Perfect

Kevin Lowe didn’t do much at the draft and I think most fans were happy about it. The procurement department (go Stu Macgregor!) selected Jordan Eberle (future sniper) and waited patiently for a Swede and a Finn and those are not bad moves for a team that must have been tempted to move some current parts to keep stockpiling for the future.

Last summer, Lowe began the team building with a solid trade for Joni Pitkanen and an excellent free agent signing in Mathieu Garon. Although it cost him captain Jason Smith and my friend Dennis’ favorite player (Joffrey Lupul) most would agree one year later this was a good trade and that the Oilers are in a better position now than they were based on these two deals.

The Nylander, Vanek and Penner signings got all kinds of negative publicity but after one calendar year Penner is at least an NHL player who can do some things and the other guys never came here anyway.

So we’re left with the Souray signing as the major gaffe from one year ago, along with the stunning “is it me?” quote in the Edmonton Journal. And losing Hejda for nothing. The Georges Laraque “guys are wondering what’s going on in Edmonton!” quote was not a good day and then Brian Burke began his year long snap that reached climax this weekend when Anaheim bought out Lex Luthor.

Kevin Lowe comes into this summer with some walking around money, a new owner and a few holes. He has stated the need for a scoring forward and some grit, and many of us would love a nice free agent defender in the Steve Staios-Jan Hejda tradition.

I’m posting this because we might as well talk about what a good week would look like for the Edmonton General Manager. Here’s my list:

  • Sign Curtis Glencross for LW insurance but play Raffi in the top 9 when healthy
  • Sign Shawn Horcoff to an extension
  • Sign Joni Pitkanen
  • Trade Matt Greene for a veteran D
  • Trade Stoll, Schremp and extras for a healthy two-way center with size
Depth Chart

  • Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
  • Gagner-Cogliano-Nilsson
  • Veteran C-Torres-Pisani
  • Pouliot-Glencross-Brodziak
  • Pitkanen-Staios
  • Veteran D-Gilbert
  • Souray-Grebeshkov
  • Smid
  • Garon-Roloson

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30 Responses to "Perfect"

  1. Traktor says:

    Brodziak?

  2. Lowetide says:

    Damn. Fixed.

  3. misfit says:

    I’m with you, but that would depend on who you had in mind in the way of “healthy two way center with size”.

    Also, I probably wouldn’t have Moreau whacked (or whatever you’ve done with him) quite yet. Glencross would probably be the 13th forward on my team with Chopper drawing in as the 4th line LW.

  4. Lowetide says:

    misfit: Moreau is my 13th forward, I don’t think he’s a guy they can count on.

  5. Traktor says:

    Pouliot in place of Stortini?

    I’m not going to say if it’s right or wrong but it’s never going to happen.

    Craig MacTavish saw something from this kid that nobody else could. He was playing Storts when he didn’t even deserve to play. If Craig liked him at the start of the season there is no way he is going to lose him now after he watched Stortini improve 10 fold.

    I hoping for:

    1. Sign Horc asap. If he makes it to the open market he will get 7 mill per. Horc probabaly know that too so if you can’t ink him soon at a reasonable rate you should move him before the season starts.

    2. Sign Joni

    3. Upgrade Staios for an elite shutdown defensemen.

    Any veteran top 4 defensive defensemen (Commodore) with a track record of being a solid option 5 on 5 is going to cost 3+ and with Pitkanen, Gilbert and Souray occupying the top 3 it would mean that player or Staios would be making over 2.7 million on the third pairing. It would be nice in a perfect world but I don’t feel it’s viable, especially if we want to obtain any high end players.

    4. Sign Glencross. I don’t care about his shooting %. He is one of the fastest players in the NHL with a willingness to hit. He doesn’t have to score 15 to be effective. I wouldn’t pay more than 1.3 for him though.

    5. Upgrade Stoll with someone who isn’t worried about being concussed again. Kesler/Vermette/

    6. Dump Roli and one of Torres/Moreau.

  6. misfit says:

    With his injuries over the past 2 seasons, you’re probably right. I was under the assumption that you were listing a healthy Oiler squad, and in that case, I don’t see the team winning more with Glencross than they would with Moreau.

    Not only that, but there’s no way MacT lets Moreau sit in the pressbox without a doctor’s note.

  7. Black Dog says:

    I like it LT.

  8. PDO says:

    My only disagreement?

    The picture should be of Scarlette Jo or Jessica Alba.

    That is all.

  9. breakerdog says:

    What do the Oil need on July 1st?

    5vs4:
    The PP got off to a horrible start and then clicked along quite nicely for the second half of the year. The final ranking overall was tied for 20th overall in the league. Hemsky (5.93/PPpointsper60min) is an especially good contributor here, ranking 3rd overall in the league. Penner (4.07), Horcoff (4.00) and Gagner (3.88) all do pretty well. Other significant players that would most likely make up a second unit include Nilsson (2.66) and Cogs (2.52) and up front with Pitkannen (2.11), Stoll (3.77) and Gilbert (3.01) on the back end. I would expect to see improvement on the PP numbers this year as long as Hemsky is on the half boards for a minute and a half, the injury bug is avoided and Gagner, Nilsson and Gilbert improve on their rookie campaign as expected. Souray (1.72) was pretty bad here considering this is what he was brought in to do; hopefully things go better this year for him. This is an area that could use improvement but should be above average.

    4vs5:
    This has been strength over the Mac-T era and I see no reason why this won’t continue. Last years rank was 5th overall. Not an area of concern.

    5vs5Off:
    Last years rank was tied for 11th in the league in goals scored. If you factor in the worst injury plagued year in franchise history in terms of man games lost along with Stoll and Torres falling into a well this isn’t horrible. The kids should show improvement, a full year of Horcoff and a few less donuts in the off season for Penner should help this a bit. This is an area that could use improvement but should be above average.

    5vs5Def:
    Last years rank was a rancid 27th overall in goals against. There just weren’t enough places to hide all the players who got beat up at evens. The defence was young and mistake prone (Smid, Greene). The forwards were either young and got eaten up by veteran players or just plain bad (Stoll, Torres). The only 2 lines that could pull its own weight and outscore opponents heads up was the HorPenSky line and that went south when Horc went down and Stoll the Black hole moved in to his spot, and the fourth line. The subject of how important 5vs5 play is to a team has been beaten to death on the blogosphere and last year’s version of the Oil where flat out bad at it. This is an area of major concern and needs improvement.

    Goaltending:
    This can be tough to quantify due to team defensive strength, philosophy and lots of other factors. We will use save % for this exercise because I believe that it is the most important stat in relation to goaltenders. Last years rank was a 4 way tie for 17th overall in team save percentage. Roloson probably got more play in the beginning of the year due to loyalty by Mac-T than he deserved and certainly got worn down in the end due to Garons injury. Garon is still relatively unproven but deserves the nod to start the year. Rollie is still a valuable guy in a 20 – 30 game roll and JDD is somehow going to be in the mix. I don’t see any significant gains in this area unless Garon catches fire. This is an area of concern but should be at or slightly below the league average.

    All of that to say this:

    The Oil most need a veteran defender who can play vs. the opponents top lines and be an “outscorer”, with offence being of less importance.

    Players that fit the bill:

    QUALCOMP GFON/60 GAON/60

    ADAM FOOTE 0 .15 2.04 2.04

    KURT SAUER 0.12 2.81 1.70

    BRYCE SALVADOR 0.09 2.65 2.22

  10. spOILer says:

    Out of NHL centres top 30 in hits and also top 30 FO %, we have Scott Nichol, Bobby Holik, Jarret Stoll, David Steckel, Paul Gaustad, and Sammy Pahlsson.

    Nichol’s a waterbug from right here in River City, Holik is old, and played middling opp with middling linemates and posted a -11.

    Gaustad is a 7th rounder (229th) from the 2000 draft class. He brings 225 lbs on a 6’5″ frame. In 2007-08, his 3rd season, he scored 10-26-36. B-t-N has him with soft opp @ -.07, lousy linemates -.06, 2.18 GF/60, 2.24 GA/60, -1. He’s an RFA this summer, but he plays in Buffalo.

    Steckel posted middling numbers across the board, COMP .01, TEAM 0.0, -1. He’s 6’5″, 215 lbs, but only one year under his belt, with some pretty low offensive numbers. Still opposing teams had trouble scoring when he was on the ice too. Class of 2001 (30th)

    Pahlsson is in ANA, so ain’t coming here. Posted some seriously difficult opp with poor teammates, and had a small minus number.

    So it may be better to look at some middling guys:

    Jozef Vasicek, UFA, drafted 91st in 1998, b. Sept 80, 6’5″ 214 lbs.
    16-19-35 in 81gp. COMP .03, team .07, per 60 GF/GA were 1.98/1.81, and +3. 75 hits, 126 shots, 55.8 FO %.

    Manny faced .03, with .10 on his side posting 2.22/2.15, +1. Scored 11-18-29 in 71 games played. 64 hits, 112 shots, 59% FO%. 6’2″ 215 lbs, another 28 yo drafted 7th overall in 98 (not exactly covering his position).

    But both these guys have a lot of experience for their age, have size and decent speed, can play the big boys and not bleed goals, and both generate decent shot and hitting rates.

    Jarret Stoll by the way looks like the only centre with over 100 hits, 150 shots and 55% or better in the FO circle.

  11. spOILer says:

    Sorry, Manny Malhotra.

    That’s my look at 3C. Unless we’re going out and spending $3M on Madden or Holik, it will be tough to upgrade that spot from outside the organization (if they’re upgrades at their age).

  12. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: I’m thinking more like Jeff Halpern, Steve Reinprecht, Chris Higgins, those kind of players.

    My number one choice would be Alexander Steen.

  13. PDO says:

    LT:

    I know you’re soured on bigger guys thanks to the Coke Machine era…

    But this team can’t afford to pick up a guy like Steen. We need a few more guys who will get in your face and start up a lawnmower if they push too far. We have a lot of tough guys, but we have too many guys who will never lay someone out (Hemsky, Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Pisani, Pouliot, Reasoner and Brodziak off the top of my head) to pick up another.

  14. Quain says:

    I agree. A finesse team has never won the Stanley Cup. Let’s pick up Bertuzzi!

  15. PDO says:

    That’s just mean Quain… especially because I’m a guy who has loved much (key word: much…. everything from the defensvie blueline in) of what Bertuzzi has brought.

    The new NHL has everyone blowing a load over the small skilled guys…. but all things similar, I’d much rather have a big skilled guy than a small skilled guy, especially when we’re in a division with guys like Regehr, Boogard, Phaneuf….

    Skill is great.

    Size and skill is perfect.

  16. Bendelson says:

    Yes LT. I think you nailed it with Alex Steen. That’s the type of addition I’d like to see. Vermette has similiar qualities.

    The hard work has been done, and a responsible player with huge upside might be ripe for the taking.

    I’ll let KLowe work out the details.

  17. doritogrande says:

    ” A finesse team has never won the Stanley Cup.”

    Where were you this playoff run?

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    Jozef Stumple was bought out. He’s had some decent numbers. If Stoll goes, how would anyone feel about bringing him in for a year or two?

  19. andy grabia says:

    If Moreau is on the bench, you better add “naming new captain” to that list of things for management to do.

  20. Coach pb9617 says:

    Steckel posted middling numbers across the board, COMP .01, TEAM 0.0, -1. He’s 6’5″, 215 lbs, but only one year under his belt, with some pretty low offensive numbers. Still opposing teams had trouble scoring when he was on the ice too. Class of 2001 (30th)

    I got to watch Steckel in person a number of times this season at the VZW. Though he was the 4th center – Caps fans were completely confident with him on the ice. He never seemed to lose a key faceoff late in games and he was always working hard in the corners and using his size really well.

    I wouldn’t mind him on the third line one bit. He should be half as cheap as Stoll too.

  21. HBomb says:

    If Moreau is on the bench, you better add “naming new captain” to that list of things for management to do.

    I think LT correctly assumes it will not be choice and Moreau being injured is simply a matter of time.

    For the half-dozen games he’s actually healthy, the 4th line likely is Moreau-Brodziak-Glencross, with Stortini spotted in as required.

    As for the 3rd line, I hope “veteran C” does NOT end up equalling Marty Reasoner. I’d rather they played Pouliot there or retained Stoll instead even. “Sakic” no longer has a place on this team, not with Brodziak and Pouliot around (because he’s no better than a 4th liner). Simple as that.

  22. spOILer says:

    LT: Halpern would be a good pick up if you can convince TB to let him go, and they might be, if they’re on a true youth movement. Be a nice exchange of youth for experience.

    Higgins we stand no chance of getting.

    Reinprecht’s a bigger risk to play 40 games than Ethan, and doesn’t bring as much any more, I wouldn’t want him.

    Vasicek would probably be cheaper than all these guys. I don’t mind Halpern though, and he can handle the tough minutes.

  23. Vic Ferrari says:

    I think the Oilers should stand pat on the trade front, unless Pitkanen looks like he will be difficult to sign long term, and they can get a high quality forward on a decent contract in return (Justin Williams was mentioned by Brownlee the other day, and that would be a great trade for the Oildrop I think).

    As for trading Stoll, I think it’s madness. The boxcar numbers aside, I thought Stoll played better than I thought he could. And I’ve always thought that Oiler fans and Pierre McGuire overrated this player. After a rough October, when the concussion issues may well have been in play, he looked a bit leaner and quicker out there.

    He played really tough minutes for the first time in his career, starting the lion’s share of his shifts with the puck in the wrong end of the rink, or heading that way, and usually against good players. And he ended a lot of his shifts going the right way.

    Now he’s always been more of a shooter than a playmaker, and his career shooting% still lags well behind Horcoff and Torres, and probably always will. Still, given the context of his icetime, finishing third in shots on goal at even strength (a whopping 107 shots at evens, trailing only Penner and Hemsky … and just 2 goals to show for it). Not to worry, that worm will turn.

    And Glencross (like him a lot, btw) Mario-esque EV shooting% just won’t hold up. Only Glencross’ parents would bet against that, and even then it would just be a twenny, and just for show.

  24. Dennis says:

    It’s so rare that Vic posts in the summertime, it behooves me to respond:

    - Why would the Canes give up Williams? Do they think he’s injury prone? I know they’ve been patchwork on their D for seemingly forever and that lots of guys in the league most still like Pitkanen, but, still, Williams seemed like he turned a corner last year. I guess they’re confident that they have enough hitters left to trade some pitching.

    - Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the guys that wants to hold onto Stoll and have one more year of 10-16 taking the toughs while 89 gets to learn against the weaks, but my biggest problem with Stoll last year is he wasn’t even hitting the ball hard. I think there were maybe two stretches where he had enough scoring chances that I thought he might break out. Otherwise, the guy wasn’t even creating chances, let alone finishing them.

    - I’m surprised that LT’s in favour of paying Glencross because we can’t pay everyone and we’re damn close to having to really “pay” 13-89. With Pouliot in the house and Reddox knocking on the door, I don’t know why LT’s clamouring to pay a guy who hasn’t ever played top nine min, won’t get a sniff on the PP and hasn’t even killed penalties.

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’m surprised that LT’s in favour of paying Glencross because we can’t pay everyone and we’re damn close to having to really “pay” 13-89. With Pouliot in the house and Reddox knocking on the door, I don’t know why LT’s clamouring to pay a guy who hasn’t ever played top nine min, won’t get a sniff on the PP and hasn’t even killed penalties.

    Speed, physical ability, tendency to shoot, work ethic, chemistry…

    I’m sure there are a bunch of reasons.

  26. HBomb says:

    On VF’s commentary on Stoll: yeah, if they can’t get anything for him, keeping him would be alright with me.

    Run Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky power vs. power and have Torres-Stoll-Pisani also capable of tough minutes (I was loving this line in December 2006 before Stoll’s concussion issues). Feed the kids the soft minutes and build your fourth line around some combination of Moreau, Pouliot, Brodziak, Stortini, and (potentially) Glencross.

    That’s a decent little set of forwards. Retain Pitkanen and replace one of Greene/Smid with a guy who has to shave more than once a week, and I’d say this squad’s a decent bet for 7th or 8th place.

    Which I’d call a success. Looking at the timelines on the Gagliano entry level deals running out after 2009-10, the goal, oddly enough, might need to be to load up and make a run at the “30 pound big silver thingy” roughly 22 months from now…..

  27. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis,

    I can’t imagine why Carolina would make that deal either (though I haven’t checked William’s contract situation). But Brownlee seemed to think that deal was a real possibility.

    I really rate J Williams though, more pure skill than he gets credit for, in part because he plays an honest game; doesn’t cheat for offense. And he had a terrific WHC a few years ago, a year when Lowe was GM I think, he was certainly there. So he’s seen him good, I can see Lowe being interested.

    On Glencross:
    I haven’t been reading the comments in the blogs for a while, but I have caught a bit of Stauffer on the radio here and there (it seems like every time I catch it, Terry Ryan is on BTW, and he’s terrific, the guy should have his own show).

    Anyhow, I like Glencross, but nobody seems to have acknowledged the fact that he started his shifts mostly against the other team’s depth as well, and almost always with the puck going forward or already there.

    If they are going to pay him real money … they’d better be damn sure that he can be effective with more minutes, against better competition, and in more difficult situations. And they’d have to make room for his icetime if that’s the case (Torres or Moreau would have to be moved). And they have to understand that it’s pretty damn unlikely that he’ll continue to finish at a Pavel-Bure-type clip.

    That’s a lot to ask of Oiler mgmt IMO. I’m giving Lowe the benefit of the doubt, but they still make me a bit nervous.

    Also on Glencross: Desjardins’ QUALCOMP is very dodgy for that team (it is for the Oilers this past season too, for different reasons). Hitchcock looked like he was running a science experiment with the forwards in Ohio with the way that he was divorcing the tough icetime up between position/possession and opposing players. We see that everywhere, but it was over the top last season in CBJ. Mirtle was pimping Nash for the Selke (and he has improved leaps and bounds no doubt) but Malhotra and Chimera have become own-zone-draw specialists to an extreme. Hitch didn’t look to be interested in them playing against quality in any other zone though.

    Back to point: Glencross carried more weight in Ohio that Desjardins’ gives him credit for. And the behindthenet.ca Corsi’s are wrong too (script error there). So there are a lot of reasons to believe that this player can be a contributor with more icetime and greater responsibility … but it’s a helluva a short track record to base it on. As always, the viability of the wager depends on the price of it … we’ll see how much Glencross is asking for. And it looks like a smarter bet for VAN or CGY to make, at least from where I’m sitting.

  28. Dennis says:

    Vic: I think most people who watched knew that the Oilers 4th line was killing against the other team’s 4th line; Lain probably does too, but it seems like he sees more there.

    On Ryan, you must be trying to get a rise out of me:)

  29. Lowetide says:

    I like Glencross as an energy 4th line guy AND I like him to replace Moreau and or Torres when injured. Ethan hasn’t played a lot.

    Plus of course the LW options beyond Penner, Nilsson, Torres and Moreau are offensive guys like Schremp, Potulny, Trukhno.

    Is Reddox ready? Can Jacques come back and Christmas and play well enough to make the grade?

    I think LW is an area of weakness and a one-year, $1.5M contract spent on Curtis Glencross is a better move than blowing your brain’s out on Malone.

  30. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis, I know he’s a NFer, but I don’t remember whether or not you like Ryan, he really is good on the radio though. I think he plays in that senior league out here now, the one that Theo Fleury and Link Gaetz (and dozens like him) played in.

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