Trade Watch Day 41

This is Ken Linseman. The Rat. He was small but had a big impact in pretty much every game he ever played in. A real agitator and “holler guy” he could also impact the game offensively and knew a few tricks of the trade elsewhere too.

The Edmonton Oilers could use a veteran center about now, and I remain convinced Steve Tambellini will eventually need to pull the trigger. Centers come in various shapes and sizes, but for the Oilers too many of their centers are small, undersized and very young. Shawn Horcoff is spending another season devoting time to faceoffs and it is costing him offensively.

Isn’t there anyone in the NHL with an extra veteran center available? It seems to me that teams are making trades and addressing needs all the time, do you think the Oilers will make a move anytime soon? For reference, here’s a list of trades since the 1st of September:

  1. Ottawa trades L Dany Heatley to San Jose for L Milan Michalek and R Jonathan Cheechoo.
  2. Boston trades R Phil Kessel to Toronto for Taylor Hall, others
  3. Calgary trades D Anton Stralman to Columbus for a pick
  4. Calgary trades L Kyle Greentree to Chicago for D Aaron Johnson
  5. Boston trades R Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota for prospects and picks
  6. Buffalo trades F Dan Paille to Boston for picks.

There have been other trades and waiver moves, but these are deals that addressed specific need for NHL teams. Calgary waited about 5 minutes to address need on the blue, Columbus has a need and made a move that may plug the hole.

The Oilers remain a team without a really good second option for faceoffs. Here are the current faceoff numbers (player, number of faceoffs, winning percentage):

  1. Horcoff 176, 54.0%
  2. Gagner 70, 41.4%
  3. Brule 62, 48.4%
  4. Cogliano 52, 48.1%
  5. O’Sullivan 33, 42.4%
  6. Comrie 30, 50.0%

The men (aside from Horcoff) on this list are undersized, well under 50% as a group and many lack the kind of experience required to be effective against established NHL opposition at this time. Gilbert Brule has some elements of Ken Linseman to his game, but this club needs size and experience at the center position.

Riley Nash is in the pipeline, Chris Vande Velde may turn pro next fall and Teemu Hartikainen is big and has played some center. Tambellini needs to address the position at the major league level soon.

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83 Responses to "Trade Watch Day 41"

  1. dave says:

    I know this is gonna sound so Kevin Lowe with a dash of 7-2-1, but I wait for the deadline. I would give Brule and Cogs as many at bats as possible before getting bumped down for the playoff stretch run.

  2. dave says:

    whoops 5-2-1. see how easy that can happen

  3. shepso says:

    anyone know if Peca has signed anywhere yet? I know we need another small C like I need a whole in my head, but he does have "crust" and is one of the best draw winners in the game. Drop smac and move fernie to the IR and suddenly there's some cap space…
    The question, I suppose, is would he come back here?

  4. DeeDee says:

    My favorite "Rat" memory was when he was bodychecked into the penalty box during a game and he speared the guy who did it.

    I've seen spearing in the past but Linesman grabbed his stick and chucked it at the guy like a real spear.

    I thought Rod Philips was going to bust his gut laughing because Linesman was already in the box all he had to do was sit down.

    Linesmans revenge against everyone was during the Heritage Classic when he was the best player on the ice, man he aged well.

  5. geowal says:

    I've been left wondering why Comrie isn't taking more draws. Even if he's playing on the wing, it seems worthwhile to use a guy who's at least got even odds.

  6. Jon says:

    Just say no to Peca,,,,

    Here's a thought.

    Would Nashville want to dump Legwand and his 4.5 million salary.

    He's got size, decent boxcars, and fast.

    Not sure what it would cost but they need a shake-up and I'm guessing that they would love to dump big contracts.

  7. Dennis says:

    It's progress that at least these days LT says he thinks the Oilers 'need' to make this kind of trade instead of saying they Will make this kind of trade:)

  8. doritogrande says:

    LT:

    I'll put you on the spot here, because you keep singing for the trade.

    Who do you trade? And, probably more important, who does that traded player get us?

  9. jdrevenge says:

    I'm super interested to see what Tambo can pull of. He's right to be holding off right now. I don't think theres any way we could predict what we have this early in.

    Is it just me or is next years camp gonna be seriously full? And the next few years see some serious push from ALOT of young players.

  10. James L. says:

    Yes, I do find LT's subtle shift noteworthy.

    I remain convinced Steve Tambellini will eventually need to pull the trigger.

    This statement implies that:

    1) Tambellini doesn't need to pull the trigger today.

    2) At a certain point in the future, Tambellini will need to pull the trigger in order to have a respectable finish to the season, but it certainly doesn't predict that he actually will do it. As we've all seen in the past few years, Kevin Lowe had a habit of not doing what he needed to do, and Tambellini hasn't shown great ability to address the obvious so far.

  11. Andrew Willis says:

    A couple of thoughts…

    Jon: if there's a centre to trade for from Nashville at $4.5M it's Arnott. There's no way Legwand is worth that kind of money, and his deal is for another 4 seasons after this one. (I know that Arnott's harder to get and not likely to come back, but now that Comrie's in the Oil Drop all bets are off.) My point is that for a cap hit as big as $4.5, there has to be more involved than Legwand.

    I'm with Brownlee about the ideal player: David Steckel in Washington. Because the Caps don't have use for a flighty winger, Cogliano wouldn't get it done (although it would be a great deal if it would), so from my armchair GM seat I'd offer up Gilbert for him. Some will say this is an overpay, but Steckel would address many needs on this team.

  12. Asiaoil says:

    A couple of inexpensive trade targets who are effective could be Brodziak and Reasoner………kidding but the irony is rich. Malhotra’s up to his usual tricks but of course we needed Comrie more.

    Seriously – some other guys could include Stajan in TOR or Gaustad in BUF (who I don’t follow so I’m not sure if he’s a fit or even available). But this hole is so old and the Oilers have shown such disregard for it actually being a problem that I have zero expectation that it will be filled any time soon. Guess you get used to this kind of stuff when Toonces is the GM.

  13. Bookie says:

    What I don't understand is why Penner doesn't take more draws and right after the draw shift to wing. Why is it that the person who plays center in the game (i.e. the moments outside of the faceoff) has to take the draw?

    Its just tradition…we could think outside the box and solve this problem.

  14. Gerta Rauss says:

    The trail of bread crumbs left by this org since the Heatley fiasco certainly leaves me thinking trade in the first 20 games.

    It's a perfectly reasonable option for a perfectly reasonable General Manager.

    And maybe it's me,maybe it's Quinn's old timey ways,but he seems to refer to the team in the third party…like he hasn't really fully embraced this group of players…like he's still looking them over and evaluating who he wants,and who has to go.

    I think they need a top 6 forward with some size and some skill,and if they move a top 4 D to get it,they have to get another D man to replace him.

    So maybe 2 trades.

  15. Gerta Rauss says:

    Oh,and btw-I love Mel Torme and all,but Khabibulin is Mr Relaxation

  16. knighttown says:

    Kessel to Toronto for Taylor Hall and others

    =fist pump

    I spent the entire year after the Penner signing feeling like I was going to vomit because we gave away Dennis Potvin 2.0 in Doughty. It was only a great run at the end that made sure the Anaheim pick wasn't a name that would live in infamy for Oiler fans.

    I imagine any knowledgeable Leaf fans (oxymoron?) are feeling this now.

    Wonder how the GM feels?

  17. PDO says:

    Anyone know if there's any truth to this asinine Gilbert for Stafford deal making the rounds through the rumor mill…?

  18. DBO says:

    Brodziak would be a nice fit right now.

    78 faceoffs, 60.3%.

    based on the improvement with the new system of some of our players, i really wonder if brodziak would have been a better fit then Pouliot (which to me seems to be who the org chose over him).

  19. the 0 in 0rca is for 0 cups says:

    when i saw the 'arrival' post i thought we picked up someone new. then i saw this one.

    trades happen on trade deadlines. til' then, the lines are dead. i hope i eat my lines.

  20. Gord says:

    Let me see if I have this correct….

    We need a Ken Linseman type – Ken Linseman weighed 175 pounds…

    We need to trade for someone who can take faceoffs…

    Because Cogliano has lost 2 more faceoffs than he has won over eight games.

    And because Brule has lost 2 more faceoffs than he has won over seven games.

    Unless the underlying theme is that Lowetide wants to trade Gagner (41.4% on faceoffs), I have no idea what is being suggested on Trade Watch Day 41….

  21. hunter1909 says:

    Ironic how Flames and Oilers both sport 5-2-1 records but over on Calgary Puck you would think they were 0-6-1.

  22. Bar Qu says:

    hunter,
    it is all about expectations.

    In Calgary we've witnessed the summer of Sutter, re-molding the line-up for a run at Stanley. Only to see the usual stumble from the gate (less than usual granted). So the fans are mad.

    In Edmonton we've witnessed the summer of Stunner, with nothing in particular happening to the line-up for a run at 12th place. Then the team actually plays well along with crust/jam/marmalade, and gets out to a far better start than anyone hoped for. So the fans are planning the route.

    Expectations.

  23. godot10 says:

    It the Oilers were a cup contender, yeah…well, one would address the problem with a trade. But I think Quinn will need more than 10 games to decide whether the current situation on faceoffs is hopeless, or whether it is just a weakness that has to be endured until the young guys (which the team is being built around) get better.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Faceoffs, size, inexperience. There's more than one reason to breakup the position as it stands and a secondary one comes in the fact that Gagner and Cogs both get raises in the summer.

    That doesn't mean you deal one of them, maybe it's O'Sullivan instead. But something has to give, and an experienced center with size and a signed, reasonable contract makes so much sense.

  25. Smarmy Boss says:

    [I]Shawn Horcoff is spending another season devoting time to faceoffs and it is costing him offensively.[/i]

    Funniest part of the post. The man couldn't even get a shot off on a breakaway and flubs about 5 one timers a game. Must be all the faceoffs he's taking.

  26. Yeti says:

    Sorry, slightly off topic, but Hartikainen was mentioned in the post and I wanted to ask those 'in the know' what kind of equivalence exists between the SM-Liiga in Finland and the AHL / NHL. Is the Finnish league significantly below the SEL in quality? Is it significantly less physical than the AHL? Any suggestions would be great, as I'm wondering how to translate Teemu's seemingly good (ten points in fifteen games) start into more meaningful terms.

  27. Rick says:

    I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of giving up on a young smaller skill forward right now, especially for a "grindy" forward for faceoffs and defensive play with little impact on the scoresheet.

    Granted we still need that type of player, but with Chorney's emergence as a 4/5 option, maybe Tambs can deal a d-man and a lesser prospect for one when Souray and Staios get healthy, which would also clear some cap room.

  28. sacamano says:

    Is Adam Oates still available?

  29. Schitzo says:

    Kessel gone, Lucic on the IR, Savard on the LTIR. That's pretty darn significant if you're Boston.

  30. Bling says:

    Size:

    Average height of the top 12 forwards this year (i.e. excluding SMac and Nilsson) is 6 feet and 2/3 of an inch.

    I couldn't find average height league wide for this season, but I did find it for the 2001 season:

    http://puckjunky.com/archive/2000_01/regseason/vitalstats.htm

    Note that those numbers include defensemen as well.

    Assuming average height hasn't substantially increased — and I highly doubt it has — the Oilers are no worse than middle of the pack.

    In fact, if we factor in our defense, they are solidly above the mean in terms of size.

    Size was certainly a problem last year, but I don't see how it's a problem this year. It has been sufficiently addressed, albeit internally.

  31. kris says:

    About those smurfs,

    If we traded O'Sullivan for a larger, more physical top 9 guy -say an Eric Cole circa 2007- then we'd have a pretty balanced lineup in terms of size and skill. (Maybe a little small, but this is the new NHL after all.)

    I'm okay with dropping O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Brule for a decent return. (And Comrie's gone next year too.) All three pllayers might improve, but none of them are as young as Gagner and Cogliano, and frankly even if they all turn into the player we hope they do, they're still replaceable.

    The bigger problem is finding some balance at center ice. We're too young and too mistake prone. We're having trouble covering our own zone, and part of that is that 3 of our centerman don't always know how and when to help the defenseman. (The defensive responsibility of centerman is one of the toughest jobs in hockey.) IMO.) The same is true of our crappy breakouts.

    Indeed, to improve our shot differentials we need at least one better centerman.

    Problem is, both Cogliano and Gagner want to play center…

  32. Bling says:

    Faceoffs:

    The Oilers are 16th in the league in faceoffs today, but only 1.5 percentage points out of eight place. That difference can be made up by Gagner improving from categorically terrible (~41%) to mediocre.

    I agree that Horcoff is taking too many faceoffs, but again, it is early in the season. If Quinn can count on Brule a little bit more, then perhaps we'll be OK in that department.

    Best to wait and see. If we do acquire another center, one of Brule, Cogliano, or Gagner will have their time cut. All of have been playing well thus far, and all are averaging around 13 minutes per game.

    Whose time do you cut?

  33. Ribs says:

    sacamano – He signed as an Assistant Coach with Tampa Bay a while back.

  34. Bling says:

    kris said: "Indeed, to improve our shot differentials we need at least one better centerman.

    Problem is, both Cogliano and Gagner want to play center…"

    Horcoff deserves some blame as well in this department.

    I consider myself a Horcoff supporter, but that guy has done shit all in the offensive end this season. Forget the shooting percentage; he is losing an inordinate number of puck battles along the wall. It's disgraceful, and the first line is losing valuable possession time because of it.

    Honestly, if we look at 50/50 puck battles, by my eye Sam Gagner is doing a better job than him. 89 is facing softer opp of course, but he's also slower, weaker, 2 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter. What is Horcoff's excuse, exactly, besides faceoffs?

    That shot differential will look a lot better once that first line starts clicking. And for that to happen, Horc needs to start supporting the puck better and winning it back when it's lost.

  35. kris says:

    Bling,

    I agree. Horc hasn't been himself, by my eye too.

    And even PVP, we need Horcoff-Hemsky to outshoot the oppposition.

    Horc.'s a hard player to evaluate though. At 20 games, we'll have to see how his numbers look and that will tell us more.

  36. PDO says:

    Bling:

    He's playing on a gimp leg.

    Hopefully these couple days off give him enough time to get it back to normal…

  37. knighttown says:

    That's been your thought all along with very little argument LT. Of course, it seems Tambellini felt either there were pieces in place internally that could fill the role or that the price in dollars or assets was too much to pull the trigger and that he needed to see more to "overpay".

    Let's assume the plan was to give the kids (Pouliot, Gagner, Cogliano and Brule) 1-2 months to see if they could replace Marty Reasoner(TM). Marty Reasoner (TM) brings some things:

    -faceoffs
    -penalty killing
    -outscoring the dregs
    -holds his own versus the top lines
    -physicality (note the TM-Reasoner is not physical but the perfect 3rd line center is)

    How are the kids doing as a group?

    Faceoffs:

    13- 48%
    67- 48%
    89- 41%

    That averages 46%. Horcoff is at 54% and Quinn uses him a ton.

    Analysis- B

    The kids are still below average but the results for two of them are encouraging. Perhaps Quinn should throw a few more faceoffs them…they deserve the shot.

    Penalty Killing

    Only Cogliano has been given a shot from this group and his result is 8.6 GA/60 vs. 5.9 GA/60. However, MacT calls Horc the best PKer in the NHL so some variance is to be expected. Add to that, some of the non-centers have picked up the slack, namely Penner, O'Sullivan and Stone and I think things might be OK.

    Analysis- B+

    We're 12th in the NHL on the PK and although it's not the kids listed above leading the way, there seem to be enough decent options so that an upgrade is not imperative at this time.

    Outscoring the dregs

    Some seriously quality numbers here:

    Brule- 5.1GF/2.9GA (+2.2) with the "best" and against the "worst". High event.

    Cogs- 2.7GF/.7GA (+2) with similar QC/QT as Brule. Low event.

    Analysis- A+

    Killing the softs in a way we haven't seen since Glencross left.

    Not getting smoked by the elite

    Gagner is the only one who has faced above avergae QC at +.09. That's nowhere near Horc's +.24 but he has fared very well.

    His QT is +.32 for sure, but he's produced 4.6GF vs. 2.0GA and difference of 2.6. His boxcars and CORSI are also very strong.

    Analysis- B+

    The two quick kids haven't been tested much but one or the other will likely be pushed in that direction. Sam has been given some tougher assignments and has been spectacular.

    Physicality

    Brule throws his body around alot. Sam seems to have tried but to me it appears like "coach's orders" than something he's comfortable doing. Cogliano avoids contact.

    Analysis B+

    Like PK, the kids aren't leading the charge here but Jacques and Stone have provided tons of grit. It's enough that I don't think an upgrade here is necessary.

    The most important thing to remember is that the Oilers are playing 9 of the next 13 on the road after piling up these stats at home. All of a sudden everything from faceoffs to Qualcomp gets tougher. We'll know by mid-November if the 3C needs an upgrade.

  38. Traktor says:

    LT loves Horcoff and when it comes to Gagner and Cogliano LT has always said don't trade them before we know what they are.

    That leaves Brule.

    Reading between the lines it seems LT wants to move the point per game youngster who brings physical play to the lineup for someone with more experience.

    That's the type of move that the Maple Leafs are known for.

    It would be like trading Smid for a veteran blue the year before he breaks out.

    Haven't we learned anything?

    Obviously not. We're still stuck in our old old ways. I mean we are only 8 games in the season and we're blaming Horcoff's face off work as the reason why he fails to convert on golden opportunities.

    Its quite sad, actually.

  39. Dennis says:

    Just a note on the PK: I was super impressed with the way we killed the infractions last game out. That was the least amount of pressure allowed in a long time.

    They even sprinkled in a third duo and if that becomes the norm, then I'm totally on board.

  40. John says:

    This sounds like a broken record but if we are trying to do this relatively cheaply…… Boyd Gordon in Washington. He is good sized 6' 200lb, plays with crust, can play center or wing, kills penalties and
    is 53-54% on draws

  41. GSC says:

    Shawn Horcoff is spending another season devoting time to faceoffs and it is costing him offensively.

    Or maybe he's just not very good offensively, and his previous boxcars were a smoke screen?

    Even the advanced stats have Horcoff pinned as lousy through the first 8 games.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: Quite right. Couldn't possibly move Cogliano or Brule to the wing, right?

    Really.

    Horcoff isn't 100% but he'll get his points and is still effective in important areas.

    Gagner seems to have more jump this season and I remain convinced dealing Cogliano could be a huge mistake.

    I'd place Brule in the "let's keep him in the linup and see if he's for real" category but yes, he would certainly be a player I'd consider moving to wing.

    So, there's two I think we can talk about moving over to the wing among the 4 Traktor mentioned.

    Is Ryan Stone hurt? Haven't heard anything about him since he left the game the other night.

  43. Traktor says:

    LT:

    I seems like you're playing two hands, that's all.

    Your blog is about what's beneath the surface but whenever it comes to making moves you don't seem to recognize the trickle down effect.

    On one hand you insist this team isn't a playoff caliber team and on the other you're calling for us to trade youth for experience.

    Doesn't that seem a tad MapleLeafish?

    Are you willing to give up a 2nd or 3rd round pick for a Ryan Stone replacement or would you prefer to call up Reddox?

  44. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: My point is that you can't keep all of the kids and still be competitive. Nor have too many minute men.

    I'm a big fan of prospects, hell this blog is mostly about them. But the Oilers have drafted a ton of small forwards (Cogs, Gags, Eberle, Omark, etc) and then dealt for a bunch more (Comrie, Nilsson) plus signed Comrie.

    You can't develop kids 6 at a time.

  45. John says:

    Sign of a strong organization is to draft a very good mix of all required skills (speed, size, toughness, grit, etc) and then blend them into a solid team.

    I think what LT has identified as a real problem is that the Oil have done a marvelous job of drafting skill to the exclusion of all else. They now have 6 to 10 skilled smurfs and room for 4 of them if we want to be able to compete.

    I would move Cogliano and other lower ranked skill players but only for a slightly less skilled player in a good sized body…ie someone like Stafford. That is, a decent goal scorer with size

    Re the faceoff/Pk man…that requires a short term fix for someone to play 10-12 minutes a night

  46. LittleFury says:

    Or maybe he's just not very good offensively, and his previous boxcars were a smoke screen?

    Yeah, four straight 50 point seasons in which 10 was in the top three in team scoring must be an illusion. That or his stats were padded by the great teams he played on in that span.

  47. quain says:

    Yeah, four straight 50 point seasons in which 10 was in the top three in team scoring must be an illusion. That or his stats were padded by the great teams he played on in that span.

    I remember the year we had Lupul. That was a great team. What a great player. If only MacT had let him penalty kill, we would've made the playoffs.

    I think he might be the key to this. Horcoff and a first for Lupul? Maybe throw in Gilbert? Get all the losers off the team at once!

  48. mroiler says:

    LT,

    Love your blog, but I think you're pushing too hard. There's a reason that there hasn't been a trade: a new coaching staff needs to understand what they have.

    The team has played 8 regular season games. After a total tear down of the coaching staff you give them the time to have input before you make a move. Patience, Grasshopper.

    You've been following this team for years, has Quinn, Renney, or Fleming? Nope.

    Secondly, as a GM you don't force a trade or you lose leverage. Deal from a position of strength or you misuse assets.

    There's no way any team (other than the Leafs) is hurting enough to trade yet. Once the staff has their input ready, it takes time to set up the deal. Look to game 25-30 for changes if they're coming. Tambellini has said this on several occassions when asked about trading d-men.

    A 5-2-1 record with Souray, Staios, and Pisani injured and a flu-bug running it's way through the team absolutely takes the pressure off to move now.

    Put a note in your calendar to follow up in mid-November and just enjoy the show until then.

  49. Smarmy Boss says:

    50 points for a first line center kind of sucks. (Just saying)

    I kind of hope Gagner makes the jump to being the 1st center and we can move Horcoff more to a checking center role.

  50. GSC says:

    Yeah, four straight 50 point seasons in which 10 was in the top three in team scoring must be an illusion. That or his stats were padded by the great teams he played on in that span.

    LittleFury,

    I was only suggesting it to see what the explanation would be, since LT and his stats buddies go well beyond the boxcars in their evaluations.

    My point is simple: if you're a stats guy or a "saw him good" guy, you're still capable (and usually guilty of) bias…although that shouldn't be news to anyone.

  51. Lowetide says:

    mroiler: Patience? I've been patient since the summer of 2006 and that and 80 cents gets me a Tim Horton's.

    The Oilers have had a nice start but if the holes aren't obvious to the coaching staff by now they're not paying attention.

    And they ARE obvious to them. Quinn is overusing Horcoff in the FO circle and the Stone injury (if bad) will expose the size problem too.

    The Oilers MUST have a sense of urgency this season. They've missed the playoffs for three years in a row, they've auditioned countless players and they've wasted some stunning value contracts pissing about over just this kind of silly indecisiveness.

    Fix the problem, make the damn deal and then the worries over the long roadtrip ahead are less obvious.

    I'll make you a deal, though. If the Oilers are this close to the Flames after their upcoming road trip (the one that starts Oct 31 and ends Nov 16) then you won't read a trade post from me until the Oilers pull the trigger.

    Fair?

  52. Greg MC says:

    Horcoff is our best center, but he is aging. He probably has already had his career year in points. Expect about 50 points or less a season going forward.I value everything else he brings, but he never will be an elite point producer.

  53. PunjabiOil says:

    Patrick LaForge, as usual, stumbled and diverted attention away when answering my 'tough' questions on connect2edmonton. He litterally addressed none of the questions.

    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=14793

    It's quite sad, actually.

  54. Oilmaniac says:

    "Shawn Horcoff is spending another season devoting time to faceoffs and it is costing him offensively."

    So that is why his breakaway the other day was so ugly…

  55. spOILer says:

    Cogliano, Grebs & a 2nd to PIT for Jordan Staal. Salaries about equal. Centre problem solved in many ways for years to come.

    Now if someone could snap some photos of PIT's management naked and tied up with hookers wearing nothing more than their whips, and then deliver these photos to TambeLowe, I'd sure appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance, and don't worry I'll help chip in for the hookers..

  56. NBOilerFan says:

    So what about your second favorite team, LT?

    Columbus seems to have some extra centers…. with Vermette, Brassard, Umberger, Pahlsson and Murray.

    There playing Umberger on wing mostly it appears, and he took there second most faceoffs last year.

    Which of Umberger, Vermette or Pahlsson would they be willing to move, if any? What would they want in return? With Hedja injured, would Chorney+ or Chorney & Nilsson fetch anything?

    The connection also makes them a better potential trading partner, no?

  57. rickibear says:

    Or maybe he's just not very good offensively, and his previous boxcars were a smoke screen?

    Little fury: thanks for pointing out that this is the most HF clown statement ever on this site.

    When discussing trade possibilities in a cap reduction world one must consider the youth coming in next year nad pat quinn's forward pairs.

    Penner(4.25)-Brule(rfa)-xxx
    xxx-Horcoff(5.5)-Hemsky(4.1)
    XXX-Gagner(rfa)-O'sullivan(2.9)
    XXX-Cogs(rfa)-Storts(.7)
    Jacques (rfa)

    Next year Horc gets to babysit a new generation of forwards.

    MPS LW
    Eberle RW
    Omark W

    Looking at this Penner #11 , Horcoff #32, and O'sullivan #49 are all in the top 50 in PK.

    I must accept that moving Moreau and Nilsson for an expiring contract center( stajan) would make alot of sense.

  58. spOILer says:

    Oilmaniac said:

    So that is why his breakaway the other day was so ugly…

    I love illogical non-sequiturs; they let me know who's a worthwhile read and who's full of rhetorical BS. Thank you for making it clear which you produce.

    I can't imagine playing on one ankle had anything to do with it either.

    Or the fact no one converts all their breakaways. I think the league average is somewhere around 1 in 3. But maybe we should cherry-pick this one, huh?

    *face palms*

  59. PunjabiOil says:

    I loved these responses the most by Patrick.
    ___________
    Q: 3. You recently claimed the Edmonton Oilers ''lost quite a bit of money'' in the past year, in addition to implying the Oilers could relocate without the help of a new arena. If a top 10 revenue generating team is having difficulty making money, are you unintentionally implying 20 other teams in the league are in financial difficulty?

    R: Wow, that’s a loaded question. It’s become pretty clear from what’s happened in Pittsburgh, Quebec City and elsewhere that the viability of an NHL franchise is directly tied to the adequacy of its arena facility. That said, we are totally focused on putting the Oilers at the heart of our city and the revitalization of our downtown.

    __________

    Q: 1. On February 20, 2007, you were quoted in the Globe and Mail:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl…nhl19/BNStory/
    Quote:
    "The cap has climbed dramatically," said LaForge, referring to growth from $39-million a year ago to $44-million this season. "Much more than people thought it would or I thought it would.”

    "We're in Year 2 of a six-year deal and we'll see where it goes. But if the cap was a few million dollars less it would change the world for us."

    Can you explain what you meant by this sentiment? For an entity that has paid into revenue sharing each year since the lock-out [Indicative of top 10 revenue generating team in the NHL], in what sense would a lower cap ''change the world'' for the Edmonton Oilers?

    R: Again, we are working with a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    Q: According the link below, the Oilers are doing very favourably in terms of one of the fewest ticket giveaways and among league leaders in gate receipt revenue.

    http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/v5/content/pdf/NHLweb.pdf

    No comment on this information but we do not give tickets away.

  60. Oilmaniac says:

    geowal said…

    I've been left wondering why Comrie isn't taking more draws. Even if he's playing on the wing, it seems worthwhile to use a guy who's at least got even odds.

    - good point. he seems resistant to playing centre but could still provide 'experienced centreman" for faceoffs (came here to play the wing, haha.. Im guessing that means he wants less responsibility)

    Blogger Jon said…

    … Would Nashville want to dump Legwand and his 4.5 million salary.

    -The Oil have horcoff, choice made. They cant afford both…

  61. DBO says:

    i think management as long as we run in place and are near 8th or better will not make a move until Pisani comes back and we are forced to do something. pisani will help this team with his size, PK and defensive capabilities. The issue becomes who comes out? And it does not address the real need of a decent two way centre to go out ther and win a faceoff not named horcoff.

  62. rickibear says:

    "elite point producer"

    I want guys who play the best and get more than they give up. Playing the toughest situations. Give me an elite center like that.

    Oh wait there is only two in the league.
    Mike Richards
    Shawn Horcoff
    Mr. Bolland and Mr. Kesler will be on their way.

    As compared to an elite point producer like Spezza who got 57G and gave up 68G since last year.

    Cue the Goofy voice:
    Points, Points, Points, Were are the pretty points. Duh Hu!

  63. Oilmaniac says:

    SpOILer…

    I still had one more post to make.. and id had to do exactly with his bum foot… he (horcoff) goes down and this team is in a whole world of trouble… LT's been saying that for a while and I totally agree…

    This doesnt make that breakaway any prettier or a goal

    The other unfortunate consequence is that horcoff is being so relied on that I bet he doesnt feel he can take those days off to heal.. I would love to have that player at 100% to help hold back the tide, but unless a trade for backup is made then we'll see how well the team does when he breaks down…

  64. DBO says:

    lines at practise:

    Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
    Comrie-Horcoff-O'Sullivan
    Moreau-Cogliano-Stortini
    Jacques-Buchberger-Nilsson

    i laughed as well, but bucky was just in there for Brule who is sick (as is Smid apparently). FYI, Stone out 2-4 weeks.

    So who gets called up? Or is it no one, and Pisani draws in next week?

  65. godot10 says:

    Horcoff has his contract. His point totals are no directly relevant. He should be deployed by the team to maximize winning.

    If one takes the medium term view, instead of the short-sighted[-)]…er…short term view…

    Gagner is #1 (fairly tough minutes)
    Brule is #2 (soft minutes)
    Horcoff is the elite shutdown centre
    Cogliano, Vande Velde, Pouliot, or Nash is #4

    In the medium term view, the Oilers are waiting on Gagner to develop. In the short term, it means sacrificing Horcoff's offense for the shutdown role. He has his contract, why should he or anybody care. He is an elite shutdown centre. The masses should shut up about Horcoff's offense. In the context of the team the Oilers are building, it is not what they need him for.

    The Oilers are not a Stanley Cup contender. They will only trade for a centre if Quinn feels they need one to make the playoffs.

    The short term, whether the Oilers need a centre or not, hinges on the rapidity of Gagner's development. Quinn should be able to answer that question by January.

  66. Dennis says:

    I can't see the Oilers dressing Smac – though I guess that Is what he's here for – and I can't see them bringing up 85 just for the sake of two games and then re-entering him on waivers again.

    I guess they are hoping like fuck that 67 will be ready by at least Sat night's game; 34 will be eligible to play come Sun night at Van.

  67. Bruce says:

    Obviously Horc missed the breakaway cuz it was already a minute into the period and the ice was bad.

    .
    .
    .

    File that one under shit happens. The move he tried wasn't a bad idea (Luongo doesn't leave a whole lot of room) but the execution was terrible. 'Nuff said.

    On his overall play I will agree that both by the numbers and by eye Horc has been off his game. I don't suppose all the pressure of being "the $7 million dollar man" is helping any, but he needs to get past it. First, though, he needs to get healthy.

  68. Greg MC says:

    Yes, points are pretty and shiny. To win, a team needs to score more than the opposition, right?

    People either don't read all the comments or take portions of posts out of context, and it pisses me off. I don't see the need for calling out other posters in a condescending manner, that just makes you look insecure.

    Ahh, the joys of anonymity!

  69. Lowetide says:

    Can we keep this on a reasonable topic? I don't mind PJ Oil's drop in, in fact I appreciate it because it's informative.

    But if your post has to do with "Horcoff sucking because he screwed up on the breakaway the other night" then please fuck off.

    Seriously. Go away.

  70. rickibear says:

    Columbus seems to have some extra centers…. with Vermette, Brassard, Umberger, Pahlsson and Murray.

    There playing Umberger on wing mostly it appears, and he took there second most faceoffs last year.

    NBOil: Tyutin + Umberger for Vish + Nilsson would be brilliant for both sides.

  71. Bar Qu says:

    Here's hoping rickibear is named interim Oilers GM for today!

  72. doritogrande says:

    lines at practise:

    Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
    Comrie-Horcoff-O'Sullivan
    Moreau-Cogliano-Stortini
    Jacques-Buchberger-Nilsson

    Goddammit. Why can't the old man simply go with what got us the win against Vancouver?

    Horpensky was finally back together and had a couple of shifts in the offensive zone where they straight up dominated. Size and Skill

    Jacques-Gagner-O'Sullivan was together for the tying goal, and to my eye it was that line most of the 3rd period when Horpensky was back together. They too had some great chemistry and Jacques seemed to do a better job opening up time and space for the kids than Penner did. Size and skill here too.

    Do what you want with the rest of the lines, but if you want run some size and grit with each line, I'd recommend:

    Moreau-Brule-Comrie
    Nilsson-Cogliano-Stortini

    Also,

    I'm okay with dropping O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Brule for a decent return. (And Comrie's gone next year too.) All three pllayers might improve, but none of them are as young as Gagner and Cogliano,

    Research man, research. The 4 month differential between Brule and Cogliano (both 2005 first rounders) means that much to you?

  73. GF says:

    In other news, Michael Nylander is assigned by the Capitals to their AHL team in Grand Rapids for conditioning. I'm sure his wife will love it there.

  74. FlamingPavelBure says:

    It tells alot about confidence level, when the coach takes your place on practice lines.

    What is Smac still doing with the team?

  75. godot10 says:

    FYI Regarding Buchberger…..Smac was filling in on defense in practice.

  76. Bruce says:

    Egads, SMac would be our emergency D, wouldn't he? Souray, Staios out, Smid sick … hopefully he's filling in just for practice. The thought of a SMac-Struds pair in an actual game makes my teeth hurt.

  77. quain says:

    I don't mind the Comrie-Horcoff-O'Sully line. I think it plays much better to Horcoff's strength (playmaking/set-up man with two shooters) than playing with Hemsky does…

    But I also think Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky has proven to work and Gagner-Hemsky has proven to not work, so why don't we quit kidding ourselves and just do it.

  78. doritogrande says:

    An update for your In session trade list LT:

    Columbus traded Stefan Legein to Philly for Michael Ratchuk.

    Canadians should know who Legein is already, Ratchuk's apparently 21 years old, a 2nd rounder of 2006.

    Also, would anyone do a Nilsson for Sergei Kostitsin trade? By all accounts he seems like the better player and bargain. Even if he's hell-bent for the KHL, there's 2M off our books. Montreal needs another small-fry, right?

  79. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Actually i think the trade would be perfect, Montreal is dying for a second line winger. To feed Kostitsyn and Plekanec. Seeing Pacioretty and Moen on the 2nd line is just painful, Sergei was supposed to hit the spot, but the direction is retarded. Constantly bitching for his ''efforts'' even if he's widely superior in all numbers.

  80. Bling says:

    Spoiler said: I can't imagine playing on one ankle had anything to do with it either.

    Kris and Bruce alluded to this as well. Does anyone know the severity of the injury?

    Gagner had a lingering ankle injury last year until December and could barely stand up in the corner, never mind win a puck battle.

  81. Bling says:

    Dorito is right in saying that Gagner and Hemmer looked like crap in the preseason. Then again, Gagner was making terrible decisions with the puck in all three zones at that time, and that doesn't seem to be the case any more.

    I think it's certainly worth a shot. 89 has shown a lot of battle this season and is deserving of a promotion to the big line. Penner can spell him on defensive zone faceoffs.

    Horcoff benefits from this as well. Patty O can take care of both sides of the puck, which means he has less baby sitting to do. Comrie isn't responsible, but he can lug the puck through the neutral zone and penetrate the blue line pretty effectively.

    Horc can just concentrate on doing his thing.

  82. Bruce says:

    Horc can just concentrate on doing his thing.

    Horc's thing, like any complete player, is whatever is needed to make his line effective. On Hemsky's line he understands little details like there's no point trying to precede Ales over the line cuz he's not apt to give you the puck at that point, but to trail him, keep your feet moving, and be prepared for the hard reverse for the inevitable (hopefully occasional) turnovers as Hemsky hits the blueline. Once Ales gains the zone head keep trailing the play while identifying and occupying the soft spot and the possible passing lane.

    Ten years Horcoff's junior, Gagner is only partially developed in that skillset at this point. In my view his instincts are reasonably good in the offensive zone but Sam lags well behind Horc in defensive awareness and puck retrieval skills. The latter includes faceoffs obviously, but much more. Previous (even-strength) incarnations of 83-89 have led to frustration cuz they don't seem to have the puck enough.

    Am interested to know what others have spotted with that duo. Obviously some serious chemistry between the Oilers' young hotshot and top offensive gun would be huge, but other than the very effective powerplay unit they made with Penner during the Horcoff-less stretch drive of 2007-08, Sam and Ales haven't really appeared to click in limited opportunities together.

  83. Bruce says:

    Oops, LT has addressed the matter of Gagner with Hemsky in a new thread.

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