Next Step

I’d love to be driving down the road today and hear a newsflash saying “Oilers acquire Bouwmeester” but since that isn’t going to happen it’s probably a good idea for Kevin Lowe to get Job 1 done in the next 2 weeks.

Job 1?

Sign Shawn Horcoff.

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39 Responses to "Next Step"

  1. Matt says:

    They can negotiate, but can’t sign him until July 1. You can’t sign an extension until you’re in the final year of your contract. (e.g. Iginla & Regehr, both signing in the first days of July ’07).

  2. Bruce says:

    Different priorities, different time frames. Horcoff can/must wait, although certainly I hope they’re talking. At this point the priorities would be tying up guys who are under contract only until July 1, particularly GlenX since the Oilers at least have options (matching offers, compensation, arbitration) on the RFAs.

    Trouble is, other priorities on LW have different time frames as well. Moreau and Torres may be trade bait, but with both recovering from serious injuries that may not happen until much later. So does Lowe target GlenX as depth on LW and if he does, is that the signal that one of Raffi or Ethan is heading for the exit?

    I’ve read speculation of anywhere between $0.8 and $1.8 MM for GlenX. Would a two-year offer for Matt Greene money (1.05 + 1.25 MM$) be reasonable? Or is that a big overpay for a depth winger? It may be the cap system has polarized guys like this a lot closer to the league minimum.

  3. HBomb says:

    Ah, the voice of reason.

    I wanted to throw my computer at the wall yesterday when reading another site when someone suggested Pitkanen playing well at the WHC so it enhances his trade value so we can get more for him, and then someone else suggesting we deal Horcoff because the return would be nice.

    Unless we’re getting a Boumeester in return for Pitkanen+ or Horcoff+ is going for a true superstar forward (Malkin, to pull the dream scenario out of the air), this sort of bullshit talk frustrates me, because these sorts of deals are usually for multiple, unproven assets.

    I want to see Garon, Horcoff and Pitkanen extended for the long-term, I don’t want them traded to “maximize return”. Because that line of thinking is what will leave this team like the Montreal Expos – constantly rebuilding.

    Extend Pitkanen now, get Glencross and Pouliot done, then do Horcoff and Garon extensions in the first half of July. Deal Stoll, Schremp, Moreau and Smid. Sign a veteran defenseman. Find a top six winger and some depth toughness.

    In short, let’s try to build so we can win sooner, rather than later. 2010 has to be the optimal year to “go for it” at this point, because that’s the last year of Gagner and Cogliano on the cheap.

  4. Alice says:

    hbomb: that’s it exactly. This idea that you have to keep throwing the dice, because the grass is always greener.. somewhere..
    Fact is some of these guys have proven themselves Here, which is where it counts, and don’t we have some pretty recent experience with buying inflated stats (Souray, Lupul) that didn’t mean much in the end. Sure, there’s always areas to improve on, but that just means you keep the light on and answer the phone, you don’t have a lawn sale.
    Lowe’s already set the expectation for a pretty quiet summer on the churn-meter, and why wouldn’t he with the way they played out?

  5. honkey says:

    Well the people that can’t understand the greatness and value of a player like Horcoff doesn’t get all the dimension of hockey as a game.

    I was lucky to see him transform here in Sweden when he carried Mora which was a team that was doomed from the beginning to the end and they nearly ended up in the playoffs(missed on goal diff.).

    There are very few players that would make Oilers a better team in a Horcoff trade and those are more expensive and most likley not available either.

  6. goldenchild says:

    HBomb stop going to that site, you will live a happier existance. Those guys would like the Oilers to be run like the LA Clippers, Play all the young guys, anytime a player hits their prime and is a useful player in a broader sense get rid of him to save money and give his job to a shiny unproven up and comer. Its Lunacy. But thats the rule over there not the exception.

  7. jon k says:

    I think Glencross might get a bit more money than his pedigree would suggest on the basis that he’s an UFA, even if he does like it here, and that he was scoring at a 25+ goal pace for his time in Edmonton on the fourth line. I could see a two year deal, $3.2 total.

    Horcoff unfortunately is a bit of an enigma. He’s obviously a horse and can put up the numbers, but it seems like he needs a very specific environment to do it. That is, he puts up the numbers when he’s playing with Hemsky and Hemsky is playing well. While it’s true that they seem to complement each other and Hemsky plays more consistently with Horcoff, you just never want to be in situation where you have a player who is being paid high value dollars, but only has high value on the market in conjunction with another player.

  8. HBomb says:

    HBomb stop going to that site, you will live a happier existance. Those guys would like the Oilers to be run like the LA Clippers, Play all the young guys, anytime a player hits their prime and is a useful player in a broader sense get rid of him to save money and give his job to a shiny unproven up and comer. Its Lunacy. But thats the rule over there not the exception.

    Just for the record goldenchild – I did NOT read it on HF. I don’t look at that site period, because they suggest such dumb shit every week, how we could deal Horcoff and give his minutes to Schremp and Gagner and be a better team because of it. Yeah, sure, and I’m hung like John Holmes.

    Fortunately, I revisited said thread and saw that people were generally against trading Horcoff unless it was a “clear win” for the Oilers. Bottom line – no more quantity-for-quality deals by the Oilers where they’re the ones sending away the quality. I’d like to see this team back in the Cup final sometime in the next few seasons, thank you very much.

  9. doritogrande says:

    “Play all the young guys, anytime a player hits their prime and is a useful player in a broader sense get rid of him to save money and give his job to a shiny unproven up and comer. Its Lunacy. “

    Didn’t this exact strategy win the Florida Marlins two Championship pennants recently?

  10. PDO says:

    Sign him July 1.

    Rumor is, from HF, that he wants slightly more than Ribeiro got (25/5). Which seems reasonable to me, being he’s clearly the superior player.

    Horc’s a smart guy, so you have to imagine that front-loading a contract would seem intelligent to him, correct?

    6 – 6 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 4.5 – 4 – 3 – 2

    8 year deal. Pays him 5.75 a year in the first four ($23MM), making him paid significantly more than Ribeiro, and then the last few years are there to keep the cap hit down to about 4.65.

    Of course, the Oilers have to be positive on his shoulder… but given the inflationary nature of the cap, so long as he’s healthy, I don’t really see how a contract like this could ever hurt us, even though he’d be signed until 38. He could retire before then and not count against the cap (and still get most of his money from the deal), he gets paid more than Ribeiro, and he could end up finally being the guy the Oilers draft that retires an Oiler.

  11. Black Dog says:

    dorito – the first Marlins team was loaded with veterans they acquired via various methods whom they then unloaded before the champagne had stopped bubbling

    Second team had a lot of homegrown players but also included some vets they acquired ie/ Ivan Rodriguiez

    And then they dumped all of those guys too, every single one just as they got ready to get paid.

    Yes they won twice but it wasn’t a bunch of kids playing for the love of the game who shocked the world.

  12. goldenchild says:

    Hbomb my bad when I read “throw my computer at the wall and Horcoff trade” i just assumed it was HF but it is funny how you knew exactly who i was referring to.
    Although I must admit I still stop by there once every 3 or 4 weeks to read the latest crazyness the Schremp Army has deamt up. Same way i will check out Bill O’Reilly once a month or so to see what craziness he is up to.

    Dorito the Marlins unloaded all their veteran players after winning the titles not before. Alou, Renteria, Bonilla, Kevin Brown, Livan Hernandez and countless others after the first one and then Becket, Burnett, Derrek Lee, Pudge, Lowell all gone after the 2nd.

  13. Lord Bob says:

    The only question is whether K-Lowe is going to do what I still think he did with Smyth: let him play through most of the season before talking contract on the assumption that he outperformed himself last year and would therefore, if he signed today, sign at an inflated salary.

    Luckily, with Horcoff coming off shoulder problems and the mediocre performance of the team, I think that K-Lowe will have the chips to get a deal done early. I hope. I’m as big a Schremp fan as there is but I don’t want to go into 2009-2010 with him as our rookie/sophomore 2C.

  14. therealdeal says:

    I said in comments here a couple weeks ago that my dream situation would be trading Pitkanen’s rights along with maybe Raffi/Stoll for Bouwmeester’s rights. Whether Martin would actually go for something like that is obviously up for debate, but there is a potential upside for both teams.

  15. goldenchild says:

    Lord Bob, one would hope that Lowe has learned from the Smyth situation and won’t let there be a repeat with 10. Horc needs to be signed during the summer and not let this thing go into the season.

  16. knighttown says:

    I’ve argued with DashingSilverFox over on HF about Horc’s value for awhile. DSF strongly feels that you need elite players to win championships but to my eye, Shawn Horcoff results in more wins/dollar than almost any non-goalie in the NHL. He wiped the mat with the likes of Joe Thornton, Pavel Datsyuk and Andy MacDonald in head-to-heads only to run into a bigger, stronger, smarter version of himself in Rod Brind’Amour. Players that think defense first yet still produce at nearly a point per game are extremely important in the playoffs. Think Mike Richards, Mikko Koivu and Chris Drury. When you factor in affordability because Horcoff’s skill set is harder to put a price tag on, and these guys are often bargains. Although with the monster contracts Richards and Drury just signed, that may not be the case for much longer. Let me put it this way, if he doesn’t sign this summer (while there are some concerns about injuries and his awful post-Cup year) and repeats his 2007-08 next year, I could easily see him signing for Drury money. Easily.

  17. Dennis says:

    Bruce: where are you hearing these numbers regarding GlenX? The top-end of that discussion is a place I wouldn’t go with this kid.

    How much playing time is he gonna get and what kind of role is he gonna have? Those are the things that should determine his next salary just as much as his status and stretch drive numbers does.

    We simply can’t afford to pay Everyone.

    To all: what would PDO’s Horc deal do to our cap room going forward? I don’t think we should talk any longer about budget because I don’t think it really applies to the Oilers anymore.

  18. Bruce says:

    Bruce: where are you hearing these numbers regarding GlenX? The top-end of that discussion is a place I wouldn’t go with this kid.

    Mostly on the Oilogosphere, Dennis. I agree those top end numbers are too high, but the guy is in an unusual bargaining position. Unfortunately Oilers window of opportunity to re-sign him occurs by definition before the market can express its value, so who knows? I don’t even know who the guy’s agent is and whether he plans to play hardball; and other than speculation here I haven’t heard a peep locally about the team’s plans for him.

    I frankly wouldn’t mind a one-year contract, cuz I think at the end of it the UFA loophole is closed and Oil would retain arbitration etc. rights down the road.

  19. namflashback says:

    Horc had a bad year with a bad team which obviously damaged his counting numbers.

    He had a good year this, but playing softer time than the prior year — with Stoll playing the role of cannon fodder.

    If he goes into this year playing PVP (which I think they do) — his counting numbers should be reduced.

    Overall — if they could come to an agreement where he gets paid based on the average performance between the past two years — I think that would be good (and fair).

    Horcoff had market-fair deals done during each of his RFA signings, and even his most recent one was a market-fair one. I’m hoping that trend continues.

  20. jon k says:

    I think that Dennis and PDO’s comments are correct in that we don’t necessarily have to worry about budget anymore, which allows for some creative contracting.

    Deals similar to Briere’s in PHI might be workable, where you pay a lot up front, then taper off the money as much as possible over a term that will be cut short by retirement. It’s as close to a loophole in the new CBA as we get in terms of evading the cap.

    Case in point: Briere is getting paid 10 million this year but only has a 6.5 cap hit.

  21. Ducey says:

    I don’t think the Oil can afford to sign Pitkanen and Horcoff on long term contracts. $11 million + per year for the two is simply too much.

    I don’t think Pitkanen will sign a long term deal anyway.

    Accordingly, the Oil should trade Pitkanen this offseason. Otherwise they will get nothing for him or have to trade him at the deadline when they are hopefully going to the playoffs.

    A trade this summer could net them another Dman or they could trade/ sign another solid defensive defenseman. I would think the combo of offensive Dmen Grebs, Gilbert, and eventually Smid and defensive defenceman Greene, Souray, Staios and new guy would help shore up the Goals Against – this is after all the problem with this team.

  22. Andrew says:

    Signing Horcoff before knowing how his shoulder responds could be akin to the Souray contract. Sure, there are risks involved in waiting, but there are even bigger risks in pulling the trigger before all the facts are in.

  23. Matt says:

    Accordingly, the Oil should trade Pitkanen this offseason. Otherwise they will get nothing for him or have to trade him at the deadline when they are hopefully going to the playoffs.

    Indeed. And then the Lowepologists can count whoever comes back AND whoever they spend the $5M on as the “return” on the Pronger trade. Man, that deal just keeps getting better!

  24. Ducey says:

    Or maybe Lowe should ignore the critics and just do whats right for the team rather than worry about the scorecard from the Pronger trade? Jeepers.

    If Grebs and Gilbert had not developed as they did this year, I would have been more in favour of trying hard to sign Pitkanen. As it is, those two fellas have similar skills to Pitkanen and don’t appear to have his soccer mentality.

    The develpment of other players doesn’t make the Pitkanen trade a bad one, nor does subsequently moving him to fill a hole in the team/ system.

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    Signing Horcoff before knowing how his shoulder responds could be akin to the Souray contract. Sure, there are risks involved in waiting, but there are even bigger risks in pulling the trigger before all the facts are in.

    That I agree with.

    However, it doesn’t seem like it will be anything chronic.

  26. Jonathan says:

    //Indeed. And then the Lowepologists can count whoever comes back AND whoever they spend the $5M on as the “return” on the Pronger trade. Man, that deal just keeps getting better!//

    Don’t you have an 8-million dollar goalie locked up until doomsday to worry about? Shoo, shoo!

  27. HBomb says:

    When did Smid become an offensive d-man and Souray a defensive d-man?

    Fact: Joni Pitkanen is the only guy I look at on the Oilers as a legit top-two NHL d-man right now (Gilbert will be there eventually, but needs another season or two – there will be growing pains).

    You do not trade Pitkanen unless the return is something special (i.e. Boumeester-quality d-man). Some have suggested Pitkanen in a package for a scoring forward. I don’t know about anyone else, but if this is the Oilers top six at the beginning of October, I’m not betting a cent on them making the playoffs next spring:

    Souray Staios
    Gilbert Grebeshkov
    Greene Smid
    EXT: Roy

  28. Lowetide says:

    I’d like Edmonton to add a nice veteran defender to their current group. Dennis has mentioned Jay McKee in the past and maybe the D looks like:

    Pitkanen-Staios
    McKee-Gilbert
    Souray-Grebeshkov
    Smid or Greene

    That’s a blueline that has some experience, depth and puck movers plus those veterans spiced in nicely.

  29. Jonathan says:

    //That’s a blueline that has some experience, depth and puck movers plus those veterans spiced in nicely.//

    That’s a blueline on a team that with a few breaks could contend. I’m way too optimistic about this coming season.

  30. Bruce says:

    I used to like McKee too, but two more years at $4 MM per is way too rich. This is a guy who has been a minus player while averaging just 55 GP the last five years. We’re already paying Souray and Pitkanen to sit in the PB, they don’t need expensive company.

    Thanks all the same, while I’m sure McKee could be had dirt cheap (asset-wise) in a trade, I’ll take an improving Matt Greene at 30% of the salary over an aging and injury-prone veteran whose best days are behind him.

  31. DeBakey says:

    A sampling of UFA defencemen:

    REDDEN, WADE,
    NORSTROM, MATTIAS,
    STUART, BRAD,
    WARD, AARON
    HEDICAN, BRET
    ROZSIVAL, MICHAL
    KALININ, DMITRI
    SMITH, JASON
    EATON, MARK
    MILLER, AARON
    RACHUNEK, KAREL
    LILES, JOHN-MICHAEL
    COMMODORE, MIKE
    VANDERMEER, JAMES
    MODRY, JAROSLAV
    HEJDA, JAN
    LILJA, ANDREAS
    MONTADOR, STEVE
    HAINSEY, RON
    SAUER, KURT
    BELAK, WADE
    STREIT, MARK

  32. Dennis says:

    I wouldn’t take Greene over Mckee unless you had to choose the former for cap reasons. So I assume that’s why you’d make that decision, Bruce; I just wish you would’ve qualified it:)

    What the Oilers decide to do with their D obviously will be determined by Pitkanen’s salary demands and/or his desire to stay in Edm, what his value is league-wide and just when the Oilers decide they want to go for it.

    Souray’s not a pass first D and the OIlers will miss that niche of Pitkanen’s if they decide to deal him and not bring back another D in the process.

    Given that we’re gonna be getting back some vets — not sure whom — I think this team’s gonna be a lot more ready up front to win a playoff round than they are on the backline.

  33. Bruce says:

    I wouldn’t take Greene over Mckee unless you had to choose the former for cap reasons. So I assume that’s why you’d make that decision, Bruce; I just wish you would’ve qualified it:)

    I’ll take an improving Matt Greene at 30% of the salary …

    What would you like me to qualify, Dennis?

  34. HBomb says:

    Debakey:

    Norstrom, Stuart, Ward, Smith, Eaton, Vandermeer, Commodore

    Those are names that jump out at me from your list.

    A seasoned, tough minutes defenseman. If you could find a guy out of that group willing to sign for around 3.5 million to round out the top five with Pitkanen/Gilbert/Souray/Staios and are suddenly in a place where Grebeshkov is the 6th and one of Greene/Smid is your 40 games a year 7th guy….well, you’re contending for the division title if Garon doesn’t go south on you.

    Thing is though – the only way this works salary-wise is if you move out a guy like Roloson. Even better would be getting rid of that awful Souray contract, but we’re stuck with that one through 2009-10 as far as I can figure.

  35. Dennis says:

    Are you advising the move because he’s cheaper or because the Oilers can’t afford to pay the difference between Mckee and Greene?

    Jay’s got two years left and if we could fit him in — and I’m not sure we could — then I’d take him over Greene.

    I don’t want to get caught up in the sentiment that we have to keep all the kids. Sure, it seems like a good idea because not all of them are getting paid but, and it gets back to what I said earlier, Souray in and one of the kids out won’t be enough to make us a contender if the brass wants to look at ’09 as another developmental year, then I guess you can take another year of lumps on the backend.

    But if you want to try and win a round or two, then you bring in some vets.

  36. Bruce says:

    Are you advising the move because he’s cheaper or because the Oilers can’t afford to pay the difference between Mckee and Greene?

    It’s all about cap management. I think there’s a few places the Oilers can better spend that $2.75 MM difference than upgrading our third defence pairing.

    Here’s how I look at it, very roughly: you got ~$50 MM to spread around 20 roster spots, an average of $2.5 MM per. Anybody who you pay over 2.5 MM needs to be a net positive to the cause. He can’t be average, he can’t be depth, he’s got to bring something that’s gonna help us win. (If you want to make allowances for injuries etc, call $2 MM per the “Mendoza line” of the salary cap. Either way, Greene is well below the number and McKee far above it.)

    To balance out the $4 MM cap hits — and we already got Souray, Penner, Hemsky, Gilbert, Roloson and Horcoff in this category, with Pitkanen waiting in the wings — you need some cheap guys in the $0.5 to $1.5 MM range. We’re not paying them to be difference makers (as St. Louis is paying Jay McKee), we’re paying them to hold their own and not lose the game for us. Greene fits this category very comfortably in my opinion. He held his own just fine after coming back from the busted ankle, was a plus player, was making a bigger contribution to the PK, brought some toughness and attitude, was pretty consistent. Fuck, that’s not bad for a guy making 1/40 of your payroll. Why pay a guy like McKee 3/40 of your payroll to deliver many of the same things?

    Jay’s got two years left and if we could fit him in — and I’m not sure we could — then I’d take him over Greene.

    Well, it’s more likely you’d be taking him over Pitkanen, and I’d frankly much rather be investing the $$$ in a guy with real top 2 potential. McKee has only been playing 18 minutes or so the past five years, and that’s only the 2/3 of the time he’s healthy, so his dollars per minute are way out of whack. With numbers like 266 GP, (144 GM) 9-26-35, -17 in that time, I just don’t see anything there worth overpaying for. Greene puts in similar minutes already, and is just now what could be considered a young veteran. Maybe he’s 80% of the player McKee is right now, but next year that might be 90% and the year after it might be 110 or 150% as their career curves cross like escalators. Thanks, I’ll take the cheaper, still-improving guy as we continue to grow the team from within.

    Besides, we already got a guy who has many of the same physical issues that face McKee … over 30, troublesome injury history, expensive as hell. Neither are likely to deliver full value, and I frankly would have higher hopes that Souray will perform at, say, half his contract level next year than I would McKee. Let St. Louis eat that contract, we got our own to feed on. You of all people are aware of that, Dennis, you’ve been feeding Souray’s contract to the rest of us all fucking season. :D

  37. stubby says:

    First post.
    Looking at that UFA list of D…what about Kalinin from Buffalo??
    He might be a guy that could be had under the $3 mill mark as he was at 2.2 last year. From what I’ve seen he can play in most situations, he has a nice pedigree as well being a 1st round pick. He could end up a ‘Garon like’ signing, one of those off the heap pick ups.

  38. Dennis says:

    Stubby: what kind of role did he play this year? I know that Lydman and Tallinder always played the tough min in Buf, right?

    You have to wonder if there are any vet bargains these days and if you do wind up with one, it’s probably because a guy’s coming off an injury plagued season and he’s just looking for someone to give him a job. To that end I’d present Mark Eaton — who was pimped years ago by Riv or Speeds — and has played a big role for the Pens when he’s been healthy. Problem is he hasn’t been healthy in two years time but this is a guy the Oilers might be able to get for cheap and who could vault into their top 4 and do it effectively.

    Though, Orpik’s coming up on FA stats with the Pens and he doesn’t like Therrin so he might go for his big payday and then Eaton gets another shot with Pit.

    Bruce: Lowe was the one who served up the Souray contract, I’ve just been bringing you fellows the leftovers;)

  39. Bruce says:

    Dennis: Understood. What I don’t understand is why you of all people are pimping another overpriced injury-prone veteran D when we already got one.

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