The Twelve

Any fool watching the Oilers this season can see that the futures of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are going to be very good to splendid to something else again (barring injury). The test for Oiler management has to do with the support players, the plumber’s and the 6′s and 7′s and 9′s.

Auditioning youngsters can be fun for prospect junkies like me, but it can also be heartbreaking. Don Ashby was going to be a part of the Boys on the Bus but met with a tragic end; Tom Roulston looked like a player to me, but could never do enough to get past the pack; Marc Habscheid did some nice things, Ken Berry too, and Ray Cote had a memorable spring one year.

By the time the Oilers won the Stanley, the forwards were Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Linseman, Pat Hughes, Dave Hunter, Willy Lindstrom, Jaroslav Pouzar, Dave Lumley, Kevin McClelland, Dave Semenko, Pat Conacher and Raimo Summanen. The role players mostly came from Montreal’s draft crop (Hunter, Hughes, Lumley) and Glen Sather found a way to tip his hat to the inspiration for the style of the team (Lindstrom).

The thing is you remember them all. I remember how sad it was to hear of Ashby, the surprise of finding out that Tom Roulston was traded; hell I spent about 5 months back in 79-80 bitching and moaning about the Oilers getting robbed of Bengt Gustafsson (ask Bruce, it was highway robbery).

The great Oilers did not have 12 angry men, or 12 small skilled men or a dozen men who could play it any way you want it (despite some historic accounts). They had a legendary enforcer (Semenko), stunning skill (Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, Kurri), 2-way types (Linseman, Hunter, Lumley, Pouzar, McClelland) and a speed burner to fill out the skill lines (Lindstrom).

That’s 12.

We can identify a few Oilers from the current group who would certainly qualify for long term employment on a very good team. I’d offer Hall, RNH, Eberle as absolute keepers and then Gagner, Lander, Paajarvi (who has a similar scouting report to Gustafsson’s)  as being good to great candidates.

What say you? How appealing is this group?

 

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78 Responses to "The Twelve"

  1. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Great write up as always. Have you noticed a different amount of fight in the bus since Saturday? I know we were seriously outshot on Monday, but finally I am seeing hits and digging and sacrifice I haven’t seen in awhile. Your thoughts?

  2. ashley says:

    BJ Macdonald put in some hard time on a bad team, and just missed the upswing. To add insult to injury, his whole career seemed to sort of fizzle after he was traded.

  3. danny says:

    Hey LT, its not a huge deal, but when you use animated gifs like that, its a pretty large filesize (500K) and it hogs some of your visitors resources, and if you did it during a very busy traffic peak, it could cause some server stress.

    Just a FYI !

  4. hunter1909 says:

    Once spent time in a Pigalle cheapo hotel, that featured a fully functional 24/7 nightclub downstairs. Drank like a French fish to ensure sleep, still woke up a few times to real screams at 2-3 in the morning. The management was so rough you worried about them allowing you to check out.

    I’m probably the only human alive who thought the French World Cup winning soccer team played remarkably similar in style to the Montreal Canadiens. if my theories re nations sharing a similar outlook holds true, then let’s make sure Germany stays a second tier hockey nation.

  5. Jamie says:

    I would say that looking at the forward core is important but who is on your backend is even more important. Not sure if there is a similiar comparable to the 80′s teams given how much the game has changed, but having guys who can get the puck to the kids with decent breakouts is paramount nowadays.

    Unfortunately there is no evidence to suggest that the Oilers management team can effectively fill out those remaining 6 spots, and that is going to hold them back.

  6. hightide says:

    I’m thinking that Paajarvi is not going to make it. I have been watching him closely since he came back and there is an unwillingness to go to the hard areas. He will dump the puck or take a lazy shot rather than get hit. Can he change that or is he just going to be another Patrick O’Sullivan?

  7. pboy says:

    hightide: I’m thinking that Paajarvi is not going to make it. I have been watching him closely since he came back and there is an unwillingness to go to the hard areas. He will dump the puck or take a lazy shot rather than get hit. Can he change that or is he just going to be another Patrick O’Sullivan?

    If Paajarvi doesn’t end up being a Top 6 forward and frankly, I don’t think it’s even close to somebody realistically being able to make that call, he still has a lot of other positives in his game that would make him an effective NHL player. He is an excellent skater, very defensively responsible and a very good backchecker. You don’t think he could become a good 2 way forward?

    He’s still very young and he’s only been in North America for less than 2 seasons. On another team, he wouldn’t being breaking into the league with 3 or 4 other rookies and he would probably get a higher level of attention from the coaching staff. He scored 15 goals as a rookie last season and this year he has fallen off a cliff. I don’t know how someone could really believe that they know who #91 is as a player just yet.

  8. Bos8 says:

    Just once, if Paajarvi would stick his elbow in someone’s ear as they come charging in, just once. Someone take the kid aside and do a tuneup on him. Hey Magnus, discover your Finnish roots.

    While you’re there, drag Hall over and read to him from the book as well. That stick you carry comes with a butt end. It serves a function as well. Getting destroyed along the boards is contra-indicated.

  9. Ducey says:

    MPS, Harsky and Chorney send down.

    As for MPS, I don’t think a lack of elbowing is his problem. He just hasn’t learned how to generate offense in the NHL yet. The tools are there though.

    Last night I thought Horcoff had some good insight. He was talking about Hall, but it could apply to MPS:

    Hallsy’s a human scoring chance on every shift,” said Ryan Whitney, who was back on the Oilers blue-line for his first game in over a month as he worked on getting his right ankle stronger, playing 18-1/2 minutes.

    “When he’s skating, he’s so hard to control. Sometimes there’s a little bit too much one-on-one, but if he learns to give it and then use his speed to get it back … and once he gets stronger and defenders can’t control him …it’s over,” Horcoff said.

    I was very impressed with Gagner’s play away from the puck last night. His compete level is much higher than it has been at other times. I think he is going to be a real asset.

  10. oilersfan says:

    After watching the game last night for the life of me I can’t understand why the Oilers want to trade Hemsky instead of signing him. They will get nothing for him, even if they get a late first round pick it will take 5 years for that player to be good. Re-sign him. He will have a bounce back year, when either the Oilers can enjoy that elevated level of play or trade him at a high for an equal player back that may fill at that time what is needed (top 4 dman, power forward, second line center)

  11. Bos8 says:

    My point is on MPS that he gets wiped out at least once every five games to where he’s hurting badly. He then starts to get healthy and looks better and gets wiped again. In contrast Lander gives it back and is getting more room. I remember at the beginning of the season oppo players were chasing Lander around trying to lay lumber on him. There had to be a reason for that. Players have to establish a rep coming in. At the very least “You’ll have lunch, I’ll have a sandwich”. If Paajarvi would just skate through one D every five games life would be much easier for him.

  12. cabbiesmacker says:

    LT, what I see looking at the older Oiler lineups is players of similar age by and large. Made the point yesterday that we have our serious upside kids in place with one more to come. Now it’s time for management to find our versions of Versteeg, Ladd, and Sharp behind them. I believe we have the assets to make that happen and I’m not including Hemsky as one of them.

    Really like how Hemsky and Hall are meshing. Now theres a need for a C with some touch between them.

    We already know how Nuge and Eberle fit together so maybe a high octane LW to compliment them is a possibility on draft day as well.

  13. Captain Obvious says:

    I figure you need 13 above average players to have a good NHL team. You need three scoring lines so nine forwards and you need four defencemen that don’t have to be hid. And some of these guys have to be very good to great.

    If you accept this then you have to conclude that the Oilers are very far away from being good (Chicago–Detroit level).

    Definite forwards

    Hall
    Eberle
    RNH
    Hemsky
    Horcoff
    Smyth
    Gagner

    That’s only seven, one of them is on the way out and how long Horcoff and Smyth can keep this up is an open question. I figure the Oilers need at least three more good forwards. Where are these guy going to come from? They’ve flushed Omark, Paajarvi is trending in the wrong direction, there isn’t anything on the farm. Figure Grigorenko is one of them and this team is still two good forwards away with no reasonable chance of getting these players soon.

    On defense it is much simpler. They have Gilbert and Smid and nothing else. Where are the two good defencemen they need going to come from? There are lottery picks on the farm but these are years away and aren’t guaranteed.

    The best case scenario is that this team is four good players (i.e. players at least as good as Smyth and Smid) away from being genuinely competitive. If they sign Hemsky or turn him into a defencemen just before he turns the corner that only brings the number down to three. But those are three players that are going to be almost impossible to get.

    This team needs a miracle.

  14. tubes says:

    oilersfan – why do you think the Oilers won’t get anything for him? He’s one of the most sought after, available players on the market. There is always a team that overpays and there’s probably at least 10 teams interested in him. I figure they can get a young d-man who can step in and play the 5/6 role and be good in the next few years and a 1st or 2nd round draft pick.

    Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville, San Jose and LA would love someone that talented on their 2nd line and 2nd PP.

  15. Ducey says:

    This team needs a miracle.

    Or some time. 18 months ago Smid and Gilbert were constantly being ripped in these parts. Now they are top 4 guys. How did that happen?

    Petry has shown he can be at least top 4. His decision making is a problem sometimes but thats par for the course with a young Dman. I don’t see any reason why Peckham can’t be a 5/6 PK guy.

    Omark has not been flushed and its a tad early to write off Lander, MPS, Pitlick, Harsk etc.

    And 13 above average skaters make a great team, not a good one. You can get by on 4 good D, 2 forward lines and a good Goalie.

  16. DeadmanWaking says:

    You guys recall these old players.

    I remember the very desk I was sitting at in January 1993 when I learned that Unisys was forcing CompuServe to license the LZW compression they had used unaware of the patent in their GIF file format, long after GIF was everywhere. There was plenty of outrage burning the wires, and GIF has been a trailer park of the internet ever since.

    Mozilla is recently working to replace animated GIF with APNG, which is not yet well received. APNG is adapted from MNG. Out of curiosity, I just ran that image through two different MNG converters: GIMP and ImageMagick. No size improvement. An image with that much static background (and limited chroma) ought to compress far better than 500K. It’s staggering how much the MPEG4 codecs have improved video compression since the mid nineties, but I’m not seeing any love with these MNG tools: Magick only provides lossless, and my GIMP hard codes JPEG quality at 75.

    Either way, we’re stuck with animated GIF for a while yet.

    I have PJ’s body type, and I was a blade of grass at age twenty. If he develops like I did, in another year or two he’ll be able to tip people over by leaning hard, even if he never arrives at smashmouth. I walked into the gym the other day after about a ten year hiatus. I’m not too proud to air hump the short stack while my joints relearn the drill. When I arrived at the back extension machine, I slammed the pin in at the bottom and did ten easy reps. Had brutal lower back spasms for a couple of years as I finished growing. Back extensions have been butter ever since. It wasn’t until I turned 23 that my body was suited to the rough stuff.

    MPS is a smart kid. He’ll find a way. An extra 20 pounds on his frame will significantly change the ratio between giving and getting. I have a step-nephew who made 6’2″ 220 pounds by age seventeen, with legs like Crosby, but no work ethic. You could tell he was done growing: he’s a human chia pet. He could have sprouted a Lanny McDonald for prom night, except for that small issue pertaining to work ethic. Strong like an ox, though.

    I should tell a story. Man child is pitching off the short mound in little league, 46 feet. Volunteer ump shows up in a white shag wife beater, no protection. Pipsqueak behind the plate catches one glimpse of man child flapping his cheeks for heat, and ducks his noggin. Game over. Pupal wife beater for ten minutes.

  17. Bos8 says:

    You can’t have three scoring lines. First you can’t find them and second you can’t afford them. What you can do is sign and draft the 1.5 to 2 mil floor, special. You get six of those with a few more in the minors and now you’re cooking. The Glencross/Brodziak and the Hamilton/Pitlick types, the honest professionals. Forget the stupid energy lines. Now you have a base to work with. If need be you can throw one up with the top lines in case of injury. If they surprise in their development, hey it’s all good.

    What the Oilers have, are are a lot of splash and dash, wholesale changes every year and lots of panic. Who are they going to learn from? Add to that Renney’s, penchant for everybody changes shorts, lineup. The devil is in the details. ,

  18. Captain Obvious says:

    Ducey,

    I grant that what the Oilers need is for Petry and Lander and Paajarvi become good players. That’s there only chance. However they all need to become good because you cannot get by with two good lines. Or rather “getting by” isn’t good enough.

    Teams without three good lines can make the playoffs but it isn’t necessary to be good to make the playoffs. The goal isn’t to be Nashville the goal is, or should be, to be Detroit or Chicago.

    The single biggest problem this team has is that they don’t understand that three scoring lines is a prerequisite for a good team.

  19. hightide says:

    pboy,

    I agree with you. I don’t know what he will become. I would just love to see hio=m get some toughness in his game

  20. bendelson says:

    Captain Obvious,

    Good players = offensive players or effective players. With the high end talent already in place I would think effective players is what they will need to take a big step forward.

    A couple of guys keep developing (MPS, Lander, Pitlick) and Petry steps up and the rest can be free agents should the org. Decide the team is ready for the next step.

    Nobody is saying its easy, or the Oilers are close, but a miracle is not required to improve this team. Patience as Ducey suggests will get us most of the way. A competent GM can handle the rest.

  21. oilersfan says:

    Tubes

    If the Oilers can get a defenceman that was drafted two or three years ago that is ready to play next year then become a top 4 , and a number one pick for Hemsky is available, I won’t be as upset. That being said, listen to what the outside people are saying. Many don’t think Hemsky will even get a first round pick at all. Ahole from Calgary Roger Million said we edmontonians overvalue Hemsky and he thinks the Oilers will only get a third rounder for him.

    Even if the Oilers could get a frst rounder, late in the first round, that is a low probability success pick of ever being better than Hemsky will be.

    So if he will sign here to extend, i would much rather sign him. As i think most here would.

  22. bendelson says:

    oilersfan,

    Anytime you are using Roger Millions ‘opinion’ to strengthen your argument you may want to search for a better source.

    Regardless of the debate as to Hemskys value as a impending UFA, the more pertinent question is whether he will sign here. His agent should be telling him to test the market this summer as an overpay is likely. Would he extend here? Maybe and if he will at modest dollars I’m sure it will be considered against any trade offers being made.

    We wait for Tambo.

  23. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT

    Our top 3 are going to be absolutely top drawer! Albeit two of the three are never going to be average sized. Their compete levels are off the charts. Anticipate that Gagner and Paajvarvi will also make that top grouping. Lander, I do not get. He seems a step slow but the coach have absolute faith in his ability because he gets every benefit of every doubt. Maybe he will develop like Horcoff,…. into an entirely reliable player that is as valuable in the playoffs as he is in the regular season.

    Horcoff will be traded when his salary drops below his cap hit, the last 2 years of his contract. The Oilers cannot afford his cap hit once the stars have to get paid.

    Oilers would be wise to develop/draft/sign some big bodies that can play for the remainder of the top grouping because in the playoffs teams will see if Eberle, RNH can play through tight checking, phyical play, big hits. Easiest way to counter that is to punish opponents smaller players. Or do what Slats did — playing fancy team dress Willy Lidstrom, playing tough team dress Jaroslav Pouzar

    Our defence and goaltending is, currently, far from elite levels although Gilbert and Smid are both there as a second pairing

  24. spoiler says:

    Dreadfully Slow Fox,

    I would be leery of any site that pulled a comment by Olivier with regards to a stats post.

    When you see statements like:

    Researching the past 4 seasons, I found that 27 teams have had one player with at least 40 goals. Of those 27 teams, nineteen have made the playoffs. Expressed differently, this shows that teams with a 40-goal scorer have a 70% chance of making the playoffs.

    That demonstrate such a lack of understanding of the simple math involved, one has to take the conclusions with a grain of salt. I haven’t read that far yet to see where he goes as a client just showed up, but there are alarm bells here, right from the get-go.

  25. Mr DeBakey says:

    I would be leery of any site that pulled a comment by Olivier with regards to a stats post.

    My first thought too
    Olivier always makes useful comments – you can disagree, but the conversation moves ahead intelligently..

    Simple math is hard sumtimes

  26. spoiler says:

    Yeah, Mr. D, I mean I think everyone knows what the author is attempting to say, but he is expressing wrongly…

    The data indicates that 70% of teams with a 40 goal-scorer make the playoffs, not that there’s a 70% chance of making the playoffs if you have a 40 goal-scorer. Apples and oranges.

    For eg. in cancer 5 year survival rates the doctors never tell you that you have a 25% chance of living (although that’s how the every day person will probably interpret it) but rather 25% of people in the same situation as you survived 5 years.

  27. knighttown says:

    A few Dennis-type one liners:

    -anyone else concerned about Harsky’s potential to be anymore than a 4th liner? I think we’d all agree his speed will hurt him as a puck transporter but where I’ve been unpleasantly surprised is how regularly he’s losing his board battles. He doesn’t seem to have the awareness that he’s only average sized when going agains the tall trees back there so leaves himself too exposed.
    -Isn’t it clear now that unbalanced lines are a great idea at home but a disaster waiting to happen against good teams on the road? As soon as I saw 56-89-14 grouped together I knew Vigneault would find a way to get the Sedins out against them and the result SHOULD have been game over except for a few bounces. I like those lines but only at home. I noticed Jones took 56′s spot down the stretch and I think that was the right play.
    -83 looked real good and dammit, so did 10. He’s been shit but you have to acknowledge the good games when they come. I haven’t checked the scoring chances but I can’t imagine that line didn’t come out on top even though they faced Kesler or the Sedins all night.
    -Dubnyk…finally.
    -Thought Gagner made the right move in the shootout. Nice little cat-and-mouse. Would not be the least bit surprised if Bobby Lou faked that just a hair to entice Sammy to go for the weakspot cause he was all over a generally terrific move. If so, that’s impressive.

  28. spoiler says:

    KT, I think Gagner whould have came a little wider left, made like he was gonna go far side like Eberle and then tucked 5 hole when Luongo made the huge stretch. But, y’know, hindsight is 20/20.

  29. cdean says:

    What do you need for the twelve? This is what has been asked of us to comment on. What do we need, what do we have and how close are we to it?

    I have seen (read) a lot of people that talk about player roles and fitting a player to a role or fitting a role to a player. What are these roles? Typically I have seen and read about the two scoring lines, an energy line and checking line. And it has been mentioned in the past and a lot at the beginning of the year that the Oilers could possible have 3 scoring lines. Boss above said it best “You can’t have three scoring lines. First you can’t find them and second you can’t afford them.” this is a great statement and I do believe this to be the case in normal circumstances.

    If we continue on the 2 scoring, an energy and a checking line we have to answer the previous questions. The 2 scoring lines consist of you best offensive players and you want to give them the best opportunities to score (zone starts, match ups and TOI). The energy line shows more speed than skill and can lay on the body a little more. The energy line or the secondary scoring line usually matches up against the other teams top offensive line. Lastly the checking line is out to show who is the most feared in the corners and showcases their ability to physically dominate other players. In all these cases they should be able to skate and score but their skills might be better in other areas.

    Now let us look at what the Oilers currently have and what they are missing. I am going to do this by comparing they players LT showed us from the Oilers first Stanley Cup team.

    Gretzky – the closest comparison is RNH we have only seen a small sample of what he has but it looks good. he is no Gretzky but no here is a clone.
    Messier – Hall, again no clone but he is all kinds of passion and compete
    Anderson – Eberle able to create offense and also defesively aware
    Kurri – Hemsky, a compliment to any scoring line and threat on the ice
    Linesman – Smyth, true warrior of the game
    Hunter – Eager, goes to the tough areas
    Lumley – Jones, plays both sides of the puck, wish he was meaner
    Lindstrom – Paajarvi, has the speed but seems to lack the confidence to go to the dangerous areas hopefully time and experience will see him improve
    Summanen – Omark – highly gifted but a relative unknown for potential
    Semenko – Hordichuck – doesn’t have the reputation but his other abilities are better

    I have no comparisons for Hughes, Pouzar or McClelland because I believe that the remaining people that I haven’t commented on are different types of players.
    Gagner, he is becoming a complete player, he is changing his game to fit different roles. Would love to see him as the Kessler type
    Horcoff, he the our veteran leader and he is good in secondary scoring or shutting down the other teams top line
    Belanger, he hasn’t had a good year on the offensive side and in my opinion he shouldn’t be pushed for offense anymore, stick him on the fourth line and defensive role and see what happens
    Lander, he has been noted for his defensive play and nobody should be asking him for offense. He could be on the track for a Peca type player

    This is only for those people in the forward corp. I can not see any reason for drastic changes for any of the people mentioned. The ones that haven’t performed have been given the right opportunity to perform or they are still developing. If management wants to replace any of these people they better be damn sure what is coming is better than what is going out and not just go for projected results or hopes. Management has to look at the defense and what we are sorely lacking. An offensive defenseman .

    Sorry this was so long to read. But it was longer at the start and i edited it down to just the forward lines and not the whole organization. I will save my true rant about defensemen and coaching for another topic.

  30. Captain Obvious says:

    Two scoring lines, a checking line, and an energy line is a recipe for failure. This is beyond serious dispute. Every single good team in the NHL ices three scoring lines. The question isn’t whether we need three scoring lines. We do. The question is how are we going to get three scoring lines.

  31. oilersfan says:

    Bendelson

    GOod point on Millions. I think he hates the Oilers because Sather fired him in the mid 90′s when they sucked and so did he, along with Al Nagy followed by dennis Beyak. Millions is such a flames lover he is far from objective.

    That being said, guys like mark spector who talk to alot of people are saying the Oilers will be in tough to get a first round pick for him. I think they can get that but not that plus a prospect like they did for penner. Elliotte Friedman probably put it best when he said the GM’s that will be sellers like the Sabres, Oilers and Canes are trying to create an auction/bidding war. Smart move by all of them and it only takes one GM who will pay what Tambellini wants, but clearly I am hoping he re-signs here.

    FWIF on stauffer’s show today he said that there is nothing close on a contract being done or a trade being made. He said it is mostly in Hemsk’y court and in his opinion is 65% that he will be traded and 35% he will re-sign before the deadline. He also said there is no doubt in his mind the Oilers would pick Yakopv or Grigorenko before Murray if they are available when the Oilers pick for all the obvious reasons of dmen taking a long, time, riskier, etc. One last interesting point he said Barker has spent this time getting his personal life in order, losing weight, and he will come back in very good shape and surprise people at his improvements. I will believe it when I see it but wouldn’t that be nice.

  32. oilersfan says:

    Oh, and Stauffer also said he didn’t think the Oilers would trade Smyth, Barker, Sutton or Khabibulin at the deadline unless an outstanding deal was offered. He thought maybe they would trade Belanger for the right price, and as mentioned the Hemsky situation is fluid.

  33. Traktor says:

    Hall – RNH – Eberle

    Trade the rest of the team for good #2 center with size, physical play, and skill and also a two-way defensemen if you have anything left over.

    Renney said it best: trying to win hockey games without good centers is like trying to play scrabble without vowels.

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Fodder – Staal type – Fodder
    Fodder – Grigs – Fodder
    Fodder – Fodder – Fodder

    Suter type – Gilbert
    Smid – Petry
    Whitney – Fodder

    Fodder
    Fodder

  34. bendelson says:

    Whether the Oilers can get a 1st rd pick for Hemsky is irrevelant should he have already decided to test the market this summer rather than look for an extension.

    If its true there has been no activity on either the trade or signing fronts then let it be known: Tambo is a jackass. They know this must be resolved in the next four weeks right? I guess that means three more weeks to evaluate.

  35. TheOtherJohn says:

    Stauffer has clearly talked himself into the “D take longer to develop than forwards” school. If that were in fact the case wouldn’t the logical consequence of that argument be that the first couple of years of the 5 year rebuild would be heavily skewed to selecting D men? Assume that would be para 3-4 of the Plan. Did anyone remember to share that theory with Stu McGregor?

    Additionally the Oilers have evidence of just such an experience with Smid, and, to a much lesser extent, Gilbert. They have taken a clear step forward this year 3-4 years into their careers.

    Better edit that part of the Plan

    I have no difficulty taking either of the 2 Russians but at some point we have to address the age/experience disparity between our young FWDS and D

  36. pboy says:

    knighttown: A few Dennis-type one liners:-anyone else concerned about Harsky’s potential to be anymore than a 4th liner? I think we’d all agree his speed will hurt him as a puck transporter but where I’ve been unpleasantly surprised is how regularly he’s losing his board battles. He doesn’t seem to have the awareness that he’s only average sized when going agains the tall trees back there so leaves himself too exposed.-Isn’t it clear now that unbalanced lines are a great idea at home but a disaster waiting to happen against good teams on the road? As soon as I saw 56-89-14 grouped together I knew Vigneault would find a way to get the Sedins out against them and the result SHOULD have been game over except for a few bounces. I like those lines but only at home. I noticed Jones took 56′s spot down the stretch and I think that was the right play.-83 looked real good and dammit, so did 10. He’s been shit but you have to acknowledge the good games when they come. I haven’t checked the scoring chances but I can’t imagine that line didn’t come out on top even though they faced Kesler or the Sedins all night.-Dubnyk…finally.-Thought Gagner made the right move in the shootout. Nice little cat-and-mouse. Would not be the least bit surprised if Bobby Lou faked that just a hair to entice Sammy to go for the weakspot cause he was all over a generally terrific move. If so, that’s impressive.

    I felt that Hall was driving the bus on that line, last night. Hall’s going to be incredible to watch in a few seasons.

  37. oilersfan says:

    Stauffer said there is no contract extension for Hemsky or trade imminent. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been conversations. I assume he is using time to bid up the offers while grinding Hemsky as much as possible then will decide a couple of days before the trade deadline what the balance of the ebst trade offers are vis a vis the Hemsky camp’s final offer. Until then how serious can you get?

    I assume he has some floater requests out there, eg Smith plus a first from Detroit, Morrow plis a first from Pittsburgh, Schenn from Philly (Briere is injured, Giroux is injury prone, Jagr and Hemsky are buddies, Philly makes bold moves, who knows??)

    Then he has a three year deal for 12 million or something out there for Hemsky and is waiting for counteroffers for a month and decids at the deadline which counteroffer is the best.

    Isn’t that the logical thing to do?

  38. Traktor says:

    “I have no difficulty taking either of the 2 Russians but at some point we have to address the age/experience disparity between our young FWDS and D”

    Edmonton has used the 15th overall, 19th overall, 31st overall and 46th overall on defensemen in the last 5 years.

    They have also drafted an additional 4 defensemen with top 100 picks in that time. If Stu is anything special then we should expect some returns pretty soon.

  39. bendelson says:

    Ignoring the significant injury factor I would suggest it is indeed logical. Forgive me for misinterpreting Bobs comments…

    This Hemsky ordeal makes me nervous. It’s an important move for Tambo to get right.

  40. Ducey says:

    Stauffer has clearly talked himself into the “D take longer to develop than forwards” school. If that were in fact the case wouldn’t the logical consequence of that argument be that the first couple of years of the 5 year rebuild would be heavily skewed to selecting D men? Assume that would be para 3-4 of the Plan. Did anyone remember to share that theory with Stu McGregor?

    Best player available.

    Two scoring lines, a checking line, and an energy line is a recipe for failure. This is beyond serious dispute. Every single good team in the NHL ices three scoring lines. The question isn’t whether we need three scoring lines. We do. The question is how are we going to get three scoring lines.

    May seem “obvious” to you but I think its bunk. As set out at the top, some damn good Oiler teams didn’t have three “scoring” lines. How many scoring lines has NJ had all these years?

  41. Jordan says:

    re: Harski

    There’s been a lot said about how questionable he’s looked.

    FYI:

    Both of the times they have recaleld Teemu this year, it’s been on the back of him played 3 games in 3 nights. Last night’s game was his 5th game in 7 days. Guy has been bagged for all of the games that he’s played in the NHL this season.

    I’m shocked that they tried to play him anywhere but the 4th line – playing him more than 10 minutes a night in that situation is a recipe for failure.

    To be totally honest, I’m impressed at how well he managed, considering the circumstances. JMO.

  42. jb says:

    oilersfan:
    After watching the game last night for the life of me I can’t understand why the Oilers want to trade Hemsky instead of signing him.

    They don’t want to trade Hemsky.. Who ever said they did besides insecure fans or random people speculating due to impending UFA status?

    Any other clubs fans would see it like Hemskys been here for years, we finally have some talent surrounding him. Since he’s been injured so much throughout his last contract, we should be able to re-sign him for little if any raise at all… Why would he wanna ditch now when he’s been here so long and there’s actually hope in sight? He does wear a letter…

    Yet all you get is whiny insecure people talking about him like he’s already walked out on us.

  43. hockeyguy10 says:

    Bos8,

    Bos8: You can’t have three scoring lines. First you can’t find them and second you can’t afford them. What you can do is sign and draft the 1.5 to 2 mil floor, special. You get six of those with a few more in the minors and now you’re cooking. The Glencross/Brodziak and the Hamilton/Pitlick types, the honest professionals. Forget the stupid energy lines. Now you have a base to work with. If need be you can throw one up with the top lines in case of injury. If they surprise in their development, hey it’s all good.What the Oilers have, are are a lot of splash and dash, wholesale changes every year and lots of panic. Who are they going to learn from? Add to that Renney’s, penchant for everybody changes shorts, lineup. The devil is in the details. ,

    How is third line scoring expensive? If your third line got a total of 35-40 goals between them that would be huge.Guys that score 10-15 goals a year are not expensive.Their combined salary would be 6-7 mil tops.
    How many one goal games have the Oilers lost this year. If they had third line scoring that was getting a goal every 2 or 3 games instead of every two or three months they would probably have another 10 pts or so.

  44. russ99 says:

    I like the Kid line, Lander, Paajarvi and maybe Omark as long-term Oilers.

    I’d also love to see them keep Sam for a number of years too, but his first RFA year is this summer and his salary will escalate.

    The big question isn’t so much which kids they hang onto, it’s which current veterans are worthy of their increasing salaries for the next few years into the rebuild. Gilbert is the only player that looks like his long term contract fits his role at this point.

    Did you guys see that the fans in Columbus are planning a protest this weekend to get the team president and GM axed?
    http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/322412-jackets-fans-plan-rally-to-demand-gm-ouster?eref=sihp&sct=hp_bf2_a10

    Hmmm…

  45. TheOtherJohn says:

    Tractor

    You are, of course, referring to Plante, Klefbon, Musil and Marincin. One of the 4 of them will play here next year, Plante will not play 75 games in the show and Musil and Marincin will likely play 2 years in the AHL.

    We have a structural problem with our roster insofar as D is concerned as the oldest of those picks is likeliest the furthest from meaningful minutes in the NHL Not sure how that helps the Oil compete before Hall, Eberle, RNH 2nd contract

  46. Captain Obvious says:

    Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, Philadelphia are the best teams in the NHL and they all have three scoring lines. The only good teams without three scoring lines are the Rangers and San Jose and these teams aren’t as good as the others precisely because they don’t have three scoring lines.

    Every team has good players. The difference between good teams and mediocre teams isn’t at the top of their roster it’s in the third and fourth lines.

  47. DSF says:

    hockeyguy10:
    Bos8,

    How is third line scoring expensive? If your third line got a total of 35-40 goals between them that would be huge.Guys that score 10-15 goals a year are not expensive.Their combined salary would be 6-7 mil tops.How manyone goal games have the Oilers lost this year. If they had third line scoring that was getting a goal every 2 or 3 games instead of every two or three months they would probably have another 10 pts or so.

    Exactly.

    Hansen – on pace for 22 goals ($1.35M)
    Hodgson – on pace for 22 goals ($1.67M)
    Higgins – on pace for 19 goals ($1.9M)

    63 goals total for $4.92M

  48. Masamax says:

    I think you guys are arguing semantics. An ‘energy line’ is still one you expect to score; I’d wager 35-40 goals between them is not out of the realm of reasonabl;eness to achieve in a range of $6M to play with, but calling that a ‘scoring’ line is probably a bit of optimism. Your real scoring lines should be potting 60-70 goals each at least, and expecting that for $6M is outside of the realm of feasibility in terms of a cap world.

    That said, in response to your ever snide points DSF, although Higgins might be considered a value contract, it should be remembered he probably wasn’t expected to pot that many goals this year considering the last year he scored more than twenty was 07/08, and since then has been on a downward trend. Him continuing that level of production is not at all a certainty. Hansen is a player who is almost 26 and this is his breakout season, and an outlier at that. And Hodgson is a #10 pick still on his ELC. All of that said, it should be acknowledged that a good team finds those value contracts, but if any of those guys continues to put up 20+ goals a season in their contract years, you can bet your ass they won’t be around for a combined salary of under $5 Million. I find it highly unlikely that Hansen and Higgins will continue such level of production over the course of their contracts however.

    This is the real problem; to have a third ‘scoring’ line that puts up 60-70 goals you are relying out players having career years outside of established production levels and ELCs, and although the later is a sign of effective asset management in many ways, the former seems to be more luck of the draw, and certainly not sustainable. It relies on assuming that 29 other GMs are wrong about those players, when more often than not they are right (See: Barker, Cam).

  49. Traktor says:

    DSF: Exactly.

    Hansen –on pace for 22 goals ($1.35M)
    Hodgson –on pace for 22 goals ($1.67M)
    Higgins – on pace for 19 goals ($1.9M)

    63 goals total for $4.92M

    Vancouver has a lot of value contracts. Compare Vancouver’s 3rd line to Edmonton’s 2nd line

    Smyth – on pace for 26 goals (6.25)
    Horcoff – on pace for 15 goals (5.5)
    Hemsky – on pace for 7 goals (4.2)

    48 goals for $15.95M

    vs

    63 goals total for $4.92M

    Its Plante’s fault we suck though.

  50. Traktor says:

    Gagner – on pace for 8 goals
    MPS – on pace for 0 goals
    Belanger – on pace for 1 goal

    LOL

    Has there ever been a worse 3rd line in the history of hockey? On pace for 9 goals.

    I blame Chorney.

  51. Masamax says:

    Traktor, no one is saying that Edmonton’s third line is good right now (although, quite frankly, due to injuries and line shuffling, it’s a bit of a stretch to even be able to identify one), but claiming Gagner is on pace for only 8 goals is a bit misleading considering his slow start to the year.

    Even ignoring this, how does a team maintain a third scoring line over the course of 3-4 years? As I pointed out, expecting Vancouver to have a 60 goal third line in 2 years when Hodgson’s contract expires, or hell, even next year given the career years the other two players are having, is extremely optimistic.

    Having a third line that can score 60+ goals consistently relies upon having a constant supply of high calibre offensive prospects on their ELC and/or being able to consistently sign value contracts for players you can somehow identify in spite of 29 other GMs. I just don’t see this as feasible over the long term.

    On the other hand, expecting a third line to pot 35-40 goals is a much more realistic goal, and calling that a scoring line is a stretch.

  52. DSF says:

    Masamax:
    Traktor, no one is saying that Edmonton’s third line is good right now (although, quite frankly, due to injuries and line shuffling, it’s a bit of a stretch to even be able to identify one), but claiming Gagner is on pace for only 8 goals is a bit misleading considering his slow start to the year.

    Even ignoring this, how does a team maintain a third scoring line over the course of 3-4 years? As I pointed out, expecting Vancouver to have a 60 goal third line in 2 years when Hodgson’s contract expires, or hell, even next year given the career years the other two players are having, is extremely optimistic.

    Having a third line that can score 60+ goals consistently relies upon having a constant supply of high calibre offensive prospects on their ELC and/or being able to consistently sign value contracts for players you can somehow identify in spite of 29 other GMs. I just don’t see this as feasible over the long term.

    On the other hand, expecting a third line to pot 35-40 goals is a much more realistic goal, and calling that a scoring line is a stretch.

    Having a third line that can score 60 goals consistently requires nothing more than a good GM.

    When Hodgson’s ELC expires, he will be ready for second line minutes…Hansen was just signed for three years and Higgins is signed for another year.

    Higgins, BTW is not on pace for a “career year”. He’s scored more than 20 goals three times in his career.

    What has occurred here is a good GM went out and found three players who were likely to outplay their contracts.

    That’s his JOB.

  53. hockeyguy10 says:

    DSF is right about Hodgson. He is being properly groomed to
    move up. With the way Kesler looks to be hurt again(he pretty much
    Avoided contact last night)it might be sooner then they want.

  54. Ben says:

    Anyone else see Dreger mention Sam Gagner as a name that keeps coming up in trade talks? Between periods of Habs-WIngs…

    Where does Sam Gagner fit in on a playoff-bound team right now?

  55. Traktor says:

    Most people here would agree that this team is dreadful but when it comes to individual players most here are arguing how great they are and only a dumb GM would trade them.

    In the eyes of most of here,

    Hall – RNH – Eberle ——– Quality
    Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky —- Quality
    MPS – Gagner – Omark —- Quality
    xxxxx – Belanger – Jones —Quality

    Aside for Jones, LT has argued that we should keep all these players. Where does the improvement come from? Is a Jim Dowd type 4LW the answer to all our problems

    Is Ian White and Joe Corvo going to turn a 3rd line with 9 goals into a 3rd line with 64 goals?

  56. Thinker says:

    Keep in mind im looking at 2014-2016 as my range because we are that long from legitimate cup contention
    Hall rnh eberle- future of the franchise number 1 line. All three are alreadyfluttering around ppg statis.
    Hemsky-good player a real oiler. Can play two ways, or be elite winger based on role. Im afraid we might lose him, but maybe we can pick him back up in the summer if he sucks like dustin penner.
    Gagner-could slot number 2 or 3 center depending on draft. Capable scorer(40 pts is far from bad)could play first line in case of injury
    Mps- theres a player in there. I know he has vision,smarts and size to go with skill but confidence is shattered. He will find it but im not sure when.
    Jones-better than i gave him credit
    Horcoff-good second line center. He always has been people critize him for what hes not but as a number 3 he is useful.
    Belanger-its either him or horc personally i think he rebounds next year
    Lander-getting better hes not supposed to score, he never was.
    Hartikainen-strong, big, good hands. Can move up a line.
    Pitlick/hamilton- project as defensive types which is useful
    Smythe-still good but idk if he’ll still be around
    Like to see the team go after an underachiever ala penner to bolster their lineup
    An enforcer who is capable defensively would also be nice but unlikely
    Hall rnh eberle
    Mps gags hemsky
    Jones horcoff/belanger Pitlick
    Hartikainin lander hamilton

  57. Lowetide says:

    Traktor:
    Most people here would agree that this team is dreadful but when it comes to individual players most here are arguing how great they are and only a dumb GM would trade them.

    In the eyes of most of here,

    Hall – RNH – Eberle——– Quality
    Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky —- Quality
    MPS – Gagner – Omark —- Quality
    xxxxx – Belanger – Jones —Quality

    Aside for Jones, LT has argued that we should keep all these players. Where does the improvement come from? Is a Jim Dowd type 4LW the answer to all our problems

    Is Ian White and Joe Corvo going to turn a 3rd line with 9 goals into a 3rd line with 64 goals?

    I’d keep Jones. :-)

  58. Dalton says:

    pboy,

    Ah-hah! Well I have had the pleasure of seeing Paajarvi in the minors a couple of times, and I can tell you, he’s not much different in OKC (despite the points).

    MPS = Mad Perimeter Shots

    (Mostly Perimeter Swede)

  59. DSF says:

    hockeyguy10:
    DSF is right about Hodgson. He is being properly groomed to
    move up. With the way Kesler looks to be hurt again(he pretty much
    Avoided contact last night)it might be sooner then they want.

    Considering Kesler had off season hip surgery, missed training camp and the first 5 games of the season, I think it might be a bit premature to make that call.

    He has the same number of points as Taylor Hall and is +12.

    He’s obviously not playing at last season’s level but I think it’ll be quite some time before Hodgson takes his job although, at some point, the Canucks might move Hodgson up and put Kesler on his wing (or vice versa).

    The challenge for Gillis, then, is to find a third line centre who can score 20+

    Just listened to a MacT interview where he was raving about the progress being made by Jordan Schroeder this season.

    Might be the answer right there.

  60. Lowetide says:

    Gillis is an excellent GM, I’ll give you that. The Canucks used to draft checking centers in the first round every year but the organization is excellent top to bottom nowadays.

    I mean, you don’t need me to tell you in order to know it’s true. Just count all the Stanley’s.

  61. DSF says:

    Gillis has as many Stanley’s as Lowe (the GM) and Tambellini (the GM) combined. :)

  62. DSF says:

    In other news…Kyle Brodziak is on pace for 22 goals, 48 points and is 51 percent on the dot.

    Cap hit $1.15M

  63. Dalton says:

    Thinker: Hemsky-good player a real oiler. Can play two ways, or be elite winger based on role. Im afraid we might lose him, but maybe we can pick him back up in the summer if he sucks like dustin penner.
    Gagner-could slot number 2 or 3 center depending on draft. Capable scorer(40 pts is far from bad)could play first line in case of injury
    Mps- theres a player in there. I know he has vision,smarts and size to go with skill but confidence is shattered. He will find it but im not sure when.

    Hemsky: ain’t you ever heard that song that’s like, “go on brush ya shoulders off”?
    Gagner: 3c, not a problem
    MPS: I’m tired of hearing about confidence. That shit is so played out. P-L-A-Y-E-D O-U-T. I don’t want any no-confidence-having P* on my team. No place for no-confidence forwards in the playoffs, let alone goalies. Look, MPS’s problems go deep, but I will say one thing about him. He’s still a kid. You see him in real life and he looks younger than young. So he’s worth holding on to but for the record, right NOW he sucks BAD. He is a milk-drinker…

  64. PDO says:

    Traktor:
    Most people here would agree that this team is dreadful but when it comes to individual players most here are arguing how great they are and only a dumb GM would trade them.

    In the eyes of most of here,

    Hall – RNH – Eberle——– Quality
    Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky —- Quality
    MPS – Gagner – Omark —- Quality
    xxxxx – Belanger – Jones —Quality

    Aside for Jones, LT has argued that we should keep all these players. Where does the improvement come from? Is a Jim Dowd type 4LW the answer to all our problems

    Is Ian White and Joe Corvo going to turn a 3rd line with 9 goals into a 3rd line with 64 goals?

    I don’t think the forwards need a chainsaw, especially if they’re adding one of the two young Russians in the draft.

    However, I think they need significant upgrades at D and G.

    More than one ways to skin a cat, but I’d say they need one guy who comes in and is the best D on the roster and then they need another D who comes in and is playing 20 minutes a night.

    And then they need a goalie. Boozy had his 12 game run… he’s done. If the owner has any intentions of winning Boozy is bought out so he’s not eating up a roster spot next year.

    Ideally the Oiler’s do a package of beans for a real D. Pitlick, Peckham and the 31/32 OV? That would fetch something from the right team I’d imagine; there’s a lot of guys like Lowe out there who would freak out over 3 “assets.”

  65. PDO says:

    And my god the Lubo/Whitney trade can’t be stated as unbelievably awful often enough.

    And it’s not even with hindsight, because Whitney had this damn injury long before he landed in Edmonton.

  66. Dalton says:

    PDO,

    Antti Niitymaakkiii is on waivers tonight. I think we’d get him, right? Because we’re 29th place?

  67. DSF says:

    PDO,

    The Khabibulin contract and the Lubo/Whitney trade are both firing offences IMO.

    Time to give the guy a contract extension :)

    Jeebus.

  68. PDO says:

    DSF:
    PDO,

    The Khabibulin contract and the Lubo/Whitney trade are both firing offences IMO.

    Time to give the guy a contract extension

    Jeebus.

    I’ve never agreed with you more.

    Just awful, awful, management.

  69. Dalton says:

    I hold out hope that Tambo was re-signed because he really, really, really does know something that all of us don’t, and he’s got a bad ass plan in place that will GUARANTEEEEEE a whats-it. There’s still the possibility that this is true.

  70. Dalton says:

    It occurs to me that, if we picked up Antti Niitimaaki tonight, it would be kind of like trading Gilbert Brule for Antti. Which I’m okay with, I think. I’ll always check out how Brule’s doing, though; really disliked losing him, especially after seeing him in some minor games.

  71. hockeyguy10 says:

    DSF,

    I know all about Keslers injury history.The hip injury was a fairly major deal.With the style Kesler plays + his injuries to date I just don’t see him having a long career.I hate the prick when he has a Canuck uni on,but would love his type wearing the Oil drop.

  72. Showerhead says:

    PDO: I don’t think the forwards need a chainsaw, especially if they’re adding one of the two young Russians in the draft.

    However, I think they need significant upgrades at D and G.

    More than one ways to skin a cat, but I’d say they need one guy who comes in and is the best D on the roster and then they need another D who comes in and is playing 20 minutes a night.

    And then they need a goalie.Boozy had his 12 game run… he’s done.If the owner has any intentions of winning Boozy is bought out so he’s not eating up a roster spot next year.

    Ideally the Oiler’s do a package of beans for a real D.Pitlick, Peckham and the 31/32 OV?That would fetch something from the right team I’d imagine; there’s a lot of guys like Lowe out there who would freak out over 3 “assets.”

    This is my first post over at the new place (which I quite like, BTW, and lurk at often.)

    I just wanted to say that PDO, I couldn’t agree with you more with respect to the comparative strength of the forwards and weaknesses at D and G. Maybe it’s so obvious that no one else mentions it but I am consistently baffled when I see suggestions of a forward overhaul. The forwards are fine! Not world beaters at this stage of development/injury but they are just fine.

    It’s the D who can’t make a breakout pass for the life of them that make Edmonton a truly awful team. I’m not sure how that #1 and 20-minute D get added but they are necessary. Sign a league average goalie and the whole team suddenly looks playoff worthy.

  73. PDO says:

    The long and the short of it for the Oiler’s is we have a lot of 18-22 year old projects.

    We’re at the stage of the rebuild where we should be turning 3 assets into 1 really good one.

    When’s the last time the Oiler’s did that?

    Visnovsky? (The first trade, not when we sent him away for a guy with no ankles)

  74. Showerhead says:

    Yeah, that would be exactly the last time the Oilers did that. “We wait.”

  75. OilClog says:

    It’s another tough season, but this season does feel different. You can see that a corner is being turned, albiet very slowly, but still its turning! I say we have a better record after the all star break, big boost when Nuge, Whitney, and yes even Barker come back. It will take some of the pressure off the back of the necks and they’ll be .500 from here on out. Got to be positive.

    Hemsky hopefully resigns, Khabby for anything.. closer to the deadline, I’d ship Hordichuk out.. awful waste of a spot. I want to see Eager stay, but for whatever reason Renny likes to doghouse him. MPS stays down in OKC to build himself back up. At the end of this season we have not nearly as many holes to fill, and we also have a better understanding in the youth we have and where they are at. So what if our D isn’t perfect until the three kids hit their 2nd contract, their second contracts are all going to be for atleast 5 years. With the first line we have things are going to change for the better for this team in all aspects. Defence around the league is going to want to be the ones feeding them the puck and not the ones being beat by them. It could be as early as next season 4,14, 93 could all be in the top 5 scoring, they may of been this season if not for the accidents. That will sell to guys wanting to win a stanley. And those are the only players we really want right? not the flash in the pans, but the heart and soul give it your all types. I don’t think Renney is the coach for this team, however my feelings towards Tambi aren’t as sour. He was given a crap roster with nothing, he’s built the farm up, got lots of young talent, drafting most, some trades, filled some stop gaps with tradeable contracts. He gets an extension, but Katz isn’t broke, if this team doesn’t make big steps after this campaign he won’t be serving the length of the terms. When the coach is replaced, I have one stipulation.. it better not be anyone with the first name Marc.

  76. Bos8 says:

    Paragraph breaks are your friend. Really hard to understand the rambling.

  77. russ99 says:

    A big issue going forward is C. We have 1 of them now maybe 2 if you combine Belanger and Lander.

    Compare Horcoff and Belanger to the 2nd and 3rd centers around the league, and it’s no contest…

    I suspect that If we pick 1-2 that will be addressed in the next draft.

    Belanger should be shopped at the deadline and when Horc’s NMC expires this summer we should deal him, even for a similar contract.

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