Spin

As the warmth of the sun finds its way to the hinterland, the big brains on copper and blue avenue are dusting off the book of spin.

We’ve seen a few articles already, with items like “Nash is bigger” and in terms of Jordan Eberle and a roster spot “things might be different this year.”

Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson is in Sweden, but if he was in Edmonton we might be reading “the Oilers braintrust have been heard muttering about moving up MPS’s time of arrival.”

The Oilers spin will hit overdrive at training camp if GM Tambellini can’t find a Heatley or a Jagr. The Oilers management group appears to believe the big name is required this summer and they’re trying to bag their man come hell or high water.

If August fades without a big name arriving in our town, get ready for headlines like “Eberle may force his way onto roster” and “Schremp gumbo ready?”

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51 Responses to "Spin"

  1. Jonathan Willis says:

    "J-F Jacques envisions himself on a scoring line."

  2. Gerta Rauss says:

    "Our 1LW Dustin Penner brings grit and try to our first line"

  3. Southern Oil says:

    Tambo is a hard guy to figure out so far. What's he doing these days? As a fan I get impatient and I realize that is my own fault. I just hope that he isn't sitting in his office waiting for Heatley to change his mind. If that's the case then were cooked.

    This team is really between a rock and a hard place and I cannot for the life of me figure out where I want it to go. Some part of me is saying full re-build and another part of me is saying try to pull in a player like Kessel. The problem there though is that Boston isn't going to want our high priced contracts in return – they'll want the players that are necessary to turn this thing around. KLowe really left us with some terrible contracts.

    One thing I am more convinced of though is that if this organization is trying to pull in a big name as a means to getting us to the next level – I fear more mediocrity because as we all know we are not a Heatley away. Some hard decisions need to be made and need to be made now. Where are we going?

    Am I the only one that feels this way?

  4. Lowetide says:

    I'd be happy with the Oilers signing some mid-level veterans for center and right wing (Pisani insurance).

    They might also sign a mid-priced defender and deal one of the big 4D for scoring help and of course Tanguay is still out there.

  5. mjsh says:

    Now that the excitement of the Heatley thing is over, I tend to agree with LT. Trade a d-man for a solid top six forward and sign a mid range d-man and that ellusive 3rd line center and play on.

    Perhaps the optimism of last summer has swung too far to the pessimism of this summer. I remember Nillson saying that he learned some things this year and he would be better next year, Penner still has potential as do Gagner and Cogs.

    And of course there are new messengers with Quinn and Renney.

    If they had solid penalty killing last year, this would have been a playoff team.

  6. Masamax says:

    "I fear more mediocrity because as we all know we are not a Heatley away. "

    Firstly:

    I think that a lot of people are under-rating this current lineup. I feel with a new coach, and a little tweaking, this is definitely a playoff squad. With Pisani off the books after next year, and a rich owner able to bury deadweight in the minors, I am not certain I fear the cap as much as some of you. If it comes down to it, just like every other team, we might have to bury some contracts after next season and sign no namers. However, if you look at the position of many if not most teams in the league, they are all in a similar place. If the playing field is lowered on a universal level, it is not a relative change.

    Secondly:
    At the end of the day, the regular season is all just jockeying for position for the second season (or, I guess, for the draft if you think some teams purposefully tank). Once a team has that position, even an 8th seed position, it can make its own destiny. Sure, we may not be a Heatley away from being a perenial cup contender, but we have been one win away from the cup in that situation before. Where did/has being a perenial contender left teams like San Jose and Ottawa? Pitts and Detroit are both excellent teams, but they both can, have, and will be beaten by a worse squad with better coaching and a little luck.

    Long story short, I think we need to stop putting our mindsets in a "lets blow it up until we have a malkin and a crosby". We have a competetive team now, I think most would agree, and with a few pieces, a little more experience, and a little luck, who knows where it can go.

  7. Jfry says:

    while it's more difficult, given our recent past, i enjoy the quiet. i enjoy that there's not theatrics for theatric's sake.

  8. Traktor says:

    Eberle had 9 points in 9 AHL games – shouldn't we expect him to make a push?

  9. HBomb says:

    Eberle had 9 points in 9 AHL games – shouldn't we expect him to make a push?

    We should, but the bigger question is this – should the Oilers even be in a position for him to be the best option for a soft-minutes RW role?

    The Detroit theory would be leave the kid in the AHL until he's played at least a full season there – don't rush him one bit.

  10. Jfry says:

    just watching the interviews from the oilers site from today with the prospects. quist says all the right things. anyone heard anything about his "re-emergence"?

  11. raventalon40 says:

    "Steve MacIntyre to battle DesLauriers for backup job."

  12. Jon says:

    LT: I could not agree more.

    Tambo could make 2 moves and be set for the forseeable future.

    In Maholtra 2mill
    Out Nillson 2mill

    Would anyone be really that angry with:

    Penner Horc Hemsky (Top line matchups)
    POS Maholtra Pisani (Tough min)
    Jaques Gagner Cogs (super soft minutes)
    Moreau Brule/poo Storts (Crash bang)

    We run the same defense and if healthy we are competitive.

  13. R O says:

    I think that a lot of people are under-rating this current lineup. I feel with a new coach, and a little tweaking, this is definitely a playoff squad.

    What you are saying here is that you cannot name 8 teams in the WC that will be better than the Oilers. I can name 8:
    - Detroit
    - San Jose
    - Calgary
    - Chicago
    - Vancouver
    - LA
    - Columbus
    - Minnesota

    Granted I think the other 6 are either worse than the Oilers or on the same level. And you might argue with me that LA, Columbus and Minny could underperform and be supplanted by the Oilers, but I'd counter by saying that they all drove possession better than the Oilers last season and all have improved this offseason.

    So the Oilers could be a playoff team but I think that a.) it will be by the skin of their teeth, and b.) it won't be because they are better than 7 other teams in the WC.

    At the end of the day, the regular season is all just jockeying for position for the second season

    This is just simply not true. I think it was Mirtle who looked and found that, before this season, teams outside the top 6 in the regular season NEVER won the Cup in the post 1967 era – with one exception, NJ in 95 (the shortened season). Since Pittsburgh won, that makes two exceptions.

    There isn't a cause-effect thing there (the top 6 in standings isn't some special requirement for Cup-winning) but making the top 6 is a better indicator that you are playing good hockey than making the top 16 – and thus more likely to win 16 playoff games.

  14. HBomb says:

    Jon: I'll say this – the beauty of your plan is the simplicity of it.

    But I'd also ditch Staios and try to find a replacement in the 1 million dollar range.

  15. bookie says:

    What you are saying here is that you cannot name 8 teams in the WC that will be better than the Oilers. I can name 8:

    With that type of absolute certainty, you could make a fortune! I wonder why they even play the games?

    I think that Masamax and some of us actually think the Oil will be better than some of those 8. There has been a massive coaching change on this team and that may (or may not) have a significant impact. As such, I would not bet my house on the Oilers finishing in 9th.

  16. R O says:

    With that type of absolute certainty, you could make a fortune! I wonder why they even play the games?

    I think that Masamax and some of us actually think the Oil will be better than some of those 8. There has been a massive coaching change on this team and that may (or may not) have a significant impact. As such, I would not bet my house on the Oilers finishing in 9th.

    Which of those 8 teams will the Oilers be better than, and why?

  17. Jon says:

    Hbomb: In honour of LT's blog…it's time to play small ball.

    Lowe era did well at finding cheap young talent and it is time to go back to those days.

    tambo needs to stop swinging for the fences and start trying to hit some singles and doubles

  18. Hockey Noob says:

    First, at the risk of sounding like a sycophant, I would like to compliment the Lowetide blog. What's more surprising perhaps are the very high level of thoughtful comments on each post.

    I too share much of this decidedly negative or rather apprehensive view towards our team's outlook for this upcoming season. With respect to the "spin" that you refer to Lowetide, I agree and understand that the marketing necessity for it.

    For all of the talk of Mr. Katz willing to bury contracts in the minors, it's interesting how completely inactive we've been during this UFA period which is reportedly one of the 'cheapest' times in recent history to sign free agents. Malhotra's too expensive at $2million cap hit? To me that's a steal relative to Pisani or Moreau's respective contracts.

    It's frustrating to hear the team pay lip service to making the team, "grittier" and "tougher" to play against without any roster changes reflective of this endeavor.

    I won't even start on our lack of depth at center ice, face offs, or some of the holes in our roster that are not as expensive to fill. It seems like Tambi is planning on filling some of these roster holes with prospects who may not be ready for them.

    I guess we'll see.

    HN

  19. blackadder says:

    Agree with Jon and HBomb – we're not that far from being a playoff team. We're certainly in the mix with Minnesota, Columbus and LA. Let's not forget that we almost made the playoffs last year with a group of forwards who either underperformed (Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani, Gagner, Cogliano) or were outright disasters (Cole/O'Sullivan, Penner, Moreau and Nilsson). Add a veteran 3rd line center (Malhotra, Betts), a third pair defenceman, dump Staios and Nilsson for mid-level picks and we could be in good shape. Not Stanley Cup contenders, maybe, but at least a step above mediocre (which would be a welcome change).

  20. HBomb says:

    Jon: Nilsson for Malholtra, Staios for the next Hejda, and Moreau for Glencross 2.0.

    That would be a "home run summer", so to speak.

  21. Hockey Noob says:

    I agree with Jon that it's time to get some base hits for Tambi instead of going for the home run.

    Currently, we're not very well situated in the WC. However, with a few relatively small tweaks we could be a much better team next season.

  22. Jon says:

    HBomb: I think you have to concede a few things on the management side:

    Moreau is not going anywhere…he is the captain and you don't just dump your captain…whether the intelligent ;) fanbase demands it or not .

    Staios: I think he could be moved but I have this one moment burned in my memory:

    After the Ryan Smyth trade the Oilers held a press conference to spin the fanbase about the move and they brought out two Oilers Moreau and Staios to tell the fans that everything would be okay. Those two are good old boys and whether we like it or not they are to stay.

    I have cut my losses and come to grips with the fact that Staios and Moreau are here to stay

  23. HBomb says:

    Jon: I cannot accept that. Moreau and Staios are pulling in roughly double what they should be making each in terms of cap hit.

    They're the two biggest examples of "dead money" against the Oilers cap. They need to go, "old boys" stuff be damned.

    We could have had Hejda and Glencross for a total of about 1.5 million less per season in terms of cap hit. And both those guys are significant upgrades. That pisses me off. Still.

  24. rickibear says:

    We could have had Hejda and Glencross for a total of about 1.5 million less per season in terms of cap hit.

    Speaking of spin!

    This is one of the biggest falsehood's on the oilogosphere.

    we picked from Hedja or Tarnstrom in the contract year. we would have had one or the other.

    Glencross was traded for Tarnstrom.

    We sign hedja, no tarnstrom to trade for Glencross.

  25. blackadder says:

    Staios' play has been deteriorating for a couple of years – no one questions his ethic or leadership, but I think there are upgrades available and a team looking for some veteran leadership might take on his contract for a mid-level draft pick. Moreau I'd be more inclined to keep around, hoping last season was an anomaly and not signs of things to come.

    As for not trading your captain, well, if we can trade Gretzky, Messier, Lowe, Buchberger (expansion draft), Weight, and Jason Smith, not to mention Ryan Smyth, I don't think either Staois or Moreau could be considered safe.

  26. Jon says:

    Hbomb: preaching to the choir! I agree 100%. I just know that they are not going anywhere and in my mind try to work around them . If they are moved it will be a sweet surprise but until then I am like Eeore. Unhappy but living

  27. hunter1909 says:

    "Eberle had 9 points in 9 AHL games – shouldn't we expect him to make a push?"

    How about letting prospects develop until they're actually ready to excel during an 82 game NHL season?

    Or let's on the other hand simply keep offering up overage juniors, then whine watching them get slaughtered by grown men.

  28. SK Oiler Fan says:

    For the life of me I don't understand why a GM for a Canadian team would feel the need to bring in a "star" or "big name". You could have a team full of Toby Petersens, and as long as you're winning the fans will be content.

    Even if the fans aren't happy, it's not as if ticket sales are going to drop off a cliff. Any average fan can see the advantages of tanking for a year or 3 (ala Pitt, Wash, Chic, Car, and now LA).

    It's like Canadian GMs think their team is traded on the stock market. If they don't "look" good at the start of the season then investments (ticket sales) will be down.

    Looking good on Sept 8th doesn't win a cup. Get a bunch of good NHL players! Not stars, not rookies, GOOD (actual as LT would put it) NHL players!

  29. Bruce says:

    "Smid looks to add offence to all-ice game"

    They might also sign a mid-priced defender and deal one of the big 4D for scoring help

    But … but … but the big 4D are the scoring help. That's the part of the team which actually works. Among defencemen with 60+ GP Gilbert-Grebeshkov-Souray ranked 3-4-9 in the NHL in ESP/60. 3 Oilers in the top 10; otherwise only Detroit had as many as 2 (Rafalski, Kronwall). No other Northwest team had even one defencemen in the top 20.

    I guess you can say "trade from strength" but I would rather exert that strength.

  30. Bruce says:

    Moreau I'd be more inclined to keep around, hoping last season was an anomaly and not signs of things to come.

    The anomaly was that he stayed healthy.

  31. Traktor says:

    Madden signed for 2.75 million and Pahlsson for 2.65 million.

    Maholtra at 2 million isn't realistic.

  32. doritogrande says:

    As for not trading your captain, well, if we can trade Gretzky, Messier, Lowe, Buchberger (expansion draft), Weight, and Jason Smith, not to mention Ryan Smyth, I don't think either Staois or Moreau could be considered safe.

    To continue the thread of spin, but at the same time add a response to this brilliant posting:

    "Steve Staios replaces Ethan Moreau as team captain, says he wants Souray's powerplay time."

  33. HBomb says:

    Madden signed for 2.75 million and Pahlsson for 2.65 million.

    Maholtra at 2 million isn't realistic

    Depends on how long you sign him for. Madden's was a one year deal, and Pahlsson was a three year bit.

    If Malholtra was as highly regarded as those two, you'd think he'd be off the market by now.

    Offer him 6 million over three years, he might bite. Might. We'd be set at center for awhile with two capable tough minutes guys in Horcoff and Malholtra and Gagner to eat the soft (hopefully) on the 2nd line.

  34. godot10 says:

    Where is this Malhotra at $2 million nonsense coming from?

    Malhotra wanted $3 million over mulitiple years from the Blue Jackets, which is why he is no longer a Blue Jactet, and Palsson is, and why no one has signed him.

    Tambellini will not get out of cap hell if he signs a bottom sixer to a multi-year contract for over $2 million.

    He has to get that defensive centre on a 1-year contract, so he has to wait them out till September, when they will be desparate.

    Renney can't think much of Betts, considering that the Oilers haven't signed him yet.

    The Oilers are going to try to trade for a centre, so they can lose a contract in the process, or wait till September, and try to get a 1 year bargain deal.

  35. NBOilerFan says:

    Tambs said at the MacT firing presser that they need to get stronger, grittier and harder to play against. He also said they were going to access how they can fill those voids from within the organization and then look outside.

    If they don't end up making any deals, the real spin will be about how "they always felt that they had the talent within the organization to be stronger and grittier and they expect the coaching sta to get the best out of the existing group".

    Adding Heatley certainly doesn't make them stronger and grittier. Perhaps they will argue that replacing Brodziak witha Brule is a step in that direction, but its certainly not a huge step, and creates a void in faceoff ability.

    So, I have to expect that Tambs will be making at least 1 or 2 (outside of Heatley) before training camp.

    If that is not the case, then without a doubt the spin will begin.

    I have to assume that Tambs is on the phone right now assessing what a Smid & Cogliano combo can get him. If he was willing to move Cogs for Heatley, I'm sure there are others he'd be willing to deal Cogs for.

  36. knighttown says:

    Anyone else think that with the exodus of forwards from Detroit it makes a ton of sense to flip Robert Nilsson there.

    Out:
    Hossa, Samuelsson, Hudler, Kopecky

    In:
    Nilsson, Helm, Leino, Abdelkader

    I know he's old but Kris Draper seems to make the most sense as his cap hit and term are identical. Detroit needs soft minutes offense and we need PK, grit and leadership.

    They could throw in a pick to offset the upside.

  37. Matt says:

    Jon, it definitely was not Moreau and Staios who got trotted out to "defend" the Smyth trade. It was Horcoff, then Staios later. Moreau was off rehabbing something somewhere.

    I think the Oilers org overestimates the connection between Moreau and the fans. Even the fans who like him, it would seem, aren't all "he's indispensable, heart & soul of the team, etc."

  38. bookie says:

    Tambs said at the MacT firing presser that they need to get stronger, grittier and harder to play against. He also said they were going to access how they can fill those voids from within the organization and then look outside.

    If they don't end up making any deals, the real spin will be about how "they always felt that they had the talent within the organization to be stronger and grittier and they expect the coaching sta to get the best out of the existing group".

    You may call that spin, but when I watched that press conference, I came away with the impression that Tambi thought that most of their needs could be filled from within. It was very clear to me that he thought that MacT was a total disaster and that many players underperformed for him. I actually did not get the feeling that many changes were coming from that press conference.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Well it's good news for Pouliot, Brule and Jacques. The problem is fast tracking, and the Oilers did it with Gagner and might do it with Eberle/Magnus PM.

    I think they should back up the depth chart at this point, even if it means running Stone or Potulny out there for a season.

  40. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    R O said…
    I think that a lot of people are under-rating this current lineup. I feel with a new coach, and a little tweaking, this is definitely a playoff squad.

    What you are saying here is that you cannot name 8 teams in the WC that will be better than the Oilers. I can name 8:
    - Detroit
    - San Jose
    - Calgary
    - Chicago
    - Vancouver
    - LA
    - Columbus
    - Minnesota

    I can name 3 more.

    STL made the, playoffs despite missing Erik Johnson, McDonald, Oshie, Kariya and Brewer for much of the season. They should be much better.

    Anaheim may have lost Pronger but, in picking up Koivu to play with Selanne, they have one of the best top six in the WC and have added some nice veteran pieces to round out the roster.

    Dallas finished 2 points behind the Oilers last season while having a dreadful start from Turco and missing Morrow, Ott, Lehtinen and Parrish for extended periods of time. You have to think the Stars will be much improved with a healthy lineup.

  41. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Colorado, Phoenix, and maybe Nashville are the only good bets to finish below the Oilers at this point. With the current roster would anybody be surprised if the Oilers finished 12th?

    Having said that, NHL predictios in July are a bit like weather forecasting. What's the point?

  42. dave says:

    "what can't Reddox do!!"

  43. pboy says:

    You may call that spin, but when I watched that press conference, I came away with the impression that Tambi thought that most of their needs could be filled from within. It was very clear to me that he thought that MacT was a total disaster and that many players underperformed for him. I actually did not get the feeling that many changes were coming from that press conference.

    I couldn't agree more. I felt that Tambo really wants to see what he has in this team with some new hands on the reins before he completely blows things up.

  44. dave says:

    oh wait that was MacT's from last year

  45. NBOilerFan says:

    bookie said…
    I actually did not get the feeling that many changes were coming from that press conference.

    That was the same impression I had, but what I meant is if no changes are made and they go status quo.

    And I don't think you'd find to many Oiler fans anticipating starting the season with Nilsson, Gagner, Cogs and O'Sullivan in the Top-6, or the same roster less Kotalik & Brodziak.

    Regardless how much you blame MacT for last years train wreck, there were a few obvious holes. And if the above turns out to be a reality (I would hope not, but its quite possible) then there will have to be spin.

    Putting that much faith in the new coaching duo is not smart.

  46. ian says:

    Last year the team was comfortably in a play off position before it took a nose dive.That has to be the responsibility of the coaching staff which we hopefully have improved.
    The team was "too easy " to play against so it is either more red meat in the players diet or shuffle the deck player wise, this is a not too difficult job to do.
    we do not know how the coaching will improve the team but hope it will.
    We have not seen any toughness moves but expect they are coming, so for many of us nothing is happening.
    Oh and can I just say that burying salary in the minors is bad money management and won't happen.

  47. R O says:

    Last year the team was comfortably in a play off position before it took a nose dive.That has to be the responsibility of the coaching staff which we hopefully have improved.

    Why is this exactly? You can argue that the Oilers special teams problems were due to coaching. But, all of the Oilers' ES possession metrics were awful as well. That's an indication of problems with the team well beyond coaching. I don't think Mike Babcock could have gotten the Oil to the playoffs last year. In some respects they were lucky to be in a playoff spot halfway into the season.

  48. ian says:

    I would point to the face off circle as part of the problem.
    we were a puck possession team that did not have the puck often enough.
    We also could not retrieve the puck very well.
    Teams owned the Oilers for whole shifts at a time last season often when it was the 2nd line.
    The opposition were playing off the ladies tees while we were playing from the tournament tees

  49. Doogie2K says:

    "Steve MacIntyre to battle DesLauriers for backup job."

    I like your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. ;)

    This is just simply not true. I think it was Mirtle who looked and found that, before this season, teams outside the top 6 in the regular season NEVER won the Cup in the post 1967 era – with one exception, NJ in 95 (the shortened season). Since Pittsburgh won, that makes two exceptions.

    Top seven, actually. Two seventh-placers, the 1986 Canadiens and the 1991 Penguins, have won since the President's Trophy was introduced in 1985-86. (I did the research to prove that there is no President's Trophy curse.) Point stands, though.

    I know he's old but Kris Draper seems to make the most sense as his cap hit and term are identical. Detroit needs soft minutes offense and we need PK, grit and leadership.

    When was the last time the Wings dealt off one of their name vets? As I recall, they all leave through free agency or retirement.

  50. SK Oiler Fan says:

    ian
    Now you're speaking the right language; Relating hockey to golf.

  51. raventalon40 says:

    Jon: Nilsson for Malholtra, Staios for the next Hejda, and Moreau for Glencross 2.0.

    Howson won't want to pick up more salary than he's giving up right after signing Nash. Malholtra is a UFA.

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