Starting Point

One area this hockey club needs to improve in the next 24 months is actual NHL players. During the MacT era a plethora of young men graduated and have become solid major leaguers and the odds are that this group will have a bunch who make the grade too.

But there are some kids who are in trouble and that has a pretty big impact on overall depth. We’re also at a point where a player like Ales Hemsky needs to step forward and have that long awaited breakout season.

Let’s compare this group to the bunch who ended up providing fans with excitement in the late 1990′s. They all arrived within 48 months and by 1995-96 this was the list of Oiler forwards 25 and under:

  1. Doug Weight (24) 82gp, 25-79-104
  2. Zdeno Ciger (25) 78gp, 31-39-70
  3. Jason Arnott (20) 64gp, 28-31-59
  4. David Oliver (24) 80gp, 20-19-39
  5. Todd Marchant (22) 81gp, 19-19-38
  6. Miro Satan (20) 62gp, 18-17-35
  7. Dean McAmmond (22) 53gp, 15-15-30
  8. Marius Czerkawski (23) 37gp, 12-17-29
  9. Scott Thornton (24) 77gp, 9-9-18
  10. Ryan Smyth (19) 48gp, 2-9-11
  11. Kent Manderville (24) 37gp, 3-5-8
  12. Louie DeBrusk (24) 38gp, 1-3-4
  13. Ralph Intranuovo (21) 13gp, 1-2-3
  14. Jason Bonsignore (19) 20gp, 0-2-2
  15. Tyler Wright (22) 23gp, 1-0-1
  16. Dennis Bonvie (22) 8gp, 0-0-0

And now this past season:

  1. Ales Hemsky (25) 72gp, 23-43-66
  2. Patrick O’Sullivan (23) 81gp, 16-27-43
  3. Sam Gagner (19) 76gp, 16-25-41
  4. Andrew Cogliano (20) 82gp, 18-20-38
  5. Dustin Penner (25) 78gp, 17-20-37
  6. Robert Nilsson (23) 64gp, 9-20-29
  7. Kyle Brodziak (24) 79gp, 11-16-27
  8. Marc Pouliot (23) 63gp, 8-12-20
  9. Lisam Reddox (22) 46gp, 5-7-12
  10. Zack Stortini (22) 52gp, 6-5-11
  11. Gilbert Brule (21) 11gp, 2-1-3
  12. Rob Schremp (22) 4gp, 0-3-3
  13. Ryan Potulny (23) 8gp, 0-3-3
  14. JF Jacques (23) 7gp, 1-0-1
  15. Tim Sestito (24) 1gp, 0-0-0

The 1995-96 team played in a league that averaged 258 goals per team (Oilers scored 240) and this year’s club played in a league that averaged 239 goals per team (Oilers scored 234).

Based on these numbers:

  1. Which cluster would you prefer?
  2. Where would Hemsky rank on the 95-96 list?
  3. What about Gagner on the 95-96 list?
  4. Is there anyone close to Weight on this year’s list?
  5. Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do?
  6. Who is the Todd Marchant in this group?

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64 Responses to "Starting Point"

  1. B.C.B. says:

    -Cogliano is Todd Marchant: a couple years younger, same number of Pts, and roughly the same amount of goals and assists. Trade Cogs now for the offensive start or young great goalie, and get the most of him!

    - I don’t think it is fair to compare Arnott to either Cogs or Gags: different type of player. I would hope Gagner is better then both Arnott and Satan: is younger then both, better numbers then Satan, didn’t play with Weight like Arnott, and in an era with less goals scored.

    - No one close to Weight: I smell the problem.

    - I rather have the cluster around the 40 Pts opposed to a few stars and a boat load of crap holes. But having first line production from one or two players would make the cluster of 40 Pts guys a way deeper team.

  2. pboy says:

    Completely off of this brand new topic but is anyone else watching this San Jose – Anaheim game tonight? Joe Thornton might be having the worst game of his career and his lack of effort has been laughable. The CBC crew are lambasting him; Milbury, Stock, Hrudey even Ron McLean. I wonder if there is a chance that San Jose will be trying to change up their team at all this summer? They had a very successful regular season but they have been just terrible so far in Round 1. Thornton and Marleau have been close to invisible in the playoffs, Cheechoo has been decent but he had a lackluster reg. season and Blake looks like he might be done. I wonder if Tambo could find a trading partner in San Jose this summer who might be willing to take a long look at Souray?

  3. Jonathan Willis says:

    1. Which cluster would you prefer? The current group, but I’m an optimist.

    2. Where would Hemsky rank on the 95-96 list?

    66 points is right between Ciger and Arnott, obviously. Sheesh, LT. In all seriousness, probably behind Weight and on par with Smyth.

    3. What about Gagner on the 95-96 list?
    4. Is there anyone close to Weight on this year’s list?

    It has to be Gagner. I’m a big believer in this kid; he’s tracking ahead of Hemsky and while his offense seemed to stall his allround game improved dramatically this year from last.

    5. Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do?

    I’d rank them Gagner/Arnott/Satan/Cogliano, but that’s just off the top of my head. I may be underrating Satan.

    6. Who is the Todd Marchant in this group?

    Kyle Brodziak isn’t Marchant and I think he ends up having less of a career; Pouliot would be my guess although I wouldn’t project him that high either.

  4. HBomb says:

    San Jose and Washington have both outshot Anaheim and the Rangers fairly significantly through four games. Both trail 3-1. Respecitvely, they finished first and fourth overall this season. I think the arrows point to one of these teams pulling off the comeback to completion, and I honestly wouldn’t be that shocked if both did.

    On the flip side, this San Jose/Anaheim series looks like Ottawa/Toronto from a few years back – the inferior overall team winning for whatever reason, be it luck, “clutch players”, “huge saves”, or whatever else a TV color commentator can come up with.

  5. HBomb says:

    The winds of change are blowing. Another solid article from Dan Barnes.

  6. Phil says:

    Interesting post LT.

    1) I have to say I’m partial to the ’95 team at this point. In that group, you had big pieces that the current team doesn’t have – a 100 point man, and a scoring centre with size.

    2) Hemsky. I’ll put it this way – of all the guys on the ’95 Oilers in the 24-25 year old group, none had a better year in their career going forward. This is what we have in Hemsky. What we see is what we have; hovering right at or just below a point a game. This isn’t a bad thing, either. He’s more or less like Hossa or Havlat, but unless he gets a legit star to play with (ala what Hossa got in Atlanta), this yeti called the ‘breakout season’ just won’t appear.

    3) Gagner. At 19, it looks like he’s well clear of everyone on that list save for Weight and maybe Arnott (although Arnott’s career point progression is super irregular). This is assuming that Gagner will continue to improve (not a guarantee, but hard to imagine he won’t). Which leads to…

    4, 5a) By the time he reaches his 25 year season, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think Gagner could be in the ballpark of Doug Weight. Around 1PPG, good leadership skills, and a wizard setup guy. Only question for me is can he become a solid faceoff guy?

    5b) If Cogs can transition to a winger, he could have a solid career. I’d say in the range of Satan points-wise, but with better PK value.

    6) Hard to say who the Todd Marchant of the group is, but it is NOT Cogliano. Cogliano has Marchant’s speed, but has hands and a knack for getting to the right place. If Cogliano doesn’t have 20 more points in his 22 year season than Marchant had, I’ll eat your hat.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Tambellini’s deadline was rock solid and I’m more than prepared to be impressed but a “new sherrif in town” article does not impress me.

    Everyone gave great answers, mine are pretty much copies of someone above.

    1.Which cluster would you prefer?
    The old group. They had 4 (Weight, Smyth, Arnott, Satan) impact players. Edmonton currently has Hemsky, Gagner, Cogliano and O’Sullivan as the top 4 (imo) and that’s not as good.

    2.Where would Hemsky rank on the 95-96 list? I’d put Hemsky behind Weight and Smyth and probably a bit behind Arnott. On par with Satan. Gagner’s the star of this new group.

    3.What about Gagner on the 95-96 list? I’d put him 2nd behind Weight. He’s tracking nicely ahead of Hemsky, more cerebral and wins some battles.

    4.Is there anyone close to Weight on this year’s list? As mentioned above, Gagner. He’s going to be a beauty and the Oilers will improve tremendously the moment he begins delivering more than he’s giving up.

    5.Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do? Gagner has the best future, then the two older fellows, the Cogs. They’re all very valuable assets.

    6.Who is the Todd Marchant in this group? Cogliano in style, Pouliot in functon. That’s my opinion, I think Pouliot can do that job. What I wonder doesn’t matter, but it’s a good question for the new coach.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Is it possible to apply a similar analysis, comparing the defence of these teams?

  9. PDO says:

    Doug Weight would be an excellent addition to this team, especially with the rumours about a fractured room… if they’re true, we could sure as hell use a guy like him who was a Star, is now a lunch bucket guy, made his money…

    Anyway, to answer the questions ;)

    I prefer the current cluster, but it’s hard to look at them with all things being equal because they’re not – we know Weight was a difference maker for a long time and we know Arnott became a beauty too.

    Hemsky would slip in above Arnott but below Weight… I don’t think it’s insane to think he could eventually be above Weight, but he would REALLY have to get his shit together in a hurry, and the injuries are becoming a concern.

    Not to mention, how come Weight made guys around him better, but Hemsky needs some mythical one-shot-scoring-machine in order to put up the kinds of numbers Weight did?

    Just saying.

    Gagner and Hemsky are both in the Weight range.

    Arnott yes, Satan no…. 6’4″ centers who can score 30 are always going to be very valuable in this league. The return for Arnott was good, thankfully, but man it’d be nice to have had him on this team the past decade.

    I’m not sure who I’d compare Marchant to, or if there even is one. He was a fast, gritty bastard who could get you 40 points for the most part. Cogliano seems to have better offensive instincts than that, and plays the game a bit softer.

    Dennis:

    I gave that equire article a read… wow.

  10. Oilmaniac says:

    This comment will prob go without notice but… man, Lowe is eating crow with his comments on Bobby Ryan… what a show that kid is putting on this season… thats a ‘starting point’ they got…

  11. Oilmaniac says:

    hunter, you are still around… hehe, i thought the linch mob would finally catch up w you… hehe…

    Anyways, happy off season y’all…

    and btw, i agree w hemmer falling short of weight..

  12. Phil says:

    @hunter: I was thinking the same thing last night. The top 3 dmen 25 and under in ’95-’96 would be Mironov (23), Greg de Vries (22), and Jiri Slegr (24). Compare that to Grebs, Smid, Chorney, and Peckham this year. Tough call.

    Grebs compares pretty well offensively to Mironov’s 25 year old season, but does not play the same physical style. The other five could be a wash, but I’d pick Peckham out of the bunch as the one I’d keep. Honourable mention to Chorney, but time will tell.

    It’s interesting if you move up to the 26 year olds. In 95′ you have Richardson and Marchment, two guys with long NHL careers. Compare that to Gilbert. Completely different style player, but probably better than both over the course of his career.

  13. Smarmy Boss says:

    The Oilers would be a contender for the division title if they had a 95-96 Doug Weight on the team.

    He’s the best player the team has had since the old glory days.

  14. Smytty777 says:

    LT: is it really fair to compare straight up two teams that played in a 26 team vs. a 30 team league. That is quite a big difference when you are talking about quality of talent on any one roster. The 1995 roster should have more talent by default and it is debateable that it does.

    In my opinion given that the two teams are at least comparable, the current squad should win hands down given the difference in the size of the league.

  15. NormanMendoza says:

    A little off-topic, but seeing Arnott’s rookie season on there sure points to the fact that even when you draft a TFLC ™ [true first line center] sometimes it takes the player a while to figure it all out.

  16. bookie says:

    is it really fair to compare straight up two teams that played in a 26 team vs. a 30 team league. That is quite a big difference when you are talking about quality of talent on any one roster. The 1995 roster should have more talent by default and it is debateable that it does.

    You dont take into accourt the fact that there are more Europeans in the League now and that the populations of Canada and the USA have increased by about 15% since then (more than the increase in the number of teams – and the same kind of increase was apparent durring the development period of the players in question).]

    Also, I believe that the popularity of minor hockey increased a fair bit (particularly in the USA) between the development period for the 1995 team (Kids born between 1960-75) and the development period for the 2008 team (born between 1973 to 1988).

  17. DBO says:

    So if we grade Cogliano as a Marchant on the low end, with the potential to be a better goal scorer, what is his worth? Judging by the comparisons, there is only one player after Hemsky who will become a true impact player and that is Ganer. If that is the case, then shouldn’t we be unloading these players who we will inevitably overpay in 1 or 2 years time and find someone who either has a higher ceiling or at least fills a glaring need. If you truly want to change the culture, and you want to also build a contender for the future, then you move those players who won’t be the main impact guys. i really like what Cogliano brings since he can skate and score, but if he’s not going to be a top 6 player on this team then you move him. Same with Nilsson up front. as for the back end, if Smid will never be more then a 5/6 dman here (and he wants to be a top 4 guy)then you move him as well. Ditto for Pouliot (could have presence, but does nothing well enough to be an impact player).

    Tambellini’s off season wishes are to get bigger, more physical, up tempo and in your face. All of the players listed above, with the exception of Smid ( i would like to keep him but not sure if he wants out since he’ll never get the PT he desires), do not fit that category so i expect them to be moved. I also see one or two vets getting moved to a team that loses in the first round but had expectations. A team like San Jose or montreal wants and need veteran types with grit, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a play for veterans.
    - Souray to San Jose for Erhoff and Clowe
    - Cogliano to Rangers for Dubinsky
    - Nilsson and pick to Wild for Harding
    - Pouliot, Moreau/Pisani, Staios to anywhere for picks/prospects.
    - Lots of cap space to now sign a top LW, and a 5/6 dman.
    - If you re-sign greb for $3.5 and Smid for $1.25, and the new RFA’s: Harding – $1.5, Dubinsky and Clowe – $2.5. You are left with $6.2 mill below last year’s team cap hit. basically giving us around $7.5 mill to fil out the roster.
    - 5/6 dman for around $1 mill and left with $6.5 for a top LW.

    lineup

    LW (Hossa) – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Clowe – Gagner – O’Sullivan
    Penner – Dubinsky – Pisani
    Jacques – Brodziak – Stortini

    Vish – Grebeshkov
    Erhoff – Gilbert
    Vet 5D/6D- Smid
    Peckham

    Harding
    JDD

    Basically a smaller back end, but lots of skill and a tougher forward lineup. And we solve our goalie dilemma going forward

  18. Sean says:

    1. Which cluster would you prefer?
    I’d take the 1995-96 cluster but the 08-09 team. We left out Horcoff and a solid D of Lubo, Grebs, Sourray and Gilber.

    2. Where would Hemsky rank on the 95-96 list?
    Hemskys last season was a real curveball for me – especially statistically. Right now I’m thinking he is just behind Weight and Arnott but ahead of Smyth.

    3. What about Gagner on the 95-96 list?
    He isnt on at the level Weight and Arnott were in 1995-96 but my guess is his career is close to Weights.

    4. Is there anyone close to Weight on this year’s list?
    See #3

    5. Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do?
    Its hard to discount Satans 40 goal seasons and Arnott’s cups and current leadership ability. Gags and Cogs are are different players so its a difficult comparison. Next year will be a telling year but my guess is Arnott and Satan are ahead of the pack.

    6. Who is the Todd Marchant in this group?
    Kyle Brodziak has the best shot. But the Oilers need to find this guy. And like others I still see more offense out of Cogliano.

    And 2 final notes
    - Trading Cogliano this offseason makes us the Thrashers
    - Robert Nilsonn is Czerkawski.

  19. Smytty777 says:

    Bookie: I don’t know that I could agree with that assessment, we are only talking about elite level hockey talent that makes the NHL. I agree that there are more Europeans and the grassroots in the US has grown, but the talent is spread far more thinly in a 30 team league vs. a 26 team league.

    I don’t think the amount of elite level talent has increased by more than 15% over the years in question. Although I do think more people may actually be playing.

  20. Sean says:

    DBO I like what you propose there (although Hossa is a pipedream). Overall the Oilers dont need to do too much but your proposals address all the needs for the Oilers (even though I don’t like trading Cogliano).

    1) Addressing goaltending – get Harding
    2) Addressing pk/faceoff problem – Dubinsky
    3) Addressing inconsistency – Trade one of Nilsson or Penner
    4) Addressing grit – Clowe tougher than Nilsson.

    I rank the grit problem as 4th in priority because it can be addressed in lines 3-4 and 5/6 on D.

  21. George B says:

    DBO:
    No one makes any of those trade, maybe the Rangers since they have enough gritty two way guys.

    It is hard not to take the 1995-96 team over the present edition.

    There are a bunch of guys that have had nice careers there, from 8-15 on the present list, it is mostly filler.

  22. DBO says:

    George: will I agree the deals may not be the best for either team, but i actually think they would work.

    - Cogs for Dubinsky: Dubinsky due for a raise next year, and they have cap problems. After next year they get Naslund off their cap so they can re-sign Cogs. Also, they need more speed so it fits a need for them.
    - Souray for Erhoff and Clowe: Dollars work both ways, and San jose just might need a shakeup. Souray is a big name player, they need his size and shot back there to improve their top 2 (pair him with Boyle). kind of splash a team like San Jose needs.
    - Nilsson and picks for Harding: Minnesota needs some skill guys (lots of grit), and Harding is an RFA who will never be their starter due to Backstrom. the pick may have to be a 2nd or 3rd, but I’d do it to get a young goalie with some potential.
    - The rest of the players for picks are just salary dumps, and there are enough teams out there who like what Moreau and Staios bring to the table.
    - Hossa may be a pipe dream I agree. So a tanguay for a discount or someone of that ilk may allow us some cap flexibility while still fitting in our top 6 at LW.

  23. Sean says:

    DBO/George:

    Ya I’m not one to chase around hypothetical trade ideas and they are probably cherry picking (ie best case scenarios). But with those trades, the overall makeup of the team shifts nicely and addresses need.

  24. hunter1909 says:

    Tanguay, and his less than 20 goals.

    Someone is taking the piss here.

  25. George B says:

    Agreed Sean, and probably right to…with San Jose on it’s way out the door, it might be time to offer Wilson Pisani(Thornton), Moreau (Primeau), and Nilsson (Sturm) for Big Joe.

    Not like I can predict what kind of trade would go through, although my average is probably about as high as “That blogger guy”.

  26. George B says:

    Edit: That should have been Staios (Stuart) instead of Pisani….oops.

  27. DBO says:

    Hunter: unfortuanely if we are going the UFA route for thwe 1LW, then there are not many options.
    - Hossa (although he prefers RW) and it’ll cost around $7 mill per.
    - Gaborik: injury prone and wants $6 mill at least
    - Tanguay: also injury prone, but he’s a solid two way player who you can get for no more then $4 mill. And right in the age need of this team (27-30)
    - Steve Sullivan: coming off injury as well. I like his speed and goal scoring. Also an option.
    - Gionta: another smurf coming off bad year. Might be able to ge discount, but he’s not what we need.
    - Havlat: prob need around $6 mill, but he’s a game breaker. Might be a fit, just a lot of money for an injury prone guy who always has a great year in a contract year.

    And that’s it for UFA’s. Tanguay in my opinion based on age, talent (2 way player) and dollars invovlved may be the best fit.

  28. Smytty777 says:

    DBO: There are also the Sedins and Camalleri. Not that either would be a good fit cap and needs wise, but there is a variety of options out there. I think Tanguay is a nice player and if he is available at a reasonable price then he is worth looking at. I question whether he would be available at a reasonable price, but you never know.

  29. quain says:

    If you could somehow get Tanguay for $4M and a reasonable number of years you have to sign him twice.

    Tanguay-Horcoff and Gagner-Hemsky are two duos you can, with the right thirds, go to war with… and Hemsky slots up a line easily for double shifting.

  30. R O says:

    Seriously, as a Flames fan – don’t get Tanguay. He’s a great even strength player who can drive possession even if though he might not be the main bucket carrier. That’s exactly the kind of player the Oilers don’t need.

  31. Dennis says:

    With that ’96 cluster you had 67% of your top three lines:

    Weight/Satan
    Arnott/Smyth
    Grier/Marchant.

    Within three years that was a helluva start on a top nine but a pivot in Arnott was dealt for a winger in Guerin and and Satan was piddled away for a speedster in Moore and Millar the BC fishplant worker.

    I loved Slats like all get-out but Satan-for-nothing and not holding firm on Whitney slayed what could’ve been a great forward corps.

    Speaking of 78 in top nine terms makes sense in that his salary’s still a good bargain and now he’s got a new coach and a clean slate. But, it still feels like he’s done as an Oiler.

    Though if he stays past July 1st, then he’ll stick around.

  32. kris says:

    Q1. Which cluster would you prefer?

    -The current one, but with a caveat. Weight, Arnott, and Ciger, if I remember well, played off each other really well that year. Thus, their numbers in that list are a bit inflated. (Although Arnott is a career 28 goal guy though.)
    -The caveat is that the 95 young line up had goal scorers with size., balanced with skill coming from Weight. The current youngsters are all skill and they need to be balanced out with a scorer.

    Q2-4:

    -Not sure what you’re asking here LT. Comparing Weight, Arnott, or Smyth to Hemsky is apples to oranges and all that. As near as I can tell they’re all in the same category: impact players that occasionally look elite.

    -Or are you asking what their point totals would’ve been?

    5. Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do?

    We’ll see. :)

    6. Who is the Todd Marchant in this group?

    Reddox is the closest but he’ll top out as a slightly lesser player than Marchant.

  33. oilerdago says:

    All this talk about Tanguay being such a great two way player does not seem right.

    I’d want to see someone run the numbers because from what I’ve seen of him, he’s been injury prone and he does not have any kind of physical presence.

    Not the my opinion (or anyone else’s here) matters to Tambellini, but I think some folks are smoking the drapes on Tanguay.

  34. Jon says:

    I think we can take a few things from Tabo’s presser.

    First, he reiterated that we are going to get bigger and grittier.
    Our three O leaders in hits this year was Moreau(126 in 77 gms) Stortini (95 in 52gms) and Penner (77 in 78 gms). I felt all year that the difference between the two lineups Lowetide posted was that you knew the Weight team was going to leave it all on the ice and hit anything that moved. This team was far too easy to play against.

    2nd, Our speical teams was terrible. Our PP, I blame as coaching…only because it has always been bad under MACT. However, our PK was unusually bad this year and I believe it was because we didn’t have the right players.

    3rd, Tambo said that some players need to step it up next year. I believe he was directly talking to Penner and because of Penner’s size that he will be back next year. I also believe that Moreau and Pisani will be back because we need grit. I am hoping that captain will be more responsible next year under a new coach and that this new coach will reign him in if he is up to his old tricks.

    With those assumptions here are my roster moves.

    Trades:
    Pitts and Philly both have excellent third line centres in Staal and Carter. Also, both of these teams need puckmoving d-men and cheap forwards to fit under the cap
    Bait: a combo of Cogs, Nillson, Gilbert, prospects

    I agree with DBO/George that Harding is the best option for us in net. Pull a trade with Minny

    UFA’s:
    Manny Maholtra as our third line pivot 1.5-2mill

    Greg Zanon on the point/ 1.2-1.5mill

    Rollie, sign him to a two year deal with the first year at 2 mill, next year at .5 and a cap hit of 1.75.

    Penner Horc Hemsky
    Sully Staal/Carter Gagner
    Moreau Maholtra Pisani
    Jaques Brodz Storts

    Souray Vis
    Smid Grebs
    Staios Zanon
    Peackham

    Harding
    Rollie

    By my assumptions this lineup would be around 56 million and without any major holes

  35. quain says:

    I’d want to see someone run the numbers because from what I’ve seen of him, he’s been injury prone and he does not have any kind of physical presence.

    Over his career he plays 73 games a season. If you remove this year, which is his first significant, long-term injury, it’s 76.

    All stats are forwards only, min-40GP, even strength.

    08-09:
    QualComp – 9th
    QualTeam – 3rd
    PTS/60 – 1st (2.39)
    GFON/60 – 1st
    GAON/60 – T-3rd

    07-08:
    QualComp – 1st
    QualTeam – 4th
    PTS/60 – 2nd (2.21)
    GFON/60 – 2nd
    GAON/60 – 12th

    The QualComp rank in Montreal is average, but he was crushing the ball in that time, so it’s hard to kill him for it.

    The GAON/60 rank in Calgary is a tad ugly, but he was playing the killers and the entire team was fairly low on the metric (3rd was 2.13, Tanguay was 2.32). He got minutes with Iginla, but he also got minutes on a shutdown line with Conroy… which is exactly how he’d be used in Edmonton.

    Half the time you’d see Tanguay-Horcoff-Hemsky the other half it’d be Tanguay-Horcoff-Pisani.

    I’m not saying give him Hossa money, but you’re telling me Tanguay at $4M for four years is a bad thing? (This is under the assumption we take a few of our other small guys out back and shoot them.)

  36. kris says:

    Jon:

    I don’t know about Staal, but I don’t see Carter going anywhere, 46 goals and all.

    Sorry to sound snippy. Otherwise nice lineup. I think you only need one of Staal or Malhotra, even though they’re not the same level of player.

    And if we’re making changes at all, Stevie Staios needs to go.

  37. Jon says:

    Kris,

    I agree 100% that Carter is an elite talent and very valuable to the Flyers.

    The only reason I put him down was because the Flyers are in big big Cap trouble with huge holes to fill. Their pivots include Briere Richard, Carter.

    Briere is the obvious choice to trade but who would take that contract?

    Richards is a MONSTER!!!! (in best pierre voice)If anyone is untouchable it is him.

    To me Carter is the obvious choice if you are going to make a hockey trade and not a salary trade.

    Also, my intention was not to turn this into HF trade proposals. I read through and saw mention of Jagr (smoke, I know), Gaborik, Tanguay, Ehroff, and for me, I read into Tambo’s presser as being we are going to get bigger and tougher, which is why I laid out my dream summer. Will all that happen? Definitly no! But it is nice to look at a different types of players available to spur conversation.

    My two cents anyways…

  38. Bruce says:

    I rank the grit problem as 4th in priority because it can be addressed in lines 3-4 and 5/6 on D.Sean: While I agree with your poll answers almost to the word, I don’t agree with this one remark in a later comment. I feel that grit is an essential element on every line, that you can’t just load up one or two lines with grindstone types and call it a balanced team. And the idea of replacing Souray with Ehrhoff within our top four makes me shudder … and I like Ehrhoff. (Although I’m at a loss to explain that -12 on a President’s Trophy team)

    There were times down the stretch when the Oil iced a quintet of Nilsson-Gagner-O’Sullivan-Gilbert-Grebeshkov and I would just throw my hands up in despair. Grebs would step up and hit somebody once a week or so, as for the rest of ‘em, forget it. Skill’s fine, but not so much if it’s getting pushed around. A possession game doesn’t work real well if you’ve got nobody to separate the other guys from the puck.

    To default to my ideal roster, the dynasty Oilers loaded up the third and fourth lines with big greasy guys, but still had a physical element on the top two lines. That squad had the ultimate skilled pair in Gretzky and Kurri, so Sather would always put a gritty player like Brett Callighen, Jaroslav Pouzar, or Esa Tikkanen on the port side. The softer skill wingers like Mark Napier, Willy Lindstrom or Kent Nilsson always seemed to wind up with Messier and Anderson who already had more than enough grit.

    The modern flagship is the Wings who throw all sorts of small speedy skilled snipers out there but always seem to include a Mule or a Swedish Smytty to create mayhem and clean up the garbage.

    Or as Holmstrom himself put it when asked about the chemistry of his old line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg: “Hank passes the puck to Pavel, Pavel passes it to Hank, and I just look after the scrums.”

  39. Quinn says:

    I said this on the other comment section, but it looks like everyone’s here now, so I will say it again. With the issues that Kovalchuk has playing on a mediocre team that might not make the playoffs again, does trading a passel of players and/or picks for his $6.4 cap hit make sense? Especially if you send any enigmatic, talented players their way who have a much lower cost.

    And I totally agree with the idea of buying out contracts or hiding them in the AHL to move the cap number down. If you stay 10% under the cap approaching the deadline you give yourself a lot of leverage to get those big contract guys from out of it teams. Basically getting them for pennies on the dollar (ie. low draft picks for big names).

    That’s why I hope not too much money is spent this summer by the Oil. All you have to do is keep in the middle of the pack up to the trade deadline and then make the big push with a late big name acquisition.

    I dunno, it might work …

  40. Quinn says:

    And obviously by saying late, big name player I don’t mean some long-dead hall of famer.

    Sheesh.

  41. B.C.B. says:

    First, I think we all want the next Marchant to Brodziak or Poo, not Cogliano.

    But lets look at the number that LT provided for us . . .
    Age: Marchant 22 / Cogs 20, Brods 24 Poo 23
    GP: Marchant 81/ Cogs 82, Brods 79, Poo 63
    Goals: Marchant 19 / Cogs 18, Brods 11, Poo 8
    Assists: Marchant 19 / Cogs 20, Brods 16, Poo 12
    Pts: Marchant 38 / Cogs 38, Brods 27, Poo 20
    From these numbers and not I saw him good/bad, it looks like Cogs is the closest to Marchant (in all of the boxcars, while being a little yonger).

    Things LT didn’t provide . . .
    +/-: Marchant -19 / cogs -6, Brods +4, Poo +1
    PIM: Marchant 66 / Cogs 22, Brods 21, Poo 23
    Shots: Marchant 221 / Cogs 116, Brods 99, Poo 94
    Shooting %: Marchant 8.6/ Cogs 15.5, Brod 11.1, Poo 8.5
    (I wish I could have found Faceoff % for 95-96, but I couldn’t)
    These show some differences: none of the three comparables have a similar PIM total, and none of them have a similar tendency to shoot at the net. According to +/- Marchant is the worst, but I remember him to de better defensive this this shows. Poo has a shooting % close to Marchant, and you could, I guess, include Brods to that clump; but there is no way Cogs can be, as his shooting % is almost double Marchants. This does lead some credence to the idea that Cogs it ‘ a Marchant with hands’ line of arguement.
    I would say on these ‘secondary numbers’ that none of the three comparables is similar to Marchant. None of them take a similar number of penalties, none of them shoot like him, and none of them have a horrible +/- like him.

  42. Master Lok says:

    1. Which cluster would you prefer?
    1995. Smyth, Arnott and Weight? Solid threesome to build around. Size, Grit and Skill.

    2. Where would Hemsky rank on the 95-96 list?

    Behind Weight. Ahead of Arnott, but that’s only because of age.

    3. What about Gagner on the 95-96 list?

    After Weight.

    4. Is there anyone close to Weight on this year’s list?

    Gagner. Both have skill and grit. I suspect we’ll be talking about Gagner in 10 years the same way some of us 30 year old hands talk about Weight.

    5. Did Arnott and Satan have better future’s than Gagner and Cogliano do?

    Gagner/Arnott… the really puzzling one is Cogliano. Is he a scorer? Or is he Marchant? I can’t tell yet.

    6. Who is the Todd Marchant in this group?

    Liam Reddox.

  43. Master Lok says:

    While Tambo said that the forward lineup needs more size, I’ll suggest the word “grit”, “consistency” and “competitiveness” instead.

    I’ll take 5 Doug Weights and 5 Ryan Smyths over 10 Dustin Penners any day and go to war with them.

  44. Schitzo says:

    If you stay 10% under the cap approaching the deadline you give yourself a lot of leverage to get those big contract guys from out of it teams.

    10% under the cap this year would have been $5.6 million not spent. At the deadline, that buys you over $20 million worth of players.

    Saving 10% might be overkill

  45. Master Lok says:

    My forward lineup:

    Kotalik – Horcoff – Hemsky
    O’Sullivan – Gagner – Potulny
    Cogliano – Pouliot – Pisani
    Jacques – Brodziak – Stortini

    PB- Reddox.

    dump Nilsson. dump Penner. dump Moreau.

    1. Add Kotalik – Kotalik isn’t Gaborik, or Hossa. But he’ll certainly be cheaper and I thought he competed and added hitting to the 1st line.

    2. Give Potulny a chance – he’s got a decent shot, he can hit, and he’s hungry.

    3. Give Pouliot a chance at 3rd line centre. If he fails, then find a bonafide shutdown centreman.

    4. Work Cogliano like a dog on faceoffs. if Pouliot fails, the 3rd line might have to be Reddox – Cogliano – Pisani.

  46. kris says:

    Okay sorry, I’m really threadjacking now.

    Here’s how I see the most likely scenario for our lineup next year where we build around the core young guys and Horcoff-Hemsky-Visnovsky.

    Jagr-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau-Somebody 1.-Pisani
    Reddox-Brodziak-Stortini

    Grebeshkov-Visnovsky
    Somebody 2.- Gilbert
    Smid-Peckham
    Strudwick

    RolosonForCheaper
    Somebody 3.

    Traded: Penner, Nilson, Souray, Staios, Pouliot

    Unfortunately, the players we can trade for “Somebody’s 1,2, and 3″ don’t have much trade value, Souray excluded. But fortunately, if we can cut salary while moving them for a decent return, we can save enough cash to at least sign a less ancient goalie.

    Moving Souray is sad, but necessary I think.

    This team either just makes the playoffs or misses by a few points.

  47. Bruce says:

    I see Reddox as more of the Kirk Maltby of this group. Maltby played 49 games for those 1995-96 Oilers before being swapped (for Dan McGillis) late in the season. We’ve been dying for a player of his ilk pretty much ever since.

  48. Jon says:

    Sorry Master Lok…but that forward lineup just might be Lottery pick bad.

    Potulny and Poo could be good 4th liners, average 3rd liners, but not difference makers.

    I liked what Kotalik did but he did not work on the first line and had most of his success with Gagner.Also, I believe his M.O. is to disappear for long stretches.

    The Oil lineup needs more consistency and less homerun

  49. Sean says:

    Bruce: I think we agree more than is shown in the comments here because I was referring to the lines DBO proposed which had Clowe in the top 6. But, regardless, my last point was off. By gritty, I was referring to more of a crash and bang type player. JFJ and Stortini are crash and bang gritty players. Pisani is a guy who competes consistently and is (somewhat) gritty. He’ll just never bull you over. I put a higher value on compete level and consistency over grit although admittedly they really go hand in hand.

    Detroit is a hard team to mimic because their skill level is so much higher than the rest of the league. At the same time, they can deploy a lineup with Hudler, Cleary, Datsyuk, Samuelson, Filpula and Zetterberg in their top 9 because they compete so hard (and their PP will punish you).

    On the other hand, one of the things I’ve watched this playoffs is how Quenville handles Kane and Versteeg against the Flames. Quenville is a good coach and the players are similar in size to Gagner/Cogliano. Most of the time, Versteeg is on a line with 6″3 247 lb Dustin Byfuglien. Another good coach Dave Tippet often uses Steve Ott in a top 6 role.

    So I’ve just contracted myself.

    I guess the question is: can the Oilers have Gagner, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, Nilsson, Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky in their top 9? My answer is no. But is the bigger problem lack of grit or lack of compete? If we agree that they are the same thing we’re fine. But IMO you cant go forward with Penner and Nilsson as 2/3 of the top 3 LWs (especially when Moreau isnt a capable alternative) because they both mail it in too often and thats a bigger problem to me. That doesn’t mean you go trading Penner for Briere, but the replacement doesn’t need to be Milan Lucic either (although I couldn’t agree to that fast enough).

    PS Have you watched any of the Carolina games? Tuomu Ruutu is a banger with decent hands. He may be fragile at times but the Oilers missed out in getting him for Cole. Its too bad hes RFA this year, not UFA.

  50. Master Lok says:

    No problems Jon. I guess as bad as this year’s forward lineup is, I’m hoping that next year’s Cogliano and Gagner will be better than this years.

  51. Nelson88 says:

    I have been on the fence w/r/t Reddox. Like the player but feel MacT liked him too much.

    However; the more I see Alexandre Burrows and then view his stats I think that would be a nice upside/comparison in 2 or 3 years. On the face of it not as gritty as Burrows but you get the sense he can develop it.

    Why can’t the Oilers draft a Milan Lucic or Backes?! Is it crap drafting or the lack of patience to stick someone like JFJ or Stone with good players and the following instructions; hit, fight as required and shoot puck at the net! Maybe with a new brain trust in charge…

  52. gogliano says:

    I have a question related to the team building scenarios.

    Can someone explain the O’Sullivan deal to me, given Tambi’s overall concerns regarding grit and/or size, and given the assumptions (a) this really was Tambi’s move (b) Cole would be lost as a free agent so he was going to get moved?

  53. Hemsky is a gangsta says:

    Sources tell TFP a trade involving Lecavalier is still very much a possibility and will be seriously revisited later in the summer, prior to the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

    Three Tampa-based sources, close to the Lightning, indicated their belief was that Lecavalier will be dealt before July 1.Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Maybe Jagr will sign here on a discount to fit Vinny in ;)

  54. Schitzo says:

    (a) this really was Tambi’s move (b) Cole would be lost as a free agent so he was going to get moved?.

    A 20-goal scorer under contract for 2 more years is too good a return to turn down, even if we’re already too small.

    It’d be like refusing a free 350Z because you already have a Porsche and a Corvette.

  55. HBomb says:

    The Oilers would be a contender for the division title if they had a 95-96 Doug Weight on the team.

    He’s the best player the team has had since the old glory days.Umm, Chris Pronger MIGHT have something to say about that, but if we’re talking about for more than one season, I’d agree that he’s the best skater. When you’re having the best player argument, Cujo needs to be in that discussion too.

    Bruce: You’re right that this team could use a player like Maltby. I still think the guy is a piece of trash, however.

    All: I’ve seen this suggestion before, and I’m going to say this in short form: if the Oilers go into next season with Ales Kotalik as the 1LW option, they’re missing the playoffs again. Count me as 100% opposed to them bringing him back at any price over 1 million per season.

  56. godot10 says:

    //Can someone explain the O’Sullivan deal to me, given Tambi’s overall concerns regarding grit and/or size//

    O’Sullivan shoots the puck, something many other Oilers are loathe to do, and the Oilers got him for basically nothing, since Cole was never going to re-sign with the Oilers. (By making the trade, just by actually inquiring about Cole, Rutherford made it crystal clear to Tambellini that Carolina was going to make Cole a rich man in the summer.)

  57. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    godot10 said…
    O’Sullivan shoots the puck, something many other Oilers are loathe to do, and the Oilers got him for basically nothing, since Cole was never going to re-sign with the Oilers. (By making the trade, just by actually inquiring about Cole, Rutherford made it crystal clear to Tambellini that Carolina was going to make Cole a rich man in the summer.)

    Uh, excuse me.

    The Oilers got O’Sullivan for Joni Pitkanen.

  58. quain says:

    I’ve seen this suggestion before, and I’m going to say this in short form: if the Oilers go into next season with Ales Kotalik as the 1LW option, they’re missing the playoffs again.21-10-83 was +26 in Corsi and +3 (6/3) in ES goals in the time they were together during a nineteen game stretch that the Oilers as a team were -106 and -2.

    I’d like Frolov or Tanguay, sure, but I wouldn’t hate Kotalik at $2M for a year or two if the savings were spent wisely.

    I don’t understand the reflexive hate of the guy, especially coming from a lot of Penner’s biggest defenders. If there’s any guy that looks like shit while being effective, it’s Penner.

  59. Schitzo says:

    guy that looks like shit while being effective.

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that before.

    In the bedroom.

  60. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Can’t keep a good man down.

    Sugartits goes for a slide.

    http://www.falconsahl.com/index.php?id=1076

  61. HBomb says:

    quain: I’ll take Penner over Kotalik any day of the week, especially when considering the effectiveness of the Horpensky trio.

    If all three of those guys are here next season, I hope the coach commits to that trio from minute one and just sticks with it. I’d like to see the results over 82 games.

  62. Bruce says:

    The Oilers got O’Sullivan for Joni Pitkanen.… not to mention a cap hit of $2.925 MM over the next two years. Once upon a time Joffrey Lupul was a 20-goal scorer with a $2.9 MM cap hit and you won’t find too many in these parts who will argue he covered the bet.

    A 20-goal scorer under contract for 2 more years is too good a return to turn down, even if we’re already too small.Getting a guy who is already under contract is a double-edged sword in the cap world. One club’s “good return” is another squad’s “salary dump”.

  63. bookie says:

    I don’t understand the reflexive hate of the guy, especially coming from a lot of Penner’s biggest defenders. If there’s any guy that looks like shit while being effective, it’s Penner.I didn’t understand the hate when he got here either. Someone started calling him Floatalik, but the guy had quite a few more hits then Penner and was pretty good at digging the puck out of the corners. He is weak defensively when he is playing defense on the point and certainly is not a Star Player, but he also is not a bad player. We paid a late 2nd round pick (almost nothing) for him.

    I think we got what we expected…

  64. HBomb says:

    bookie: I’d agree we got what we expected, but I don’t see any reason to bring him back.

    He’s a 2nd line “soft minutes muncher”. When you look at Gagner, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, and Nilsson all being players out of that tree, he’s got a bit of competition there.

    However, he’s got two things that are a scarcity within that group:

    - size
    - shoot-first mentality

    Maybe Cogliano, Nilsson and Penner are all trading chips for a first line LW, and our second line next season is O’Sullivan-Gagner-Kotalik?

    I’d be OK with that, as long as Kotalik comes at the right price.

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