10 Reasons Why the Oilers will Make a Move before October 2

At some point this fall, Pat Quinn will see Dustin Penner rumbling down the wing and be reminded of the Big M, Frank Mahovlich. History tells us it won’t happen often.

In a post below several people asked me to explain the reasoning behind my contention this team will make a trade. I can’t give you just one, because the signs are everywhere.

I’ll settle for 10.

  1. There aren’t enough actual NHL players. Expansion teams often spend several seasons developing kids and using veterans from Europe to fill in the blanks until the real thing comes along. However, an established team like Edmonton should have enough proven talent to be able to contend. The fact that they don’t have enough tells us there’ll be additions. Pat Quinn won’t take long to verbalize it when camp begins.
  2. The kids are alright? At some point this fall we’re going to have to take a long hard look at all of these young men. Not just Pouliot and Nilsson, but Gagner and Cogliano too. Gagner is tracking like a solid offensive player but it’s not clear he’ll be an outscorer despite some improvement this past season. They’re already suggesting Cogliano move down the defensive spectrum so he’ll need to increase his offense in order to cover the bet in future. Should these kids begin to flag, a playoff berth would go a long way to bury that story.
  3. Lack of balance. Tambellini mentioned the blue in that interview with Tencer the other day, but along with the deep defense comes some weakness at center and an unproven backup goalie who might have to play 30 (or more) games.
  4. Quinn the Eskimo. All of these things could be overlooked if the Oilers had decided to go with youth at coach, but they hired Pat Quinn. Now, Quinn may be a little less intense than he was as a player but he didn’t come hear to wear his ass for a hat in the standings. Unless I’ve badly misjudged the situation, the plan is to contend. Should the Oilers start poorly, this could get ugly.
  5. Lack of “complete players.” You might think this falls under “actual NHL players” but a big part of the problem we’re having with line combinations comes from finding guys with more than one skill to complement others on a line. I count Shawn Horcoff as somewhat unique among the forwards, Fernando Pisani too if healthy. After that, there’s soft skill men and knuckle draggers along with smallish kids who aren’t going to win puck battles. The major problem in this area is the large group of undersized skill men who duplicate each other in terms of skill set. It’s like having 5 leadoff hitters.
  6. Tambellini’s stated areas of improvement have barely been touched. Remember the media conference after MacT was tommy-gunned? “Not gritty enough, need to get stronger” was the mantra and so far it doesn’t look to me like they’ve improved too much in this area. The goaltending is also a question, although that might be addressed during the season.
  7. Missing the playoffs is not an option. I think this is the most important reason we’ll see a deal this summer. This team hasn’t had a sniff since 2006 and the new regime (Tambellini, Quinn, Renney) weren’t hired to get this club into the top 10 at the draft.
  8. Too many other teams still have work to do. This is another big one. San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver and many other teams have areas they need to address this summer. Events have conspired to make this a strange off-season, but heading to camp with the same roster makes little sense for teams that struggled a year ago.
  9. Homestead. The sheer number of free agents without contracts has to mean there will be inexpensive options in the next several weeks. The Oilers need some help up front and they have to bring in anyone who can make them better.
  10. There are ways around the cap. Way back when there were whispers that Tambellini had the freedom to bury a contract in the minors and this is still an option. Should the club need an extra $2 million dollars, then the option is Nilsson. I doubt the Oilers send out leaders Staios and Moreau in such humiliating fashion (the NHL reserves that for career role players like Alexander Mogilny).

That’s 10. What did I miss?

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30 Responses to "10 Reasons Why the Oilers will Make a Move before October 2"

  1. doritogrande says:

    When the hell did 1032 points begin to be considered a "career role player"?

    And, for that matter, what does that make the players on this team? ECHL checkers?

    I can respect most of what you say, but as Bruce is apt to say, that's batshit crazy.

  2. Mr DeBakey says:

    #4…Come here

    You may delete this

  3. knighttown says:

    Sarcasm detector turned off DG?

    Great quote there LT about the 5 leadoff batters because its extremely accurate. We've got pitching (defenseman) and speed (skill) but Lyle Overbay is batting cleanup and that's not scaring anyone.

  4. Gord says:

    #11) The Oilers have 13 players signed for 2010-11 at a cap hit of $44+ million.

    One of the high priced long term contracts has to go – why not sooner than later? My money is on Souray (surplus of offensive defensemen & the fact that his house is up for sale).

    That allows us to take care of some of "#1, #3, #5, #6" – I am guessing by taking advantage of #9….

  5. spOILer says:

    Ted Kennedy dies and we get Frankie M?

    For Pete (Mahovlich's) sake, have you no "Central" Canadaness?

    ;o)

  6. Lowetide says:

    Teeder Kennedy must have been something. The old timers talked about him in hushed, DiMaggio terms when I was a kid.

  7. spOILer says:

    LT…

    I agree we can't go by management's words. No GM is ever going to "need" a trade, barring specific player demands. Their stance is always one of posturing.

    The needs for a trade(s) that have been discussed here at your place are difficult to deny, but… they also did so last year.

    The wild card here, and what you seem to be betting on in your post, is Quinn, and what he is willing to put up with, and whether he has more influence on the roster than MacT apparently did.

    And to a certain degree you seem to be saying/hoping the Oiler's management have hired above their head(s).

  8. spOILer says:

    I only know of the same hushed tones, and to hear the Duff himself revere the Teeder, well…

  9. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: There are a couple of things in play. The owner has been spending to the cap with diddly squat in return, the team hired an old hand as a fresh coat of paint and they seem to be realizing you can't audition a 6-pak every fall.

    These are smart men, as was MacTavish. When you know why they hung the last guy it would behoove one to avoid the same mistakes (trusting management when they say developing the kids will pay off and that everyone is safe).

  10. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Lowetide said…
    spOILer: There are a couple of things in play. The owner has been spending to the cap with diddly squat in return, the team hired an old hand as a fresh coat of paint and they seem to be realizing you can't audition a 6-pak every fall.

    These are smart men, as was MacTavish. When you know why they hung the last guy it would behoove one to avoid the same mistakes (trusting management when they say developing the kids will pay off and that everyone is safe).

    You asked what you missed and it's right there LT.

    These are not smart men.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Oh, I don't know. Pat Quinn is a smart cookie, and Renney too. MacTavish was sure as hell smart and he survived for three years after they started down this road.

    Quinn won't get that many seasons.

  12. blackadder says:

    Sorry to hear about Ted Kennedy – absolutely one of the all time greats. Scored a lot of points for a guy who had Howie Meeker as his RW for four years. He would've won the Conn Smythe a couple of times if it was given out when he played.

    I'm not all that confident the Oilers will be able to make a significant trade. Teams won't want to take on an expensive contract that goes beyond the end of the season – especially with the belief that the cap will drop next year. Souray, Visnovsky, Staois, Penner, Nilsson and all the other usual trade suspects are, in my view, untradeable right now. A salary dump is needed, but really, I can't see any team buying what the Oilers will be trying to sell.

  13. Hockey Noob says:

    Here's a question for LT or one of the savvy comment posters. A recent visit to capgeek left me feeling perplexed. I tried to calculate Nilsson's buyout cap hit today. When I entered today's date, I got the following error:

    "ERROR: Date range not permitted. Buyouts take place between June 15 and 30 or 48 hours after salary arbitration hearings, which are held from July 20 to August 4."

    What impact does this info have (if correct) on the feasibility of a potential player buyout in terms of timing issues?

  14. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Hockey Noob said…
    Here's a question for LT or one of the savvy comment posters. A recent visit to capgeek left me feeling perplexed. I tried to calculate Nilsson's buyout cap hit today. When I entered today's date, I got the following error:

    "ERROR: Date range not permitted. Buyouts take place between June 15 and 30 or 48 hours after salary arbitration hearings, which are held from July 20 to August 4."

    What impact does this info have (if correct) on the feasibility of a potential player buyout in terms of timing issues?

    The player can no longer be bought out…only waived. There is a "buyout window" and it has passed.

  15. geowal says:

    Great quote there LT about the 5 leadoff batters because its extremely accurate. We've got pitching (defenseman) and speed (skill) but Lyle Overbay is batting cleanup and that's not scaring anyone.

    Fair enough, but Overbay is batting .400 with power since taking the cleanup role…

  16. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    LT.

    I think you're giving too much credit.

    Lowe is smart like moose and his fingerprints are still all over this.

    Katz is looking for a toy and Tambellini seems to marching in lockstep with the status quo.

    Quinn may roar but will anyone really be listening?

    The GM says "this is a great team".

  17. Hockey Noob says:

    @Fake Craig MacTavish,

    Thanks for the confirmation. I was a afraid that was the case. Hopefully we can look forward to Nilsson lighting up the AHL. lol…

  18. bookie says:

    I agree that one more trade/signing could well take place (Dman for forward), BUT I take issue with the constant repetition that Tambilini said he was going to trade for grittiness and toughness (lots of people keep saying this). Here are some direct quotes from the Press conference.

    "The job now is to think about how much of that can we get from what we have now, make that assessment, and then go on to, if we don't have that internally, how do we aquire it. We have some good pieces in place here…"

    -I see this as the GM having to assess how much of the lack of compete was the coach and how much of it was the players.

    Then a bit later from the presser

    "Things are going to change as far as expectations and preparation".

    "I still look at this group and see an incredible amount of potential"

    "We need more strength, we need more grit. I've seen compete at times when its shown me that were ready to play, but I've also seen the other side at times…"

    "Do we have it [energy /emotion] inside, can we get more from people? If not, we have to aquire some people"

    "I have in my mind the type of coach that I am looking for…somebody that matches up with the type of play I think that we want to see here. We want an agressive type of play. We want an emotional team. We want a team that is not standing on their heels. We want at team that is proactive. I mean, We have people here with skill and I want to see it"

    "I am confident of most of the people that we have in here, that we have something that should be very very competitive"

    "Are there things that are going to change in there? Yes, Yes, Obviously, we need to change some things. And whether its people that we have to be more clear of what we expect from them and if they can't do it, then its our job over time to change"

    All of these comments suggest that there was a need to assess how much of the problem was MacT and how much was the players themselves. The only way to do this is to see the players play under a new coach. I think the Oilers want to see what they have (under a more agressive but less complex coaching system) before they go making huge changes.

    HE also hints at the possibility of trades, but almost always balance it by stressing that their players really underperformed in the past year or two (under MacT).

  19. Bruce says:

    Hi all from Cypress Hills Dark Sky Preserve. Just ducking in to LT's lounge for a moment from three days of immersion in my other life with two more to come. Had to respond to the photo and tell LT I got this book the year it came out and it still sits on my (basement) shelves at home. Read it many times as a kid. I particularly remember the four-page photo series of the Big M charging the net and the crafty Bob Nevin getting a rebound in the seam and putting 'er home "because Nevin stopped while the others skated" or words very close to that.

    And to put the book's era into perspective, Bob Nevin was still a future Ranger. Ultimately he played out the string right here in Edmonton in the WHA when he was somewhere between 50 and 200 years old. And that was 35 years ago, for goodness sake. Makes me feel like a creaky, cranky old man, it does.

    Glad to read up the page that the Oil resigned Smid. If $1.3 over 2 years is accurate, he has a better than even chance to outperform the second year and maybe even the first. This optimist continues to expect the (indoor!) lights to come on at some point sooner than later. The guy has the size, mobility and snarliness to dominate, and he just hit the "magic" 200-game mark. Patience is still necessary, but maybe not for too much longer.

  20. ian says:

    I am as usual, optimistic about this season.There may be a trade perhaps a Dman for a Forward, if not..
    I think Pat Quinn and Tom Renney will ensure that we see the Oilers motivated almost every night as opposed to too many games last year where it was only a couple of guys that seemed to care.
    I think the younger guys will improve just by being a year more experienced.
    We seem to have awfully high expectations of our vets seemingly based upon their salary hit?
    Question:How many vets can we "dump" before we don't have enough experience?
    Last season our under performing Oilers with a miserable penalty kill and enigmatic power play were at one point still comfortably positioned in the top 8
    Had Vishnovski not gone done we would probably have made the play offs.
    I think a combination of puck control and dump and chase will serve the team well and that the new coaches will uptick enough players to easily put the Oilers into the play offs.
    Just popping out for some Kool Aid

  21. godot10 says:

    I'm hoping for Souray for Frolov. I don't care that Frolov only has one year left. It gets Tambellini out of cap hell, and gets a winger for the 1st line.

    Frolov Horcoff, Hemsky
    O'Sullivan, Gagner, Penner
    Moreau, Cogliano, Pisani (Pouliot in for Cogliano on defensive zone draws).
    Jacques, Pouliot, Stortini.

  22. Smarmy Boss says:

    I'd be fine with doing a three way with SJ and Ott to get Marleau and let him walk too.

    Anything to get out of cap hell. (So we can throw the vault at Kovalchuk)

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    Lowe is smart like moose and his fingerprints are still all over this.

    Lowe is a smart man, he's just one of the worst negotiators in the history of the world.

  24. shanetrain says:

    boy oh boy

    Guys think for one half minute what this team would be like without Souray. We would be getting fucking steamrolled on a nightly basis.

    If you wanna talk trade chips .. lets talk Goldilocks Gilbert.

  25. HBomb says:

    Guys think for one half minute what this team would be like without Souray. We would be getting fucking steamrolled on a nightly basis.

    If you wanna talk trade chips .. lets talk Goldilocks Gilbert.

    This team isn't going anywhere the next three years. With that in mind, dealing Gilbert but keeping Souray is, in a word, shortsighted.

    77 should be the absolute last blueliner they think about trading.

  26. Asiaoil says:

    The only dman this team should be looking to deal is Staios – anywhere for anything. I would be less dissatisfied with the lack of movement if we had made ANY progress in removing cap killers like Staios, Moreau and Nilsson. Even trading one of those guys for a legit heavy minute 3rd line center with a similar sized contract would help – but the excess cap fat MUST be trimmed by the trade deadline.

    Now where was I? Oh yeah…zzzzzzzz

  27. Gerta Rauss says:

    If Souray has asked to be moved the decision is already made for Tambellini.

    We don't have to trade him for another forward-a tough,big minute top 4D with a cap hit around 3.5M would do nicely…then go shopping for a forward in the UFA bin with the cap savings.

  28. dstaples says:

    Souray has one year left of NMC, correct?

    But what about Visnovsky?

    Did his no-trade kick in when his
    new deal? Is it binding with his new team, the Oilers?

  29. Peter says:

    Missing the playoff is not an option? This team isn't 1 player away from playoffs (unless it was a franchise centre, or Luongo), so I don't know where you get that from. This team won't make playoffs. Every team in the west thinks they have a shot at playoffs (excepting Phoenix and Colorado), but the reality is that 7 teams will miss, and the Oilers will be one of them.

  30. Oilmaniac says:

    just to be unfair…

    Im not going to read it and still disagree… sorry…

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