It’s The Summer, We Need to do Something

Last June, Kevin Lowe gave fans a roadmap of summer 2007:

1. Kevin Lowe: “You do want to be careful of changing over your whole team. There’s a risk with that. But we have needs at practically every position.”
2. Kevin Lowe: “We’re going to be very bold and aggressive. We’d like to think we can do what we need to do to get the team to the playoffs right away. We have the resources and that part is exciting.”
3. Kevin Lowe: “It’s the summer. We’re going to do something.”
4. Kevin Lowe: “We’re going to add someone to pick up Ryan Smyths goals, add another player on offence and another on defence.”

And add they did. Joni Pitkanen, Mathieu Garon, Dustin Penner, Sheldon Souray. This season, Kevin Lowe is once again giving us the roadmap.

1. Kevin Lowe “It’s a matter of me and the organization trying to do our best to manage the assets, improve the hockey team. If that means getting into a situation where we move a couple, maybe three or four assets for one or two coming back, a player and a draft pick or something, that might be a good thing.”

2. Kevin Lowe “If we can add to our team by upgrading our scoring and some of our toughness, we have the assets to do it. We don’t have to rely on free agency to do it. That doesn’t mean we won’t be listening or making calls on July 1st.”

3. Quoting Robin Brownlee on his blog: “With a glut of second- and third-line forwards and depth on defence, Lowe said his week he’d consider moving assets in a three-for-one or even four-for-one deal—a top-three forward is the target.”

The “second and third line” group would probably include Jarret Stoll, Raffi Torres, Fernando Pisani, Ethan Moreau, Kyle Brodziak, Marc Pouliot, Robert Nilsson. One would imagine that Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner would be safe at this point, although Shawn Horcoff’s status as a UFA-in-waiting makes him vulnerable in the same way Ryan Smyth was blowing in the wind last summer.

One of the things about the Edmonton Oilers in summer through the 00′s is that they seem to spend these months attempting to acquire top drawer talent without regard for balance. In the summer of 2005-06 they addressed all kinds of areas but left the goaltending somewhat unproven. The following summer they moved Chris Pronger and never really addressed the blueline in terms of veteran talent. Last summer they moved in assets but still lacked balance on liftoff (blueline once again lacked experience, lots of question marks up front).

The names being rumored (Jason Spezza, Erik Cole) are coming from some legit sources (Brownlee, Stauffer, Matheson) and would certainly improve this team up front for 08-09. However, the name most mentioned going the other way is Joni Pitkanen.

And that brings the balance question back into the picture. Although Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov moved past Ladislav Smid and Matt Greene and into the top 4 in 07-08, does that mean the Oilers can rely on them? Considering the other two defenders are Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios, does that give this team enough top 4D options? Wouldn’t the depth chart look much better with Pitkanen among the top 4 and perhaps Souray on the third pairing? The Edmonton Oilers appear convinced that a scoring forward for the top 2 lines is more important than having 5 legit defenders outside of the Smid-Greene tandem that is still trying to gain traction at the NHL level.

We have the roadmap. Are we going the wrong way?

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80 Responses to "It’s The Summer, We Need to do Something"

  1. godot10 says:

    Jason Spezza may be a nice guy, but he is a useless hockey player. He certainly can’t play Oilers hockey. He has a wonky back, and one look from Regehr or Phaneuf would send him cowering to the bench.

    That plus, he is a puck hog (who never met a fancy back pass to the opposition he didn’t like), and since Hemsky likes to carry the puck,

  2. doritogrande says:

    Can we have Dany Heatley instead, please?

    If any Senator could handle the Western Conference, Russian Jason Smith aside, it’d be Heater.

    We’ve got depth at C already. If we want to increase balance on the team, bring in a winger for Hemsky to skate with. Leave Penner for the soft parade with the kids like he did (and excelled at) in Anaheim.

  3. Lowetide says:

    godot10: I think it was Stauffer who mentioned MacT loved Spezza at the WC’s and how he adjusted to a secondary role.

    As much as I don’t expect Spezza to be dealt to Edmonton, there is a logic in him coming here. Especially if Horcoff is the other center in the top 6.

  4. Ducey says:

    The goal this year is to make the playoffs and be in position in the next 2 or 3 years to make a run, isn’t it?

    I agree that the D needs work but adding another top 6 forward like Spezza should give them enough firepower to make the playoff this year. No?

    Spezza seems to have some of the same issues with “intensity” and physical play as Pitkanen but you can hide this a little easier up front – especially if he is adding 90 points.

    This is a young D Corp, but the questions on defence will be answered to some degree this season as guys continue to mature an evolve.

    Pitkanen here for another year really doesn’t help the Oilers in 2or 3 years from now does it? The only argument for keeping him for another year is a) you need him to make the playoffs (answered above) or b)to increase his value to get more for him next year.

  5. Scott says:

    Sure Pitkanen’s name keeps popping up, but I really think it’s speculations since both MacT and Lowe seem high on the kid and have repeatedly talked about their expectations for next year.

    I really like our D how they are, let’s use forwards or Smid/Greene/prospects if we’re putting together packages for a forward.

  6. Coach pb9617 says:

    If it’s Pitkanen out the door, I’m assuming that at least Stoll or Torres is going with him. That means that there should be money around for a low end guy like Sauer, or, if they could find some way to jettison Roloson, Orpik would be a great fit.

  7. godot10 says:

    // I think it was Stauffer who mentioned MacT loved Spezza at the WC’s and how he adjusted to a secondary role. //

    I hope what MacT learned was that Spezza isn’t very good when the level of competition/opposition is high.

  8. Showerhead says:

    I hope what MacT learned was that Spezza isn’t very good when the level of competition/opposition is high.

    For the win.

    I hope for his (Spezza’s) sake that he was playing hurt for some reason because he had an awful play-off and unlike Heatley followed it up with an equally awful WC. There are a number of reasons to like the player but I have never seen a reason to believe he stirred the drink in Ottawa.

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Dreger says that Olli Jokinen will not report back to the Florida Panthers this season.

    Despite the fact that some bloggers aren’t overally high on the guy, he’s a big body that won’t get pushed around in the WC, he’s a shooter for Hemsky/Gagner/Nilsson to feed, he proven he can put up big numbers, and it’s impossible to say that his contract is not a good one.

    If you could land Jokinen for some combination like Stoll, Grebeshkov, and Schremp (Just for example purposes), I think you’d have to do it.

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Nilsson-Jokinen-Gagner

    That would be a pretty formidable top six, and you’d get some of the log jam of second tier players cleared out.

  10. Shawn says:

    Godot10 you destroy your own credibility when you say Jason Spezza is a “useless hockey player.”

    Maybe you don’t like his style or don’t feel like you could rely on him in the playoffs… or he isn’t physical enough or weak defesnively… whatever it is make your point that way. When you say something like “useless hockey player” I tune you out because it’s an incredibly foolish and exaggerated statement.

    Do I think the Oilers should trade for Spezza? Probably not… depending on the cost. I think Sam Gagner is our Jason Spezza style player. If you bring in Spezza you’re almost surely saying goodbye to Horcoff given the Oilers are note likely to pay 12 million dollars down the middle. I also don’t think they should move Pitkanen while his value is low.

    However, Spezza could help the Oilers and could make them a better team depending on his role and the trade. He’s far from useless. He’s a dynamic hockey player who is mostly one dimensional. He’s also a guy who HAS got it done in the playoffs before. How quickly we forget last season.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:

    If Jokinen is incoming, Pitkanen or Horcoff is outgoing.

  12. Dennis says:

    Horc will definetly be out the door if Spezza comes here in a trade.

  13. Matt says:

    This is more at the commenters, but at LT too…

    I understand that Pitkanen looks dynamite at times, and that nobody thinks Spezza is Sakic c. 1994, but jeez… this is still two very different tiers of players based on what they have accomplished in their rather brief careers. (P.S. Spezza is the higher one).

    If someone gets Spezza away from Ottawa in a qual-for-quant deal, it will be the steal of the year. This is the best possible off-season scenario for the Oilers.

    In other words, I hope Lowe agrees with godot10 and finds Spezza to be a no-clutch sissy-boy.

  14. HBomb says:

    If it’s Pitkanen out the door, I’m assuming that at least Stoll or Torres is going with him. That means that there should be money around for a low end guy like Sauer, or, if they could find some way to jettison Roloson, Orpik would be a great fit.

    If Pitkanen’s out the door, we need a D UFA of, at minimum, the quality of a guy like Mike Commodore, and I’d prefer something closer to Brad Stuart.

    Two scenarios that I have come up with that could work:

    1) Retain Pitkanen and see if some combination of Stoll/Smid/Schremp/Moreau can land you Simon Gagne out of Philly (perhaps they let him go for depressed value due to his concussion issues)

    2) Package up Stoll and Pitkanen and call LA, see if you can get Frolov plus a 2nd rounder for that package. Include Schremp if need be. Then go out and land Brad Stuart on the UFA market.

    Personally, I like A. But my “checklist” of things I want to see the Oilers do in terms of the current assets, in no particular order, is as follows:

    - Retain Pitkanen
    - Extend Horcoff
    - Extend Garon
    - Choose Torres over Moreau
    - Jettison at least one of Stoll/Reasoner (and preferably both)
    - Ink Glencross at 1.3 million a year or less

    Wish list of potential incoming guys remains the same: Frolov, Jeff Carter, Erik Cole, Stuart, Mike Commodore

    Pipe dream blue sky scenarios? Heatley or Kovalchuk.

    Wildcard? Simon Gagne.

    LW and veteran D are the needs.

  15. Showerhead says:

    Maybe a couple of years ago now but I remember reading a compelling post suggesting that it is easier to push a particular aspect of an NHL team (ie offense, defense, goaltending) to average from shit than it is to push said aspect to excellent from average. If there is truth here, any Pitkanen + parts trade for Spezza can only be looked at as a win in my eyes.

    Spezza’s contract over the 4 remaining Hemmer years runs 8, 8, 8, and 8. Something would have to give, and Edmonton has too many mid-level contracts that will be difficult to outperform to simply fill in a team around the edges of Spezza/Hemsky/Souray/Gilbert/Penner/Horcoff money. Obviously one would hope a quantity for quality trade would address some of that but eep. This team is not a Spezza for Pitkanen + parts trade away from finishing top 8 in the league.

  16. Jonathan says:

    If someone gets Spezza away from Ottawa in a qual-for-quant deal, it will be the steal of the year. This is the best possible off-season scenario for the Oilers.

    Absolutely concur. 25-year olds with multiple 90-point seasons do not materialize out of nowhere. I really, really, like Pitkanen, but if Ottawa is willing to deal Spezza for, say Pitkanen-Stoll-Cogliano, I think the deal gets made.

  17. Coach pb9617 says:

    If Pitkanen’s out the door, we need a D UFA of, at minimum, the quality of a guy like Mike Commodore,

    I’d much rather have Orpik than Commodore.

  18. jd says:

    bob got taken down pretty hard by rishaug today on the show. rishaug pointed out that there is no way you trade a proven early 20′s 85-90 pt guy for an underachieving player in pitkanen and more underachievers in Smid and raf. i think hes right. i think there is no merit to the spezza rumour (as great as it would be).

  19. jd says:

    however it is a tough call. do you trade pitkanen now while he has some value or do you sit on him and gamble like they’ve done before. I see things in Pitkanen that you dont see in a lot of dman. He thinks the game better than a lot of players and as many games as he missed last year he took a tonne of hits. so i dont think hes as soft as everyone says. i dont envy lowe right now at all…

  20. toqueboy says:

    you talk about salary balance…the oilers are UNBALANCED in that they don’t have a superstar contract on the books?

    souray as our highest paid plyer is a joke or it’s a joke…you see what i’m saying…NHL considered, the oil are due for a big contract given our new ‘rich’ status…and we have nothing homegrown (for a couple of years) so spezza makes more sense to me rather than this whole Gx debate. Teams of consequence have more than hem’r. way more…and they play horc like a 3rd liner…we have a wys to go…lowe is building, but if you think giving up on pits is a huge thing it really only acknowledges what a shortage of talent we have….ott would still have heater and alfie who would rank above spezz….as good as hemm’r id…we ned more than penner and horc…who are we kidding?
    so spezza sounds like a building block to me.

  21. Big T says:

    If we’re spending 8 bills when does Hossa become an option. This seems like a better fit for the team’s needs ie; tough minutes.

    That said, neither of these players fit while Souray is on the books.

    T

  22. Lowetide says:

    Big T: I think Hossa’s agent is Winter, can’t imagine that deal getting done.

  23. HBomb says:

    Teams of consequence have more than hem’r. way more…and they play horc like a 3rd liner

    Oh good lord….

    “Shawn Horcoff is a 3rd liner” is among the dumbest statements that a hockey fan can make. End of story.

  24. HBomb says:

    I’d much rather have Orpik than Commodore.

    I probably would too. But I think Commodore would come in about a million cheaper. After the playoff run, I wouldn’t be surprised if Orpik got Regehr money from someone (i.e. 20 over 5).

  25. Dennis says:

    Lost in all this talk is how by now, even an old vet like LT’s broken down into saying, “Souray isn’t as bad as we thought he was”, when the biggest deal on Souray is how much bloody money we’re paying him in order to BE “surprised.”

    Everytime Lowe talks about big-ticket shopping, that salary’s the first hinderance.

    Lowe’s talking of a big forward probably means the team’s ready to try and win now; that’s something I’m not against, obviously. But I can’t see how anyone things the forwards need to be upgraded more than the D.

  26. Rick says:

    Even though it’s extremely unlikely, the idea of landing Spezza is pretty exciting. However does it raise any red flags that he has yet to play an 82 game schedule? Particularily when the idea is to bring him into the injury capital of the NHL.

    As for the defence if we were to assume for a moment that Pitkanen was moved for guy like Spezza, would it make more sense to try and bring in a veteran mid season instead of signing a vet UFA?

    I would think that any vet of reasonable quality would command a multi year deal on the open market and I don’t think that is what Edmonton needs.

    The Oilers biggest problem is that most of their blueliners are raw. With experience this group could be pretty good even without Pitkanen. So are you better off getting this group more experience through Christmas and then picking up a pending UFA vet for cheap in the new year for the stretch run when the games are being played with more urgency?

    These types of players seem to have been moved with reasonable frequency at this time of year over the last few seasons so waiting to get one wouldn’t be a huge gamble.

  27. DBO says:

    Why can’t we have our cake and eat it too. Instead of dealing for Spezza, I expect Lowe to offer Hossa 5 years at $7.5-8 million, and then re-sign Pitkanen for $4 mill for a year or two. To cut salary he moves a Torres or Pisani for a 3rd round pick. And 2 or 3 of the young guys and our 1st for a higher 1st round pick this year with the thought that in two years that young player is in the bigs. Don’t be surprised if they try to sign players they are unsure about (Pitkanen, Stoll, GlenX) for no more then 2 years, so that once Gagner and Cogs are due for a big raise they can make some decisions on who to keep from the vets.

  28. toqueboy says:

    “Shawn Horcoff is a 3rd liner” is among the dumbest statements that a hockey fan can make. End of story.

    ummm…no dumber than saying he’s a first liner…besides, i said that we could play him more like a third liner…ie…allow him to succeed at his strengths and as much as he put up numbers last year…his strengths are more like a peca than they are like a crosby.

  29. HBomb says:

    As for the defence if we were to assume for a moment that Pitkanen was moved for guy like Spezza, would it make more sense to try and bring in a veteran mid season instead of signing a vet UFA?

    I seem to remember them trying that “plan” after sending Pronger to Anaheim in the 2006-07 season, and I also seem to remember it not working very well.

  30. Sean says:

    I agree with Rishaug. Teams don’t just trade top 3 forwards for replaceable players.

    Unless Lowe can get a player such as Spezza, Lecavalier or Gaborik, our best option is to

    – keep Pitkanen
    – figure out who of Chorney, Hrabal, Peckham and Wild are for real
    – add a UFA forward (think Roberts, Tkatchuk type player) at the deadline

    KLo has always had a knack for finding defenders which makes trading Pitkanen tempting but this years UFA crop is sparse. Orpik, Stuart and Campbell are going to seriously cash in. Replacing Pitkanen would be very hard to do but if you can get a top 15 forward, you shouldn’t care.

  31. HBomb says:

    ummm…no dumber than saying he’s a first liner…besides, i said that we could play him more like a third liner…ie…allow him to succeed at his strengths and as much as he put up numbers last year…his strengths are more like a peca than they are like a crosby.

    See 2005-06 and the first half of 2007-08.

    Shawn Horcoff is not Sidney Crosby. But one can make a damn logical argument about him being a 1st line center. 60-75 points, plays head to head with the best of the best.

    Is Shawn Horcoff among the 30 best all-around centers in the NHL? I’d say so. By that “sniff test”, he’s a first liner. Just like Ryan Smyth was a first liner while here. Flashy they are not, but both are hockey players with a hell of a lot of substance to their games.

  32. Oilman says:

    There’s nearly 100 free agent D men in this years crop – not a lot of stars – but not sparse by any means

  33. Sean says:

    Ok sorry the list of UFA dmen isnt sparse but the list of UFA dmen who are comparable or better to Pitkanen is – I can only think of 3 players – Campbell, Stuart and Orpik.

    IMO Shawn Horcoff is a top 30 center but he isn’t elite offensively. Once he is your #2 center – playing hard minutes like Peca did in 2005-2006, we can start talking about this team being a contender again.

  34. Rick says:

    “I seem to remember them trying that “plan” after sending Pronger to Anaheim in the 2006-07 season, and I also seem to remember it not working very well.”

    hbomb: I am not sure the situations are all that comparable. After Pronger, Lowe was talking about bringing in a higher end puck mover but aren’t we now talking more about a steady veteran?

    You threw out the name Commodore and using him as a benchmark I don’t think Lowe would run into the same difficulties he did a couple years ago. If you’re hanging your hopes on a guy of Stuarts calibre then I agree with you that it could be difficult to wait.

  35. spOILer says:

    Is dumping Pitkanen the wrong direction to go?

    First of all, I think Brownlee and Stauffer are pimping Pitkanen, because neither like him as a person, or as a player.

    All the teams are kicking tires right now, and there’s plenty of them out there who hope they can pick up Pitkanen for a bargain.

    I’d bet Ottawa’s offer started at Vermette. That’s somewhat interesting. IIRC, he plays soft but tight, out-scoring soft opposition, generates a good shot rate with historically good percentages, above-average on faceoffs, and top PKer.

    But is that enough to give up on a 6’3″ 215 lb. rushing defensemen with lightening wheels and elite potential?

    No. So our intrepid radiomen are suggesting Spezza for Joni.

    Horcoff would have to be going back the other way, unless Ottawa already has another deal in place for Malkin, Jokinen, or Marleau.

    But I don’t think Horc’s going anywhere. In this power vs power league, its more important to have a 1C who can score 80 and shut down the opposing 1C than to have an elite 1 C who can score 90 but can’t shut a barn door.

    Does Spezza even fit? Doesn’t a LH shot at centre make more sense, if Hemmer’s playing 1LW? Injury-prone, giveaways…

    Now if Penner, Pitkanen, and a pick can bring Heatley (once Penner’s year is up), I’d probably make that trade in an eyeblink.

    I don’t see much point in bringing in another LW without trading Penner. It’s just going to push him down to the 2nd line displacing a recently-signed-for-cheap Nilsson? That doesn’t solve any balance issues whatsoever. Nilsson would have to go in any trade if Penner is not, and that’s giving up a lot of cap space for the soft minutes.

    So the same goes for bringing in Cole. And if Penner is going the other way in that deal, we’re no longer talking a 3 or 4 for 1 trade.

    So, if a top LW is a goal, then Penner should also be considered bait (once the year moratorium lapses).

    After what it took to get Penner–although he wasn’t the Oil’s first choice–wouldn’t they want to see how the first line can play fully rested and healthy? Not to mention, Penner has shown himself not to be a massive defensive liability when playing with a centre like Horcoff. Given the nature of the power-vs-power NHL, I don’t think many LWs outside of OV, Heatley, Kovy, Zetterburg, Vanek would bring much improvement. All impossible to obtain, unless Kovy wants out of his Atlanta jail. Hopefully Grebs formed a lasting friendship during the WHC.

    Now Simon Gagne would normally be in that group, and if it’s an elite 1LW we’re going after, I agree with HBomb, he’s the one to go for. Good defensively, has speed and hands, and a great contract if he maintains his 40 goal pace.

    He should be available for a relative bargain over the other elite LWs, but with added risk.

    Problem is, we gain nothing in size, and provide Dion Regehr with another target. This time one with a mushy melon.

    Nor are we a good trading match for Philly, unless they would do it for Nilsson, Smid/Greene, and picks/prospects, as they won’t want salary coming back, nor Pitkanen.

    The easiest place to improve this team is on 2nd line at centre, where we need a big fast-skating young man with hands, vision, and defensive smarts to take over from Horc some day.

    So LT, I think Cogliano could also be bait.

    If Philly is intent on keeping Gagne (and Pennsylvania boy Umberger), then J. Carter might be available due to cap issues, and that’s a player I would also take in a trade.

    As for Souray, I think he’s under-rated in this town. We have no EV stats last year of any healthy play. Paired with a skating Dman, he provides excellent defense, IMO. His top PK, PP roles really make him a top 4 at worst. We missed his experience and physicality last year. Still, with his contract, Lowe should be asking him how he feels about playing in LA.

    So if I’m speculating at a 3/4 deal…

    Philly seems the best partner with two possibilities, and cap issues.

    Spezza doesn’t seem to be a better fit or enough of an improvement over Horc to justify the extra salary he’ll cost. Maybe if Phillips was coming back too? But Horcoff, Pitk and a prospect for Spezza, & Phillips, while we still need to deal with extra bottom 6ers strikes me as close to blowing the team up.

    Someone raised Jokinen above, but again, how much are we gaining over Horc?

    So let’s say Nilsson, Smid, Schremp gets Gagne done in a cap dump.

    GAGNE HORC HEMMER
    PENNER COGS GAGNER
    TORRES STOLL PISANI
    GC/MOREAU BRODZ STORT
    POUL

    PITK GILBERT
    SOURAY STAIOS
    GREBS GREENE
    PECK

    Problem is, it’s difficult to offer Greene in any trade b/c he’s a RH shot, whereas Grebs, Smid and Peckham are all lefties. (So are Orpik and Stuart.)

    Not a bad line-up though. Defense still has issues. And if we were to dump Moreau and get GlenX for 1.3M, we’d still have less than $5M to sign Pitkanen.

    And really that’s the issue with Pitkanen, not his talent. What will he sign for? The longer he goes unsigned, the more likely he’s being dangled for offer sheet picks, and if they don’t come, Joni will likely take arb over his QO.

    Which doesn’t bode well for a happy future with Team Oil.

    If that’s the case, trade him now, at the deadline, or next year?

    And how in the heck can we use him to improve the first pairing, unless a J-Bo is coming back the other way(never happen)?

  36. spOILer says:

    Commodore, while he’s an experienced vet and a RH shot, is a #5 defenseman at best, and not enough of an improvement over Greene for the price (unless he’s cutting that mop of red hair on his next contract).

  37. toqueboy says:

    you could also make an argument that horc/smyth were first liners on a team that very rarely made the ploffs, so maybe they aren’t first liners? i love horcoff, but if we want to have success, i believe he’s a second line center…as long as he’s our first line center, we’re not a ‘real’ contender. he’s a beauty, but he’s not elite…which i guess is my problem…and i shouldn’t have mentioned horc, because conversations always spin off topic when you do, but i just believe that we have a bunch of average to average plus players and lack that premier player or two…which is what all the 4 for 1 talk is and i agree with it. our youth is encouraging, but that’s it.

    our current center depth is something like: horc/stoll/cogs/brodz

    i like:
    spezz/horc/stoll/whoever

    to me the second looks like a team that is well rounded through the middle…the first looks like a team that misses the ploffs with regularity.

  38. Sean says:

    Add JM Liles to my list of UFAs comparable to Pitkanen.

    Jonathan just posted some interesting stats about how our D was brutal last year and that trading Pitkanen really only makes it worse.

    A lot of people say that the Oilers need to add a veteran D. Seeing how Souray only played about 25 games, doesnt he qualify?

  39. Oilman says:

    I’m pretty sure horcoff was a 1st line center on a game 7 Stanley Cup Finals team as well

  40. Jonathan says:

    A lot of people say that the Oilers need to add a veteran D. Seeing how Souray only played about 25 games, doesn’t he qualify?

    Games played by Sheldon Souray since he joined the NHL:

    66
    70
    71
    52
    34
    0
    63
    39
    75
    81
    26

    5 out of 11 career seasons (45%), Souray has played less than 60 games. Do we really want to rely on him staying healthy for the whole season?

    Additionally, even when healthy, has Souray ever had good results against tough opposition?

    He’s a useful player, but not really in the area of the Oilers biggest defensive need (tough opposition 5-on-5).

  41. digger says:

    Two things:

    1) It’s fair to say that the latter half of Lowe’s GM tenure has shown his team entering the regular season with noticeable holes, but isn’t it also fair to say that this is the norm for the majority of the teams he’s competing against, especially in a cap world?

    2) As much as I like Spezza’s talent, does it really serve the Oilers to take on a 7.5M/yr cap hit for a player who seems to turn into a first class pussy once the going gets tough?

  42. HBomb says:

    rick: Commodore vs. Stuart. Commodore would be like bringing back Smith in my books – I’d make that move as a GM even without Pitkanen being moved to add depth (drop one of Greene/Smid to the 7D spot and the other into the trade bait bucket). Stuart, I think he’s a target only if they move Pitkanen, because we’d suddenly need a top pairing guy.

    spOILer – RE: Penner. Penner and Nilsson can both play LW or RW, so a 2nd line of Penner-Gagner-Nilsson makes sense if the Oilers can fetch Gagne, for example. This would drop Cogliano down to the 3rd line pivot spot between Torres and Pisani, leaving a Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini-Pouliot quartet making up the 4th line (I’m assuming only 13F because they will be carrying 3 goalies due to JDD’s waiver ineligibility ending). This drops Stoll into said trade bait bucket, and if it was me, I’d sign Glencross and shop Moreau too, but the Oilers brass have a real hardon for a guy who has missed 132 games the last two seasons due to injury.

    sean – Peca did play hard minutes in 05-06, yes, but as far as I remember, the Smyth-Horcoff duo was doing the really heavy lifting power-vs-power. Oddly enough, I was thinking about Peca the other day and how I’d rather have a guy like him for around 1.5 million as depth than another year of Marty Sakic…..

  43. Sean says:

    HBomb – you may be right on that, although I dont think Peca/Pisani was shying away from hard minutes either. I watched most of the finals from Germany during the world cup so my memory of them is blurry to say the least. We can probably agree that we want Horcoff doing the heavy lifting no matter who were to get brought in. I’m with you on Peca too.

    Either way with Horcoff as #2, whether its Gagner in a couple years or bringing in a guy like Spezza, your talking about a very good hockey team.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    KLo has always had a knack for finding defenders which makes trading Pitkanen tempting but this years UFA crop is sparse.

    Which is why I like Sauer if there is a need for a veteran should Grebs be moved.

  45. Dennis says:

    Jon: I don’t know why anyone believes Souray can play a full season and/or play a full season of tough min but yet, some guys do.

    And when the guy talked about worrying about Spezza missing games every year, I honestly wondered why it took so long for someone to bring that up.

  46. King Aardvark says:

    ” Sean said…
    I agree with Rishaug. Teams don’t just trade top 3 forwards for replaceable players.”

    *cough*Thornton*cough*

  47. Jonathan says:

    Which is why I like Sauer if there is a need for a veteran should Grebs be moved.

    Me too.

    Jon: I don’t know why anyone believes Souray can play a full season and/or play a full season of tough min but yet, some guys do.

    Exactly. I think he’s great on special teams and decent against middling opposition 5-on-5, but he sure has hell isn’t a designated shut-down guy, or a guy who replaces Pitkanen’s contributions.

    And when the guy talked about worrying about Spezza missing games every year, I honestly wondered why it took so long for someone to bring that up.

    Spezza averages what, 70 games a year? That’s still 15 more than Souray. He’s an elite player, and against tough opponents to boot.

  48. HBomb says:

    HBomb – you may be right on that, although I dont think Peca/Pisani was shying away from hard minutes either. I watched most of the finals from Germany during the world cup so my memory of them is blurry to say the least. We can probably agree that we want Horcoff doing the heavy lifting no matter who were to get brought in. I’m with you on Peca too.

    Either way with Horcoff as #2, whether its Gagner in a couple years or bringing in a guy like Spezza, your talking about a very good hockey team.

    There’s no way you can downplay what Peca’s line did in spring 2006 – I will not argue that point for a second.

    I look at Horcoff to Gagner and, in a sense, I see Brind’Amour to Staal. Depth is a good thing, and having a wily vet to pair with a skilled 20-something as your 1-2 centre punch, to me, that’s a recipe for success. Hence, Horcoff is a guy I hope they do a “25 over 5″ deal with before the start of training camp.

  49. Coach pb9617 says:

    Jonathan just posted some interesting stats about how our D was brutal last year and that trading Pitkanen really only makes it worse.

    The Oilers were a goal better with Pitkanen in the lineup. Trading him is a terrible team move without bringing back another top pair D.

  50. jon k says:

    A bit late to chime in, but if there is anyway we can get Gagne out of Philly so they can keep Carter, it would be nothing less than a coup for Lowe. If he can recover from his concussion problems he’s truly an impact player in the Horcoff mold, who just happens to play LW.

    Gagne-Horcoff-Hemsky would be a dominant ES line, perhaps the best in the league.

  51. Sean says:

    JonK – I’m with ya on on Gagne. He’d be a good gamble. Stoll+ ;)

    Gagne-Horcoff-Hemsky would be a dominant ES line, perhaps the best in the league. If you dont include Zetterberg/Datsyuk and “insert any player here”. Beauty line though.

  52. Pat H says:

    LT is coming up on 1260 (July 10th, 2008). Employee or not, congrats!

    Big time!

  53. Oilman says:

    Nice job on Stauffer LT – couldn’t tell who was the interviewee and interviewer at times

  54. HBomb says:

    Let the record stand that, in a previous thread, I believe I was the one to start this Simon Gagne talk. :)

    But yeah, elite LW who can snipe and plays a good two way game. I’ve said that the Oilers would have a good team if they could find a LW equal to or better than Smyth for Horcoff/Hemsky to play with. Gagne fits that bill….

    Stoll, one of Smid/Greene and Schremp for Gagne. Hell, Philly can have JF Jacques too if they’d like!

  55. jon k says:

    Only problem with Gagne is that he’s likely not moving. Philly has a glut of centres and Carter is likely the odd man out with Richards and Briere making the big money and Umberger being cheap but effective.

  56. PDO says:

    First, I’m assuming that neither Horcoff nor Pitkanen is dealt.

    Secondly, I’m assuming any 3 for 1 trade takes place with an EC team.

    Thirdly, I’m assuming that we’re either trading for a shooter or a veteran D.

    Fourthly, I’m assuming the package is any combination of Stoll, Torres, Smid, Greene, Chorney, Petry, Schremp, Pouliot, Jacques and our 1st round pick. Nothing earth shattering, but not all that different from Sturm, Stuart and Primeau.

    Here’s the list of players that would meet the Oilers criteria, and could have any hope of being available (so… no Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Chara….):

    Atlanta: Kovalchuk
    Boston: Kessel
    Buffalo: Afinogenov, Pominville, Stafford, Lydman, Tallinder
    Carolina: Cole, Williams,
    Florida: Jokinen, Jay-Bouw
    Montreal: No one?
    New Jersey: Elias, Gionta
    NYI: Witt?
    NYR: No one?
    Ott: Alfredsson, Heatley, Volchenkov, Phillips
    Philly: Carter?
    Pitts: No one?
    TBL: Vinny, St. Louis, Kuba?
    Toronto: Kubina?
    Washington: Semin?

    So… that’s the list of guys we’d be looking at, and then you have to ask, where does that package line up? I think Brendan Witt could be had rather easily, but I haven’t watched him play in a long time thanks to no center ice, so I have no idea where he stands. Theoretically a team like Ottawa should be all over a quality for quantity deal, because they got killed any team the big 3 weren’t on the ice… so maybe a guy like Phillips is available?

    I think the problem is, for almost all of those players, we’d give up more than we’d like to to get them.

    At this point, I wouldn’t be against just taking one of the D (Smid/Greene) and one of the kids (Schremp/Pouliot) and seeing how high in the draft we can get…

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    Me too.

    Nice work!

    Now take that off of the Al Gore before it gets out!

  58. Ribs says:

    man, I’d love to see J.Smith in Oilers gear again this year. Balance wouldn’t even be an issue anymore.

    Anyone read/heard anything on Rolston yet? The more I think of it, the more I want him on the team. Those old Devils are playoffs gold!

  59. Traktor says:

    We need a player that can neutralize Robyn Regehr and playerd of he ilk.

    Horc is a good 2way player but when was the last time he stuck of for Hemsky?

    You’re not going to get any toughness from Gagner, Cogliano or Nilsson and for how big Penner is he isn’t physical at all.

    That is what I get so pissed off when people actually want to bring that soft bitch Reasoner back. He is funny in the dressing room and got on the faceoff dot. Who gives a shit. If you’re a 4th line grinder you shouldn’t be immune to the phsyical game.

    Seriously, if you don’t offer at least a amount of intimidation I don’t want you on my bottom 6. Marty can’t produce offensively and is too pussy to drop the mitts.

    The only reason MacT likes him is because he is safe. He doesn’t take any chances (like a big hit taking him out of position) he just gets the puck deep and does good work on the PK.

    I really love Pisani. He simply is one of the most relentless workers in the NHL with a very, very underrated shot.

    Stoll is supposed to be what Mike Richards is but he is looking more like Reasoner these days. I can’t really blame him though. It’s a catch 22. The way he needs to play to be successful will result in injuries and the way he needs to play to have a prolonged career means he can’t be the same Stoll from our SCF run. I watched some old tapes from Stoll from the cup run and it’s amazing what a few concussions will do to a player. I’m not sure he will ever be the same.

    Torres is just way too fucking inconsistent to play another minute on the Oil. I’m not just talking about his production drying up either (which I’m sure his lackeys would argue shooting%) he just takes too many games off, physically.

    Personally I think all this tough minutes talk is BS. Too much really on behindthenet. IMO, the only time Torres has ever looked like a 2way player whas when he was glued to Pisani.

    Spezza? Yeah of course he would be nice but I really can’t see him being the first man to the puck in the corners. The one time he does he will get hit from behind by RR only to watch Horc, Torres and the rest of the leadership group laugh it off.

    I would rather overpay to aquire Kesler, Lucic, Brown, Horton but beggers can’t be choosers.

    Does anyone remember when Pitkanen got hit from behind (as danger zone as it gets) by Demintra and Stoll just sat there and watched Joni pick up the peieces?

    Yeah some tight team!

    For all the shit the Matt Roy gets around here, at least he sticks up for his teammates. (even if he is just returning from an injury)

    Oh and Commodore…he was beyond brutal playing on the Sens. I pretty muched watched every single game of his since he was traded and he was awful. Maybe the stat grids tell a different story.

  60. Traktor says:

    I had surgery today, so I’m jacked up on pills. Excuse my multiple spelling errors in my previous post.

  61. Dennis says:

    LT: I didn’t know you were gonna be on this evening; otherwise, I would’ve tuned in. I had Total Sports as part of my winter routine but the weather’s nicer now and it’s hard to fit it in.

    How did he make out, folks?? What were the highlights; was it him and Bob arguing over who loved Lupul more???:)

  62. Coach pb9617 says:

    man, I’d love to see J.Smith in Oilers gear again this year.

    This is like a Jump To Conclusions Mat

  63. Oilman says:

    LT was good dennis – they just chatted about the pitkanen/spezza stuff – he was really just a warm up act for Terry Ryan:o)

  64. Dennis says:

    Oilman: I might have to eventually call in and blast Stauffer about that act.

    I’m serious.

  65. Oilman says:

    Let me know when you’re making that call – I enjoy a heavily profane newfoundland accented argument as much as the next guy.

    BTW – I’m pretty sure I’ve heard you on the radio before…I was surprised to find out you were making the calls from the island….that’s dedication

  66. Dennis says:

    Oilman: have you been gone away long enough from home that you realize there are toll-free phonelines:)?

  67. Bank Shot says:

    “We need a player that can neutralize Robyn Regehr and playerd of he ilk.

    Horc is a good 2way player but when was the last time he stuck of for Hemsky?”

    Souray can beat the snot out of anyone.

  68. Jonathan says:

    Souray can beat the snot out of anyone.

    Except Byron Ritchie.

  69. oilerdiehard says:

    I am trying to remember did either Ritchie or Souray manage to get untangled from each other and throw any bombs? I just recall a wrestling match and then they both went down on the ice.

  70. Black Dog says:

    And I do remember Horc going after someone last season after they clipped someone – can’t remember if it was Hemsky or who it was against.

    Point is – he has done it.

  71. Bruce says:

    Souray hurt his shoulder during the Ritchie fight. Probably not the best one to judge his pugilistic skills.

    To my recollection Sheldon doesn’t collect frequent fighter points but when he does decide to drop the mitts he’s a handful. If not a faceful.

    Given what happened with Ritchie he’ll likely be under the same no-scrapping edict as Moreau.

  72. Traktor says:

    black dog, I remember what you’re talking about about and it wasn’t even on the same level as Gagner’s tilt, and that was the peak of Horc’s aggression to date in his NHL hockey career.

    The point is this team isn’t going to get any toughness out of the top 6 so we need to get it out of the bottom 6. Thus bringing back Marty Reasoner would be beyond stupid.

  73. Oilman says:

    dennis – I was referring to the 3.5hour time difference – because I’m pretty sure I heard you on an after game show, late night – so you’re either an insomniac or a maniac:o)

  74. melanie... says:

    Back when JM Liles went knee on knee with either Smyth or Hemsky at the time….I think Horcoff was the first man in.

  75. Dennis says:

    Souray is a waste of money; it rankles me every time I see him mentioned. It was almost like I totally forgot that we had to pay him; last year our PP was damn good without him so I sorta came to the conclusion that I’d never have to see him again;)

    Yeah, as you can see by my posts, I keep weird hours and am a frequent insomniac.

  76. Jonathan says:

    Souray hurt his shoulder during the Ritchie fight. Probably not the best one to judge his pugilistic skills.

    That was the point, Bruce. A guy as injury-prone as Souray shouldn’t be dropping the gloves with anybody, with the possible exception of Sean Avery.

  77. Bruce says:

    I see your point, Jonathan. It was the second year in a row the Oilers “team tough” approach didn’t survive October without a major injury to a team leader. With both Moreau and Souray now under express orders not to fight, there’s not quite enough tough to go around on this team for my liking.

  78. Bank Shot says:

    I am trying to remember did either Ritchie or Souray manage to get untangled from each other and throw any bombs? I just recall a wrestling match and then they both went down on the ice.

    It’s on youtube.

    Souray is trying to throw punches and Ritchie is trying to hang on for dear life.

    Other youtube highlights include Souray making pizza out of McCarty’s face, and Sheldon knocking Sarich right the fuck out.

    I wish Souray was as good as playing as he is at fighting.

    Mactavish can talk in the media all he wants about limiting players from fighting, but Moreau didn’t shy away from dropping the gloves in his brief cameo last season, and I’m sure Souray will drop them if he feels the need as well.

  79. Bruce says:

    Mactavish can talk in the media all he wants about limiting players from fighting, but Moreau didn’t shy away from dropping the gloves in his brief cameo last season, and I’m sure Souray will drop them if he feels the need as well.

    BS: Yeah, I agree. Both guys are emotional players and there’ll be times when they will just go with the flow. Hopefully there won’t be any premeditated shit like Moreau on Markov, which was just stupid, but if tempers flare and a guy drops the gloves, well that’s hockey.

    I wrote:

    To my recollection Sheldon doesn’t collect frequent fighter points but when he does decide to drop the mitts he’s a handful. If not a faceful.

    File this under “FWIW”, but given your reference to the McCarty and Sarich scraps I looked Souray up on hockeyfights.com. It seems he does fight fairly rarely, probably because most guys don’t want to go near him. Since the lockout Souray’s had 8 fights, and was resoundingly voted the winner in all 8 of them, by margins ranging from 71.8% all the way up to 96.8%. (Virtually all the votes he didn’t get were for a draw, not for the other guy) Judging from the reviews, several of those fights were in retaliation for cheap shots on teammates. Some of the guys he took out were pretty tough hombres too. Definitely not a guy to fuck with, and you need a couple of those on your team.

  80. Black Dog says:

    melanie – that was the one

    traktor – well I would never question Horcoff’s toughness but you’re right – question is, what about Penner – he’s actually big enough

    regarding Souray – can’t remember who it was – if it was when I was iN Montreal last summer or if it was jeff at sisu but they remarked that Souray was one of those guys who never fought because he’s the type who will just knock a guy out

    Powerful man.

    Who is paid way too much money. Still.

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