Kevin Lowe’s Future

With the news this week that Darryl Katz will be the owner of the Edmonton Oilers before the draft (unless something unusual happens) I think it’s fair to begin discussing changes in philosophy and direction.

The Oilers under Kevin Lowe have basically had three distinct styles: the pre-CBA “make 8th and it’s a good year”, the “come out of the CBA with a young inexpensive team”, the “Stanley run” beauty team and then the two year post-Stanley experience that cannot be described in less than 4,000 words.

Maybe we could call it “if Mork ran hockey” but other than that I’m drawing blanks.

Kevin Lowe probably felt he could quickly rebuild a roster around young, underpriced players like he did in the pre-CBA era and have a nice run with that group. There is a lot of evidence around the Pronger trade suggesting he planned doing just that, although it’s doubtful he imagined going all the way to the “scorched earth” outcome that became obvious the day of the Ryan Smyth trade.

It’s hard to imagine Lowe having 6 contracts outperforming at the level the Oilers enjoyed in 05-06. Let’s list them again with their stats and then list this season’s value-wise contracts:

  1. Shawn Horcoff ($1M) (22-51-73)
  2. Ales Hemsky ($901, 740) (19-58-77)
  3. MA Bergeron ($931,000) (15-20-35)
  4. Raffi Torres ($875,000) (27-14-41)
  5. Fernando Pisani ($611,800) (18-19-37)
  6. Jarret Stoll ($501,600) (22-46-68)

Those are just the boxcar numbers, if you want to delve deeper into that season these guys were playing at a level that outpaced their cap number by a ridiculous amount.

  1. Mathieu Garon ($1.1M) (2.38, .920)
  2. Tom Gilbert ($907,000) (8-12-20)

I could have included Andrew Cogliano but other than that no one is close to dizzying heights. Also important on that team of 05-06 was the lack of wasted dollars (Peca?) and there are a few contracts on this team (notably Roloson, Souray) that make the need for value at the other end of the scale even more important.

So if you’re Darryl Katz and you want to begin evaluating Kevin Lowe, what is your starting point? The current season? The last one? I suspect it will be the 2005-06 season, there will be a general discussion about how long it’ll take to become a contender (answer: two years at transwarp) and then Katz will lay out a budget and Kevin Lowe will lay out his plan.

From what we’ve heard already this might include:

  1. A scoring winger
  2. A healthier team
  3. Tweaking as opposed to huge roster turnover
  4. Enough bargain contracts to contend

Looking at the current roster and the large group of rfa’s who will be looking for significant raises (Pitkanen and Gilbert among them), the bargain contracts will need to come from a group that includes Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Brodziak, Rob Schremp, Liam Reddox, Tyler Spurgeon and Ladislav Smid.

The 05-06 team had plenty of failures (such as Jani Rita, in photo) but the collective resume for the bargains that season tower over the current group listed above. The Edmonton Oilers are already paying Sam Gagner (with bonuses) at a level that makes him unlikely to outperform his contract next season (if he reaches certain levels his salary will be $1,625,000) and the guys on the farm who could help are blocked by higher-salaried employees (Deslauriers vs. Roloson, as an example).

The one small ray of hope are those rfa’s who the Oilers may be able to sign reasonably. This group would include Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot, JF Jacques, Patrick Thoresen and Denis Grebeshkov. If two or more of these players surprise and outperform their (approx) $1M contracts then the Oilers may indeed have a roster with enough bargains to survive the Souray and Roloson contracts.

Darryl Katz is likely to give Kevin Lowe one full season to show improvement. That would be my guess, Lowe is well thought of pretty much everywhere outside the blogosphere and he still has some support on this side of the line (me and David Staples). I expect those 5 Stanleys will not go gentle into that good night and that the new owner has ties to Lowe and MacT that will keep them safe during the transition period.

Did we really expect a different result right away?

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32 Responses to "Kevin Lowe’s Future"

  1. Ribs says:

    I think Lowe has to do something pretty drastic sometime soon here if he wants next season to be an improvement. The injuries have been ridiculous for the second year running and if it happens again next season we will have to start blaming someone other than CFP (I know, BlogOworld has been on the fire Lowe crusade for awhile now…) Either he’s got tosign some guys like Gilbert and Pitkanen long-term, or find a way to fill the hole that still exists on the teams #1 line.
    Jagr + Hemsky? Hellz ya.

    …In other news, Brewer has been handed the “C” in St.Louis….Weird.

  2. Dennis says:

    You really want to align yourself with Staples-Lowe-Babcook?:) I’d have a lot of fun with that All Day today except for it’s HDIC and I’ve bought into the concept enough to rally the troops for an all-day bender:)

    Great post about the outperforming the contracts though. I think Lowe is big into value and fixer-upper’s but has a real blind spot when it comes to paying his OWN guys.

    Hemsky might be like Markov in Mtl who left dollars on the table but stayed in familiar climes because he’s a homebody but when anyone gets their Irish up and wants real money, those guys tend to be subject to a beatdown.

    Though, if you listen to Tencer’s int on the official site, Lowe pretty much threw the EIG under the bus for Smyth; which is redicolous when you consider Lowe came within 100K of signing him. So you think enough of a guy to be within 100K but it’s budget concerns that’s the final call to let him go? Fuck right off Kevin Lowe. That was pure machismo. I honestly wish someone would call him on shit like that. Especially when people have precedent like his Comrie dealings to cite.

    I honestly don’t trust Kevin Lowe as far as I can throw him and I think it’s right to assume that the reason the Oilers had so much success in ’06 was because they were so fucking cheap coming out of the lockout. Damn right that a SATHER draft choice like Horc was on fire and being paid very little but Pronger and Peca were pickups because we had the space to do so.

    Now, if you decide that you want o switch gears and deal off Pronger and Smyth, someone with a clue could turn that into real players. Pronger has a finite period where he’s able to earn his living as a hocker player; let’s see how he’d take it if you told you you’re gonna let him sit until something other than magic beans is offered for his return. Would he return until you made a real trade for him? Doesn’t matter because if he doesn’t then he forfeits his salary and you overpay someone to take his mintues for the year he’s being a dick. Then you deal him when you can. Then, make up your mind on Smyth in the summer and hold a league auction.

    Neither of those things were used and yet a man of obvious intelligence such as yourself would trust Kevin Lowe.

    Fuck, we would’ve had some dandy battles during the last day of Felipe Alou in Montreal:)

  3. Lowetide says:

    ribs: I’m dissapointed that Lowe has apparently decided to “stay the course” because there are legit problems on this team that can be fixed.

    I understand the idea of letting the kids play and getting better, hell any Oiler fan over 30 can probably remember some part of how the Glory Days were built (Boys on the Bus, etc).

    However, the Oilers don’t really have an elite young talent base, certainly not on the level of some of these clubs (CHI, LA, even ANA).

    They have a bunch of veterans and even young veterans who are burning daylight here and it seems silly to watch them play for also-rans in an era of the quick fix.

    Shawn Horcoff isn’t 20 you know. If Lowe doesn’t make some changes on that green blueline and add a shooter then they might as well deal Horcoff.

    Seriously. Scorch the whole damn earth.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Alou was manager of the best Expos team that ever was and so deserves a monument somewhere. I loved his way of dealing with day to day decisions and although it got a little wonky there at the end (what didn’t) I would rank him well ahead of the other two splendid Expos managers (Gene Mauch, Buck Rodgers) that were somewhat similar.

    Dick Williams is impossible to compare to the other three and he was probably my favorite (did I tell you I met him. Talked for an hour one lovely spring afternoon in Arizona).

  5. Stuart van says:

    Top three things Daryl Katz should do to improve the Oilers:
    (1) Hire Montreal’s Power Play Coach;
    (2) Hire Detroit’s European scout;
    (3) Exercise sober second thought over Lowe’s trade/roster moves:

    I don’t think Katz should get rid of Lowe right now. This team is young and talented, and will get better. They need to be patient and make some careful moves to improve. But they need to have a strategy, and execute it carefully, and from a position of strength. I think Katz is the kind of guy that can give that executive oversight.

    Kevin Lowe did a good job signing Pronger and Peca, and putting the pieces together for an improbable Stanley cup run. (I’d also so there was a little chance there – Roloson’s never repeated his performance, Pisani did not maintain his prolific scoring, and Samsonov became an instant liability.)

    Trading Pronger. Right now it looks like he should have traded for a better roster player. Of course, with Lupul lighting things up in Philadelphia, it makes one wonder. Not sure why Smid was drafted 9th overall, but still too early to know if this trade pans out over the long term.

    Trading Bergeron. Did we really need to give up a third rounder to give up this offensive defenseman for a prospect? Seems like Lowe got burnt.

    Trading Lupul and Smith. This seems like buy high and sell Lowe. Lupul lights it up, Smith is solid on the blueline. Pitkanen’s been solid, but not exactly lighting up the scoreboard, and Sanderson isn’t playing much. Again, still too early to tell, but I’d say so far Lowe has lost this one.

    Trading Smyth. Conceptually, maybe trading Smyth was a good idea, but the way it was handled was a gong show. If you know he doesn’t fit in to your plans at $5.5 million a year, then sign him and trade him for a roster player on your own terms, rather than running around desperately looking to replace him.

    Signing Penner. Penner’s been playing at .769 a game since December. I think he could be a real important piece of this team, and if the Oilers don’t give up a lottery pick, they could very well win this deal.

    Not signing Laraque for “team toughness”. We had one of the better enforcers in the league wanting to stay. Why get rid of him? This move defies logic.

    Not signing Sykora. We had a solid second line right winger in Sykora. Why not sign him?

    Not signing Hejda. Overpaying 3rd and 4th line players.

    Lowe’s problem is lately he’s been working solely from a position of weakness. In 2005/06, he was working from a position of relative strength, and did well.

    Signing Garon. Brilliant.

    Signing Souray. We’ll see. Maybe next year he’ll transform our power play.

  6. Dennis says:

    - Horc’s probably gone if he wants to get paid. In Any Case. Riv keeps pimping this Vorachek plus CBJ’s ’08 first for Horc. It scares me:)

    - You never did tell me you met Williams. You gotta fill me in on that one. Big-time!

  7. Andy Grabia says:

    Katz’s first move should be to sign Dellow. I’m not even joking.

  8. Jonathan says:

    //It’s hard to imagine Lowe having 6 contracts outperforming at the level the Oilers enjoyed in 05-06.//

    I think that statement may have just made the case for trading Steve Staios. He’s signed at 2.7 million for 4 more seasons, and that doesn’t seem bad right now, as he’s performing at about par with his salary. However, it means he’s extremely tradeable, and it’s best to do it now before that salary starts acting as a boat anchor. And, if this summer is about tweaking, defense is one area where the UFA crop might contain a couple of bargains, ala Hejda last summer. Possibilities include:

    Aaron Ward, Dmitri Kalinin, Mike Commodore, Bret Hedican, Andrei Zyuzin, Jan Hejda ;), Jeff Finger, Kurt Sauer, Andreas Lilja, Steve Montador, Jaroslav Modry, Brad Stuart, Keith Carney, Sean Hill, Nick Shultz, Karel Rachunek, Fred Meyer, Marek Malik, Paul Mara, Michal Rozsival, Jason Smith, Jim Vandermeer, Mark Eaton, Brooks Orpik, Rob Davison, Barret Jackman, and Bryce Salvador.

    It’s a decent list to try and finesse a bargain from, and there’s quite a few players on there who could step into Staios’ role with limited impact on the team. It’s also a list that really makes me wonder if keeping Denis Grebeshkov is a wise idea, especially with quality prospects close to NHL-ready. If Lowe can get anything for him at the deadline he should trade him and plug whoever (Rourke?) into his spot for the rest of the year. The performance differential between Grebs and Rourke really isn’t much anyway.

    Also, I think history has shown us that bargains are not to be found among marquee UFAs (re:Brian Campbell). Thus, if Pitkanen is dealt, a #1 defenceman needs to be returning. We won’t be able to sign one UFA cheaper than Pitkanen, and if we don’t recieve a guy of that calibre in return, our defence corps is going to be a glaring weakness going into next season.

    Resigning Pitkanen, long-term, will fill that slot for the forseeable future, and than Lowe can build a decent corps around Pitkanen, Souray, Greene, Gilbert, and whichever kids or free agents stick.

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Lowe is a good talent evaluator. He just sucks at steering the ship. Hopefully Katz will elevate him into a position where he can still give input on individual players, but someone else can be responsible for the team philosophy and planning.

  10. Jonathan says:

    //Not signing Laraque for “team toughness”. We had one of the better enforcers in the league wanting to stay. Why get rid of him? This move defies logic.//

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Zach Stortini’s role on the team these days, and I think he’s a more effective enforcer than Laraque. Not a better fighter, possibly not even a better player, but a more effective enforcer. The reason I say that is because Laraque would only fight the other team’s tough guy. I remember being so frustrated when someone would take a run at Hemsky and Laraque’s reaction was to try and find a heavyweight to fight.

    Stortini, in contrast, finds the guy and makes him fight. Usually the guy will, too, because Stortini is nowhere near as fear inspiring as Laraque.

    The other thing about Stortini was demonstrated in the calgary game. Forget what the fight looks like- if we’re trading 5 mins of Stortini for 5 mins of Regehr or Sarich, we’re way ahead.

    This is a pretty glowing post about the guy, but I think he’s effective at what he does, and he’s only improving.

  11. Dennis says:

    SV: LT listed Bergy as an outperformer so just as good a time to bring it up as any: he was an underrated Oiler and the Grebs trade has a chance to be bad.

    I like the Pitkanen deal; actually I love it. BUt he needed to sign him for a couple of years and he doesn’t need to deal him off and keep the traget moving for guys that can move the puck.

  12. Black Dog says:

    Another thing LT is that the landscape has changed when it comes to building a team. You look at the contracts that guys like Getzlaf are getting and you realize that even if the Oilers had a collection of talent that rivalled the early 80s (they obviously do not) and an owner who will spend to the cap, the fact is that after three or four years these guys are going to get paid.

    Tom Benjamin has argued that drafting is not so important now; I disagree and think its more important then ever but the truth is that keeping a good young team together is almost impossible.

  13. Lowetide says:

    I go buy beer and there’s a bunch of posts! Is it -30 across the land?

    I used to work with Ron McLean (CKRD Red Deer) and he’s a great guy but lordy what a wordy bugger. Excellent broadcaster though and he always worked harder than everyone else and I say that as someone who put in a little effort too. :-)

    One thing I wanted to mention somewhere and haven’t is that being a first round pick nowadays can be a bit of a Denver boot. If you’re making $942k and the guy you’re in competition with is Kyle Brodziak well that’s $400k difference on a roster. Doesn’t seem like much but it’s a consideration.

    I keep meaning to email speeds this question: IF the Oilers qualify Pouliot in his rfa year this summer is it 5% premium? By that I mean he’s at 942k x1.05%=989,000.

    Or can they rip up the deal and sign him for 3yr/$750k? Do they have that wiggle room? I’m thinking a kid like Pouliot might do it for a one-way deal and a roster spot.

    I know I would.

  14. heed says:

    if we have to trade pitkanen…

    no less than a top 6 winger and a pick / prospect will do.

    i say keep grebs. he has played a lot better as the season has worn on. not an offensive dynamo by any stretch but a decent enough 5 / 6 man.

    as for the forwards…sign a decent veteran depth guy and hope to hell that either stoll or torres actually show up to play next year.

  15. Jonathan says:

    //if we have to trade pitkanen…

    no less than a top 6 winger and a pick / prospect will do.//

    Leaving our d as:


    or something of that ilk? A D-man needs to be coming back.

  16. godot10 says:

    //Hemsky might be like Markov in Mtl who left dollars on the table but stayed in familiar climes because he’s a homebody but when anyone gets their Irish up and wants real money, those guys tend to be subject to a beatdown.//

    It hasn’t hurt the New England Patriots any. You don’t play for the Patriots unless you take a discount. Tom Brady is not close to being the highest paid quarterback in the league.

    The Souray contract was stupid, but Smyth wasn’t worth what he was asking for. Don Meehan and Phaneuf took a hometown discount in Calgary, even with Lou Lamorello and Brent Sutter out there.

  17. PunjabiOil says:

    I keep meaning to email speeds this question: IF the Oilers qualify Pouliot in his rfa year this summer is it 5% premium? By that I mean he’s at 942k x1.05%=989,000

    LT: The Oilers have to send a qualifying offer to Pouliot for the above calculated amount. If Pouliot declines, the Oilers are free to negotiate any terms/amount, so yes, the 3 year offer would work.

    The only thing I’m puzzled is, if the Oilers send him a qualifying offer, and Pouliot accepts – is it one way or two way?

  18. rickibear says:

    Dennis: I have said in the past and I will say again not signing an about to break down thirty goal scorer was a good thing.

    At the start I wondered could his charater and other strengths be covered by other contracts. The answer was allways yes.

    Character: Staios, Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani.
    PK: Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Thoerson (though reasoner has covered well)
    Goal production: Here is the problem! When Smyth was injured last year G production went down 0.25 G/G. With Hemsky and Horcoff out it went down 1 G/G.

    Which Bothered me in June. Did the other two players sacrifice Goal production to cater to Ryan Smyths play.

    I think we got our answer this year. Horcoff on pace for 33G (25-30 average)instead of (15-20).

    The KLowe summer everyone bitches about:

    July 07:
    07/01 We sign Tarnstrom And Grebs.

    07/01 He trades J.Smith and party bag of pucks for franchise D-man and expiring contract.

    07/02 Sign Nylander (f**ked by him) what other targets could we have decided on. (probably not Souray)

    07/03 Sign Garon (looking like a real #1)

    07/05 Obtain A.Rourke (13 nhl Games KLowe said he provides us depth.) and our #3 pick.

    07/06 Buffalo matches Vanek offer.

    12/07 We sign Souray. EIG driven PR move (HEY! We spend to the Cap). To counter Nylander.
    Now I blame the crack Dr. staff for the Shoulder Analysis. They have had such a good track record of identifying quality of injury. (Moreaus sprained er broken foot, Pisanis stomach oops serious problem, and Sourays shoulder being worked on/cared for in New Jersey.)

    As for whether we would have enough money to sign Pitkanen. We offered Vanek 7M/yr before the 5.4/yr taken by Souray.

    20/07: Pitkanen gets signed to a 2.4M ensuring 4.5M is availible for RFA offer sheet.

    Aug 07:
    08/02: Oilers sign Dustin Penner. (we know what a failure this has been. When you look at his progression it screams career 35G scorer for 4.25M. Damn you Kevin we could have had that for 5.5M)

    Yep Dennis: Every time I look at this I think incompetent.

    I blame him even more for not waving his majic ferry wand to prevent the injuries to Moreau, Pisani, Roy, Souray, Pitkanen, Greene,Tarnstrom, Sanderson, Torres, Hemsky, Horcoff.

    KLowe has some critical decisions @ trade deadline: The hold onto are obvious:
    Penner-Gagner-Hemsky; Horcoff; Moreau-Cogliano; Torres can not be moved until the draft when he can pass a physical.

    Since the first 20 Games Stoll has been a 45Pt guy. Since the start of Jan. a 60Pt guy. With Vic quantifying his zone progression skills. It completes an arguement.
    Stoll is worth a 2.5-2.75/3yr contract if Sykora is (2.5-2.75)

    GlenX-Brodziak-Storitini costs us 2.1M max next year.

    Whom is left Pisani, Reasoner, Sanderson. Vic makes a good arguement for Reasoner and he is taking Horc pk time. If his contract is less than GlenX or 800k you have to keep Reasoner.

    Defence: We need to Keep: Pitkanen (Talent), Gilbert(talent), Smid(cost & PK), and Greene (cost & physical). Have to keep: Souray

    Whom is left: Staios, Grebs.

    All we really have is a PKG of Pisani (playoff Perf) & Staios

    or Pisani/Grebs then Staios on his own.

    If the intention is not play Stoll on the PP point next year than Reasoner(52.5 FO%) may be a better choice than Stoll (54.9 FO%). We move Stoll.

    I would try to do: Pisani/Staios;

    We also need to get Rolosons Salary off the books. Flexibility for the draft and UFA, RFA signings.
    Though someone did point out that 4.8M is a wash next year. In july we can give Garon, Roloson’s money for 2009.

  19. rickibear says:

    Started this morning in response to Dennis’s first comment at 9:52. MAN! A 3 year old and his Laundry.

  20. namflashback says:

    I think 05-06 was a little bit of a blip in that you could have 6 outperformers. As we saw with EDM, and recently ANA — the guys who outperform will then get paid. Now Lowe certainly helped create that inflation.

    Value should come from the outside edges now. Undrafted or later round players who are diamonds in the rough — MAB as an example — who you could lock for long term. The other end will be useful vets UFA on the cheap.

    It still relies on choosing the right “middle of the order” and despite the relative love-in with the guys who made that 05-06 run — maybe some of them are not/were not the right choice.

    Lowe and MacTavish fell in love with the inventory at that time. Hopefully Katz keeps his objectivity.

  21. Kev says:

    “…(do) not go gentle into that good night…”
    Funny, that line has kept rattling around in my head for about the past week or so. At the very least, this is what I hope and expect from the fellas and so far they haven’t let me down in that respect.

  22. DeeDee says:

    I think we are looking at it the wrong way.

    Lowe has filled the building and even started a fee based waiting line for seasons tickets.

    Most games are sellouts, ownership is getting a great return on their investment.

    So much so, they rewarded him with a nice 4 year contract even before seeing the results of the tremendous changes he put the club through.

    He reminds everyone of the glory days, and even got us to the finals once.

    That’s enough for him to live off of for five more years at least.

    He didn’t let Smyth go without managements blessing, thats for sure.

    He’s a good little GM, what more could you (errr, the owners) ask for?

    Oh, winning, making the playoffs, Stanley Cups…..

    Bah. Now I know what being a Maple Leaf fan feels like…

  23. Dennis says:

    Proof’s in the pudding. One year where everything came together for him but outside of that; well, look where we are and will be until at least 2010.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Last summer we knew Lowe was going to do something crazy (and he did x2) in order to show the fanbase the Oilers would be competitive.

    I mean this when I say it: Lowe will redouble his efforts this season.

    Which means this team could be desolation row by 2010.

  25. Dennis says:

    In terms of players going out, Horc’s the main guy that might get sent out. Lowe could go and sell the long con to Katz and ship Horc out for someone’s pick and a prospect. Note: that proposed trade is Cam’s idea.

    Otherwise, want to take a guess at something stupid he might pull? There doesn’t seem to be anyone on the market that would entice even Lowe to make a stupid offer.

    I don’t think he has as much room to be a dingbat like he did last year.

  26. dstaples says:

    Why would you say Lowe will redouble his effort this summer, LT?

    Do you think his attempts to sign Souray and Nylander revealed a fundamental flaw, which is surely possible — the second Lowe has real money, it burns a hole in his pocket.

    Or were those moves out-of-character?

    To know the answer, we’d have to know more about why he made the Souray and Nylander offers. Or perhaps the inside story is out there and I’ve missed it, so anyone feel free to share the facts.

  27. Lowetide says:

    David Staples: I’m reasonably sure that we can guess pretty closely to what happened last summer:

    1. Kevin Lowe decided Ryan Smyth wasn’t worth the cost of a 5yr/XX million dollar deal.
    2. He signed Hemsky, Horcoff, Pisani, Roloson, etc and didn’t sign Smyth.
    3. At the deadline he probably did deal with Smyth and agent but in his heart felt the money could be put to better use in the summer. Remember he (apparently) was fairly close with Scott Niedermayer before pulling the trigger on the Pronger deal.
    4. After the Smyth trade the team takes a header off the top step and they fall into a top 6 pick along with 15 and 30 (iirc).
    5. He goes to the draft thinking he’ll be able to get a deal done with someone and a three-way with PHI and LAK falls through just before #2 (Flyers) is chosen. He tries to make a small trade up to get Alzner (I believe this to be true) but the scouting dept likes Gagner a lot and for the second time since 2001 (Hemsky) they take a skill guy high and from where we are now it looks like another HR.
    6. He walks away from the draft with three nice prospects but no immediate help and I think we can agree that Lowe might have been a little antsy at this point.
    7. Through end June all they’ve done is decide to pass on qualifying Brad Winchester so any fool had to know July was going to be fireworks.
    8. Long anticipated signings of Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov are announced as soon as July 1 strikes midnight.
    9. Same day Lowe makes a very nice trade that hurts the present but gives them a beauty future with Pitkanen coming in. This has the added advantage of getting Lupul out of town and that was good for Lowe and the kid.
    10. July 3 they sign Mathieu Garon. THis isn’t just hindsight talking but the Pitkanen deal and this signing is just really nice asset management. Please believe I’m sincere when saying if they had stopped there I would have been happy. Better in goal, a stud D and let the youngsters develop while losing 45-50 and getting into the ’08 draft lottery.
    11. Oilers sign Raffi and Matt Greene to reasonable contracts.
    12. July 5 the Oilers make a strange trade with NYI in which they acquire a nice depth defender in Rourke plus their own third rd pick in exchange for an acquired 2nd rd pick. Smart people begin to talk about an offer sheet that may be coming.
    13. July 6 Vanek at the Disco.
    14. July 6+ 5 minutes Buffalo matches.
    15. July 12 Sheldon Souray
    16. July 26 Dustin Penner.

    Kevin Lowe had a very nice off-season imo 1-11. I would love to know who ordered moves #15 and #16 but in the absence of a Zapruder film we’ll need to blame Vish.

    And if we know Kevin Lowe then he’ll want to fix it right away, except now he’s down to just a couple of really good assets (Horcoff, Hemsky and Pitkanen) and maybe some panic is at play (kind of like one time many years ago when I was in Vegas and down a little money at 2AM and spied a Johnny Cash in the hallway by the elevator. I decided to go to my room which is probably why I’m still married :-) but there you go) because THIS summer features Brian Burke stepping to the podium and saying “we’d like to thank Kevin Lowe for this pick.”

    It’s a bad damn day that’s coming.

  28. dstaples says:

    First off, great news about Riley Nash. Man, that is good to hear. That could be two low first-rounders (Nash and Cogliano) who turn into something, and the Oil need that so bad because . . .

    Well, because of the risky Souray signing. Lowe is going to need good value from young guys, though that value might be harder to find if the cap keeps going up and it’s open season on Group 2 guys.

    Anyway, no doubt about it, Lowe takes full responsibility for Souray and Nylander moves (not to mention Vanek, Penner).

    Will he go after more over-price, broken down UFAs this summer?

    I hope not, and I thought he would never do so, after his move with Ryan Smyth, which I was convinced was the right thing to do at the time, and stil am.

    I thought Lowe was on the right track with these broken down hockey players . . . but then came Souray.

    Perplexing, and if you are alarmed about this coming summer, that’s justified, until Lowe makes a comment like, “The UFA market doesn’t make sense for this team.”

    Until then, until proven otherwise, he must be seen as a kid with money burning a hole in his pocket . . .

  29. Lowetide says:

    Well I’d be happy if he just said “we have our group of players and a small shopping list but this summer is about adding to this group.”

    Even now you can see there are some good things about this team. What about this:

    1. Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky (tough minutes)
    2. Cogliano-Nilsson-Gagner (butter minutes)
    3. Stoll-Moreau-Pisani (2nd toughest)
    4. Pouliot-Glencross-Brodziak (2nd easiest minutes)

    Then deal Raffi for a youthful veteran on D:

    New D-Staios


    I’d really rather have a strong 2line LW but then again maybe Schremp steps in if Nilsson falters. Either way we’ve backed up the depth chart on D and have two lines the coach can count on.

    But if they go out and sign Michael Ryder then we’ll know that Horcoff will need to be traded by the deadline.

  30. dstaples says:

    I like the potential of this team, too, which is part of the reason why I can’t maintain any kind of hate-on for Lowe.

    Hey, when I see plays like Gagner’s pass to Nilsson, I love this team.

    Liked your lines there, too, though I see you snuck Pouliot in there :)

    You are a loyal man, LT. I’d go with Thoresen myself.

  31. Lowetide says:

    David Staples: Oh I’ve been known to get a bit stubborn when it’s a player I’ve trumpeted. :-)

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