Hey Steve: Get on the Stick!

The hiring of Steve Tambellini to run the Edmonton Oilers represented a new day. He had no connections to the boys on the bus, he did have a real resume that included most of the things we associate with the general manager’s job and he seemed (unlike Kevin Lowe) able to do business without making it personal.

These are all good things.

Tambellini’s track record has been solid since arriving: he traded a soon-to-be-ufa Erik Cole and acquired the useful shooter Patrick O’Sullivan. He dealt a second round pick in an effort to both save the coach and audition another NHL shooter for the role of Hemsky’s Shutt.

However, this summer represents the period of time in which the rubber hits the road. When Tambellini held his media event to announce Craig MacTavish had been flushed, he was very specific in terms of the work that needed to be done:

  • There were to be changes, the players would be held accountable.
  • Grit and size would be addressed, they would look internally and then outside the organization for solutions.
  • He wanted at least one top six player.
  • He was shopping for players who were difficult to play against.

He’s hired his coach (Quinn) and possibly his next coach (Renney). He had a nice run at the draft, and he’s hired a goalie the coach and fans can get behind (not so much the blogosphere who are still writing about it).

He’s also traded Kyle Brodziak, which tells us the Oilers are going to commit at-bats to both Marc Pouliot and Gilbert Brule. He’s attempted to trade for sniper Dany Heatley, and made offers to ufa’s Chris Neil and Ales Kotalik.

The “grit and size” in-house list probably includes JF Jacques, Steve MacIntyre, Ryan Stone and Geoff Paukovich up front, and possibly Theo Peckham on the blue although the top 7D look pretty much set at this time.

Which means the Oilers shopping list is still pretty long:

  • Sniper
  • veteran center as Pouliot/Brule insurance
  • Grit and size along the wing

That’s a lot of work left to be done, best start pdq. We’re an impatient bunch, Steve.

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88 Responses to "Hey Steve: Get on the Stick!"

  1. Don in real life says:

    Nearly August and no veteran bottom 6 player with size, preferably a center, is starting to tread unacceptable waters.

  2. NBOilerFan says:

    Don in real life said…
    Nearly August and no veteran bottom 6 player with size, preferably a center, is starting to tread unacceptable waters.

    But in Tambellini's defence, it's pretty risky to sign a veteran bottom 6 player until he finds his Top-6 sniper. Like Grebs agent imdicated, they are now closely skrutinizing the budget trying to leave some "wiggle" room.

    Depending on what happens with Heatley/another option, then they will look at adding that veteran presence… if the cap space allows.

    Right now, a Top-6 winder is the top priority, and preferably one with size and grit.

    There is still lots of time, even though us fans are antsy, but the pressure builds as things drag on.

  3. reijo29 says:

    Kovalchuk, Armstrong and Reasoner for
    Cogliano, Penner, Nilsson, Smid, Riley Nash or Eberle, plus a conditional 1st round pick if we re-sign Kovalchuk.

    Solves your 3 issues, Lowetide

    Kovalchuk won't re-sign when he becomes UFA at end of season.
    Armstrong badly wants out and Reasoner probably wouldn't object to coming to his 2nd home.

    Kovie-10-83
    19-89-Armstrong
    18-Reasoner-Pisani
    22-67-46
    78 * SMac

    71-37
    44-77
    Peckham-24
    43

    Bulin
    JDD

    Thoughts?
    I haven't done salary implications, I think we take on about 1.5 million so we would need to make another deal, Viz or Souray for 2 young Dmen maybe.

  4. godot10 says:

    Betts, Malhotra, and Moore are still out there.

    Tambellini is just doing what the blogosphere has been screaming at him not doing with the goaltending hole…be patient and get a bargain contract.

    As long as three guys are out there, why does Tambellini have to move. Wait till you can get a guy on a 1-year bargain deal, or even better, to come to camp on a tryout basis.

  5. boreal says:

    Lowetide:

    Lets not forget the Pronger trade was not until August 4th and Peca came after that. We are also starting to see more favorable contacts (e.g. Biron). The next couple of weeks are likely to be interesting.

    Also you might find this interesting.

    http://sensay.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/heatley-update/

  6. Jonathan Willis says:

    Right now, a Top-6 winder is the top priority, and preferably one with size and grit.

    Why? Pnealty-killing and goals-against were the biggest problems for the Oilers last season.

    Addressing the two things that kept them out of the playoffs should be top priority.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Agree with Jonathan, this team has needs aside from replacing Penner with anyone.

    The Flyers signed Ivan Drago from Columbus today, and Derek Mirrors signed with Boston.

    So, things are beginning to take shape and it's time for the Oilers to make some moves.

  8. Lowetide says:

    boreal: I don't care what happens, I don't want Heatley and I don't want Marleau. This is the worst standoff imaginable.

  9. HBomb says:

    reijo29: Any further word on when and where I'll be able to buy Brugal rum?

    Yes, my memory is that sharp.

  10. Traktor says:

    I think we'd be fools to search under stones for PK help when there's a very good chance the PK will be much better simply from a fresh start.

    Are Horcoff, Moreau and Pisani all liabilities on the PK or was it just one of those years where things just didn't go right?

    That's a pretty solid top 3 and O'Sullivan has proven he's can PK effectively in the past. Toss in Pouliot in the mix and maybe there is room for one other guy on the 3rd set but I don't think it's a pressing concern.

    The bigger issue is we're going to get pushed around again next year.

  11. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Nearly August and neither Smid nor Brule has been re-upped and both seem likely to be on the roster if the Heatley situation implodes.

    It would appear Tambellini does have a Plan B. Let's hope it's better than Plan A.

  12. Lowetide says:

    FCM: Smid and Brule might already be done but not announced. It's summer so the info stream is unstable.

  13. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @LT.

    I don't know. That Cap Geek guy seems to suss this stuff out pretty well. Then again, perhaps the contracts have been agreed to but not registered with the league.

  14. Masamax says:

    godot10 said:

    Tambellini is just doing what the blogosphere has been screaming at him not doing with the goaltending hole…be patient and get a bargain contract.

    This.

    When one examines what is availible in terms of cap space on teams as well as need, and also takes a look at WHO is availible, there are an awful lot of players who could be looking at making far less than what they did last season.

    Of course, there is an argument that you risk losing the best of those players the longer you wait and they get more desperate. This was exactly the thinking behind Tambo's signing of Bulin, as opposed to waiting to see what the market would bring later. I don't think anyone in the blogosphere can question the Bulin signing and simutaneously question why we haven't signed one of the numerous vetran plugs availible.

    On a side note, what would we think if we got Biron's contract? I like the dollars, but is the term all that good? How many goalies are going to be availible next year if he decides to skip town? This is something I think that guys like JW should think about when they question why we didn't sign Biron. If he was only a 1 year contract, what would our theoretical position be if he walked next year? I have a feeling bad.

  15. HBomb says:

    If all Tambellini did at this point was ink Malholtra for a couple years at somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million per (and moved out Moreau or Nilsson in the process to offset the cap hit), I'd actually be satisfied.

    A good, solid veteran 3rd line center is the only thing separating this team from being a good bet for the playoffs at this point, IMO. Sure, there's other moves I'd like to see made, but a lot of those are classified as "wants". This one is a big fat "must".

  16. spOILer says:

    I ddidn't see a 3C on any of Tambo's shopping lists and that worries me. As I mentioned in an earlier thread, and it seems JW agrees, goals against was a bigger issue last season, yet it doesn't seem to register with the braintrust except for comments like we need to be tougher to play against.

    Bring me Peca and a Seidenberg type, wave good bye to Staios and I will be happy with that roster starting the season.

    Obviously an improvement over Nilsson would be nice too, but seems unlikely due to his lack of market value.

  17. spOILer says:

    HBomb, I fear Cogliano is buggering up the 3C plans.

  18. Lowetide says:

    I do recall a quote in regard to giving Brule a shot at center that Tambellini kind of smiled and suggested they would not stand pat.

    Anyone else remember that? I think it was the day the wind was blowing and you couldn't hear everything.

  19. shanetrain says:

    I recall late in last years Reg. season playing Columbus and they basically ran all over the Oilers.

    Too big, too skilled and too fast.

    Columbus and Chicago are the ideal models to follow in my opinion.

    Eager, Brouwer even Colin Fraser … those types are what we need to go with the skill up front.

  20. speeds says:

    I don't think anyone in the blogosphere can question the Bulin signing and simultaneously question why we haven't signed one of the numerous veteran plugs available.

    Why not? It's tough to say which is more likely of the following two options (not meant to be exhaustive), my bet would be on 2 but who knows?

    (1) EDM identified G as a need and filled it nearly immediately. They also identified 3C as a need, but decided to sit back and see how the market develops, for whatever reason treating the G need far differently than the C need.

    (2) EDM identified G as a need and filled it nearly immediately. They don't feel 3C is a need, and therefore haven't filled that position via UFA.

    It's not like it's a given the Oilers are looking for a third line C to begin with, as perhaps shown by Prendergast's quote.

  21. Mr DeBakey says:

    "I do recall a quote in regard to giving Brule a shot at center that Tambellini kind of smiled and suggested they would not stand pat."

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/

    Watch the Tambo clip
    Tencer asks him about Brule getting Brodziak's spot.

    I say its a NO go

  22. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    shanetrain said…
    "I recall late in last years Reg. season playing Columbus and they basically ran all over the Oilers.

    Too big, too skilled and too fast.

    Columbus and Chicago are the ideal models to follow in my opinion.

    Eager, Brouwer even Colin Fraser … those types are what we need to go with the skill up front."

    Nice model to copy if you have the same kind of skill upfront. Unfortunately, the Oilers don't so they may have to look at a different model.

  23. shanetrain says:

    Yeah only a baby's handfull of teams have that skill up front.

    The emphasis is on the bottom six.

  24. DanMan says:

    J-Wil: The PK problems can't all be blamed on the forwards. Grebbert were horrible last year at keeping guys out of the crease area. Pat Quinn will certainly help in this respect.

    It really bothers me when guys think the PK is all about the forwards. Pisani is an elite PKer, Horc and Moreau (when not in the box himself) seemed a little less aggressive last year, but they should be better.

    Brodz needs to be replaced. Big deal. Being a forward on the PK isn't rocket science. You play the box, get into shooting lanes, and try to get your stick on the passes. Not everyone blocks shots with their face like Marty Reasoner.

    Some will say we need a faceoff guy for the PK. Look at Horc's PK fo %, its low, just like Betts. The PP wins most of the faceoffs leaguewide, somnething like 55-45. Its because they have 3 forwards fighting for the puck, and the PK has 2 (sometimes one as you need to set-up quickly).

    Being tougher in front of our own net is vastly more important than what is happening at the blueline.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Mr. DeBakey: Terrific find, thanks. My memory sputters but that was indeed the quote I was thinking about.

    speeds: Agree completely. Tambellini said "Khabibulin was number one on our list, but we weren't sure we were going to be able to get him. Coming into free agency goaltending was number one. We felt being able to attract Nik to come to us at that point was huge."

    He talked about C in the clip Mr DeBakey supplied.

  26. spOILer says:

    This summer is becoming as frustrating as a bikini babe beach party with chaperones.

    Tambo starts the off-season by firing the coach and then heavily implying there were going to be changes to player personnel, proceeds to swap goalies, trade our one good RH FO guy for one weakass magic bean, and then says they're likely to be going into TC with what they have.

    I don't mind Khabib as a player but does our management really think he's that much of an upgrade over Roli that we can now wave Brodz good-bye and we're a play-off team? I sure don't.

    Or are they covering up the fact that no one wants to do the horizontal hula with them? Heatley sure thinks they're too ugly for words.

  27. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: I don't think Tambellini has ever said they'll stand pat, did he? Prendergast did but he's such a "frame the issue" kind of guy it's really hard to believe him.

    As for the Brodziak deal, the jury is still out. His skills are duplicated (but less proven) on the roster and there are upgrades (Malhotra) available.

    But, just like trading Pronger and not replacing his minutes with a veteran option, should they run with Brule (and fail, which is let's face it terribly likely) then we're back on the airplane that is so badly balanced it can't take off.

  28. gogliano says:

    I really think the Brodziak deal had something to do with cleaning the room, and worrying about filling the spot later (though the concern to give Pouliout a chance at his natural position is a part of the picture). I don't think it is because they thought they were overloaded down the middle.

    MGMT apparently felt that Brodziak was not living up to his role. They are worse until they fill his spot but I think Tambellini views this as an addition by subtraction and wanted to set the mood for the upcoming season early. I think they might also be trying to fill the hole via the trade route given the abundance of tweeners on this roster and cap concerns.

  29. Gerta Rauss says:

    Posted by ESF over at HFboards

    It's Brooks and all,but I thought the blurb about Zherdev hear the end of the article was interesting…if the Rangers walk from the arb ruling,he's a UFA,yes?

  30. Masamax says:

    @ speeds

    I was more refering to the general opinion around the oilers blogosphere that seems to suggest that signing Bulin so early was wrong because better deals became availible (which Tambo obviously has a looking glass into), while not signing a guy like Malhotra yet seems to be blasphemy. I just think its hypocritical to suggest both at the same time, and that's exactly what I am seeing in a lot of posts.

    Getting a good goaltender signed long term should have been (and obviously was) a higher priority for this team. I'd feel a lot more afraid about waiting with hope that a guy like Biron becomes availible for cheap and risk having Dany Sabourin as your starter next season than waiting for a guy like Malhotra or Betts to get cheap and having MAP as my 3C.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Gerta: Yes, Zherdev would be UFA. Oilers would have a harder time signing him than trading Penner for him, though (as an example).

    gogliano: Yeah, they clearly didn't like the lack of grit and I also think they'd decided he was worth a certain amount and the arb may have changed things. It's also absolutely possible that they had a list of culls from F that included others and that Brodziak was the only one who received any kind of reaction.

  32. R O says:

    I was more refering to the general opinion around the oilers blogosphere that seems to suggest that signing Bulin so early was wrong because better deals became availible (which Tambo obviously has a looking glass into), while not signing a guy like Malhotra yet seems to be blasphemy.

    That is comparing apples to oranges.

    The market for starting goaltenders has been clearly demonstrated to be a buyer's market. I have not seen this demonstrated for 3C spot, and this is exacerbated by the fact that the position is so fungible (can be moved up or down or to wing) and thus there are more roster spots to fill.

  33. Gerta Rauss says:

    Yes, Zherdev would be UFA. Oilers would have a harder time signing him than trading Penner for him, though (as an example).

    Agreed.Perhaps we can push something out the door if/before Slats decides to walk away…Nilsson,Staios?

    OT-I'm a newb at HTML…is there any way to have a link open a new browser,or is this a configuration setting of Blogger(ie:same browser is used when the link is clicked on)

  34. PDO says:

    Gerta, just hold down control when you click on it.

  35. Masamax says:

    The market for starting goaltenders has been clearly demonstrated to be a buyer's market.

    Yes, this is true, since we got Bulin on a contract far below what he made on his last one. I would agree with you there. As to comparing apples to oranges, I would strongly disagree. If the market for the 3C position is not as much a buyer's market, why are there so many quality vetran players availible still? It's because no one wants to pay $2+ million to a 3rd line player anymore, and neither should the Oilers. How many teams have the money and need for such a contract and player? Obviously not as many as those players would like. In fact, all the (imo) quality goaltenders have already been signed, so one could argue the market for a 3 line plugging PKer is actually a lot more of a buyer's market.

  36. Gerta Rauss says:

    thanks PDO

  37. godot10 says:

    //The market for starting goaltenders has been clearly demonstrated to be a buyer's market. I have not seen this demonstrated for 3C spot, and this is exacerbated by the fact that the position is so fungible (can be moved up or down or to wing) and thus there are more roster spots to fill.//

    The three guys most talked about, Malhotra, Moore, and Betts are all still available. The Oilers can safely wait for the first one to be signed. They can probably get Betts to come to camp on a tryout basis in the worst case.

  38. hunter1909 says:

    Brule has the heart of a lion, but the body of a young player, and that bodies getting the crap beaten out of it, and looks like Gilbert's going to end up a bust, thanks to him being tossed to the lions before his oh so slightly smaller frame has time to develop.

    Bobby Orr talks about this plainly stupid thing NHL teams do, when they throw teenagers into play against 26 year old grown men.

    It stinks.

  39. JB-"jiggyman" says:

    I think we'd be fools to search under stones for PK help when there's a very good chance the PK will be much better simply from a fresh start.

    Not a chance a fresh start does anything to help the PK. Simply switching from MacT's to Renney's system will change very little, when personnel is the issue.

    The forwards from my view were not the problem on the PK last year. Moreau is the only forward I was able to identify as an actual problem on our PK.

    Our Defense is clearly the biggest issue surrounding the penalty kill. Staios is the weak-link. You have a weak 5/6 defenseman who'll struggle vs middle-weak competition 5v5, playing shorthanded vs the opponents 1st unit PP. It's a recipe for failure.

    Souray, who's our best option, is no defensive stalwart himself. Unless we have better options than Souray, Staios, and Strudwick on the PK, we'll remain in the bottom 1/3 of the league, pretty much guaranteed.

    Let's hope one of Gilbert, Grebs, or Smid steps up in the PK department this year. Chances are Smid will replace Staios now that the MacT favoritism is gone.

  40. hunter1909 says:

    Losing MacT adds five wins to the team.

  41. Alice says:

    q:
    Is POS going to get an audition at C?

    He doesn't show up in any of our depth charts at center, but maybe he's part of the plan up the middle?

    I have no idea, but oilers site still lists him at C, and we assume he's not.

  42. Lowetide says:

    O'Sullivan's numbers in the FO circle:

    08-09 41.4% in 99 sorties
    07-08 44.0% in 461 sorties
    06-07 46.4% in 127 sorties

  43. Alice says:

    That would answer my question :-)

  44. Lowetide says:

    Alice: Well, I don't know. His numbers aren't terribly out of whack with the other kids and he does seem to be a pretty smart player.

    I think the Oilers should bring in an expert (Oates, MacT) to teach that one area in TC. If the Oilers could get someone to fill that role that's a helluva help.

  45. spOILer says:

    I'm okay with the Brodz deal, and I am okay with the Bulin Wall, but I'd prefer to see us add to this team rather than seeing a couple of minor swap outs. And, I'd like to see some of that promised accountability.

    But most of all I'd like to see a vet 3C, which doesn't appear to be in the plans for a second straight season, and a cheap upgrade on Staios. I'd even be okay with Steady Steve if they added scoring and a 3C, but that seems even less likely.

    It is this insistence on playing Cogs there that is going to send this team off to war unbalanced yet again.

    And we still could use a more physical, better defensive presence than Staios anchoring the D.

    And there's still some ballast in the bottom 6 to clear, even with Brodz gone. Damn, I'd sure like to see Potulny with a regular shift next year. If he can score 15 with 4th line minutes, we'd have our new Glencross.

  46. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: I admit Cogliano doesn't know what the hell he's doing, but he's actually doing some good things just based on pure skill.

    When he figures it out (and he will) then I think he'll be something else. I do think he'll end up on the wing, though.

  47. DanMan says:

    LT, how soon does pdq become PFQ?

    I don't see our needs being as crucial as others. We have the goaltening situation settled, that was the big one.

    I'm concerned about the numbers game in the top 6 wingers. We have 5 bodies to fill 4 spots. 6 if Eberle or Schremp tear it up in TC.

    I really don't want to see a guy like Nilsson go for nothing on waivers. It's time to stop focusing on Heatley and shift 2 f's and maybe a d for a top 6 winger and a stay-at-home type d-man.

  48. DanMan says:

    I just don't want to go into TC and we can't make a move because most other teams will have their personnel penciled in.

  49. spOILer says:

    LT: Oh absolutely. Cogliano looks like a real game-breaker. When he learns to limit the bleeding from the minor cuts and bruises, he's going to be a real beauty warrior.

    But can we keep basing our structure on slotting him in at pivot? Especially on a line with two other shooters?

    And in days far anon from now can we go to battle with a first line that has both him and Gagner? Or with the two as our top two pivots? I struggle with both scenarios… even moreso if Eberle and Magnum are involved in the top 6 then.

  50. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: Schremp could climb Everest and still not make this team. It's amazing how many people think he's just a lucky break away from putting O'Sullivan, Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson in their place.

    Just to restate: there was a race to the NHL, Schremp lost it. TO ALL OF THEM!

    SpOILer: I don't think the Oilers can run any longer with that much youth and inexperience at center. It looks to me like Quinn will want a Horcoff, a Gagner, a Pouliot or Brule and a veteran right handed center to play the Stoll/Brodziak role.

    Cogliano is a candidate for 1line L, along with Penner, O'Sullivan and apparently Schremp. :-)

  51. DanMan says:

    There is one reason Schremp could make this team: The salary cap.

    Tambellini wants to leave at least 5% of the cap open for in-season movement. If he, Quinn, and Renney consult and decide Schremp at $700 K is just as good (even slightly worse) than Nilsson at $2.2 mil, #88 will start the season on the 23-man.

    I'll bet anyone $100 on that.

  52. Lowetide says:

    If Nilsson leaves (and he certainly may) I'd suggest a gritty, difficult to play against forward is coming in.

    1. Horcoff 5.5M
    2. Penner 4.25M
    3. Hemsky 4.1M
    4. O'Sullivan 2.925M
    5. Pisani 2.5M
    6. Moreau 2.0M
    7. Nilsson 2.0M<<<<<<<<
    8. Cogliano .883M
    9. Gagner .875M
    10. Pouliot .825M
    11. Stortini .700M
    12. MacIntyre .537M
    13. Jacques .525M
    14. Brule RFA

    Among the inhouse candidates:

    1. Geoff Paukovich 603,000
    2. Colin McDonald 550,000
    3. Ryan Stone RFA

    Quinn is unlikely to run as many small forward as MacT did a year ago. They've flushed Reddox already, and I suspect Nilsson is next.

    But not to make room for Schremp.

  53. Coach pb9617 says:

    reijo29: Any further word on when and where I'll be able to buy Brugal rum?

    I can drive five minutes and get this.

    Would you like a fedexed care package?

  54. HBomb says:

    Coach: whereabouts are you that it's available already???

    RE: Cogliano. Keeping him in the equation as the 3C is short-sighted on many levels. He's got enough offensive upside that he's got to get some sort of top-six shot, but with Gagner as the 2C and Horcoff entrenched as 1C, he's got to move to the wing to get in there.

    Add into the equation that he's bloody awful on the dot, and it should be obvious that a move from center to right or left wing is the smart move for him (and the team) long term.

  55. JB-"jiggyman" says:

    Losing MacT adds five wins to the team.

    I'd agree, Which means we're at least challenging for a playoff spot, AS IS. If we stay moderately healthy I think we're in the playoffs no problem.

    The PK will still be the weak-link if Moreau/Staios/Souray get the big minutes. Quinn has no ties to the Moreau/Staios regime so we could see unexpected changes still.

    I'm starting to think the 3C hole won't be filled until the deadline. It's not a big enough hole to lose us a playoff spot by itself. Cogliano/Brule/Pouliot could reasonably fill the spot until the deadline.

    Cogliano at 3C could be a solid option with the right line mates (No Moreau). Playing 3C with skilled line-mates under Quinn, will be far less confusing than playing 3C as grinder under MacT and Moreau. Cogliano isn't destined to fail at face-offs for the rest of his career either.

  56. Coach pb9617 says:

    A good, solid veteran 3rd line center is the only thing separating this team from being a good bet for the playoffs at this point, IMO.

    Exactly. And when that happens, good things can happen at the deadline.

  57. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Coach pb9617 said…
    "A good, solid veteran 3rd line center is the only thing separating this team from being a good bet for the playoffs at this point, IMO.

    Exactly. And when that happens, good things can happen at the deadline."

    One would assume the addition of a veteran third line centre would indeed help the Oilers but I'm intensely curious which three teams who finished ahead of the Oilers for the final playoff spot would improve less in the offseason.

    STL is adding full seasons (all else being equal) of Kariya, Erik Johnson, Oshie, McDonald, Pietrangelo and perhaps Brewer.

    CLB is adding full seasons of Brassard, Filatov and Vermette.

    Anaheim has lost Pronger buy added Koivu to an excellent top six, especially with Ryan for a full season, along with Boynton and Wieniewski on the blueline.

    And Dallas, missing Ott, Richards, Morrow, Lehtinen and Zubov for long stretches and Turco playing like crap, finished 2 points back of the Oilers.

    Do you really think adding a third line player is more significant than those additions elsewhere?

  58. Coach pb9617 says:

    Yes, this is true, since we got Bulin on a contract far below what he made on his last one.

    *smacks forehead*

  59. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach: whereabouts are you that it's available already???

    The states.

    I repeat my offer.

    email me at the address available at http://www.coppernblue.com if you would like a care package.

  60. Coach pb9617 says:

    Do you really think adding a third line player is more significant than those additions elsewhere?

    The growth of Gagner and the move of Cogliano to RW. The actual use of Penner where he belongs and a full season of a shooter on Gagner's line PLUS a real center to take heat from Horcoff and kill penalties is way more than those teams have added.

  61. Lowetide says:

    Plus the young blue (Gilbert, Grebeshkov) is a year older and Visnovsky isn't coming in new to the situation.

    I'm all in favor of (mostly) staying the course, but would like to add a gritty forward along with the 3line C.

  62. Coach pb9617 says:

    I'm all in favor of (mostly) staying the course, but would like to add a gritty forward along with the 3line C.

    If the fellas go into a season with

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O'Sullivan-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau-Betts/Malhotra/Moore-Pisani
    Jacques-Pouliot-Stortini/Brule

    I'd be…I wouldn't complain about anything Oilers related for all of October.

  63. Lowetide says:

    I keep wondering about Moreau and Pisani. In a perfect world we'd sign a veteran with sandpaper and move one of them down to play with the kids on the 4line.

  64. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Coach & LT.

    You're assuming the prospects on the Blues, Jackets, Stars (and Kings) remain static while Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert and Grebs blossom?

    Let's just look at Blues for moment.

    Perron, Berglund and Oshie are in the same age cluster as Gagner and Cogilano and there's no reason to believe they won't improve at at least the same rate.

    Any increase in scoring you might see from Penner or Horcoff will be more than equalled by a full season of McDonald and Kariya and the Blues are adding Erik Johnson, Pietrangelo and eventually Brewer to their defense which IMO should be a far greater boost than you would get from having a more comfortable Visnovsky for the whole season.

    The Blues PK was ranked 3rd last season and their PP 8th so you would think an improvement in their 5V5 should be a reasonable expectation with more veterans in their lineup.

  65. Lowetide says:

    FCM: Is St. Louis the team we're chasing for 8th?

  66. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ LT.

    Possible, but I think three of STL, CLB, DAL and ANA will all have to be beaten if the Oilers have much of a chance.

    I also think LA will make major strides this season and they only finished 6 points behind the Oilers last season.

    I don't think incremental changes will be enough to get the job done.

    The only other possibilities I see are Calgary and/or Vancouver imploding and that just seem all that likely to me.

  67. gogliano says:

    St. Louis is one of 15 teams. I think the right answer here is that if the team that plays next year is better than the team that played last year, you should notice a difference in the win-loss, or at least goal differential, column (unless there is large cross-conference movement in players). The other teams will hit runs of sevens or snake eyes and their young players will play better and their old players will start to decline; but it'll all come out in the wash.

    a) Has Edmonton added or lost via trades and free agency from last year?
    b) Did last year's squad get lucky, unlucky, or somewhere in between?
    c) Will its own roster be better or worse due to aging?

    I think those questions are sufficient in asking where the team will fit in the standings. If someone always overestimates the other teams (everyone is getting better!), they are a pessimist without sufficient reason; if someone always overestimates the home team (everyone is on the decline! they got lucky!), they are an optimist without sufficient reason. Our friend FCM is of the former sort ;) ; the majority of hockey fans are the latter, I think.

  68. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    gogliano, while there is a great degree of randomness involved in every season due to injury, luck or serendipity, at this point you have to look at expectations for players on the roster and additions.

    The Oilers have added a new coaching staff, lost Brodziak and replaced Roli with Khabibulin.

    The conventional wisdom is that adding a veteran third line centre will propel the Oilers into the playoffs because it will relieve the pressure on Horcoff allowing him to increase his offensive output and, perhaps, improve the PK.

    While I agree that may have been enough to secure a playoff spot last season, the goal posts are always moving.

    Using the STL example again, will Horcoff's increased offense, coupled with more production from Penner and O'Sullivan be enough to offset another 70 games from Kariya, another 35 games from McDonald and another 25 from Oshie?

    Since McDonald and Kariya were both producing at a PPG clip when they were healthy, I doubt that.

    You can reasonably expect an improved performance from Cogliano and Gagner but why wouldn't you also expect that from Perron, Berglund and Oshie who are already performing at a higher level?

    On defense, the Oilers will likely see some improvement from Gilbert and Grebs but the Blues are effectively adding 3 new players in Johnson, Pietrangelo and Brewer who combined played a total of 36 games last year.

    Visnovsky return will balance that off somewhat but remember the Blues managed to finish 7 points ahead of the Oilers last season even with that mangled lineup.

    I really can't see them being worse.

  69. Lowetide says:

    I think you can overstate it too. The Blues looked dead in the water before getting hot ala the Oilers a couple of years ago, and as we know with kids it's hit and miss.

    Having said that, the Blues have been building for some time (since Kekelainen came over from Ottawa) and appear ready to kick out the jams.

  70. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    LT:

    The Blues had 7 regulars out of the lineup for an extended period and only got hot when a few of them, Oshie and McDonald in particular, returned.

    I'm sure you recall what happened the last time the Oilers had a rash that bad.

  71. R O says:

    Saying the Oilers are a good bet for the playoffs is equivalent to sayiing that it is a good bet that less than 8 teams in the Western Conference will be better than the Oilers this coming season. As the rosters currently stand, it takes a certain lack of imagination not to be able to name 8 such teams.

    My list:
    Detroit, San Jose, Calgary, Chicago, Vancouver, Columbus, Anaheim, Los Angeles (not necessarily in that order)

    Compared to these teams last year, Edmonton:
    - Trailed in territorial advantage last year, AND
    - Mostly had the percentages on their side (not as much as Vancouver though), AND
    - They got relatively lucky with injuries (seriously – Visnovsky for 32 games pales in comparison to what some of the playoff teams had to contend with), AND
    - Haven't made any roster upgrades (aside from the natural improvements of the young players – but every team has these).

    You can try and quibble the finer details (Anaheim lost Pronger, maybe you think LA is overhyped etc. etc.) but the fact of the matter is this:

    Of the bubble teams that will be fighting for 6-7-8 this year, Edmonton moved laterally at best and the oppositon moved laterally at the very least. Adding one two-way 3C will help but that is just one man, you need two to three of these bottom-six-type moves (a la Calgary last season) before you start to see results. Probably more, given how bad Edmonton was last year at moving the puck in the right direction, and how a useful Brodziak was lost for nothing. There are too many open issues and questions for an Edmonton playoff season to be a good bet.

  72. Lowetide says:

    Well, I think we're officially overrating Kyle Brodziak now and he's a fine player.

    As for predictions, well we'll have to see what happens. I doubt the Oilers are done.

  73. PunjabiOil says:

    Anyone notice how we didn't hear a peep from Patrick LaForge all year since Katz took over?

  74. godot10 says:

    Brodziak was the 4th line centre. Pouliot can cover the 4th line centre spot. Brodziak, like Pouliot, would not satisfy everyones desire for a veteran 3rd line centre, so I don't see why some people are making such a fuss about losing him.

    Pouliot, potentially Brule, potentially Stone can cover Brodziak's job on the 4th line.

    Brodziak and Pouliot are basically the equivalent player and there was only room for one of them.

  75. mc79hockey says:

    Fun Fact: Zach Stortini and Sidney Crosby have the same ES shooting percentage. 13.2%. We've been looking for a one touch scorer – turns out he was here all along.

  76. Lowetide says:

    And they say math has no sense of humor.

  77. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Lowetide said…
    And they say math has no sense of humor.

    Math does…mathematicians not so much…except for Tyler.

  78. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    godot10 said…

    Pouliot, potentially Brule, potentially Stone can cover Brodziak's job on the 4th line.

    Brodziak and Pouliot are basically the equivalent player and there was only room for one of them.

    Shouldn't a team look at improving rather than plugging in another underachieving clone?

  79. Lowetide says:

    I think the organization may indeed want to give Pouliot a shot in the 3C position. If he ends up covering the bet that's a contract that could be real value.

    You've got to find value deals somewhere.

  80. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Lowetide said…
    I think the organization may indeed want to give Pouliot a shot in the 3C position. If he ends up covering the bet that's a contract that could be real value.

    You've got to find value deals somewhere.

    And, I think that's exactly what they should do.

    I know you believe the Oilers aren't done yet, but it appears they are in the hunt for a scoring winger more for his marquee value than anything else and the coaching staff is willing to let next season be an evaluation year with an outside shot at the playoffs.

  81. Lowetide says:

    FCM: I'm not in favor of getting Heatley, but if the could acquire a gritty scorer for Penner and Smid plus a prospect or pick I'd think that would be a positive.

    If they can increase the odds of PP success for instance (that ought to drive Coach nuts) then I'd be for it.

    Other than that, more grit on the 3/4 lines, a veteran winger if we're lucky, maybe a small upgrade on vet D if they move Smid and a better backup than JDD.

  82. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ LT.

    I'm not a fan of Heatley either although I think more than baby steps need to be taken to make the Oilers a playoff team.

    At some point, a puck moving defenseman is going to have to be moved for forward talent but the market is a little wonky right now so it might be best to sit things out for a bit and get a better handle on what's in the pantry.

    If Pouliot, Brule or even Jacques step up, it's a bonus.

  83. PDO says:

    Vancouver lost:

    Sundin and Ohlund, added Samulesson (I hate Swedish names… never know where to add the extra M/S/E/N…).

    While he should be a fantastic fit for the 1 line with the Sedin twins, they're a significantly worse team.

    I mean who's getting better? They're adding rookies who certainly aren't overripe. The Sedin's are the Sedin's, Luongo is Luongo. Salo will get injured for a significant period of time, and then there top 4 D are what again?

    Anaheim is a lesser team, especially if Hiller was on an ungodly streak as I expect.

    Calgary improved, but the problem is that Iginla/Regehr/Kipper could still fall off the cliff at any minute, and one could argue Kipper is half way down it already.

    Chicago is the same team as last year…. with worse goaltending, and down Hossa (Havlat) until the new year. I'd say they could be the dark horse team to have all kinds of struggles, especially with nearly everyone on that season, while young, coming off a career year.

    CBJ still has questions in net.

    Zubov is rumoured to be retiring AND Tom Hicks it trying to cut salary in Dallas.

    Minny downgraded (albeit not in a big way) from Gaborik to Havlat. They've also pissed off Burns, and who knows how he'll recover. Not to mention the new coach…

    I don't think we're that far off.

  84. JB-"jiggyman" says:

    Detroit, San Jose, Chicago, and Calgary are locks for the playoffs, but after that it's a battle between every team outside of Phoenix and Nashville imo.

    The coaching change shouldn't be underestimated, this team isn't any worse than last year. Expectations were the division. There's no reason to be that high this year but playoffs are very realistic IMO.

  85. R O says:

    The coaching change shouldn't be underestimated

    I think the coaching might be even worse this year. MacT made some perplexing decisions last year but was generally an excellent tactician and knew exactly who on the roster he could trust with tough assignments and who he couldn't. He has been replaced by a guy who does not historically employ line-matching. If the liabilities on the Oilers roster are not properly hidden, then the team might be even worse this year than last.

    There's only so much positive effect a coaching paradigm can squeeze out of a roster shaped the way the Oilers roster is (at the moment). The possible negative effects, however, are limitless.

    this team isn't any worse than last year.

    The team isn't any better. The Oilers last year weren't a very good team, they got outshot regularly and spent a lot of time in their own zone. Goaltending was a bright spot but Roloson to Khabibulin is probably a lateral move.

    Expectations were the division.

    Expecations were unrealistic. They were based on a completely unsustainable 20-game run of sevens.

    There's no reason to be that high this year but playoffs are very realistic IMO.

    How so? The team still needs a lot of useful NHL players to get to a level where it doesn't have to get lucky with the percentages.

    @PDO:

    If other teams are to be so scrutinized for possible faults, then it must be done for the Oilers as well.

    - Gagner and Cogliano will still bleed chances against.
    - There has not been one addition among the skater ranks to improve the Oilers' terrorial advantage problem.
    - I still haven't seen a convincing argument that Khabibulin is a good bet to provide better goaltending next season than Roloson.
    - These problems can still be addressed but the Oilers are short on cap space, and the only viable dumping ground for the poor contracts is the AHL.

  86. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ PDO

    I'm curious as to how you see The Canucks as "significantly worse."

    They've in effect brought in a full year of Samuelsson to replace half a year of Sundin, If, as expected, Samuelsson plays on the first line with the Sedins, that will be one of the toughest first lines to play against in the entire WC.

    Then you mention they'll be playing a lot of rookies…who? Likely the only rookie on the team will be Hodgson and he'll be sheltered.

    Yes, they've lost Ohlund but the Canucks still have almost $6M in cap space, pending Wellwood's arbitration, so they should have ample room to bring in another defender who at least matches Ohlund's skill level.

    Then, I believe you're ignoring the fact that Luongo was out for 25 games and they still managed to win the division and finish 15 points ahead of the Oilers.

    I expect Burrows and Kesler may regress a bit but I really don't think they will miss Sundin all that much although there is still a chance he'll return if the dollars are small.

    I wouldn't count them out at all, in fact, you have to think they should be favoured to win the NW again.

  87. NBOilerFan says:

    Jonathan Willis said…
    "Why? Pnealty-killing and goals-against were the biggest problems for the Oilers last season.
    Addressing the two things that kept them out of the playoffs should be top priority"

    This was meant in the context of what the organization feels is the priority, not mine. Which is why they are dealing for Heatley,and I don't believe Heatley will be the last target, if this standoff ever ends. I think they have and will continue to try to move bodies (likely Smid & Cogs) for a #1 LW sniper type.

    My opinion has always been that we had/have a very decent team and I wanted nothing more then keeping status quo, which I have repeated stated on here numerous times.

    My off-season wishlist was:
    (1) Goaltending – With Biron my #1 target (3-3.5mil per)
    (2) Vet #3 center ($1.5-#2 per)
    (3) Resigning Kotalik (if between $2-$2.5)
    (4) Deal Nilsson and Pouliot for whatever you could get.

    New coaching staff and a renewed Penner (yes, I trully believed he was coming to camp in better shape and more fit then he'd ever been and more mature and ready the never to make a statement and hoping that being involved as trade bait I'm not as certain but still optimistic).

    Lowetide said…
    " I think the organization may indeed want to give Pouliot a shot in the 3C position. If he ends up covering the bet that's a contract that could be real value."

    If so, then this is exactly what is wrong with this organization. And I'm pretty sure you have written much on this very topic… this club is desperately needing more veteran presence and none more so then the 3rd line center spot.

    I was okay with Brodziak being dealt because I thought that meant that a #3 center was indeed another top-priority for Tambellini. And I'd be very happy with Pouliot/Brule/Poultney..etc fighting for the 4th line spot, but if Tambellini goes with Pouliot in that spot then this team is helpless with incompetence.

    Pouliot is NOT the answer… period and put me on the record in truly believing that Pouliot is the next player on this team to be passed by depth in the organization. Pouliot will not cover that bet…. and if Tambellini fails on the Heatley deal and then holds pat withP Pouliot as teh 3line center, I will be pissed.

  88. Lowetide says:

    NB Oiler Fan: I'd be much more comfortable with a veteran rh center on this roster too.

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