Setting free the Falcons

Mathieu Roy is an RFA this summer, and there’s a chance he won’t return to the Oilers organization. Roy signed a one-way deal a couple of years ago and despite getting a big league salary both seasons he didn’t play much in the show (13 games). Roy was placed on waivers last fall before playing the season in the minors. At that time he said “I’ve been hoping to get picked up every time I go on waivers. I just want a chance to get some playing time and to stay healthy. Who knows? If I end up going down, I’ll play hard and see what happens after that.”

He may return to the fold this fall, but one suspects his agent will try to get him into a situation where NHL play is more likely (there are teams who could use him as a 7D or insurance in the minors). While Roy’s future is somewhat up in the air, I think we can be more sure about some other Falcons. In an article last week Jim Matheson of the EJ said the Oilers would cut loose about 10 of their farmhands go over the summer. I’d guess that list might look like this:

  1. David Rohlfs: He played 2 games in the AHL after signing as a pro. Stockton was his home for two seasons and he’s the most likely player to be set free this summer.
  2. Stephane Goulet: Another no-brainer despite good size and a 50-goal season in junior. I kind of hope someone will take a chance on him ala Troy Bodie.
  3. Robbie Bina: I think he’s too small, and he’s certainly not in the top group of “young puck movers with coverage issues” on the Falcons/Thunder.
  4. Ryan O’Marra: I know he has one season left on the entry level deal, but why on earth would they keep him around? Time to cut him loose and let him get started on his post-hockey career.
  5. Sebastien Bisaillon: I still think he has enough good things to retain, but the Oilers handling of Bisaillon and the fact that his skills are duplicated all over the lineup means he’s probably down the road.
  6. Glenn Fisher: He played so poorly the Oilers loaned him out to Las Vegas, where he proceeded to catch fire and have a nice run into the spring. He’s 26, though.
  7. Bryan Lerg: Although signed to a two-year deal last spring, Lerg disappointed and could be sent away during the summer.
  8. Bryan Pitton: He’s still got two seasons left on a three-year entry deal, but Pitton was outplayed by Andrew Perugini in Stockton and may not return.
  9. Bryan Young: Certainly a chance he returns, but based on Jonathan’s work on the Falcons it appears he was playing softer opposition than some of the flat out rookies. Damning evidence.
  10. Dany Sabourin: With Dubnyk as the front half of the Springfield tandem Sabourin would be nice insurance. However, he’s played in the NHL 4 straight seasons so his preference would probably be a team with more question marks in goal. Wait a minute!

The Oilers are already signing replacements. Johan Motin, Alex Plante and Milan Kytnar are already in the fold with more to come.

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36 Responses to "Setting free the Falcons"

  1. HBomb says:

    Ryan O’Marra: I know he has one season left on the entry level deal, but why on earth would they keep him around?

    Because it would look incredibly bad on Kevin Lowe if they didn’t, especially if they’re going to potentially deal Robert Nilsson this summer?

    (Matheson’s column today specifically suggests the idea of the Oilers trading for Josh Harding – the Oilers would want to give Nilsson and a pick, but the Wild might want Patty O’Sullivan in return).

    On the record, I’d rather have Ryan Smyth plus three other prospects right now than Penner, Nilsson, Plante and O’Marra. But maybe that’s just me.

  2. Black Dog says:

    When did they sign Kytnar?

  3. HBomb says:

    BDHS: Flaming reported the Kytnar signing on his blog yesterday evening.

    All: For reference, here’s a link to today’s Matheson entry in the Journal

  4. Lowetide says:

    Well I like O’Sullivan plenty, but make that deal for Harding.

  5. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: Given that it would be a long-term solution between the pipes, I would agree with that assessment.

    For this team to go forward, Nilsson plus one of Cogliano or O’Sullivan is going to get dealt. And if there’s an opportunity to land a Jordan Staal for a package of Cogliano plus Nilsson, I could see all three going out the door.

    If that happens, the door would be open not for Robbie Schremp on the soft minute line as RW, but rather for one Jordan Eberle. Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky taking on the toughs while Gagner-Staal-Eberle is the soft minute 2nd line perhaps?

  6. Traktor says:

    O’marra is good on the draw, sound defensively, has a nice shot and is a decent skater.

    The kid might not ever put it all together and he’s never going to be a top 6 player but I don’t think he’s that far off from being a 4th line player. Edmonton management would be pretty silly to just cut ties with him.

    If he comes to camp and goes Clutterbuck and drops the mitts a couple times there’s a good chance he could be centering Stortini to start off the year.

    The days of pansies like Pouliot or Reddox in the bottom 6 are over. Even Brodzaik who has potential to be a top 3rd line defensive center is probably on the outs because he doesn’t bang enough.

    As for Harding – I can only pray that were not the sucker that trades for him. He’s the king of the soft goal.

    Hbomb – Hard to imagine Eberle getting a shot in the top 6 after Omark was pissed on for being on the wrong side of 6 foot. It could happen but it would look awfully short-sighted.

  7. Jonathan Willis says:

    O’marra is good on the draw, sound defensively, has a nice shot and is a decent skater.

    The kid might not ever put it all together and he’s never going to be a top 6 player but I don’t think he’s that far off from being a 4th line player. Edmonton management would be pretty silly to just cut ties with him.

    I’ve heard this before – just last season.

    In two seasons, O’Marra’s had all he could handle just holding on to the 4th line job in the AHL; in 93 games he has just three goals and he’s been bleeding plus/minus all along the way too.

    This past season Geoff Paukovich had moved by him by the midway point, and when it comes to physical guys the Oilers would be as well served by players like Tim Sestito, J-F Jacques, Ryan Stone or Guillaume Lefebvre; guys who can handle the AHL.

    People get stuck on what they saw when O’Marra was in junior, or the hype when he was picked, or his work at the WJC for Canada, but while he might have all the tools if he can barely hold down an AHL job, why on Earth would he get considered for an NHL assignment?

  8. Jonathan Willis says:

    I wouldn’t trade O’Sullivan for Harding. If Minnesota wants to play hard-ball, there’s always Atlanta (Pavelec/Lehtonen), Montreal (Halak) and other places to try.

    Plenty of other players should be fair game; the guys Matheson mentions, plus most of the spare 3rd/4th line parts or a guy like Staios or Deslauriers.

  9. HBomb says:

    Traktor:

    Two things:

    1) I’m onside with signing O’Marra for many reasons, and I agree that Reddox has no place here. But I still think Pouliot could have a role. If it comes down to him vs. Brodziak for one spot, I take Pouliot, but I know I’m in the minority on that one.

    2) On Eberle – I doubt he gets a chance unless all three guys I mentioned get moved (highly unlikely – one is certain and two of three is a possibility). However, I’d say this is a case where he’d be better off at age 19 in the AHL than the WHL, and it’s another reason I wish they’d get rid of that stupid rule about junior aged players having to be in the CHL and not being allowed to go play minor-pro. For a lot of kids, that’s probably where they should be at that age, and given the new rules about burning years of RFA status after a kid hits 20, I wonder if the NHL may try to eventually negotiate some sort of an “exception” clause (i.e. every year, their AHL team may contain one 19 year old, or something like that).

  10. oil dude says:

    Just looked up Hardings stats, he’s got an awesome career SV% in the regular season but only one playoff above .900. It would be neat to trade for him and let the 2002 2nd round goalies have a fight to the death. JDD strikes me as the type that can raise his level of play when pushed to do so.

  11. Traktor says:

    “I’ve heard this before – just last season.”

    Good memory.

    Obviously the math doesn’t agree with me.

    I’m not looking for numbers though. Just someone that can hit and fight and be decent defensively.

    The reason why I still think O’marra could fill the role is because its more of a mindset than a skill set.

    We know that O’marra has more skill than Smack and Smack played in the NHL this year. Obviously Smack and other heavyweights don’t need a polished skill set but the point is if O’marra is willing to bang for a living he could find himself on the 4th line.

    hbomb: Pouliot could find work on another club but he swings the balance in the wrong direction on this one. He doesn’t make up for the fact that most of our top 6 is easy to play against – he makes it worse. His days as an Oiler are over.

  12. Lowetide says:

    What did poor Liam Reddox do to deserve this. Honestly, people. He’s the poster boy for doing what the coach tells you to do and assuming he can’t progress from this day forward is a mistake imo.

    I’m not saying he’s going to have a long career, but he’s a better bet than some of these other folks. And some of them are first rounders (Schremp, O’Marra and possibly Brule who better start doing something soon).

  13. HBomb says:

    Hard work only gets a guy so far Lowetide.

    Reddox may have that work ethic, but no team with serious designs of getting into the playoffs (and doing something when they get there) has him than anything more than a 14th forward.

    Effort and try are nice things, but I don’t see anything else there with this guy. At best he’s a fourth liner on a middling-to-mediocre team. At best.

  14. Traktor says:

    “assuming Reddox can’t progress from this day forward is a mistake imo.”

    Nobody is assuming that he can’t progress.

    Its just there’s only so many ways you can upgrade a Sunfire.

    This team needs a 4×4 that can get us through swamps and you keep saying that Reddox is reliable and fuel efficient.

    The writing is on the wall.

  15. blackadder says:

    In Harding you get a goalie entering his peak years – could be #1 for the next decade. He’s got more potential than Halak, is farther along than Pavelec, and isn’t injury prone like Lehtonen. If the cost is a 2nd line LW, I don’t have a problem with that. If the cost is an underachieving 2003 1st rounder and a pick, even better.

    As for O’Marra, I think if Kytnar is signed his chances of even holding down the 4th line job in the AHL suddenly looks slim. I often wonder what happened with him. He was rated highly in his draft year – scouts raved about his leadership ability and his talent – yet he only scores three goals in 2 seasons in the AHL. When you look at what a change in attitude/work ethic did for Reddox, you wonder what’s keeping O’Marra from progressing.

  16. Traktor says:

    “He’s got more potential than Halak”

    Based on what?

  17. Ribs says:

    With the low-low prices that tenders have gone for in the last couple of years, I can’t see moving O’Sullivan for Harding unless something else is coming our way (picks?).

    Kyntar signing is up on the Oilers site now. He sounds more and more like a player every day. Hopefully we’ll get to see what he’s got this season in Springfield.

    Off the list I’d like to see Young, Bisaillion, and Sabourin stick around. I was never a Lerg fan but I think maybe he’s got more to show than we’ve seen. A more defined role could turn his progress around.

  18. Matt N says:

    If the cost is a 2nd line LW, I don’t have a problem with that. If the cost is an underachieving 2003 1st rounder and a pick, even better..

    I still don’t get the mentality of trading assets for goaltending. There are plenty of options available on the UFA market that are every bit as good as Harding or Halak.

    Lots of stuff has been written about the razor thin difference between “good” goaltenders and “average” goaltenders. Why spend assets to try and bridge a very thin to non existant gap.

    If the Detroit/ Ken Holland model is what the Oilers are trying to follow then why not listen to what the man says about goal tending.

    I’ll put big money into the goal position if I have one of the top five in the game and I’ll build my team around that guy, but we haven’t had one of the top five guys since 2001-2002 when we had Dominik Hasek in his prime. Our feeling is, have solid goaltending. If another team pays $4-5 million a year for a goalie, we’ll pay $1-1.5 million a year and sink the rest of our money into defense. Chris Osgood and Hasek were good enough for us that if we play good team defense, they’ll help us win games. .

    Assets should be either spent to upgrade significantly or for picks and another roll of the dice.

  19. Jonathan Willis says:

    What did poor Liam Reddox do to deserve this. Honestly, people. He’s the poster boy for doing what the coach tells you to do and assuming he can’t progress from this day forward is a mistake imo.

    That’s what happens when a rather pedestrian prospect gets playing time ahead of Schremp, Brule, Potulny, etc.

    I like Reddox. I just think that he should have been in the AHL last year.

  20. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: Who would have have called up instead? Reddox played very well in Springfield as his numbers reflect. He earned it, folks.

  21. Ribs says:

    He earned first line NHL minutes?

  22. Lowetide says:

    Ribs: No. He earned the right to be the guy called up (although you could certainly argue Potulny earned it too).

    The first line minutes are obviously a coaching decision. Maybe that’s what has people overlooking him. I’ll tell you one thing: Liam Reddox has figured out more of the mystery of what it takes to play in the NHL than a lot of guys we talk about.

    He’ll need to get better results, and the coaching change might bury his career but having watched these things over many years I’m not going to bet against Liam Reddox. Too many arrows going in the right direction, and there are still coaches on his side (Bucky) who will be in the room when important conversations take place.

  23. HBomb says:

    hbomb: Pouliot could find work on another club but he swings the balance in the wrong direction on this one. He doesn’t make up for the fact that most of our top 6 is easy to play against – he makes it worse. His days as an Oiler are over.

    We could say the same thing about Brodziak though. I think my key argument here is that there’s really only room for one of them on this club.

    Personally, I take Pouliot. But if there’s a team that wants to make a package deal with the Oilers and insists on taking him instead of Broziak, and I was the GM, the preference is not enough to stop the deal, if you get what I’m saying.

    To me, they are the same player at this point, or at least very close.

  24. Jonathan Willis says:

    LT: Potulny was the best player in Springfield this year, IMO.

    But I was more getting at the fact that Reddox’s level of ability was closer to top-end AHL than low-end NHL last season; he should have been a callup, but not a 40+ game guy.

    He might have a career (wouldn’t want to bet against him), but I think he might be the second coming of Patrick Thoresen too.

  25. Ribs says:

    Maybe that’s what has people overlooking him.

    It is. He’s a perfectly fine 3-4th line guy but people are going to remember being mad about him (trying) to play on the top line. I’m sure he’ll have a nice long journeyman playing career.

    I kinda wish he was Thoresen though, he was a bit more entertaining to watch.

  26. godot10 says:

    Reddox improved a lot two years in a row. The likelihood is that he probably can’t do it again. But he is a moving target. It all depends where he plateaus. Can he be Darcy Tucker or can’t he? He probably can’t.

    But I’d wager that Reddox is probably training a lot harder than Nilsson and Pouliot and Schremp this summer.

  27. oilerdago says:

    //Matt N said: I still don’t get the mentality of trading assets for goaltending. There are plenty of options available on the UFA market that are every bit as good as Harding or Halak.//

    Matt, you do it because it creates cap space and roster space. Face it, we’ve got too many contracts. At some point you have to start clearing things up and the first place too start is an area where we have too many guys with the same skills/weaknesses.

    Simple as that. Whether Harding is the right guy w/Clemensen and Anderson out there is another story…

  28. Ducey says:

    O’Marra:

    The guy is not even 22 yet and he is a write-off?

    He is big body, good skater, great on the dot. He is being asked to learn the job that has the longest apprenticeship period (shutdown centre).

    It would appear that he has bucked the team’s plans for him somewhat, and no doubt this has slowed his development. But assuming his attitude is alright, keep him. Give him 2 years with Daum. He will likely do wonders with him.

    If he was w/ Detroit he wouldn’t see the NHL for another 3 years and everyone would be calling them geniuses for it.

    Bring in Messier or Esa Tikanen to guest coach him for a month now and then.

    Reddox: The math likes him and he hustles. He is underrated due to his size. He is a cheap player that can fill multiple holes. Smart GM’s use guys like that to manage the Cap. Think of him as a utility infielder. Not sexy, but you need them.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Just to re-set here, the math isn’t a huge fan of Reddox overall. He didn’t get much done in his at-bats–had the Oilers brought in a veteran for those minutes they would have been better off–but the fact he’s here and that there are some things to like is testimony to his gumption imo.

  30. Bruce says:

    Ducey: Agreed on Reddox. It’s not his fault the team didn’t have a decent starting 2B and he wound up getting more at-bats than one might like. Maybe he was a year ahead of schedule in the bigs but from where I sit that’s over-achievement on his part, even as it betrays weaknesses on the club. Gotta separate the two, and not blame the former for the latter. On the personal level, he’s ahead of the curve.

  31. RiversQ says:

    Ducey said…
    O'Marra:

    The guy is not even 22 yet and he is a write-off?

    Can I see a list of NHL players that sucked in the AHL at 20-21 and managed anything?

    He is big body, good skater, great on the dot. He is being asked to learn the job that has the longest apprenticeship period (shutdown centre).

    ..but he's really, really bad at it.

    Give him 2 years with Daum. He will likely do wonders with him.

    Oh yeah right. If Daum can do this he should be making about $10MM/year. His rep should wear a big white hat and have an office in the Vatican too.

    If he was w/ Detroit he wouldn't see the NHL for another 3 years and everyone would be calling them geniuses for it.

    Can I see a list of Red Wings that sucked in the AHL at 20-21 and managed anything?

  32. Coach pb9617 says:

    Just to re-set here, the math isn't a huge fan of Reddox overall.

    I believe he's talking the AHL math.

    If Nilsson goes to Minnesota, consider that the ES math is okay with him, I bet he does just fine.

  33. RiversQ says:

    If Nilsson goes to Minnesota, consider that the ES math is okay with him, I bet he does just fine.

    OK? I suppose it's barely OK.

    However, the faceoffs and Corsi are pretty poor.

    The percentages don't flatter him and neither does Desjardins.

    Actually, wait a minute. Is there anything truly good at 5V5 for Nilsson?

  34. Coach pb9617 says:

    Actually, wait a minute. Is there anything truly good at 5V5 for Nilsson?

    Relative to the rest of the team the last two years, yes.

  35. Ducey says:

    “Can I see a list of NHL players that sucked in the AHL at 20-21 and managed anything?”

    I am not sure how one really tracks this over the history of hockey. Here is a couple:

    Alex Burrows: at age 23, 26 pts in 72 AHL G
    Ben Guite didn’t make the AHL ’til he was 24
    Michael Ryder 15pts in 61 AHL G
    Chad Larose

    Who knows maybe in another year he turns it around and you have to eat your cynicism. That would be terrible, eh?

    It really doesn’t cost the Oilers much to find out.

  36. Master Lok says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    That’s what happens when a rather pedestrian prospect gets playing time ahead of Schremp, Brule, Potulny, etc.
    You think Reddox is a pedestrian prospect when compared to Schremp and Brule? I think pedestrian describes the latter two instead of Reddox.

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