The Trouble with Rookies

I believe the trouble with the Edmonton Oilers has to do with a rookie. No, not Jeff Deslauriers or recent rookies Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner or even Liam Reddox.

It’s easy to forget that Daryl Katz is new to the job of being an NHL owner. I’m not going to be critical of him, hell the guy writes the cheques and hasn’t threatened us with the hammer that is Oklahoma City one time.

Katz is a fan, and it’s my belief this may be getting in the way of the hockey men and getting business done. The recent Dany Heatley chase is the latest example, but we saw it a year ago with Marian Hossa too.

We’ve seen this many times in sports, a successful business man takes over his favorite toy (in this case, the Oilers) and wants to play a little. Hell, I would. I’d have Marc-freaking Pouliot centering the PP unit and playing the soft parade with Hemsky and Penner. Poor Horcoff would be on the checking line with Pisani and my list of men headed out of town would include Ladislav Smid, Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.

In this way, I think we can understand the zeal of Katz and appreciate the effort. More distressing, Kevin Lowe appears to be marching in lock-step with the owner in terms of mission statement (‘get a star!’) and poor old Steve Tambellini is left being the grownup in the room.

I do think Daryl Katz could learn from previous NHL owners though, and Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings is a perfect comp. Ilitch was both a blessing (early on, Ilitch was told that college men like Adam Oates could be acquired with just cash. He asked how many were available, was told 10 that specific summer, and told Devallano to sign all 10) and a challenge (Bryan Murray found out Ilitch was planning to hire Mike Keenan to coach the team while Bryan Murray was coaching the team).

What does that mean for us? Well, it means a lot of days like Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, when being an Oiler fan means being the center of attention in a bad way. The only way this is going to get better is if Katz learns on the job, and he’s probably a quick study.

Here’s hoping, and it wouldn’t hurt if Steve Tambellini lent him a copy of Jim Devallano’s book HOCKEYTOWN. Many of the events we’ll see over the next few years were done by Mike Ilitch many years ago. It’s like a map.

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123 Responses to "The Trouble with Rookies"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bettman's office needs to cease trade the Heatley "market" until Daly's processes the "grievance" he floated today. Daly hinted the league could rule that the trade demand prior to bonus day will result in the bonus being refunded by the new team.

    How can anyone deal right now without knowing who's responsible for the $4M?

    How can anyone take seriously a 3rd try at June 30th?

    The Oilers need to stop chasing the clown parade.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Well what they need to do is stockpile talent. They should be signing college grads out of the NCAA and undrafted junior kids along with Maholtra and Kurtis Foster.

    Hard to do that when you're chasing skirt, though.

  3. jon k says:

    Hell, I think they should try to sign two veteran centres, Malhotra being one, and then go for undrafted prospects like you say LT.

    It's a shame that we won't see either happen.

  4. misfit says:

    Personally, I'm far more worried about the rookie wearing the GM pants.

    Tabmellini hasn't shown much to suggest he's going to do any better job with this team than Lowe to this point aside from saying less in the media.

  5. Lowetide says:

    misfit: We know Katz is very involved in procurement, so it's a guess as to what elements are Tambellini's.

    It's on Katz until he lets the hockey people do their jobs.

  6. godot10 says:

    The Oilers don't have cap room for two veteran centres (only one). And hey don't have cap room for another defenseman.

    They currently have room to sign one veteran, preferably a centre. Otherwise, it has to be a trade where there is a contract going out.

    Pouliot is a more than adequate 4th line centre.
    Staios Smid, and Strudwick are 5,6, and 7.
    Peckham is 8.

  7. Lowetide says:

    godot10: The Oilers could sign two centers and have room, they'd just have to move a roster player for picks of a minor leaguer.

    Still plenty of time.

  8. Ribs says:

    Completely off-topic, but does anyone have a clue as to why Souray wasn't even invited to the Olympic camp?

  9. Lowetide says:

    It's a different list imo. I wonder if Marc Savard did something to Hockey Canada in the past.

  10. devin says:

    I rage about these kinds of things every year with this team, but, another classic example of the Oilers lack of perspective: Signing Strudwick (with a raise!)

    Let's be fair, Strudwick is nothing more than a replacement-level 7th D (if that) and as such should be earning no more than league minimum. I know it's arguing over 150k, but what exactly did he do last year that would suggest he was an upgrade over the dozen or so guys available for under 1M right now, and deserving of a raise?

    The Oilers love to pay that little bit extra to the devils they know. Pisani, Moreau, Khabi, the list goes on. Eventually, as we see, those few hundred K start adding up and we have a cap team that's barely playoff worthy. We'll see on the new Smid contract, but if it's anything over 1.4M/yr or so I'll have to continue my annual teeth-gnashing…

  11. bookie says:

    You know, I disagree, or at least I offer a disagreeing view even if I am not certain of it.

    I think the Oiler Brass are excited to have an energetic owner who is willing to do what he can (lear jets, extra staff, phone call so to potential FA's, etc).

    I think that the desperation that we are seeing is an effort to quickly turn around the leaguwide attitude about this team. We have some things against us (lout fans/no privacy, ugly city, MacT for waaay too long, a few antics by lowe, cold winter, long travel to everywhere, two decades of losing, and the gretzky legacy), but if we had 2 years of success and stability like we were ready to have when Pronger decided to leave, then we could change much of the 'perception' that this team has. Players are much more concerned about the management and potential of the team than they are about the weather.

    I think that management see that a good goalie, Hemsky hitting his Prime, Gags hitting his third year, a strong defence, + Heatley would give us two years as a good team and perhaps a contender. We can fill in lines 2-4 with a few small trades, etc.

    Once we change the perception of the Oilers, life as a manager becomes amazingly easier.

    I understand why that is tempting to the management.

    So, I am not certain that this is Katz driving all of this, or at least I think he is one of the boys on the Bus (Hawker 800 Jet actually) and that the others are equally on board.

    I think its easy to play armchair manager, but I suspect that more of us than we would suspect would be on the plane excited as hell about Heatley last night if we were the GM.

  12. Ribs says:

    No doubt, LT. Certainly Savard should be there before Andy McDonald.

  13. Lowetide says:

    bookie: I'm not critical of the effort, hell flying out to meet Heatley could have been the key element.

    My issue is with the way to build the team. I'd love for Katz (as Ilitch did) to instruct Tambellini to sign the top 10 college free agents this summer.

    It's the level of involvement that hurts imo. Someone in management has to tell Katz that trading Cogliano for Heatley is something you do when you are in Chicago's position.

    Stockpile, stockpile, stockpile. Hell, the Kings signed their first free agent in forever today.

    That's building a team.

  14. HBomb says:

    No doubt, LT. Certainly Savard should be there before Andy McDonald.

    So should Jason Spezza, Steven Stamkos, and Shawn Horcoff.

    And Stephane Robidas over Sheldon Souray? Say WHAAAA? I'm not uber-fan of Sheldon, but geez….

  15. General Factotum says:

    Love your blog, LT. Delurking to say this: I understand that Katz really wanted to make a big splash with Hossa last year, and this may be the thinking with Heatley as well. But I think there's more to it than a new owner playing with his shiny new toy.

    Dan Bouwmeester said this week, "Who wouldn't want to play with Jarome Iginla?". Mike Cammalieri specifically said that he was attracted to Montreal because he would have the chance to play with Scott Gomez.

    Who on the Oilers is a player that other top players want to play with? Not Hemsky, Horcoff, or Souray, I submit.

    I think you have to get that first one, *somehow* (whether by draft, trade, of FA signing) in order to dispel the idea that "nobody wants to play in Edmonton", to finally clear the Pronger stench from the franchise, and bring some attention to the Oilers for something positive for a change.

    Having said that, I'm pretty well convinced Heatley isn't the right guy, and giving up Cogs and Smid would have hurt the team in the long term, but I think I understand the objective.

    I agree with you that eventually we'll smell much better by emulating Detroit or Chicago, but sometimes the first thing to do is give the dog a tomato juice bath so that everyone can forget about the skunk.

    On a completely different subject, can someone tell me why the hell we haven't signed Malhotra yet? Or is nobody upstairs familiar with the concept of filling holes in the roster?

  16. Big T says:

    Here's hoping the end result for Mr. Katz's team is the same as that of Mr. Ilitch's.

  17. Lowetide says:

    General: And I respect that, there's more than one way to build a successful franchise.

    But it seems to me the Oilers are trying to hit a 5-run homer here and really no one thinks this team will win.

    Hossa signed with DET the other day. You go back 5 years and tell anyone who is a hockey fan that was possible and they'd send you to the nuthouse.

    The difference? they're winning. Why? Draft, reasonable ufa signings and a measured, long term view.

  18. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: by DET, I believe you mean CHI, correct?

  19. DBO says:

    The canada list has some glaring ommissions. How does Cleary get there and Patrick Sharp (who does everything Cleary does only better)
    is left off. Not to mention Savard (who I'd take over thornton at this point based on clutch games).

    As for Katz. I'm excited about an owner who wants to do whatever it takes to win, the problem right now is that he's too exxcited to win right now at all cost. he wants to be the hero/savior and resurrect this franchise to it's past glory. However, like Mark Cuban in Dallas, he's too enamoured of "name" players. dallas has never won anything, overpays for older stars or guts their youth to trade for aging stars (Harris for Kidd last year). Cuban did do a lot to change the perception of Dallas, by spending a ton of money on training facilities, new arena, first class everything when the team traveled. Katz can do this as well, and that is all an owner should do. Like Cuban or Jerry Jones in the NFL, owners too involved in player procurement often lead to problems. Tambellini needs to sit him down and sell him on a vision of what they need, while being smart. here's hoping tambellini has the stones to do it, and katz has the brains to remember he's not the GM.

  20. DBO says:

    HBomb: i think by "the other day" he meant last year

  21. Black Dog says:

    Naw I think he meant Chicago – five years ago Hossa signing with Detroit would be a likely move too.

    Sharp was on the list I thought.

    Souray's game isn't a fit for the Olympics and I like Souray when I say that. Every single player on every other team is going to be able to skate like the wind. Your Dmen have to be able to skate. Even a guy like Reghyr is going to be in tough to make the Olympic team imo.

    And Andy MacDonald is a pretty good player plus he's the type of guy who can play that role on the 'fourth' line. Savard should have gotten a look for sure but he'd be fighting guys like Crosby and LeCavalier for a job. He's not going to win that fight although not sure why they didn't give him a shot.

  22. David says:

    Did anyone see Off The Record today? One question posed to the panel was something to the effect of, "is it wise for Dany Heatley to not waive his no movement clause", to which Todd Harvey replied along the lines of, "Absolutely. I played in Edmonton and I can see why he wouldn't go there". I couldn't hear his exact response on account of my little daughter making noise, but it was definitely implied that Harvey didn't enjoy Edmonton.

    On the flipside, they had a quick clip of Keith Tkachuk saying he couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want to go to Edmonton because he's always enjoyed his visits there. Again, I can't remember the exact quotes, but I think I'm close.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, sorry. I meant Chicago. If you go back to the time when they were drafting Cam Barker or Jack Skille, it must have been a hard sell for free agents.

    Now, not so much.

    Through the draft, they've added Toews, Kane and Bolland and the D kids (Keith, Seabrook) matured and now look at them.

    Are the Oilers there yet? I don't think so. Dany Heatley isn't the finishing touch, he's not "Frank Mahovlich is coming to Montreal" in 1971.

    Too soon.

  24. General Factotum says:

    LT: It think we agree, mostly. Owner aside, what's your opinion about how likely it is that the fan base would get on board with the "measured, long term view" after already missing the playoffs three years in a row?

    Would that we could go back in time and undo just a few of Lowe's most egregious errors. But we can't. And poor Katz is stuck with them.

  25. rickibear says:

    Completely off-topic, but does anyone have a clue as to why Souray wasn't even invited to the Olympic camp?

    Souray's game isn't a fit for the Olympics and I like Souray when I say that. Every single player on every other team is going to be able to skate like the wind.

    bdhs: phanuef was the worst EV defensive dman in the league.

    Ovechkin blowing bye him from his right side beauty.

    do you think Souray could do any worse?

  26. Lowetide says:

    I think fans would be fine with it. The Oilers have huge advantages in that they have an owner who can spend to the cap and disadvantages in that not everyone is going to want to play here.

    So, I think you target the free agent pool and sign the men you can (Swedes, Finns, etc) and then trade for the Canadians. :-)

    Just make sure they don't have no movement clauses and that the GM hasn't buggered them senseless (apparently).

  27. jon k says:

    godot: We know Quinn likes to roll 4 lines so if that's the case we are going to get murdered if we don't get another centre, and I think we're still going to be mediocre to poor with only one new veteran centre.

    With Quinn we're also going to see traditional "4th" line wingers getting moved up and down the lineup I suspect.

    I would be very happy if we dropped some winger salary (Penner, Nilsson, Pisani, etc) so that we could procure two veteran centres such as Manny Malhotra, Blair Betts, or even Saku Koivu. Koivu and Malhotra would be my preferences in that group.

    Gagner would be the 4th centre who could be brought along slowly, getting a little less icetime than in previous years. Having those three other dependable centres would take a lot of pressure off of him and would also drive puck possession for the Oilers.

    It's a bit of an unrealistic dream at this point admittedly, given that we have yet to sign even a single centre.

  28. Dennis says:

    I said this the first day I saw a pic of him but has anyone ever heard tell of an eccentric billionaire who Wasn't just a bit wacky?

  29. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: lol. Yeah, he seems to have a haircut from the Monkees-era, which is a little off right from the get-go.

    As for C's, I think Horcoff is a good one and they're going to play Gagner there too.

    I do remember Prendergast talking many times about Pouliot and the org. needing to commit to him at C to see if he's good enough.

    So, maybe that's one too.

    But they really do need an established NHL center from outside the organization to help Horcoff and the PK.

  30. General Factotum says:

    You and I would be fine with it, LT, but I'm not so sure about the fan base as a whole. After nearly two decades of mediocrity, the natives are more than a wee bit restless, methinks.

    While I agree with you that the Oilers can do themselves no good by pretending to be only one player away from being a contender, my thesis isn't that they're looking for Frank Mahovlich. I think they're looking for an eraser. Whether we like it or not, the Oilers are carrying a stigma that never afflicted Chicago.

    Or anyone else that I can think of.

    At some point in time, the prospects like Gagner and Cogliano have to be signed to their second contract. Right now, I'm not sure even that will come easily.

  31. misfit says:

    LT: I disagree somewhat. We know Katz got involved with the courting of Hossa, but if I remember correctly, it wasn't until late in the process, and he had only gotten involved because the powers that be felt it would improve their chances of getting him.

    We do know he allowed Tambellini to do whatever he needed to to get Heatley when it first came out that he'd requested a trade, but I'm still not sure if that was him giving Tambo the green light to bury a salary or two in the minors or telling not to bother coming home unless he's got a star forward's name on a contract.

    Katz let the hockey guy do his thing in firing the coach despite making a public statement to the contrary at the end of the year.

    It wasn't Katz who held a press conference at the end of the year stating the team needed more grit and emotion, mentioning nothing about the fact that taking a penalty had basically ensured a goal against all year. It wasn't Katz who not only ignored a glaring hole at center, but made it worse by trading one of the only 2 centers who can win a draw or kill a penalty and shown zero interest in filling it. Katz may have been a part of Neil getting a big time offer from the Oilers despite not needing him. It wasn't Katz who kept 3 goaltenders on the roster for 3/4 of a season.

    You could possibly put Heatley on Katz, but Tambellini has done a terrible job at identifying and addressing the needs of this team over the last calendar year, and there hasn't been much indication that he's going to start this year with a roster with any more balance than the ones Lowe has iced over his tenure as Oiler GM.

  32. bookie says:

    It think we agree, mostly. Owner aside, what's your opinion about how likely it is that the fan base would get on board with the "measured, long term view" after already missing the playoffs three years in a row?

    Nevermind the Fan Base, I am betting that Hemsky and Vis are not willing to wait.

  33. Ribs says:

    Souray's game isn't a fit for the Olympics and I like Souray when I say that. Every single player on every other team is going to be able to skate like the wind.

    Does he really have to skate like the wind to stand at the point on the power play? I know there is other options but you'd think he'd be in the running is all.

    I guess they did need to make room for Doughty and M.Staal…

    Ah well, Russia wins anyway..Ha.

  34. General Factotum says:

    Good point, bookie. Should have added Hemsky to the list. He'll be UFA in three short years. Right now I wouldn't bank on him being overly inclined to re-sign.

  35. bookie says:

    I wonder if Katz's Scientists could whip up some kind of Super Soldier Syrum. Some crazy Captin America type stuff that we could pump up some ECHLers with.

  36. JK says:

    I love the idea of bringing in Kurtis Foster for when an overpriced puck-moving D-Man eventually gets moved. I preferred Madden for the 3rd Line Center position and was intrigued if Antropov could have fit in here somewhere, but now I think it needs to be all about moving on from the Heatley fiasco and signing Kotalik to play on the Hemsky line. Thank God Chris Neil did not end up in Edmonton. Malholtra, Gratton, Morrison, Betts, and even Peca or Marchant are all still out there as viable stop-gap 3rd Line Center options that would likely be affordable and a good fit between Moreau and Pisani. Don't forget that Pouliot, Potulny, and Brule are also already in the Oilers system and are possibly even better options – never mind what Nash could become in the near future or what other NCAA gems might be lurking out there somewhere in the ether.

    The other thing to remember when discussing the cap is what Darryl Sutter seems to mention every second day down here in Calgary (when he actually uses his words, that is). And that is that a team can be as much as 10% over the salary cup up until the opening day roster is set. This gives a GM a fair bit of wiggle room to get things done quickly and to respond to timely opportunities, knowing that salary cap issues can be addressed at a later date.


  37. chartleys says:

    I'm a little lost in all of this really. From square 1 it doesn't fix a damn thing with regard to on ice personnel.

    1. Heavy on 2nd line soft minute players
    -deal Brodziak for what could result to the equivalent of a bag of pucks?

    2. Still certain a goalie who could have been developed better by a high school guidance consellor is a real prospect:
    -Don't take the 40 yr old you have up your sleave on a two year deal for 2.5 mil/per with the idea of phasing him out in year 2 of the deal (fear of cap hit and decline in year 2 or retirement actually understandable) but….
    Instead go out and sign a 36 yr old that was actually unclaimed on the waiver wire last yr and hand him 150% the cap hit for double the period of time?

    3. Stuck with too many bottom 6 over pay contracts and lacking another veteran center…..
    Be in the race for Neil @ 2 Mill?

    4. Knowing full well that your cap destroying one way scorer deal is completely contingent on him waiving his NMC rush out to tell your players they're dealt before it's a done deal.

    The Sun and Journal sports are rushing around trying to give Tambo a reach around today over this? Seriously? Unless there are some brilliant contingency deals waiting to be enacted after these moves what the hell are we doing?

    Same ship different paint job. 4 points out of 8th at the deadline.

    The only way to remove the stigma of being desperate is to actually stop acting desperate.

  38. Highlander says:

    Ok people this is getting silly.

    Heatley is selfish and has poorly played his hand. Fine, he's not a rocket scientist. He has gotten poor advice from his agent (or more likely he ignored the good advice of his agent) and he's in a PR nosedive right now. PR is not his job – goal scoring is and, sorry people, he is really, really good at his job.

    I have no problem with where Tambo is taking this team. He is NOT selling the farm to make this trade, he's using the assets he has to get an asset he doesn't have. I love Cogs, but he is not the superstar some people here have apparently annointed him. Next year he is going to ask for a reasonable raise and between him and Gagner – I think Samwise is the better hold.

    Smid is young and has a lot of potential, but does he play in your top 4? Will he? Good NHLer, yes, but not a minute-munching stud. Again, good asset but not great asset.

    Murray will take Penner?!?! Fantastic!! We will take your malcontent for taking our twinkie muncher – call it a wash on the dressingroom distraction front and we get Heater's stick.

    Even if this doesn't get done (and I still think Heatley is an Oiler by September) there is nothing wrong with making this pitch.

    Is this a Cup team with Heatley and Khabibulin? No, of course not. But we are potentially a playoff team and after three years on the outside, a look from the top 8 in the West sounds nice.

    LT, yes you stockpile talent but to a purpose. Hemsky gets to be Heatley's head waiter serving up dish after dish and Horcoff falls into the role of "responsible one" on the line OR Gagner gets to sit in the big chair. Either way we have a legit number one line with the cast of youngsters finding significant development time on the second and third line without facing the top checking assignments of the opposition.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Highlander: Just so we're clear, I was not (and am not) in favor of the trade before Heatley declined to waive his no-trade.

    So this isn't a change in direction. Don't know if that was your point, but wanted to reiterate my stance on this issue.

    The Oilers already have too many players making 5M+ who are not "complete" types.

  40. chartleys says:

    I'm just waiting for us to deal Vish or Souray to SJ for Blake to clear up a bit of cap space!

  41. Lowetide says:

    I'm waiting for this team to sign Grebeshkov!

  42. chartleys says:

    Indeed sir. Indeed. Maybe they're waiting until they have the trade lined up with the Avs for tucker…

  43. Lowetide says:

    Well they can just sign Tucker to a 3M deal after Colorado buys him out.

  44. godot10 says:

    Highlander wrote regarding Heatley:
    // PR is not his job – goal scoring is and, sorry people, he is really, really good at his job.//

    But he (Heatley) really isn't good at his job when the going gets tough and fast. He isn't fit. He isn't a hard worker. He is only average on defense. (See the last World Cup, when Nash was a force, but Heatley was invisible. Rewatch the SC finals against Anaheim).

    Daniel Alfredsson is the bus driver for Heatley and Spezza and covers up many of their flaws.

    Heatley and Spezza had their better seasons when the Eastern Copference was pathetically weak. There were really no good teams in the East the year the Senators went to the finals. Now that the Eastern Conference has good teams again, Heatley and Spezza have lost most of their lustre.

    Heatley dislikes accountability. He asked to be traded from Atlanta so he wouldn't have to deal with what happened there. In Ottawa, they would only care about hockey. But last year he was being asked to become accountable for his hockey, and so the trade request to an American city, where he doesn't have to accountable to knowledgeable fans on a daily basis.

    He has had problems with three coaches. Not one.

  45. knighttown says:

    I'm glad that Rick Nash nonsense hasn't carried over to this thread. He's one day into what will be a full year of contract negotiations. I will tattoo "PHANEUF PHAN" on my forehead if Rick Nash gets dealt to Edmonton.

    Seriously, its like hearing Ryan Reynolds had a fight with Scarlett Johansson and debating whether or not you should see if she wants to catch a movie with you.

    I suppose optimistic glee from fans on a blog is acceptable but right now I feel like Eeyore, sans Zoloft after losing his (her?) donkey-baby so I don't have the patience for this sunshine and lollipops attitude.

    H-Bomb, can you give me a recipe that includes box of Cymbalta. Maybe something with Bailey's?

  46. Lowetide says:

    That's okay, knighttown.

  47. knighttown says:


    Never mind, I just used toilet water.

    -1 box Cymbalta
    -1 bottle Baileys
    -mouthful of toilet water

    I call it the "Happy Fucking Canada Day Oiler Fans!"

  48. Bruce says:

    Chartleys: Outstanding comment. All four of your points resonated, #1 all the more so because of its order in the sequence:

    1. Heavy on 2nd line soft minute players
    -deal Brodziak for what could result to the equivalent of a bag of pucks

    I hated the Brodziak trade in and of itself and went on the record to that effect before learning the team was about to (try to) trade three more developing young players, two from the relatively inexpensive tree, for another massive overpay. That Tambellini would trade a good young CHEAP player for stale (4th/5th round) beans on the eve of a qual-for-quan trade really makes me scratch my head … and not in a good way. It's an even more puzzling deal in retrospect.

  49. Jonathan Willis says:

    LT: Tucker? That doesn't solve all of our problems, but I do hear that Curtis Jospeh is available for the backup job too.

  50. HBomb says:

    knighttown: Better than Cymbalta than the request for something with Hemlock in it.

  51. Psyche says:

    My question is if there is a strategic and analytical mind on the Oiler management team – who has the ear of Tambellini?

    Secondly, I assume that person was Howson before Columbus quickly scooped him up. With that it appears that Lowe didn't pay much attention to Howson's opinion. Otherwise the Oilers might be a more balanced team today. And Howson would be the GM.

  52. JB-"jiggyman" says:

    I went from wanting Heatley, to thinking patience is our best option after seeing the package being offered.

    Someone, somewhere, will need to dump salary for whatever reason, which is where Tambellini should be shopping. Over the next year there should be plenty of options without no trade clauses available, the trade deadline might be ideal.

    Penner, Cogliano, and Smid is too much to give up for that contract with that attitude.

    The remaining cap space can be turned into a Kotalik, or better. With smart salary dumps in Moreau and Staios, we'll have room for a big name. Someone will be available, we'll have the cap room and the chips to get it done.

    Let the rookies play until the deadline, then make a move. Our options will be wide open.

  53. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: I'd been hoping Tommy Salo was available.

  54. Chris says:

    Tucker? Cujo? We all know Pat Quin is a coach not the name of a 70s rock band right were we need to bring all the members back together again?

    The only former Leaf I would have tolerated was Antropov

  55. Lowetide says:

    Chris: We're joshing.

  56. Bruce says:

    How 'bout Mats Sundin? He's a tough minutes centre whose price tag should be plummeting. I understand Quinn really likes him. ;)

  57. Showerhead says:



    Strudwick, MacIntyre, Whoever…

    Dumping Penner and Nilsson anywhere, anywhere at all, makes the salaries work and the roster look pretty good, no? Great PVP 1st line, soft minute killing 2nd line, secondary toughs 3rd line, and bruising 4th IMO.


  58. Showerhead says:

    PS What is Nikolai Borshevsky up to these days?

  59. chartleys says:

    Bruce: even better point. It was tricky trying to find the smoke from the logic train on that one. No one would accuse him of being gretzky or anything but we stand a good chance of some guys being signed for similar type cash that could end up being falcons when the dust settles. I was thinking a 4th line of Jacques/Brodz/Huggy stood a decent chance of being at least a bet covering arrangement cost wise.

    The little things that are really killing me are watching teams like the burkeless ducks in action…

    Do a bit of selling at the deadline, hand the orange rhine off to philly after you've squeezed a lot of the perfectly ripe juice out. If they find a means to get a reasonable deal out of giguere after all this, I'm going to have a really hard time hating them. Yes they get Jokey back but that'll probably work for them.

    Next they'll con someone into taking Perry off there hands for a solid defensive prospect on the right side of his development curve (grebs anyone?)and all the while still be in the running for home ice in the first round at the very least…

  60. Lowetide says:

    Tanguay is still out there. Man. Flames should pick him up.

    I suspect the Oilers will use the extra dollars on Kotalik and then deal for a checking C.


  61. Showerhead says:

    Koivu is out there too, though rumour and kinship suggests he will be a Minnesota Wild by summer's end.

    As for Tanguay, I sincerely doubt he's on Edmonton's radar. Not big enough of a body, not grandiose enough of a signing. The exact kind of smart, unheralded bet that Edmonton currently seems incapable of.

  62. Showerhead says:

    PS: I finally posted a list of comparable 21 year old seasons to Andrew Cogliano over at Vic's site. I had planned to take some time with each of those players and look back to other developmental years but something about this summer lifestyle has put it on the back burner. Have a look and judge accordingly while #13 is still an Oiler!

  63. chartleys says:

    On top of that

    I'm not actually overly concerned that none of these big name guys are turning their nose up at us. Let them go to the Rangers or down to Florida to mire in mediocrity for their remaining difference making years. Or even end up in a town with a scouting/development/FA track record that assures there's sufficient perimeter players to be a serious team. Good luck to them.

    To me it's more concerning if the lunch pail guys start leaving town with mouth's full of bad words then we're really screwed. After the last year and to end up tossed out like trash, I couldn't even fault Brodz if he has some of those.

  64. chartleys says:

    Sorry that should read that they are turning their nose up at us.

  65. Showerhead says:

    Chartleys: I definitely see where you're coming from. Every once in a while I go on about how I think it's imperative that Gagner and Cogliano get signed through their 2nd and hopefully 3rd contracts and how important it is that the Oilers brass fill the press with good quotes about them as well. Lord knows Edmonton could use some goodwill and some positive clippings involving their emerging young talent. It would go a long way towards improving the current mess of optics surrounding the team whereas, like you say, Brodziak would be reasonably justified if he were to complain a little.

  66. Lowetide says:

    Showerhead: Good stuff. I take from it (which should come as no surprise) that we don't really know what he is yet.

    Which is why I'm in favor of keeping him, even just a little longer. Let's see what he is.

  67. Boondock says:

    It sure seems like Katz is behind the big push for Hossa and Heatley.

    But who the hell is at fault for the Neil offer?

  68. Bruce says:

    To me it's more concerning if the lunch pail guys start leaving town with mouth's full of bad words then we're really screwed.

    Chartleys: You mean lunch pail guys like Joffrey Lupul? :D Word was he was bad-mouthiong Edmonton to his buddy Blair Betts. (Of course I read that on the Internet.)

    But I'll bet you if, for example, Rick Nash (or Manny Malhotra for that matter) was pondering even for a billisecond about coming to Edmonton, he'd have no shortage of opinions from Jason Chimera, Mike Peca, Jan Hejda, and Raffi Torres telling him about what a wonderful hockey city this is and how great the players get treated here.


  69. HBomb says:

    But who the hell is at fault for the Neil offer?

    Grandpa Simpson?

  70. jdrevenge says:


    this post was exactly on point. I could not figure out for the life of me why Tambo (as reserved as he is) would go so liberal and try to make like St. Louis.

    This trade makes no sense on so many levels.

    Three players that need a new coach going the other way. Three players that will do well under Quinn. He will consolidate his talent (like all good managers do). Three players that could be key players in other cities.

    For who? A guy that scored close to what we're giving up.

    Penner is big and Quinn can relate. Cogliano is Gilmour not Gagner. Smid is not as good as we hoped but at least as good as Spacek.

    Shake your head and recount. Jed Bush should not land in Oil Country.

  71. Temujin says:

    Malholtra to the Canucks would pretty much kill half of you, wouldn't it? The Man-love for Manny is insane around here. Is he really all that?

  72. Jonathan Willis says:

    Temujin: Malhotra to Calgary, Bonk to the Canucks, and LT's Tucker signing would wipe us all out.

    Seriously. It would be crickets at LT's place.

  73. bookie says:

    I wonder if the signing of Khabibulin was part of an effort to convince Heatley to come here.

    I am not saying the deal is not ok, but I imagine a room of Oilers Brass saying "Four years, wow thats a year or two too long and at about 5ooK too much per year, but fuck it, sign him, it will look good when we talk to Dany. Is the Jet fired up yet?"

    Similar to "I don't have time or money to make an offer to Glencross, I am busy signing Hossa to a 50 year contract…."

  74. jdrevenge says:

    Dude we've been in cricket land for at least a few. I think moth ball territory would be more appropriate.

    Make like Ronny X and unabashedly shame Heater and the human rake.

  75. chartleys says:


    Yeah, jokey lupul is jokey lupul. But when I looked at that deal I think his second coming it's a better deal then his audition here. Young player rolling off the beachs as a key piece of pronger going the other way compared to guy who is packing his bags for the third time in three years. He's got the skills and a few more years behind him now if he pauses for a moment here he just may flick on the light switch and start considering his career relative to just playing a game.

  76. Lowetide says:

    I think the goalie signing came about because the GM wanted to keep his job.

    If you don't have goaltending you don't have much, and Khabibulin is famous and came off a successful season.

    If he can get hot for a long stretch and Deslauriers can finish with something better than a "Bob Sebra 1987" won-loss maybe this bunch can make the second season.

  77. hunter1909 says:

    Player's perception of Edmonton as NHL Siberia sticks, until kindly old uncle Quinn has a full season to prove otherwise.

  78. chartleys says:

    And if he's still bad mouthing at this point to others, not sure we're too concerned with the type of pro that would give it that much weight after putting it in perspective.

  79. chartleys says:


    Thank you for the number crunching it's ridiculously appreciated.

  80. jdrevenge says:

    LT you have me at a bit of a loss. Who is Bob Sekra. I googled him and the first hit was "Ya he's french". I'm educated every time I read your posts.

    I enjoy the LT hunt.

  81. Lowetide says:

    AND the Expos went 91-71 that season and almost won the pennant. Maybe the most impossible won-loss record I've ever seen.

  82. goldenchild says:

    To me the age of the goalie has a lot to do the the age of the coach. Quinn isnt here for a patient rebuild, he doesn't have that kind of time, his clock is ticking and he is here to prove to everyone that he shouldnt of been out of job this long.

    This current mgmt groups window is very small, add in an owner who wants to make an instant splash and I think because of that we are going to see a lot of short sightedness from this group. We saw an early example this week with Cogliano, Smid out and Heatly in. I suspect the contract dumps of guys like Staois and Moreau that a lot of us would like to see wont happen but the trading of young players, prospects and picks are things we will see.

  83. TK10 says:

    LT: Your insights continue to bring me back to reality – the sun will shine again, the girls will look pretty. Your suggestion to Katz that he read the book is oh so subtle, but spot on. Would Ilitch jump on a plane to beg? The Katz/Lowe pursuit of a spoiled child millionaire hockey player is without dignity. This is an embarrasement to our City.

  84. jdrevenge says:

    That's a dark reference. Lol. I see where you're going.

    When I moved here (Montreal) I went into the spare bedroom and there was a vintage poster of Pedro/Aloux2/Bell/Cordero/Grissom/Rojas/Wetteland/White… and I silently wept.

    Why the heck can't our team pick up the mantra of– pick them up early and grow together. NKOTB style.

    It's mind boggling and too stressful to think about.

    Kicks kitty.

  85. Lowetide says:

    Oh that 1994 team was a beauty. Larry Walker had 44 doubles in 103 games, Moises hit .339, Sean Berry was the only starter over 27.

    Pedro and Rojas and Rondell. Man, that was a wondeful team to watch. Remember Grissom tracking down a ball in the gap?


  86. jdrevenge says:

    The spare room wasn't by choice. (Katz reference) and it was a moment of complete bliss. Until I remembered my uncle telling me of the storied MTL franchise. I'm guessing this is why the fans left but I'm too far in the Cobains to remember.

  87. HBomb says:

    All this talk of the 1994 Expos has me thinking of only one phrase, and excuse me for the language….

    Fuck you Bud Selig.

  88. Bruce says:

    LT: Love the Bob Sebra reference. However, disagree on that being the most impossible W-L record, which hands-down belongs to Steve Carlton who went 27-10 with the 1972 Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils finished the year 59-97 despite Carlton's breakthrough season, meaning their record in other games was 32-87. Carlton had barely 10% of their losses and damn near half of the wins.

  89. jdrevenge says:

    Hbom- I know. They were the RW's minus the sht goaltender.

  90. jdrevenge says:


  91. jdrevenge says:

    LT- Grissom in the gap

    comme ca?

  92. chartleys says:


    I'm not yet ready for anything but joking references about us becoming the 2010's leafs…

  93. William says:

    That 94 Expos team was splendid to watch. No superstars (yet), but all young, every player running out every groundout, Felipe steering a boatload of kids who didn't know any better not to suck. That outfield was so underrated – didn't show up in the HR column, but you had gold glove calibres in CF and RF, all three hit for avg. and had speed. An infield mostly of plumbers that took turns getting clutch hits. Ken Hill in his prime. Fassero à la Ryan Smyth somehow making hay with such vanilla stuff. Young and raw Wetteland & Pedro.

    The Big O was already 1/2 empty by that point, but the fans who showed up were still really great. Ahh… drinking Labatt 50 and eating a chien chaud and watching that team claw out runs.

    Yup, following that team was like following the 06 Oilers. Nowadays, we're both signing Cristian Guzman and Dustin Penner to really-not-so-good contracts. As Oilers/Expos fans, are we simply gluttons for punishment? To go from G7 SCF to so much fear and loathing in just a few years…

  94. slipper says:


    Savard should be a lock for Canada.

    He has a real special turn around in Boston the past three years.He so versatile that he's perfect for that roster.

    Hell, by his dummy stats alone he should be there… 411 pts in has last 365 games.

    Wait a sec: Did they seriously invite Krejci from Boston, but not Marc Savard?

    Jesus Christ!

  95. bookie says:

    Is baseball the one where you kick the ball, but can't touch it with your hands or is it the one with the racquet and the net?

  96. jon k says:

    Clowe signed for 4 years at 3.5 million dollars. He's probably more valuable to SJ than anyone else but still hard to say if that's good value.

  97. hunter1909 says:

    "To go from G7 SCF to so much fear and loathing in just a few years…"

    My fear and loathing kicked in when Mark Messier left town.

    The Pronger/Peca/Roloson/Pisani thing was like a bowery bum with a gram of coke.

  98. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT, thanks for writing this post. It's a topic I've hammered on and no one seems to understand.

  99. Jon says:

    Thanks for the change of topic guys:

    Slipper: I am not a math guy but I do not see Savard s a lock but as debateable. Here is my 2010 roster :

    Heatley Thorton Iginla
    Nash Crosby Carter
    Gagne Lecaviler Sakic
    Morrow M. Richards Doan
    Spare E.Staal

    Nieds Pronger
    J-bo Weber
    Keith Seabrook

    Fleury (spite on ward for 06)

    Savard may beat out Sakic if he retires but that's about it…

  100. chartleys says:


    I'm not so sure about it just being a flash in the pan really. What threw me off is that most of the pieces we picked up wanted off or were shipped fromthe boat so fast after being like a bounce away from hoisting the cup.

    A bad string of injuries the next year, Stoll making a strong november campaign (where I honestly saw the semblence of a future captain in the making), only to be followed by have is coconut cracked (never to return to true form), then to top it all send the face of the franchise packing in tears (like it or not I think you don't smitty on a plane like that and we might not be waiting by the phone on friday nights every summer) and (MY BIGGEST GRIEVANCE WITH ALL THIS) to not cash in other sell high type assests at that point when the likes of Davis in St. Louis is having a prospect mardi gras.

    Why we didn't ship out the likes of at least Sykora (UFA at season end) as we torpedoed our own boat killed me).

    Lowe got his first real taste and has spent the past few years in a futile attempt to repeat the formula missing some key components. How many 20 goal scorers did that team have?

    This team does it again and again. So focused on one big deal that they end up missing all the minor deals that make those great teams great.

    LT, I appoligize and will slink away for awhile and stop long winded rants. Keep up the good work!

  101. Bruce says:

    There's no fucking way Savard shouldn't have been invited to camp. There's guys invited who have a 100% chance to make the team and other guys with a 0% chance. Savard is in neither group but in with a shot. Or should have been, in theory.

    Wait a sec: Did they seriously invite Krejci from Boston, but not Marc Savard?

    Slipper: They couldn't invite Krejci, who is Czech, but fellow young Bruin Milan Lucic got an invite. Lucic is a heckuva player, but he's not even the best player on his line. (That would be Savard.)

  102. Jon says:

    Bruce: I agree 100%, Savard is absolutely not a lock to make the team but should have been invited over…dan cleary and dare I say it:

    Ryan Smyth

    Smytty is clearly an invite as a thank you for your service with less than a 10% chance of making the team

  103. chartleys says:

    Basically the trade deadline in 07 was the point I stopped drinking the happy pop.

    It had sell high written all over it.

    We'd now be going into year three with a stronger 1st round draft pick last year and probably a top 5 this year as well as some top prospects rather than two more years of staios and moreau. Plus we might actually have an idea how JDD fairs over 30+ games if warranted.

  104. hunter1909 says:

    I don't believe you can build a team out of the draft anymore. As soon as your core is any good they're getting fat paydays(gee thanks Lowe), and unless you have Crosby and Malkin plus scrubs, wtf are you going to pay everyone with?

    I mean Oilers are a crappy team(checking the last three season's standings), and people are nearly passing out in fright over Cogliano and Gagner's second contracts. And neither of these are exactly proven premier NHL talent.

  105. Marc says:

    I think you're underestimating the hockey side of this LT. The 'Katz wants a shiny, new toy' narrative might be fun, but it's also possible that Tambo, Lowe, Quinn and everyone else in the brain trust believe that the team is better with Heatley than without, even taking account of Heatley's personality and who go back the other way.

    Big, durable, high-scoring first line wingers are very hard to come by. This year there were two available – Hossa and Heatley. Gaborik and Havlat aren't durable. Cammelleri isn't big and has only one really big season under his belt. Hextall has Frolov on his team and he identifies a first line left wing has being his team's biggest need.

    So in hockey terms, does Heatley bring something to the team that can't easily be replicated from within the organisation or in free agency. The answer is yes, definitely. Do the three players leaving offer anything that cannot be replicated from within the system or through free agency? Probably not. On these grounds it's a sound hockey deal.

    Part of the value of stockpiling talent is that you can trade it for things you don't have without crippling your team's future. If they pull this off, we'll have a proper first line all signed through at least the next three years. Assuming Grebs signs as expected, we'll have one of the league's better top 4 D combinations all signed for at least the next three years. We'll have a goalie who has shown he is capable of being a high level starter signed for four years.

    In other words we have a framework for a team for the next three years that you then flesh out from the farm system,trades and free agency. If you have an undeniable top line, top four D and a reliable goalie it's relatively easy to fill in the rest. If you are looking for someone for the top line, or for a top four Dman though then life is much harder because they are a lot harder to find.

    As I said, there is a good argument that this is a hockey deal.

  106. DanMan says:

    // Thanks for the change of topic guys:

    Slipper: I am not a math guy but I do not see Savard s a lock but as debateable. Here is my 2010 roster :

    Heatley Thorton Iginla
    Nash Crosby Carter
    Gagne Lecaviler Sakic
    Morrow M. Richards Doan
    Spare E.Staal

    Nieds Pronger
    J-bo Weber
    Keith Seabrook

    Fleury (spite on ward for 06)

    Savard may beat out Sakic if he retires but that's about it…

    12:39 AM, July 03, 2009 //

    Where's Ryan Smyth, you son of a bitch!?

  107. chartleys says:

    Smitty is nursing broken body.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Katz is trying to sell jerseys, man! He needs a star for so many reasons. He wants the Oilers back on the map, he wants us top of the league, he wants to attract more FAs, he wants the shiny new building…

    I don't blame him one bit.

    I also don't blame players not wanting to go to Edmonton, I have my opinions of the place. BUT, I sure as heck would want to play for the OILERS in front of the best fans in all of sports while getting paid shitloads to play a game I love…ya, i'd move back to e-town.

    Fuck Heatley, I sincerely hope he stays in Ottawa but that they bench him all season long.

  109. Anonymous says:

    Smitty is nursing suckage.

  110. RiversQ says:

    I disagree with LT's premise.

    The Oilers have been looking to make big things happen every summer since the lockout. So we've got 3 summers pre-Katz, and 2 summers after, and the only constant is Lowe.

    I think it's obvious how things are going here.

  111. David says:

    "Oilers say they will stay in the Heatley deal until the bitter end. Could be a long wait."

  112. Anonymous says:

    So who's left for the oilers to try and get? The only UFA is Tanguay. If they are trading then there are; Kessel BOS, Gagne (PHI), and Cheechoo (SJS). Not sure who I would want. Probably Kessel for his age and speed. Any thoughts on who the oilers should go after?

  113. Black Dog says:

    rickibear – well now Phaneuf is another story entirely ;)

    I wouldn't have him there either.

  114. mc79hockey says:

    Cosh and I went through this yesterday about the Olympic roster and, assuming that they aren't planning on playing a bunch of centres on the wing, we figured Smyth has a decent shot to make the team.

  115. Jon says:

    Mc79, smyth is a natural LW but so is


    smyth cannot bump out those 4

  116. dawgbone says:

    Steve Tambellini looks just as guilty of star gazing as the rest of them from my perch.

  117. Master Lok says:

    Smyth, and dare I say it Cleary probably has a better chance at making Team Canada on the wings, than Savard does at centre. That's the problem.

  118. mc79hockey says:

    I think that you're overrating Brendan Morrow but basically I see Smyth as the fourth LW.

  119. RiversQ says:

    Dawgbone: yes I should have mentioned that too.

    Basically I see no reason why Katz is singled out here. His subordinates have proven plenty capable of getting into trouble on their own.

  120. Bruce says:

    I think that you're overrating Brendan Morrow but basically I see Smyth as the fourth LW.

    I like Morrow for Team Canada for the same reason I like Smyth … their games translate well into a third or fourth line role. Same goes for Dan Cleary, who isn't getting much love here but was one of the top forwards in the recent playoffs.

  121. slipper says:

    Heatley Thorton Iginla
    Nash Crosby Carter
    Gagne Lecaviler Sakic
    Morrow M. Richards Doan
    Spare E.Staal

    Guys on this list that I would fer sure take Savard ahead of include: Sakic, Lecavalier, Doan, Morrow and Gagne.

  122. ian says:

    I think Katz is just trying to help the team.
    People don't pick Edmonton as a 1st 2nd or 3rd choice
    He got involved with Hossa and it did not work. Hossa said nice things but decided to chase the Cup.Katz did not hurt his organization.
    Tambo may have been handed a hand grenade by Bryan Murray and Katz again was trying to help.These were big $$ negotiations and despite the money involved the players still want to feel the love[ don't we all?]
    Katz is establishing a level of professionalism that works for me.

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