Thorns Without the Rose

We’ll know in the next couple of weeks. The questions (which should be obvious for those who follow the Oilers) will be addressed and the answers will (if history repeats) be a mixed bag of “oh, my” and “what the?” for Oilers fans.

We can trace the questions back to last summer (MacT’s mentioning he’d like Reasoner to return) and the regular season (the coach’s hesitancy to use rookie Deslauriers) and the hopeless penalty killing (which ignited opponents’ powerplay like a bullet leaves a gun). They’ve hired a new group of corner boys (Quinn, Renney and Kelly “wrap your savior up in cellophane” Buchberger) but they’ll need to do much more to avoid spending the winter lost at the bottom of the world. The questions:

  1. Will they really give Roloson 4M to sign a one-year deal?
  2. Are they sure enough of Deslauriers to risk the season on him playing 25+ games?
  3. How can they improve the forwards without trading a useful defender?
  4. Who is going to play center behind Horcoff and Gagner?
  5. How many small men can play in the top 6F?
  6. Is Hemsky part of this team’s future?
  7. What can be done to fix the penalty kill?
  8. How many rugged wingers does this team require?
  9. How can this team rid themselves of the contracts that restrict them?
  10. Will Daryl Katz allow Tambellini to flush Nilsson’s contract if it comes to that?

The results should start coming in any moment now.

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17 Responses to "Thorns Without the Rose"

  1. godot10 says:

    //Will they really give Roloson 4M to sign a one-year deal?//

    A goaltender on a 1-year contract at this point is a good thing, with the lower team salary cap the following season.

    By insisting on a 1-year contract, one has to pay Roloson based on last year's performance, to insure that one has a happy goaltender. it would be tacky and counter productive to nickel and dime him. The only way you can bring Roloson back is if one is bringing him back for $3.5-4.0 million on a one year deal. (Though it is perfectly acceptable to open bargaining at $3 million).

    I would rather see what the salary cap is next year before committing long term to any goaltender. And as long as Roloson is playing well, going a year at a time, means one is able to act when the right future goaltender does become available.

    So I am FOR Roloson for $3.5-4.0 million on a one-year deal.

  2. Black Dog says:

    1. Jeez I hope not
    2) I doubt it – playoffs might depend on it, I can't see Tambelinni trying to explain that to Katz
    3) Yes. Make some smart moves with the bargain bin and/or find someone willing to unload contracts.
    4) Jeff Halpern? Wes Walz? Bob Pulford? A veteran and then Brodziak.
    5) Two. Cogliano and Gagner. Maybe a third in the next three but likely not.
    6) Better be.
    7) Better personnel, better system, better goaltending, other then that not much ;)
    8) One for the fourth line and one for the top six plus one to replace Moreau if he heads out of town.
    9) That is the ten million dollar question.
    10) Yes.

    That is all.

  3. godot10 says:

    //How can they improve the forwards without trading a useful defender? Who is going to play center behind Horcoff and Gagner? Is Hemsky part of this team's future?//

    Brainstorming mode ON:

    Sign the Sedins, then trade Hemsky.

    Penner, H.Sedin, D. Sedin
    Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani
    O'Sullivan, Gagner, Cogliano
    Jacques, Brodziak, Stortini

  4. Coach pb9617 says:

    So I am FOR Roloson for $3.5-4.0 million on a one-year deal.

    There is no compelling reason to pay Roloson twice what the market will bear. None.

    Wes Walz?

    Perfect. Sign him for less than 1.5 million.

    How can this team rid themselves of the contracts that restrict them.

    Give Jobu rum. Jobu like rum.

  5. eidy says:

    . obvious with all the other posts there are lots of options, cheaper options. It is bizarre how we complain of the contracts given for last years performance and then our plan is to pay a guy 2 years from a walker for last year
    2. No, doesn't seem like quinn's syle either.
    3. If they don't trade a useful defensemean it will be a useful forward. Our forwards are cheaper and younger, makes a good point for moving one of the 6 million dollar early thirty year olds
    4. Plan A Malholtra Plan b i would like to say madden, but he will likely be to expensive. maybe marchant would come back. otherwise, pouliout with two vet wingers would not be the end of the world.
    5. Hemsky, Gagner, POS. cogs can play on line 3
    6. Darn well better be. I can not imagine this team trading him. ridiculaous player, good contract. trade him=lose lots of fans
    7. rotate 6 forwards would be a good start. oh yeah, no penner, no gagner.
    8. 1-2 would be nice. I really like the idea of a Clowe type, but I can't see SJ giving up on him. Maybe someone from Atlanta….
    9 Draft picks or Mentors down with Daum and sugartits
    10. I don't think that Katz has any allegiance to bobby, so i doubt he would blink twice before shipping him out

  6. kris says:

    My predictions

    1. No
    2. No
    3. Can't do it, Souray is out
    4. Pouliot or player from future Penner trade
    5. 4 or 5 of Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Hemsky, O'Sullivan
    6. This year yes, next year only if he scores well.
    7. Keep Bucky away and pray for Cogs to learn, especially draws
    8. One for the bottom 6. :(
    9. Staios and Moreau for pucks. Penner out for a slightly cheaper player, Nilson plays 'farmar hockey' on Katz' dime. Souray gone.
    10. Yes.

    Mr. T's prediction:

    Pain.

  7. kris says:

    In retrospect, you were asking for what would be good, not what will happen.

    Oh well.

  8. Schitzo says:

    Dear HBomb: You are gay. Despite that, you should email me. m_harris@telusplanet.net. Thanks.

  9. BBZC says:

    4.) Blair Betts- he was the best pk forward on the the pk in the league. Based on his boxcars(81 6 4 10 -5)he should come cheaper then Madden or Malholtra and he fits tambo's size requirement at 6-3 210. He also can win a faceoff too(49%).

    He wasn't anything more than a 4th liner in NY but they were strong down the middle. I think you could have a battle for the 3c spot between him and Brodziak and be fine.

    2 years 800k a year seem reasonable?

  10. Henry says:

    1) I'm not an expert on the CBA, but it seems that if Roli is to be rewarded for mostly excellent service last year, he can be signed for 3 years at 4.5M front loaded so he is cheap to trade or release/retire/waive/send to the A next year. Cap hit gets spread and there is known quantity in town while searching for a long term solution in net.

    2) Of course not. We learned nothing this year.

    3) Probably not very significantly in the top six. Maybe getting a good 3C is the only fix really needed though.

    4) Malhotra/Brodziak or Pahlsson/Brodziak Sami is slowing down though.

    5) 3

    6) Watching for Hemsky to do something extraordinary was the reason to watch the team regularly the last couple years. If the coach takes the fall for this season, the best player really cant, especially with all the real holes in the lineup. Elite teams obviously have two lines that can dominate. Hemsky has to be around when Gagner etc develop or it will be constant mediocity.

    7) Keep Bucky away from the PK.

    8) Stortini, Jacques, New 3C or Moreau. Penner may be about three fights from enjoying it.

    9) Send to Atlanta/Fla/Ott for late picks or cheap guys to improve Springfield.

    10) Katz appears to want to win and let the money come from winning. He'll likely do whatever is necessary.

  11. Andrew Willis says:

    Hmm… Tom Waits on the brain much?

    If there is any better combination that Waits and the Oilers I haven't thought of it yet.

    Thank you.

  12. knighttown says:

    Re: Trading a defenseman

    I think one aspect of team building that is overlooked even by GM's is the importance of defensive depth.

    320 defenseman played a game in the NHL last year meaning the average team went 11 deep into their depth chart. Removing Souray, our depth chart looks like this:

    1. Visnovsky
    2. Gibert
    3. Grebeshkov
    4. Staois
    5. Smid
    6. Peckham
    7. Strudwick
    8. Chorney
    9. Matthieu Roy
    10. Brian Young
    11. Alex Plante

    So, if we have an average season, Alex Plante will play an NHL game this year. Big deal? Nah.

    To take it a little further, 240 defenseman played at least 20 games, an average of 8 D per team. One quarter of the teams had 9 or more D play 20 games and only Colorado had just 6.

    Most likely, Strudwick and Chorney will play one-quarter of the upcoming season and there is a good chance Roy will too. Now are you concerned? A little

    210 defenseman played half the season providing an average of 7 per team. Very likely, with our current depth chart Jason Strudwick will play half the season.

    Factoring in timing, the defense pairings for the year will work like this:

    25 games:
    Smid-Vis
    Grebs-Gilbert
    Peckham-Staois

    25 games:
    Smid-Staois
    Grebs-Gilbert
    Strudwick-Peckham

    20 games:
    Peckham-Staois
    Grebs-Smid
    Chorney-Strudwick

    10 games:
    Grebs-Staois
    Roy-Peckham
    Strudwick-Chorney

    2 games:
    Grebs-Staois
    Young-Peckham
    Chroney-Roy

    To give you a comparison, the average backup goalie played 28 games making them far less important than the 7th D-Man and about equivalent to the 8th D-Man.

    Here's how I'd play it. Unless Peckham wins a Top 4 job like say, Drew Doughty, he goes down to the AHL but as the 7th D, because of waiver ability with the message that there is an almost certainty he'll play 40 NHL games.

    I'd sign a Strudwick type to sit in the press box and find an NHL/AHL bubble vet that you'd be comfortable seeing for a quarter of a season. Think Tollefson/Davison/Tjarnquist/Huskins. Whomever is better between Huskins and Strudwick gets the 8D job and the other guy is likely available for recall as the 9 guy. He'll still probably play.

    Also not discussed is the domino effect. Our bottom pairing defensemen, Staois and Peckham will play a combined 90 games in our Top 4. That means against Peckham vs. Getzlaf an awful lot. It also means a forward on the 2nd PP point because of minutes/role issues. Huge PK minutes on Smid because the Top 2 can't take on any more and so on.

    We have a very versatile and deep defensive core that should remain in tact or be tweaked. However, there is a difference between a strength and a luxury and we haven't crossed that line.

  13. Paper Designer says:

    I still have yet to be convinced that Nilsson's contract is so unimaginably unbearable. His cap hit is less than what the average number of dollars available for each player on a 23 man roster. If you replace him, you replace him with a forward who plays for one million (and probably can't play in your top six, either), saving you a grand total of a million of a cap hit.

    I fail to see how getting rid of this player is the salvation of the Oilers cap problems. If anything keeping him as a cheap top six option is part of the answer.

  14. Coach pb9617 says:

    We have a very versatile and deep defensive core that should remain in tact or be tweaked. However, there is a difference between a strength and a luxury and we haven't crossed that line.

    It can't stay in tact. $22 million is too much to spend on six guys. Souray has to be moved and if a younger, cheaper talent doesn't come back in the trade, they'll add someone like Montador or Zanon.

  15. raventalon40 says:

    Nilsson's contract has good value around the league and is a great trading chip.

    The best chips on this team right now are Gilbert, Cogliano, Nilsson, and Smid, but I would be hesistant to move Cogliano or Smid, lest the right return were to pop up. Gilbert too is on a relatively good contract but I think it easily comes down to keeping one of him or Souray.

  16. Deano says:

    knightown,

    Awesome stuff on D depth. Thanks.

    1 Why should we? – because we overpaid him for 3 years after the cup run is no reason to overpay him again. 1 year at a time 2.5MM max. He should not get more elsewhere and if he does, go with my blessing. Lowe's fault.

    2. This kid has not played enough at all since his draft year to have any confidence in your opinion of him – sitting him last year made this worse not better. For stats guys, I'd say the confidence interval on the evaluation of JDD is 10%. Lowe's/Laforge's fault for every yaer until last season. MacT's fault for last season.

    3. Let them play. See if they'll play for new mgmt and each other. MacT's opinions are now history. Penner is a #1 LW, Pou can play 3C. Nillson deserves to play every night. The forwards are inadequate because of MacT's dicking around last season. The guys MacT liked should be worried. MacT's fault.

    4. Pou unless other moves (JayBo) bring in someone better. MacT's fault

    5. Tambo seems to be saying two. I think three based on other teams small fwds – the Oil are not alone on the smurfy side. Lowe's/Tambo's(POS) fault.

    6. Yes until he's replaced, he's signed until 2011-12. Lowe's credit.

    7. As already stated – no more footspeed experiments with Penner and Gagner. Back to 3 pairs of forwards. MacT's fault.

    8. One less than we have – as long as its thecaptainethanmoreau. Lowe's fault for signing him to that contract and MaT's fault for putting mediocrity on a pedestal.

    9. Not signing any more of them – see #1 – Roloson. I hope the $250,000 difference between Moreau's salary and cap hit has value to a team trying to save real money due to the economy. I think Pies has value to the sunbelt teams as a proven NHLer. I fear he has more value in Edmonton due to his past level of play. I think that coach pb is right. Penner is the miracle player that works with Hemmer. If he was on the first line and scoring 30+ while Hemmer is close to 100 points, his contract is not a problem. MacT's "the merciful beatings will continue until morale improves" treatment is no more. Penner's contract is only a problem while MacT is speaking and there are few mic's in his future here. Lowe's fault for signing the contracts. MacT's fault for not coaching the team he had and getting in the players heads – in a bad way.

    10 No need – its very tradeable. Stop listening to the ghost of MacT Lain – the team thinks that the right guy did walk the plank.

  17. Lowetide says:

    I think Nilsson is a tough guy to trade. He's on his second organization and making around 2 large.

    I don't think it would be a surprise to see him hit waivers in the fall, and should he clear spend the season in Springfield.

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