HOW MANY HOLES?

I wonder how many pieces Edmonton needs to add in order to compete–I mean really compete–for an NHL playoff spot. Is it two? Four? Eight?

I’m of the opinion that at some point this thing is going to fly and once it does the Oilers will lay waste to much of the western conference. However, at some point the management needs to begin forming this group into a balanced roster with depth and quality in all three zones and disciplines. You can’t lose for ten seasons and keep your job, can you?

If we take the 2010 draft as the starting point–and I understand there was 500 miles of bad road before that time–then the Oilers are still in the early stages of the rebuild. Two drafts, two number one picks. If we decided to make a list of players who were absolutely going to be part of the future, how long would it be?

  • Forwards: Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Paajarvi
  • Defense: Smid, Petry
  • Goal: Dubnyk

Is that fair? Now, adding in worthwhile veterans (Hemsky, Schultz) and overpaid/injured veterans who may still have something left (Horcoff, Whitney) there are still some needs while the kids find their way to the NHL and then to helping the outscoring. Klefbom and Marincin and other defensemen are still developing, and guys like Lander and Hartikainen are working their way through the minors–so counting on them as long term fixtures or short term solutions isn’t wise.

What if they added the following this summer:

  • Goal: Josh Harding
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Jason Garrison
  • Forwards: Nikolai Kulemin, Ryan Smyth, Nail Yakupov

I understand all of these would come at a cost, but let’s not worry about that right now. Would this roster be good enough to make the post season:

  • GOAL: DUBNYK, HARDING
  • DEFENSE: SMID, PETRY, SEKERA, GARRISON, SCHULTZ, WHITNEY, SUTTON
  • CENTER: NUGE, GAGNER, HORCOFF, BELANGER
  • LEFT WING: HALL, SMYTH, KULEMIN, JONES OR EAGER
  • RIGHT WING: HEMSKY, EBERLE, YAKUPOV, PAAJARVI

Is THAT enough? ARE the Oilers 6 players away from being a playoff contender? Is it more? Less? Does it matter? I think any reasonable person would agree that adding that many players successfully to this roster is far too much to expect in one year and of course we’re cheating because we’ve haven’t subtracted anything to acquire the six.

Hall could go super nova, the new coach might turn them into a trap team and the club might address goaltending and blue at least a little bit. However, as we sit idling in the driveway this morning, this team has miles to go. There’s every chance “entry draft ’13″ will be as familiar to us as the last three.

This scorched earth thing really does put you back.

Your questions are always welcome, please email questions to nationradio@theteam1260.com or twitter @ItsNationRadio or Lowetide_ I also grab questions from the comments below and most of the time they’re the gems so please keep them coming. Scheduled to appear:

  • David Staples from the Cult of Hockey. We’ll discuss the arena, the draft, advanced stats and the coaching situation.
  • Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord. We’ll talk about positives and negatives re: Brent Sutter, Flames at the draft and their summer plans and try to find a good home for Miikka Kiprusoff.
  • Corey Graham from Team 1260′s Oil Kings broadcasts. We’ll talk about the Oil Kings miracle run, the kids we might expect to see at the draft, which players will return and expectations for 12-13.
  • Jim Byers from the OKC Barons radio broadcast. Jim is a gentleman and a fine broadcaster, he’s given us lots of his time this season and we’ll review a strong effort by the Barons in 11-12 and look to the future.
  • Kirk Luedekefrom Redline Report. Kirk will give us a nice look at the New England kids and we’ll talk about a player Kirk mentioned one year ago on our show as being a solid prospect–and that player is extremely likely to be taken this time around.
  • Peter Loubardias is a legendary broadcaster with an encyclopedic knowledge of junior hockey and the draft. We’ll discuss the Memorial Cup, the 2012 draft and the SC finals.

Team 1260 at noon Edmonton time, love your input and the archived broadcast will be up at Oilers Nation tomorrow.

 

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79 Responses to "HOW MANY HOLES?"

  1. franksterra says:

    LT, I read the the first couple sentences right before the Ann Margaret pic, then quickly jotted down this beofre i read through to the end:

    - one #1 D stud and a bottom pair stalwart, OR
    - two #2-4 D-men (one long term, one shorter term)
    - One big gritty #2 C OR
    - Two gritty and multitalented 2nd/3rd liners
    - a good back-up or partner for DD (Vokoun or Harding)

    So seeing this:

    Goal: Josh Harding
    Defense: Andrej Sekera, Jason Garrison
    Forwards: Nikolai Kulemin, Ryan Smyth, Nail Yakupov

    was nice.

    Apropos of nothing: Saw something less than a rumour but apparently mentioned by McSorley when he was questioned at an event, and then bantered about on a fourm:

    - to Toronto #1 OV
    - to Edm: #5, Gunnarson, Leafs first 2nd rounder (#34?)

  2. hunter1909 says:

    Beats me why anyone writes up an Oilers lineup without having ten defencemen…because 10 seems to be how many defencemen a playoff team needs.

    Whitney penned in as anything more than a major injury risk? Sure.

  3. Geeezeus says:

    Pretty sure Sekera recently signed a 4 year extension with the Sabres. Cost of acquiring him may be prohibitive. Not sure that roster is any better than a 7 seed in the West (which I’ll gladly take at this point).

  4. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    I’m waiting for someone to comment on that title.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Jon: we’re a polite bunch here. :-)

  6. godot10 says:

    Spending the money on Harding is counterproductive. Just sign Danis, and a Danis-clone for OKC. The Danis-clone could be trading for that Scrivens guy. The Leafs are going to go with Reimer and a veteran. Once the Leafs acquire the veteran (Luongo), Scrivens should be available. Or maybe even let Chabot have a go at rehabilitating the Monster, who is a UFA, as the 3rd goaltender.

    Don’t waste money on an injury-prone goaltender who may just be a system goaltender anyways.

  7. Bar_Qu says:

    With the current group (Whitney, Smid, Petry, Sutton, Potter, Peckham) adding Sekera and Garrison makes it 8, and then you have call up options in Plante, Teubert, Fedun (I believe!) and Chorney. I think this would count as depth, even if Marincin, Gernat and Blain/Davidson don’t enter into the picture. Adding more than 2 D, without subtracting one of the 5-6 guys means the Oilers are hobbling the OKC defense.

  8. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    Lowetide,

    What were you watching last night? The title of your post this morning on Oilers Nation is “Restricted.”

  9. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon):
    Lowetide,

    What were you watching last night? The title of your post this morning on Oilers Nation is “Restricted.”

    lol. I watched playoff hockey and then a Star Trek episode. 7 of 9 may have had some impact. :-)

  10. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    There are going to be a lot of Oiler fans mad at Bob MacKenzie when Justin Shultz doesn’t sign with Edmonton. (Still hope he does.)

  11. speeds says:

    LT: Personally, I would remove both Smid and Dubnyk from your list at this point (and arguably Gagner). Not necessarily that the club doesn’t want them, but because they are both UFA’s next summer, 2013, and I’m just not sure whether it makes sense to suggest they are “absolutely going to be part of the future” long term before they sign.

  12. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Yeah, you could say the same thing about Paajarvi I guess. But that’s a reasonable list of the foundation imo. Or at least the foundation that has played in the NHL.

  13. speeds says:

    The argument for Paajarvi would be different though; the Oilers have that player for awhile if they want him, the question is if he’ll prove to be a piece they want going forward.

    With Smid, there’s no reason to believe the Oilers wouldn’t want him, but he’s gone in a year if he doesn’t want to be in EDM. And, if EDM finishes in the bottom 5 next year, and Smid makes it to UFA where a contender is willing to pay him a bunch of money, it’s certainly possible he leaves.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Yes, agree completely. speeds, when can they negotiate with him for an extension? That’s July 1 of this year, right? Great point by you and that’s a deal they need to get done.

  15. Woodguy says:

    What if they added the following this summer:

    Goal: Josh Harding
    Defense: Andrej Sekera, Jason Garrison
    Forwards: Nikolai Kulemin, Ryan Smyth, Nail Yakupov

    While you can never say for sure, that team has a very good chance of playing meaningful games in March at the least.

    Like someone else mentioned, Harding is always injured, so I do go his way, but there are a myriad of NHL level goalies (read:orders of magnitude better than Khabby) available for duty.

    Garrison and Sekera are they key in your list.

    Sets of D playing above their established NHL level needs to stop.

    A beautiful thing would be that Petry gets 2nd pairing with Shultz, while Smid takes on toughs with Garrison. (swap Shultz and Smid if you want, but Smid’s results last year suggest he’s a better option)

    Getting the forwards the puck with speed is key to the Oiler’s offense.

    They are a fast break team, not a grinding puck possession team, they just aren’t big and experienced enough for that yet.

  16. speeds says:

    I don’t know if there’s any specific limit to when they can negotiate, but they can’t sign anything until July 1. Will they choose to with the impending CBA, I don’t know what EDM’s strategy might be there.

  17. Rondo says:

    Nikolai Kulemin would be a great mentor for Yakupov. Kulemin is a big talented 2- way player that would be a perfect fit for the Oilers as well a great piece for Nails development.

    I really think it makes sense for the Oilers to trade for him, especially because he had an off year last year.

  18. Cameron says:

    Hey LT;

    Can you ask Kent and Peter;

    - What are the biggest holes on the Flames roster? (2-3-4 D-men and, 1-C, by my reckoning)

    Ask Peter and Kirk;

    - Is Grigerenko undervalued because of the mono?
    - Who might the Flames target with the 14th pick? (Zemgus Grigensons is my bet)

    Thanks!

  19. Cameron says:

    Sorry left one question off for Kent;

    - How much of a negative influence is Kent King on the Flames org? And how realistic are the rumours of John Davidson (an actual hockey man!) coming on board to Resnais the direction of the team?

    Apologies for being so Flames heavy in my queries this time around.

  20. Cameron says:

    ‘Resnais’ should be ‘Remake’. I’m in bed with a nasty clown.

  21. Lowetide says:

    Cameron: lol.

    Rondo: Love Tom Waits music. He’s a freak show with a poet’s heart. Not a lot wrong with that.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Gernat taken in the KHL draft.
    http://en.ria.ru/sports/20120526/173688487.html

  23. slopitch says:

    I think we need

    - Khabby upgrade
    - Justin Schultz (man would that help) or a top 3 dman
    - Ryan Smyth
    - Yakapov
    - A 2way vet dman added at the deadline (I think we are close enough to wait until then)

    We also need Hall to not take till Christmas to regain form.

    So 2 or 3 that arent automatics. Maybe I’m optimistic but 3 top picks? Common let’s do this!

    New Jersey. Good on them. A set of unheralded dmen. A good 4th line (which means 3 is good or their not 4th line) and 2 star forwards. Their lottery pick on the bench. Lou makes it look easy.

  24. speeds says:

    In terms of what the Oilers need, you could make some kind of argument that they only really need 1 or 2 upgrades, if they were big enough and in the right roster spots, to become competitive.

    For example, exchanging Khabibulin for a 0.925 goalie would have seen the Oilers improve by 15 or 16 GA, and that’s ignoring the likelyhood EDM would have probably played him more than Khabibulin played. That may not sound like a lot, but it would have moved the Oilers from 23rd in the NHL in GA to 14th along with improving the Oilers from 23rd in GD to somewhere around 17th.

    BTW, I’m by no means suggesting the Oilers only upgrade in one spot, there’s not really anywhere you wouldn’t be looking to improve, be it F, D or G. I guess if you want to break F down by position, you’re probably pretty happy with RW, in particular if you select Yakupov.

  25. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Okay, that brings me to another item. IF Taylor Hall explodes–and there’s history for a player of his age and pedigree to do so–is that enough to get you in the conversation with small additions like another defenseman who can play top 4 minutes and another veteran winger?

    Point being, I think Tambellini might end up winning this thing without a throw. By that I mean, you can still be a poor GM and win a playoff spot via the scorched earth rebuild. IF your lottery players are good enough.

  26. TheOtherJohn says:

    Oilers need a Dubnyk clone 40-45 games and rarely loses you the game. A player capable of playing top pairing minutes, another real solid 2nd pairing guy (one of which has to have some offensive flair , wait, can we get Gilbert back) and 2C center with size.

    Everyone here realizes we are paying our 3rd and 4th line centers $7m/year moving forward. Not that there’s anying wrong with that!.

  27. Lois Lowe says:

    LT

    Good choice on Tom Waits. If I had to characterize Tambellini with one of his tunes, I would absolutely go with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaLjwSpZ6Cs

  28. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    slopitch,

    Do the Oilers really need Smyth? I’m starting to think that he’s getting in the way of one of the young forwards. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s nice that he’s back in Edmonton.

  29. SoxandOil says:

    LT

    Any ideas what it would realistically take to get J Shultz’s negotiation rights from Anaheim?

    Last year (off the top of my head) New York gave up two 2nd round picks and Roman Horak to Calgary when Tim Erixon wouldn’t sign a ELC.

  30. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    Bob Stauffer just made the following prediction on Twitter: “With the @OKC_Barons being eliminated last night pretty sure we have seen the last of Paajarvi, Lander and Hartikainen at the AHL level. The time has come to transition in those three and put them in a position to succeed at the NHL level.”

  31. regwald says:

    LT,

    Don’t want to make you cry on a Saturday morning, but Stauffer just tweeted that Lander, Paajarvi and Hartikainen have probably seen the last of the AHL and need to be put in a position to succeed at the NHL level.

    But what if they aren’t ready Bob ? I don’t think we’ve seen enough in the AHL from Lander at least to prove that he’s not headed back to OKC next year.

  32. Traktor says:

    Edmonton would still have a huge hole at center IMO.

    I’m not a fan of Garrison. He will likely be looking for 4-5 years after having his best season in a contract year. He is probably this years Ville Leino

  33. Gerta Rauss says:

    Agree on the re-signing Smid talk-I see that as a priority after July 1. I think he has established himself now and we know what he is. He has stated more than once that he likes it in Edmonton and I would offer a 4 or 5 year deal-I definitely see him as part of the future.

    The rest of the list is reasonable-we can argue over exactly which players would fit but an upgrade in goal, 2 NHL defenceman and a couple of veteran forwards is reasonable.

  34. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    regwald,

    I think I’d rather see that trio in Edmonton than Eager, Jones, and Petrell.

  35. regwald says:

    jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon),

    You are confident that the abysmal season Lander and MPS had this year are behind them and they are ready for full time NHL duty ?

    I am not that confident. In fact, my preference would be see Lander start in the AHL with VV here instead.

  36. hockeyguy10 says:

    Traktor:
    Edmonton would still have a huge hole at center IMO.

    I’m not a fan of Garrison. He will likely be looking for 4-5 years after having his best season in a contract year. He is probably this years Ville Leino

    Agree about Garrison. Bouwmeester lite.

  37. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    regwald,

    No, I’m not overly confident in those three. It would at least be more fun with them in Edmonton than some of the sub par veterans they have on the roster right now.

  38. jonquixote says:

    This team will go as far as the kids will carry them. The notion of “patching holes” is overblown.

    How many players on the Oilers could not gain meaningful employment with a decent NHL team right now, in some capacity? One may look at a player like Sutton or Horcoff and say, “oh well, this player could play for, say, the Penguins or the Blackhawks, but only a limited role.”

    However, the Oilers only intend limited roles for them at this point. Horcoff is no longer our 1st line center or expected to play a Top 6 role. Hemsky no longer is expected to be a franchise winger, but rather a support scorer, and it looks like he’s finally rounding into that. We don’t need 30 from Smyth anymore – we just need a responsible 15 and some good boardwork in both zones.

    Guys like Eager, Belanger, Hordichuk all have played small roles on good teams before, and they only need to play small roles again. They are legitimate NHLers

    There are few veteran players on this team who can’t play the role currently asked of them. Ryan Whitney (probably), Nik Khabibulin (definitely). And we still don’t really know what we have in Dubnyk.

    Other than that, this team will live or die by the kids. We have to wait for Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (and Nail Yakupov, if the Oilers don’t go back to thinking they’re the smartest people in the draft room) to be able to play like 1st line forwards without much help from their coach.

    They have role models, they have veteran support, they have some truculent protection, they have everything they need with the possible exception of a security blanket between the pipes to help minimize their mistakes.

    Now the goal is to let them develop, try not to screw them up in the present, and in the meantime, don’t do anything that will make the future less bright.

  39. Cactus says:

    I’m curious to see what impact the CBA negotiations will have on free agency this year. In theory, July 1st will pass before any new agreement is signed, but teams might act based on speculation. Most importantly, if a deal doesn’t come till later this summer (hopefully not into the fall), what would the effects an amnesty clause be? We could suddenly have a second free agent season in late August.

    LT, if you get a chance, please ask someone like Kent what effects the impending CBA revisions might have on offseason activity. Thanks.

  40. justDOit says:

    regwald:
    LT,

    Don’t want to make you cry on a Saturday morning, but Stauffer just tweeted that Lander, Paajarvi and Hartikainen have probably seen the last of the AHL and need to be put in a position to succeed at the NHL level.

    But what if they aren’t ready Bob ? I don’t think we’ve seen enough in the AHL from Lander at least to prove that he’s not headed back to OKC next year.

    regwald:
    LT,

    Don’t want to make you cry on a Saturday morning, but Stauffer just tweeted that Lander, Paajarvi and Hartikainen have probably seen the last of the AHL and need to be put in a position to succeed at the NHL level.

    But what if they aren’t ready Bob ? I don’t think we’ve seen enough in the AHL from Lander at least to prove that he’s not headed back to OKC next year.

    If they’re put in a ‘position to succeed’ in the NHL, they would have to be on a good team with a deep roster. I wonder what team they’re going to?

  41. regwald says:

    justDOit,

    Nicely done … LOL

  42. justDOit says:

    I’m using an old mouse that sometimes double clicks when I don’t want it to – must have double clicked the quote button. Fail….

  43. Gerta Rauss says:

    Cactus,

    Just speculation on my part but I think the teams will spend to the cap this summer(reportedly $69M) and if/when an amnesty clause is enabled it will be summer 2013 when teams actually get a chance to use it-the thinking being any changes to revenue sharing will affect the cap for 13/14 and teams may need amnesty(or some other mechanism) to comply with a (potential) drop from this year’s $69M.

  44. regwald says:

    justDOit,

    Actually … I meant that in I liked your comment … the double click is funny, but not as funny as your comment.

    There’s nothing like seeing a prospect drown in the NHL to have them succeed … or sit in the press box as a healthy scratch instead of playing to accelerate their development.

  45. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    Lowetide,

    Do you know where I can find a list of all the picks in the KHL draft?

  46. godot10 says:

    Paajarvi never should have been in the AHL in the first place. A good NHL coach would put Paajarvi in a role where he could improve over time. Renney set him up to fail. Hartikainen is ready. Lander could use a year in the AHL to work on his offense. Ditto for Pitlick.

    Paajarvi, Vandevelde, and Hartikainen would be a better 4th line than any 4th line the Oilers played this last season.

  47. justDOit says:

    regwald,

    I’m just so frustrated with this organization rushing prospects into the lineup. Maybe Harski is close to being ready, but I’d much rather see these players dominate in the AHL before being thrown into the show.

  48. Ducey says:

    godot10: Paajarvi never should have been in the AHL in the first place. A good NHL coach would put Paajarvi in a role where he could improve over time. Renney set him up to fail. Hartikainen is ready. Lander could use a year in the AHL to work on his offense. Ditto for Pitlick.Paajarvi, Vandevelde, and Hartikainen would be a better 4th line than any 4th line the Oilers played this last season.

    They should keep VDV up because they need to. Sign a vet or two for the fourth line and keep MPS Lander, Pitlick and the rest in the AHL. They can come up when there is an injury or at the trade deadline. There is no rush.

  49. PDO says:

    The amount of holes depends on the quality of players we start bringing in to replace them… as Speeds alluded to earlier with the goaltending.

    #1) Flush ‘Bulin.
    #2) Sign Smyth or equivalent (Penner?)
    #3) Sign Justin Schultz (possibly the most important step)
    #4) Sign goalie to compete with Dubnyk (Vokoun, Harding both fair options)
    #5) Sign another top 4 D (Stuart? Jackman? Sauer? Zanon?

    Hall – Gagner – Hemsky
    Paajarvi – RNH – Eberle
    Smyth – Horcoff – Yakupov
    Hartikainen – Belanger – Jones
    Eager

    The one thing that is obvious is that it’s not a hard team to play against, and I’m not sure they could do a whole lot on the forecheck. Still, there’s a whole lot of talent up front there. Lander goes to the AHL to be the #1 C and work on his two-way game.

    Smid – Whitney
    Jackman – Petry
    Schultz – Schultz
    Sutton, Peckham

    Potter goes to the minors to be the #1 D in OKC. There’s not a number one pairing on this D, but that’s not necessarily the end of the world because each one of those pairings should be able to play against somebodies without getting killed and have the tools to take advantage of the nobodies they’ll invariably play.

  50. Woodguy says:

    Dammit!

    Made a tidy pile hitting NJD at +115 before the series, then hitting them again at +200 after they lost the first game. (my only punting of the post season besides pools)

    Was mulling over LAK at +135 and the bloody line moved to +175 before I decided to bet.

    Should have trusted my gut and hit it.

  51. spoiler says:

    How Many Holes?

    The answer: it depends.

    It depends on Whitney’s feet. It depends on whether Paajarvi has turned the corner. It depends on whether Dubnyk can carry the load.

    If all those things come to fruition, I’d say we’re about 1-2 players away from competing for the playoffs next year.

  52. slopitch says:

    jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon),

    Um I only pick Smyth because he’s likely to sign here. Glad to have him back. He’s a great role model for the the team. But he shoulda stayed in LA and won a Stanley.

    If the choice is him or Eager or Hartikinen then I pick Smyth. Too many options otherwise to make a blanket statement. But Id take him back at the right price.

    If the Oilers go Hall, Smyth and let Petrell, Eager, Hartikinen and Pajarvi fight for the 2 remaining spots Im ok with it. Hall covers a lot but it wouldnt be an area of strength.

  53. Jesse says:

    Great song LT. I especially like this line:

    “Well, go ahead and call the cops
    You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops
    She said baby, I still love you
    Sometimes there’s nothin left to do”

    I’ve been listening a lot to Bob Dylan’s “Desire” lately and that reminded me of the lines from Black Diamond Bay:

    “Seems like every time you turn around
    There’s another hard-luck story that you’re gonna hear
    And there’s really nothing anyone can say”

  54. speeds says:

    Lowetide:
    speeds: Okay, that brings me to another item. IF Taylor Hall explodes–and there’s history for a player of his age and pedigree to do so–is that enough to get you in the conversation with small additions like another defenseman who can play top 4 minutes and another veteran winger?

    Point being, I think Tambellini might end up winning this thing without a throw. By that I mean, you can still be a poor GM and win a playoff spot via the scorched earth rebuild. IF your lottery players are good enough.

    It’s possible, but I don’t know if it’s likely. Even still, if Taylor Hall improves that dramatically, that doesn’t mean more improvements wouldn’t be a good idea.

    Who knows, maybe they’ll see how things look through 25 games and if they are looking pretty good, find a way to trade for a D or something at that point, and then another one at the deadline if they are still looking good?

  55. Rondo says:

    LT,

    Okay I’m surprised on one jumped on the KULEMIN idea for Edmonton.

    This seems like a no-brainer if your picking Yakupov.

    I was expecting posters to react like great idea.

    I’m not losing sleep over it.

  56. speeds says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Oilers needa Dubnyk clone 40-45 games and rarely loses you the game. A player capable of playing top pairing minutes, another real solid 2nd pairing guy (one of which has to have some offensive flair , wait, can we get Gilbert back)and2C center with size.

    I don’t know about that. Dubnyk, if he doesn’t improve, is a player the Oilers will want to upgrade at some point. I’m not saying you throw him away right now or anything, but he’s been a 0.915 goalie the last couple of years – that’s OK, but without improvement it’s not enough that EDM wouldn’t like an upgrade if they could find one. Another one of him at the moment would likely be a better bet than Khabi, but that’s not really the same thing as being set at that position going forward.

  57. speeds says:

    jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon):
    slopitch,

    Do the Oilers really need Smyth? I’m starting to think that he’s getting in the way of one of the young forwards. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s nice that he’s back in Edmonton.

    Myself, I would probably not only bring Smyth back (assuming you can get a reasonable contract done) but would also be looking for another top 9 F, probably a LW, to help out the forwards. That would push Harti back to the AHL, most likely, but that’s OK, depth is good and he’d probably still get 50-60 NHL games with injuries (plus the likeliest scenario would be that I’d have a roster with 13F and 8D).

  58. gd says:

    I truly think the only holes for playoff contention are the two top 5 D. There are so many good options that if ST doesn’t have them by July 7th without giving up much he is incompetent. I’ll be happy with two of; Schultz, Carle, Garrison, Wideman, Oduya, Tyutin, Sekora, Kuba, Rosival, Gunnersson, Martin, Michelak, Salvador, Jackman, Colovacio. It’s definitely a buyer’s market this year as most of the rich teams have either no cap space or needs for their top 4 except Suter, so I believe if the Oil target the right guys they should be able to close a few deals. I’ve got to think that with Peyton Manning in Denver and A potential CBA stoppage, there is no way the Oilers should be outbid by Colorado for someone like Carle,if they want him.

    I look at the starters for the playoff teams and I think DD should be in the middle of the pack with an improved D. I think he is better than Crawford and Theadore, fairly close to Brodeur, Vokuon/Holtby, Anderson, Howard and Niemi and and not far off Fleury, Bryzgalov and Halak.

    I’m not sure they need to get much up front, but a Kulemin, Moen, Stepniak might be helpful

    I think a key to the Oil picking up the 20 pts necessary to competing for a playoff spot is that there are a lot of teams in the West with downward arrows. 8 of the 10 teams at the bottom of the Hockey News prospect list are in the West. Columbus, Nashville, St.Louis, Colorado, Anaheim, Dallas and Phoenix are all financially impaired. Van will still be good but they are due to lose 5 to 10 pts. Phoenix has almost no offensive upside and no money. San Jose is getting old and no prospects. Nashville went “all-in” this year and they will lose one of Suter or Weber unless they want $25Mill tied up in 3 players, and while I would never bet against Detroit they probably better sign either Suter or Parise or they will be 5-10 pts worse next year. I don’t see a lot of upside for Dallas, Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus or Colorado (unless Duchene gets his game back on track).

    I’m not saying the Oil will make the playoffs, but as long as DD plays okay there is a path to 20 more points and then next year they can find a big C (Getzlaf, Staal and Zajac are UFA) some more toughness up front and a 1B goalie.

  59. gr8one says:

    In my dreamworld I’d flush Smyth and Horcoff.

    I would trade down with Columbus if they were willing for the second pick and select Galchenyuk.

    My signings would be Jason Arnott, Shane Doan, Jason Garrison and Justin Schultz., and I love the idea of Kelemin.

    Hall Nuge Eberle
    Kulemin Galchenyuk Hemsky
    Paajarvi Arnott Doan
    Harski Lander Jones

    Smid Petry
    Garrison Whitney
    Schultz Schultz

    Another player I’d take a long look at would be Eric Fehr, he is a big body with a lot of skill that started his career buried under the depth of the Capitals and then had some injury issues the past couple of years so to me might be a low risk high reward type scenario….and he’s still quite young.

    This is not factoring in what we might get in a trade for Gagner and what Columbus might give us for the pick swap.

    Pipe dreams.

  60. TheOtherJohn says:

    Speeds

    I’d like Jonathan Quick. Or nother .925 keeper. Just not sure where we get him from at little or no cost to our roster. So I don’t see that happening, I just think if you had two solid NHL goalies pushing each other, our GA would go down. Add a Couple of top 4 D and we could compete for playoffs next year

  61. Bob_Loblaw_10 says:

    I’ll say 5 holes (2 forwards, 2D and a replacement for Khabby). And, some luck with injuries.

    When are people on this board going to learn Schultz’s name? It’s been months already. There’s never been a guy named “Shultz” involved in the conversation.

  62. Spydyr says:

    Crosby,Weber and Quick should do it.

    Now all kidding aside .Saying how many holes you have to fill depends on the quality of player filling the holes.As shown above.

  63. justDOit says:

    RNH, Gagner, Belenger and Horcoff down the middle – that’s a hole!

    Khabby – that’s a hole (well, closer to a dozen).

    If at least 2 quality D-men are not brought in – that’s a hole! Unless Whitney is healthy and Wreckum-Peckham puts it all together, I guess.

  64. delooper says:

    To make it to the playoffs without a giant stroke of luck like near everyone having perfectly healthy seasons? They’ll need one do-it-all defenceman, and need to solidify centre somehow. I don’t know how, but centre isn’t solid. They don’t need a lot in any position, but they need one solid d-man and some kind of improvement on centre.

  65. DSF says:

    gd:
    I truly think the only holes for playoff contention are the two top 5 D. There are so many good options that if ST doesn’t have them by July 7th without giving up much he is incompetent. I’ll be happy with two of; Schultz, Carle, Garrison, Wideman, Oduya, Tyutin, Sekora, Kuba, Rosival, Gunnersson, Martin, Michelak, Salvador, Jackman, Colovacio. It’s definitely a buyer’s market this year as most of the rich teams have either no cap space or needs for their top 4 except Suter, so I believe if the Oil target the right guys they should be able to close a few deals. I’ve got to think that with Peyton Manning in Denver and A potential CBA stoppage, there is no way the Oilers should be outbid by Colorado for someone like Carle,if they want him.

    I look at the starters for the playoff teams and I think DD should be in the middle of the pack with an improved D. I think he is better than Crawford and Theadore, fairly close to Brodeur, Vokuon/Holtby, Anderson, Howard and Niemi and and not far off Fleury, Bryzgalov and Halak.

    I’m not sure they need to get much up front, but a Kulemin, Moen, Stepniak might be helpful

    I think a key to the Oil picking up the 20 pts necessary to competing for a playoff spotis that there are a lot of teams in the West with downward arrows. 8 of the 10 teams at the bottom of the Hockey News prospect list are in the West. Columbus, Nashville, St.Louis, Colorado, Anaheim, Dallas and Phoenix are all financially impaired. Van will still be good but they are due to lose 5 to 10 pts. Phoenix has almost no offensive upside and no money. San Jose is getting old and no prospects. Nashville went “all-in” this year and they will lose one of Suter or Weber unless they want $25Mill tied up in 3 players, and while I would never bet against Detroit they probably better sign either Suter or Parise or they will be 5-10 pts worse next year. I don’t see a lot of upside for Dallas, Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus or Colorado (unless Duchene gets his game back on track).

    I’m not saying the Oil will make the playoffs, but as long as DD plays okay there is a path to 20 more points and then next year they can find a big C (Getzlaf, Staal and Zajac are UFA) some more toughness up front and a 1B goalie.

    Like many Oiler fans you assume other GMs will sit on their thumbs and patiently wait for the Oilers to pass them by. Doesn’t work that way.

    Minnesota, for example, is due to reap the benefit of their recent drafts and, if Koivu is healthy, should be the tam to watch in the WC.

    Assuming that teams like Vancouver, Calgary and Colorado will regress with the assets and cap space they have is just goofy.

  66. Maverick says:

    The biggest hole – (that doesn’t sound right), the biggest deficiency is at Center. No real offensive minded centers coming up the ranks that have potential to fill that 2c spot. Gagner is not the solution there, good young player with lots of heart but not good enough. Horcoff, he is on his last legs, lost a step or two, Belanger, not the grit and sand paper needed for the 4C. As this is a true weakness of the team that is why the “Hall to Center” talk has become so apparent. The more I look at this deficiency (hole) the more I am leaning to drafting Galchenyuk. I still would prefer Yakupov but organizational needs might require drafting Galchenyuk instead.

    As for next season two established defensemen; Carle and Garrison or young Justin Schultz would really help. Lots of young defensemen in the system but they are years away, however, at least there are prospects with potential on the back end. Unlike the center position, no offense potential coming.

    In goal, anyone else would be better than Khabi in the back up role.

    4th line energy players needed! Tootoo is one and maybe keep Eager. The team is always in need of emotion and the 4th line guys should be able to defend and cause chaos to wear down the other team.

    In short; Draft Galchenyuk – (trade down possible), sign Carle and/or Garrison and/or hopefully young Justin Schultz, sign Tootoo, sign or trade for another back up goalie and perhaps another Jim Dowd/Pisani type player.

    Is this list attainable?? Perhaps in the hands of a competent GM, in the hands of Tambellini, perhaps not. Draft Murray and hope for the best…. Ay, yes, good times ahead. (Sigh)

  67. eidy says:

    Looking at buffalos cap space and commitments, Sekera is who I would target. They seem light on offense and may be willing to shed some salary. I would see if omark+Peckham+/- late pick would get it done. Signed at a nice contract and I think they need to shed salary. They will have to increase what Ennis gets paid and myers cap hit went up quite a bit.

  68. hunter1909 says:

    Wtf what a totally dull, and boring thread.

    “Steve Smith”…come back mate, all is forgiven.

  69. Thinker says:

    Hall rnh eberle
    1 gagner hemsky
    2 horcoff 3
    4 5 jones
    eager
    6 7
    Smid Petry
    Shultz 8
    Sutton

    9
    Dubnyk

    LT,
    By my count there are 9 holes to fill. I know several players are left off the list (whitney par example). On my list are only players i trust with their current role. Also this is a depth chart not line combos. Some of these holes can be filled internally (paajarvi, hartikainen). Or players like dubnyk can step up a role. These vacancies have to be filled somehow, however. Tambos options are as follows as follows:
    1 draft yakupov and flip his wing/ draft yakupov and flip hemsky or eberle to left./ sign fa lw (semin,penner,ect)
    2 magnus paajarvi/ teemu hartikainen/ fa lw (smyth, david jones, penner, ect)
    3 draft yakupov/ magnus paajarvi/ teemu hartikainen / fa rw (Doan, david jones ect)
    4 mps/ hartikainen/ belanger/ ufa (dime a dozen)
    5 lander/ ufa (dime a dozen)
    6 guys step up/ whitney/ ufa (Suter, garrison, wideman, carle, ect)
    7 guys step up/ whitney/ ufa (suter, garrison, wideman, carle, ect)
    8 peckham/ teubert/ plante/ potter/ fedun/ ufa (carle, JUSTIN SHULTZ, ect)
    9 guys step up(not khabibulin)/ ufa (vokoun, harding, ect)

    Obviously not all options are good choices (some are best case scenario), but all are concievable. Trades are also a possibility but i don’t want to speculate on that. Hopefully we take yakupov, sign shultz, sign a goalie, sign a top 6 lw, sign a couple depth forwards (3rd or fourth line), sign 1 (hopefully two) top 4 dmen, and fill the rest internally. Upgrades on existing players would also be nice (gagner, sutton,ect) but that would just be gravy. Time to right the ship no more tanking for picks!

  70. bookje says:

    Yes, Steve Smith, come back – I don’t want your money.

    Speaking of Ryan Smyth, I wonder how he feels about missing out on the Stanley Cup run so that he can be here in Edmonton without a contract?

  71. jb says:

    Three holes depending how you look at this.. Some would argue only two holes, though we can all agree this is a one man job. Two men plugging away at the same time is simply a fuckup and leads to confusion

  72. franksterra says:

    I’d say five holes- 2 up front, 2 on D, 1 in net. I think getting the order of filling them in will be important, and (gulp) assessing what’s in the system that has the best chance of ‘self-filling’ from within. In order, I’d fill:

    1) #1 or at least solid young 2-3 D man
    2) 2nd/3rd liner who PKs, hits, has The Sand, and can score enough to run with the likes of Hemmer, Gagner, Yak, etc.
    3) another 4-6 D man who actually defends well, takes care of the crease, takes no shit
    4) back-up/partner for DD
    5) Bottom six poo disturber who isn’t a liability, in the Ruutu mold (pest), or Neil (leader/scrapper)

  73. stevezie says:

    Lois Lowe:
    LT

    Good choice on Tom Waits. If I had to characterize Tambellini with one of his tunes, I would absolutely go with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaLjwSpZ6Cs

    Brilliant!

    Of course, that guy at least gave the impression he had a masterplan. I thought LT’s suggestion that Tambo might end up being the NHL’s Trent Dilfer wasn’t a bad one. He’s made some better moves recently, but it really would be nice for him to step up and make a really good one. A brilliant move would be even better.

    Because come on, even I could just sit back and acquire picks.

  74. FastOil says:

    To be an elite team soon would have to be based on brilliant trades and or signings, much like Kings Bruins Canucks, with the skill players in place. Doesn’t seem to be the plan. There are holes everywhere in the bottom 6 and on D, many of which will self seal as guys in the system gain experience.

    I think Kruger or Eakins could get the team basically as it is perhaps with one D acquisition to the post season or near. Stanley Cup no way, second round, unlikely. If Hall looks sketchy perhaps a vet could be signed on LW and someone dealt at the deadline. The wingers could be moved around as necessary, maybe Eager will like the new coach and some of his potential can be realized.

    Penner is going to stay in LA with the Cup if Lombardi will have him, which may happen now that Lombo has had a chance to see Penner the beast do his thing when it counts the most.

    Hall Gagner Hemsky
    Hartikainen RNH Eberle
    Smyth Horcoff Pajaarvi
    Jones Belanger Yakupov

    Vet LW
    Petrell
    Eager

    Smid Petry
    Schultz XXX
    Sutton Whitney

    Young Schultz?
    Potter
    Peckham
    Fedun?

    Dubnyk (65 games)
    Khabi

    This is not a bad team. With three D pairings (based on the D signing) that could move the puck up there should be good offense and Dubnyk is good enough right now. If deployed properly, given steady lines and pairings, given the right system and pressured to grow a bit, which I think Kruger or Eakins could and would do, as good a chance as many teams in the West.

  75. russ99 says:

    FastOil:
    To be an elite team soon would have to be based on brilliant trades and or signings, much like Kings Bruins Canucks, with the skill players in place. Doesn’t seem to be the plan. There are holes everywhere in the bottom 6 and on D, many of which will self seal as guys in the system gain experience.

    I think Kruger or Eakins could get the team basically as it is perhaps with one D acquisition to the post season or near. Stanley Cup no way, second round, unlikely. If Hall looks sketchy perhaps a vet could be signed on LW and someone dealt at the deadline. The wingers could be moved around as necessary, maybe Eager will like the new coach and some of his potential can be realized.

    Penner is going to stay in LA with the Cup if Lombardi will have him, which may happen now that Lombo has had a chance to see Penner the beast do his thing when it counts the most.

    Hall Gagner Hemsky
    Hartikainen RNH Eberle
    Smyth Horcoff Pajaarvi
    Jones Belanger Yakupov

    Vet LW
    Petrell
    Eager

    Smid Petry
    Schultz XXX
    Sutton Whitney

    Young Schultz?
    Potter
    Peckham
    Fedun?

    Dubnyk (65 games)
    Khabi

    This is not a bad team. With three D pairings (based on the D signing) that could move the puck up there should be good offense and Dubnyk is good enough right now. If deployed properly, given steady lines and pairings, given the right system and pressured to grow a bit, which I think Kruger or Eakins could and would do, as good a chance as many teams in the West.

    This team’s not much better than this year’s. Maybe 5-6th from bottom instead of 3rd.

    We need a bit of a shake-up on all three parts, offense, defense and goal.

    And I’d hope the Oilers learned from Renney’s hard-headeness enough not to put Yakupov on the 4th line with Belanger and Jones if he’s the first pick. If it gets to that point, send him back to Sarnia.

  76. Bruce McCurdy says:

    franksterra: 5) Bottom six poo disturber who isn’t a liability, in the Ruutu mold (pest), or Neil (leader/scrapper)

    For all the grief Oilers management took on the ‘sphere for offering Neil (IIRC) $2 MM a year for 4 years, that guy would have addressed a couple of the team’s major shortcomings the last couple of years.

  77. FastOil says:

    russ99,

    The fourth line didn’t hurt Seguin it seems, but how about

    Hall Gagner Yak
    Smyth RNH Eberle
    Omark Horcoff Hemsky
    Jones Belanger Pajaarvi

    That’s 4 balanced lines, 3 with offense, 3 that can play tougher comp, everyone but Gagner can skate well which should mitigate the lack of size and physicality. To get tougher, trade Jones and play Hartikainen.

    With Gagner and RNH growing into tougher comp they might get more season out of Smyth and Horcoff. That is not a bad F roster IMO. Not a Champion, but coached properly there’s enough talent there for a run at the post season and some goals.

    The D is decent with one signing, good if they sign a vet and Schultz. If Whitney comes back half decent (and plays lower minutes) and nobody gets hurt, they’ll even have depth. Nobody gets hurt, chuckle.

    The Oilers have nearly enough good NHL calibre players in their system now to be a decent team, a team with a shot at the playoffs. They have just refused to play them at the same time, play the best goalie enough, have burnt some out, and played some before fully recovered.

    These aren’t insurmountable issues for most teams. They need 10 more wins to get close. 2 or 3 of those come solely from not playing Khabbi. There are teams in the West on the slide now. Can this group do it? Hall seems to think so, and I agree.

  78. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    I understand all of these would come at a cost, but let’s not worry about that right now. Would this roster be good enough to make the post season:

    •GOAL: DUBNYK, HARDING
    •DEFENSE: SMID, PETRY, SEKERA, GARRISON, SCHULTZ, WHITNEY, SUTTON
    •CENTER: NUGE, GAGNER, HORCOFF, BELANGER
    •LEFT WING: HALL, SMYTH, KULEMIN, JONES OR EAGER
    •RIGHT WING: HEMSKY, EBERLE, YAKUPOV, PAAJARVI

    That is the question, correct?

    No, and not because of just talent but because of balance. There’s not enough grit, toughness, meanness call it whatever you like.

    I recommend replacing these players.

    Petry-Horcoff-Belanger-Jones-Paajarvi-Whitney

    IMO you will never win big tough hard games with these players when the game is on the line.

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