as GM is insane. Other than one year (scf run) we’ve been a middling team since the early 90s using this “old boys club” mentality. Maybe we should hire a real GM and a real coach? Either way, both are under contract and I don’t really get all the end of the year speculation…it’s worse than watching ANTM with my girlfriend.

    also, the whole idea that Lowe should lose his job if anaheim gets a lottery pick, is total crap. Like was mentioned before, penner has a sunk cost and worrying about that cost now, is ridiculous. we had 3 first rounders this year, so sacrificing one for a potential player of impact seems worth the risk. we’re still in the process of analysing the data. For me, a more interesting question is who will end up with the better player out of the first round with the other’s picks…which again, we’ll be able to debate in 3-6 years. my guess is that anaheim ends up with the 10th pick and we end up with the 17th or something like that, which all in all, considering we have penner…isn’t all that bad.

    this whole fire lowe because our team’s been injured, feels very much like fans who are used to playing fantasy hockey where they change everything first thing every morning. We let Nilsson get comfortable in the line up and look what happened — he learned to write some tests. In a couple weeks we’ll know who can write tests or not and Lowe can assess from there, but given the number of trades in the last two years, from ALL GMS (not just lowe), i’d guess that there isn’t a big chance of much happening other than maybe unloading torress, or being a seller at the deadline with the likes of staois and roloson.

    pouliot and jacques have zero trade value, so stop throwing them into trades people. both are average AHL players and were below average NHL players. Both live in the minuses in the AHL and you wonder why MacT doesn’t trust them. Pouliot had 1.5 good months last year on a team whose best player at the time was Toby Peterson…a team that went 2-18…so any notion of “saw him good” with pouliot has to be tempered with “holy shit was that a god awful team that lost out there last spring.” Nilsson puts up points and is a positive player…he’s making gagne look more confident, just like he did with shremp last year in the AHL. he’s not the answer, maybe, but he’s certainly better than our other drafted prospects in JFJ and pouliot…until very recently our first round draft pick could have been traded in for wings and a pint…so having penner instead of another pouliot, reisen, etc is fine by me.

    and penner’s cap hit…well…if you look over all the rosters, it’s obvious a lot of GMs have no idea how to handle the cap yet, and lowe is no different. Burke’s notion that you should be able to take on more money in trades, wreaks like a GM who was over the cap in August and has limited himself this season. the notion that you have to spend to the cap is ridiculous. if every team took off their one gratuitous signing (they all have at least one) i’m sure you’d see far more trades, because all of a sudden, teams would have the room to accept 7 million back against the cap. with every team pressed to within 10% of the cap are we really surprised that there is no trading? when i’m pressed to my VISA limit, there’s no more purchasing and i think the metaphor is quite strong.

    toque out.

  50. toqueboy says:

    also, if you took off that one gratuitous signing, i’m sure you’d see a lot more 3rd and 4th lines filled with NHL players, not waiver up and downs. I’m sure Anson Carter, Allison, etc would still have jobs…

    but what kind of league wants a middle class?! this notion of 550k players out performing contracts on lines 3-4 and 4million plus players on line 1-2 is starting to get to me.

    also, for people upset over the penner contract…go to nhl numbers and have a look over all the 3.8 to 4.4 contracts given out in the last two years. I’d take penner over half of them. there are currently a lot of managers throwing around this magical $4 million/year contract to everyone from 4th dman to second liners…these contracts, more than anything put the whole team out of whack.

    it’s the new 2.5 million, just like black is the new pink. but i think what we’ll see is that two summers from now, once everyone has locked in their 5 players at 4/year, plus two players above 5/6 million, every team will be locked in this weird 500k vs 4m and up…it just smells of ridiculous to me. but maybe it’ll make it easier trading 4m men. the cap era has made me realize that there aren’t many good business men in the hockey world. and there’s a difference between being a good business man and having hockey know-how.

    of note, here’s some other 4million dollar players derek roy, nathan horton, ales hemsky, mike fischer, lang, cole, gionta…etc…with some oddballs on the end like Holik, hartnell, jason blakes…

    in this sense, i think legwand’s new contract is one of the best signed by a GM in the last year.

  51. godot10 says:

    //Anyhow, some names with a lower cap hit than Roloson: Emery, Biron, Kiprusoff, Backstrom,Miller,Toskala…all guys who I would take over Rolly, and all guys who are much younger than Rolly.//

    Toskala is at the end of a long contract, and has signed for more than Roloson next year. Ditto for Kiprusoff. Emery and Miller were RFA’s and before Penner’s offersheet and thus had limited negotiating power. That won’t be the case for Lundquist next summer.

    Biron and Backstrom signed short contracts, after half-seasons with their new teams, and along with Emery will earn more than Roloson next year in absolute dollars.

    To Roloson’s contract is excessive is silly. In the second of three years it is a median contract for starting goaltenders.

    Roloson took the Oilers to the final and got a top 33 percentile contract in his first year, which is a 50 percentile contract in the second year, and will be a 67 percentile contract in his third year. Gerber who signed the same summer received basically the same money.

  52. Mustafa Hirji says:

    there are currently a lot of managers throwing around this magical $4 million/year contract to everyone from 4th dman to second liners…these contracts, more than anything put the whole team out of whack.

    I think it’s because of this sort of thing that we’re getting things like the RIchards’ offer. That $4 million might be $8 million in a few years so take a risk on an emerging player and lock them up at the current rate fast!

  53. Dennis says:

    I don’t give Lowe the gears for Fernie’s pact even though I should. Especially considering that Fernie’s camp wanted to get something done before the summer.

    They weren’t asking for the moon that Lowe eventually gave them and you wonder why Lowe didn’t realize grabbing Pisani at that number would be a sweet move. Later on, Pisani begat Moreau and considering what Mike Johnson had to go through to get a job, you wonder how much money 18 and 34 would get on the FA market these days. As TB said, there’s less and less of a middle class. Older guys are gonna wind up being lucky to find a job instead of being paid for years of service.

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  55. jon says:

    On the topic of GMs, has anyone found it interesting that Burke has had difficulty in pulling off trades as of late?

    He had to waive Bryz for nothing, and 2 weeks later Auld gets moved for a lower prospect and 5th round pick.

    Now, he only has to move $880k worth of cap space for next season, and despite talking to “28″ other GMs in the league he can’t get anything done?

    Then again, if Burke is that much of a blowhard in public, I can’t imagine him being anymore bearable in private. Either way, would be interesting stuff to learn about maybe some time in the future.

  56. Bruce says:

    Interesting thread. A few remarks:

    we’re done now anyway

    Say what? Oilers are four points out of fifth place in the west, and closer to healthy than they’ve been all season.
    ***

    people are looking at a 40+ pt season out of Penner and calling that good

    October: 13 GP, 2-3-5, -3
    November: 13 GP, 2-5-7, +3
    December: 6 GP, 4-2-6, +6
    ***

    my guess is that anaheim ends up with the 10th pick and we end up with the 17th or something like that, which all in all, considering we have penner…isn’t all that bad

    Considering Anaheim has Pronger … isn’t all that good.
    ***

    Beyond that I think overall I am more concerned about locking up Gilbert & Pitkanen for a good long while.

    That is Priority 1 and 1a in my book. As of now they’re Oilers’ #1 pairing, with RFA status at season’s end for both if nothing gets done.
    ***

    it was usually a guy named Arnason or Lefley) and pump up the volume for a year or two and then trade him for a first round pick.

    A guy named Arnason or Lefley or Mickey Redmond or Danny Grant … The last two had three 50-goal seasons between them. Redmond (and Guy Charron and Bill Collins, two depth players) netted the Habs Frank Mahovlich, who was huge in the ’71 and ’73 Cup wins, so probably worth the price. Grant on the other hand was packaged with two more serviceable players (Claude Larose, Bob Murdoch) for a first round pick that turned out to be Dave Gardner. So even the legendary Sam Pollock wasn’t perfect, some of his trades looked good until the draft picks forgot to become NHL stars, like most draft picks.

  57. Master Lok says:

    I agree with godot LT. I think you’re projecting too much. This Oiler lineup without injury is good enough to finish in the top 10. With a huge number of injuries – then the team may sink to a lottery pick, but then Lowe has a built in excuse for Burke’s top five pick. What are the odds that the Oilers full non-injured lineup ends up in the bottom five? And yes, I do think that Lowe is fairly bulletproof. In the EIG’s eyes, he is not an “average” GM.

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