OPPORTUNITY MISSED

It looks like Brandon Davidson will be signed by the deadline, but the Oilers will pass on Jeremie Blain and Drew Czerwonka. What does it mean?

Jason Gregor told us  the story today over at Oilers Nation:

  • The Oilers won’t be offering contracts to 2010 4th round pick Jeremie Blain or 6th rounder Drew Czerwonka. Like I wrote yesterday, I didn’t think it wouldn’t make much sense to sign nine or ten guys from one draft class.

The rest of the Oilers 2010 draft signing story comes from Jason (follow link) and old co-worker Mitchell Blair:

I trust Blair, we worked together exactly 23 years ago. How do I know it was exactly 23 years ago? He called me in the middle of the damn night! I was doing the morning show at a radio station in Regina, Blair was the sports guy. Now, I have to get up at 4 every morning, and so do sports guys but they’re crazy and don’t care.

We’re both baseball freaks and insanely invested in that year’s Montreal Expos. They had a good team, not a great one, and certainly needed some help to push the best teams in the East that summer. I don’t remember exactly what time it was, but the phone rang and my wife woke me up to answer it. I’m bewildered, fumble for the phone and hear the following from Mitchell Blair:

  • Randy Johnson, Brian Holman and Gene Harris for MARK LANGSTON!!!!

WOW. Langston at that time was a supreme starter and despite what they gave up (and they gave up the world, let’s be honest) our reaction was glee! I’m laughing and we’re talking about the pennant and how the Mets, Phils and Cubs must feel and eventually Blair hangs up and it’s time for sleep.

Except, who can sleep??? Not me. Just watched that clock tick away the time until I had to drag my ass out of bed at 4am. I don’t miss those mornings, but will never forget that one.

As for the signings, I think this is an opportunity missed. Brandon Davidson should be a fine pro and I’ve cheered for him since finding out his back story on draft day. Jeremie Blain should be joining him. This is a guy who wasn’t far from a point per game in the QMJHL and has a nice range of skills and good size. If you’re looking for lesser candidates from the 50-man reserve list to flush I’d suggest Nikolai Khabibulin, Mark Arcobello, Tanner House, Cameron Abney, Ryan Martindale and Kristians Pelss.

Opportunity missed, I can’t see any other way to describ it.

NHLE FOR OILER D PROSPECTS OUTSIDE PRO HOCKEY

Age NAME (LEAGUE) G A PTS
18 MARTIN GERNAT (WHL) 4 19 23
19 JEREMIE BLAIN (QMJHL) 4 16 20
19 MARTIN MARINCIN (WHL) 5 12 17
20 BRANDON DAVIDSON (WHL) 5 12 17
22 KYLE BIGOS (NCAA) 4 13 17
18 DILLON SIMPSON (NCAA) 2 12 14
18 DAVID MUSIL (WHL) 3 8 11

I think they could have used Jeremie Blain. He’s earned that contract. Opportunity missed.

Oh, I included this song because Mick Taylor’s guitar work is so wonderful.

Addition: Traktor in the comments below mentioned Blain’s suspension last season and that could certainly have been a factor in the team’s decision. So, opportunity missed–for the player.

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50 Responses to "OPPORTUNITY MISSED"

  1. Ducey says:

    Yeah, someones got some explaining to do.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Agreed. The Arcobello signing is the one I’d fry someone over. Buddy is a good minor league player but holy hell that isn’t worth losing a prospect like Blain. Good drafting only helps if you can keep the player.

  3. Traktor says:

    They probably didn’t sign him because of his racist remarks. Its not like Blain is a “can’t miss” prospect.

    I’m more upset that the Bruins signed 22 year old undrafted free agent, Niklas Svedberg.

    Svedberg posted a .947 sv % on his way to winning the SEL Championship. Svedberg plans on playing in the AHL next year.

    Did he prefer Boston or did Edmonton not even try? Clearly he would have a better shot of playing in the NHL in Edmonton.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Traktor:
    They probably didn’t sign him because of his racist remarks.

    Well, that does speak to character. Good point by you.

  5. dulock says:

    The issue isn’t the guys on the 50 man list it’s the number of defence prospects holding down non-NHL spots at the same time. If the Oilers draft twod defenceman this year, they’d have 10 of them in the minors simultaneously (Davidson, Blain, Bigos, Klefbom, Musil, Simpson, Gernat, Marincin plus two 2012 picks). It isn’t the forwards or the 50 man list, it’s the ice time available.

  6. Lowetide says:

    There’s always the ECHL. Oilers are in the procurement business, Blain’s value into the future far outranks Arcobello’s

  7. dulock says:

    Lowetide,

    Are you really thinking we should send four guys to the ECHL? How do you develop prospects with second pairing ice time in the ECHL and which four guys would you send there?

  8. Lowetide says:

    Dulock: Bigos doesn’t have to be signed, he will probably stay in the NCAA another season. Klefbom has already told us he’s staying in Sweden for another year, and Musil, Simpson and Gernat aren’t turning pro either.

  9. dulock says:

    Lowetide,

    I’m talking about the 14-15 season. It’s not Blain’s first season, it’s his third that”s the problem.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Good lord man, the 14-15 season? How on earth can you possibly project that far? We don’t know if Bigos is even going to sign, we don’t know about the progess of Simpson in his NCAA seasons and we also don’t know what trades may come available.

    Blain’s deadline is today. Worrying over 14-15 in summer 2012 is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:
    Good lord man, the 14-15 season? How on earth can you possibly project that far? We don’t know if Bigos is even going to sign, we don’t know about the progess of Simpson in his NCAA seasons and we also don’t know what trades may come available.

    Blain’s deadline is today. Worrying over 14-15 in summer 2012 is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    If anyone cares to check backward on this blog, Lowetide tends to go into raptures viz minor pro prospects, which all by itself is just fine, but considering the team is drafting and is only allowed 50 contracts for some idiotic reason – Lowetide’s doing his very best Kevin Lowe-negotiating with Horcoff’s agent mode, lol.

  12. bendelson says:

    If it came down to Davidson (impressive character guy) or Blain (needing to re-establish his character) – its an easy decision which they made today.

    It’s surprising they didn’t sign both but hey, Im not going to get worked up over a guy with that kind of history.

  13. Acumen says:

    I think this might be a reflection of his well-documented mishap from earlier in the year. It sucks from an asset management standpoint, but I lost all respect for Blain when I heard about that so I’m not too crushed about this.

    Many years as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (and watching the Bengals across the division) has shown me the value in putting a premium on character in constucting a professional sports team.

    That’s one less RHD though. That’s probably the thing I’m the most cut up about.

  14. Maverick says:

    I guess with all those draft choices, and signed prospects, and now losing prospects due to contract constraints…maybe it is time to package a bunch of prospects and upcoming draft choices for a NHL ready defenseman???

    One can dream can’t he? lol

    (PS – not the 1st overall though, that’s for drafting a forward with offensive talent) ;)

  15. dulock says:

    Lowetide,

    Not thinking about 14-15 is what is going to cost you quality prospects in the future. 8 of these guys could be playing in 1 year. Signing Blain blocks the ability to sign better prospects in our system, college and european free agents. Not planning for the future makes no sense.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Maverick: I’ve been waiting for years for that 3-for-1 deal. Problem is they could have used Tom Gilbert as the big item in a huge deal for something special. Could have.

  17. Lowetide says:

    dulock:
    Lowetide,

    Not thinking about 14-15 is what is going to cost you quality prospects in the future. 8 of these guys could be playing in 1 year. Signing Blain blocks the ability to sign better prospects in our system, college and european free agents. Not planning for the future makes no sense.

    Well I hear you, but what proof do we have that Bigos is going to be better than Blain? Or Simpson? Maybe the Oilers know someting we don’t, and I’ll buy that. But this kid can play based on the numbers. We’ll see, maybe he slides through and ends up playing in a beer league.

  18. Maverick says:

    Lowetide:
    Maverick: I’ve been waiting for years for that 3-for-1 deal. Problem is they could have used Tom Gilbert as the big item in a huge deal for something special. Could have.

    Agreed! I’m still scratching my head from time to time over the Gilbert deal. Does Tambo have the “grapefruits” to pull off a 3 for 1 deal? I think Kevin Lowe could if he was still the GM.

  19. Lowetide says:

    I think Kevin Lowe is the GM now. He just doesn’t make or take the calls.

  20. Maverick says:

    Lowetide:
    I think Kevin Lowe is the GM now. He just doesn’t make or take the calls.

    LOL. so that would make Kevin Lowe’s new nick name Geppetto?

  21. Lowetide says:

    lol. Who was the guy in Goodfellas who never answered the phone?

  22. Maverick says:

    I can’t remember….. Now I have to go find my DVD of that movie and find out. (evening project) ;)

  23. Bad Seed says:

    Lowetide,

    Paulie. Nobody fucked with Paulie.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Paulie! Loved him in Law and Order, not like Jill Hennessy but still.

  25. Maverick says:

    Bad Seed:
    Lowetide,

    Paulie.Nobody fucked with Paulie.

    Nice work! I’m still going watch the movie any way. lol

  26. hunter1909 says:

    Livia Soprano kicked everyone’s ass.

  27. DSF says:

    Considering the log jam the Oilers have for defensive prospects, I wouldn’t be surprised if Davidson doesn’t sign.

  28. dulock says:

    Lowetide,

    I fear that we’ll lose both Bigos and Simpson. I’ll bet you a pint that the Oilers pick 2 D with their top 3 picks. They need a top defenceman so badly that they’re throwing awat picks. They’ve drafted too many goalies as well (4 in 3 years)

  29. jake70 says:

    Maverick: Agreed! I’m still scratching my head from time to time over the Gilbert deal.Does Tambo have the “grapefruits” to pull off a 3 for 1 deal?I think Kevin Lowe could if he was still the GM.

    Does Smid, Cogs, Pancake for Heatley count?

  30. Woodguy says:

    DSF:
    Considering the log jam the Oilers have for defensive prospects, I wouldn’t be surprised if Davidson doesn’t sign.

    I was thinking the same thing.

  31. Dipstick says:

    DSF:
    Considering the log jam the Oilers have for defensive prospects, I wouldn’t be surprised if Davidson doesn’t sign.

    I’m patiently waiting for the day you say something spiritually uplifting in regards to the Oilers. A guy can dream!

  32. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    I think Kevin Lowe is the GM now. He just doesn’t make or take the calls.

    From Gregor’s interview with Lowe:

    Steve will make the recommendations as to what he thinks the team needs to do moving forward, and he and I will discuss them as we have done for the last number of years.

    Buck doesn’t stop anywhere near Tambellini.

  33. Maverick says:

    jake70: Does Smid, Cogs, Pancake for Heatley count?

    in June 2009 maybe. But lets say it in today’s terms and needs.

    In June 2012 if it was Smid. Cogs and Penner for Jack Johnson or OEL would that be better at today’s dollar?? I think it would.

    A similar type of trade could be possible today involving Gagner, MPS and one of the prospect defenseman for a top line d-man. Maybe.

  34. Maverick says:

    Woodguy:

    Kevin Lowe is Geppetto!!!

  35. DSF says:

    Dipstick: I’m patiently waiting for the day you say something spiritually uplifting in regards to the Oilers.A guy can dream!

    Jordan Eberle is a sublime talent.

    There ya go.

  36. DSF says:

    Woodguy: I was thinking the same thing.

    Yeah, if the Oilers were to bring in the two actual NHL defensemen they so desperately need, Davidson would be so far down the depth chart he’d need a road map to find Stockton.

  37. Lowetide says:

    I think Blain’s the better prospect. A year younger, lanky kid, some offense, RH. .

  38. DSF says:

    Yakupov coming up live on the Pipeline Show shortly.

  39. godot10 says:

    Arcobello has more than earned his contract. One needs a solid team in OKC to develop players. Arcobello is a rock solid top six AHL forward.

    Some of the 50 contracts are going to go to skilled AHL guys. It is the only way you end up with a quality AHL team where you can develop players.

    Clearly, the GM (Green?) in OKC wanted Arcobello, which is why he got an NHL contract. This is also the GM that found Yeo and Ringwald to fill massive holes in the blueline when OKC was experiencing a run of injuries on D, and when the Oilers were stealing of their blueliners.

  40. regwald says:

    Corey Pronman ‏@coreypronman

    Low tier prospect you keep if you have room. RT @JonathanWillis: @coreypronman What do you think of the decision to cut Blain loose?

    @JonathanWillis the numbers look nice, but havent talked to anyone who sees that translating to next level.

    @JonathanWillis I should say I think he has decent skill, but numbers I think overstate it. Like I said, if you room, ok enough to keep.

    @JonathanWillis well Davidson and Plante ideally are the RH guys in the org. Gernat and Musil needed deals likely blocked him.

    I think it’s easy to look at his progress and box scores and think the Oilers should sign him. Interesting stuff from Corey.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Arcobello certainly earned a one year deal, and maybe at big dollars for an AHLer. But the Oilers cost themselves some leeway with that contract.

  42. VOR says:

    The Gilbert trade seems so odd. It doesn’t fit anything the Oilers have done recently. At first I thought it was a step to something else, a superstar chaos kid D that needed a mentor. Really though it is all about history and makes perfect sense.

    Those of us who were lucky enough to be there during the Boys on the Bus era got to see the greatest team leader in the history of hockey, Mark Messier. But nobody ever talks about how he became that leader. It wasn’t voodoo magic. Somebody taught Messier how to do it.

    So lets start with the following simple assumptions/statements.

    Whether they will acknowledge it or not the Oilers are trying to recreate the Boys on the Bus.
    They (and many fans) have cast Taylor Hall in the Mark Messier role.
    It is clear Hall is chomping at the bit to start winning.
    Post trade we started hearing about the veterans maybe not being happy with reduced roles.

    Now imagine trade deadline day. Chuck Fletcher phones up and asks for Gilbert (Fletcher himself says he initiated the deal). Tambellini probably rushed to Lowe’s office yelling “de plane boss, de plane.” Manna from heaven to two guys who way over value being “good in the room.” A GM who wants to trade away the piece of the puzzle Kevin Lowe has been looking for ever since the decision was made to go “full retard”, sorry “full rebuild”.

    So they trade down deliberately. It was not something about Gilbert, he was stunned. It was something about the Oilers. Yet they couldn’t or wouldn’t explain it. The best ST could up with is “he is calm, doesn’t cost you games in the last minute.” Wasn’t that how he put it? How do you explain “we are trading for a guy you’ve never heard of who can turn our star, the face of our franchise, into a legend”?

    Of course they went for the young vet with a remarkable number of miles on him for his age. Calm, steady, never going to be flashy. A player whose lose literally caused his teammates to melt down. Don’t you think it is possible Nick Schultz reminded Kevin Lowe of somebody from the Boys on the Bus?

    With real problems in their dressing room “again” and an unhappy star who wants to win desperately and is fighting with the officials, veterans revolting, and a coach who had lost the room Kevin Lowe did the only he could think of and Fletcher made it possible.

    Lowe traded for Lee Fogolin.

    Schultz isn’t here to play defence. He is here to take over as team captain. He may not wear the C but he will be the leader in the room the Oilers have been searching for since CFP. More to the point he can teach other players how to lead. You only have to read the interviews with his traumatized teammates to get that Schultz doesn’t just lead people, he inspires them, his teammates love him. See Boys on the Bus, the most closely knit “family” in hockey. You don’t get that without “Daddy”.

    The Oilers traded a very good dman for a very good dman, lost some offence but gained a rare and very elite skill that isn’t used on the ice. I am sure Lowe and Tambellini would say that skill, leadership, effects every minute of every game. Not hard to understand why two guys who played with arguably the greatest leaders their sport has ever known might think that, right?

    They aren’t saying Schultz is the guy who will lead the Boys on the Bus V 2.0 around the ice holding the Stanley Cup. They think Schultz is the guy who can teach the guy who will lead the Oiler around the ice with the Cup. He is here to mentor all right, but not on the ice.

  43. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:
    Arcobello certainly earned a one year deal, and maybe at big dollars for an AHLer. But the Oilers cost themselves some leeway with that contract.

    The alternative probably meant losing him.

  44. spoiler says:

    God, Vor that was a fun story. Hope you’re right. That trade (as y’all know) has been bugging me for months and that’s a pretty cogent explanation.

  45. remember reijo says:

    If this was 15 years ago, and Tom Gilbert got traded, my first thought would be “Who’s Nick Schultz?”, but these days, and maybe its just the times, my first thought was “uh oh, someone had some skeletons”…Trades used to be about hockey, or atleast we were naive enough to believe they were. Now even honest hockey trades are suspicious because were all a bunch of Mulders. I miss those days. I miss Reijo Ruotsalainen.

  46. OilLeak says:

    In limited viewings, I never liked Blain’s game. He was an extreme chaos defender that rarely seemed to defend.

  47. jb says:

    I liked Gilbert.. but didn’t the majority perceive him as just another “soft” defender. He was swapped for a solid/steady veteran dman. Positive in, negative out. Shouldn’t it tell us that the teams starting to look towards winning?

    It’s clearly the opposite when your trying to tank

  48. Woodguy says:

    jb:
    I liked Gilbert.. but didn’t the majority perceive him as just another “soft” defender. He was swapped for a solid/steady veteran dman. Positive in, negative out. Shouldn’t it tell us that the teams starting to look towards winning?

    It’s clearly the opposite when your trying to tank

    No, many here saw Gilbert as a Dman with a wide range of skills who took on the toughest opposition and was the only Oiler dman to come out ahead or near even in scoring chances while the team finished 30th two years in a row.

  49. PunjabiOil says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if JB goes undrafted.

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