COULDN’T GET IT RIGHT

One of the things I’m looking forward to this spring is the Edmonton Oilers’ management efforts to make this team a playoff club. When we began the season, it looked pretty good and that’s fine unless something goes wrong.

And something always goes wrong.

I think the Oilers of today are a little different than the 2006-07 or 2009-10 editions. Why? A few things. First, Taylor Hall. I won’t get too far into it, but have noticed that what Taylor Hall says (keeping Hemsky around the best example) seems to have some iron with the management group. I believe Taylor Hall wants to make the playoffs. I also believe his desire to make the playoffs will be expressed verbally if things begin to go a little sideways. I hope Taylor Hall says “it would be very disappointing if we didn’t make the playoffs due to inability to address injuries” sometime this week.

The reason I feel this way? We can see the cracks forming.

  1. The Nuge is hurt again, and this has been a problem for awhile. We’ve talked about it on this blog before–certainly since the late fall when the flight from OKC to EDM was deemed necessary before the WJ trip. Someone tweeted last night ‘you can’t blame Tambo for this, not many teams can overcome 4 centermen going down in short order (Nuge, Horc, Belanger, Lander)’ and that’s true. However, you can review your roster and say ‘Nuge is a little iffy and Horc’s been wearing down, maybe we could add a 5th C for security’ by offloading Hordichuk. Is Hordichuk’s value greater than a playoff spot? Greater than Taylor Hall’s desire to make the playoffs? What is the priority among these two things?
  2. Whitney has issues that have to do with things outside of health. He’s healthy, folks. This is us with Whitney.
  3. One of the two weekend games will likely be sacrificed to Nikolai Khabibulin’s rehab. Nik hasn’t played a game in OKC, or Edmonton, but the team will play him instead of asking him to start a few AHL games.

Nikolai Khabibulin’s first start, the defense lacking depth due to a rehab stint that hasn’t started despite the player’s presence on the NHL roster, and the craziness at center that will likely see Chris VandeVelde recalled for the weekend.

All of these little things are going to add up, and the Oilers reaction to these things will be a “tell” for the season. The Fistric pickup was a positive sign, and another one might be a small trade to improve the depth at center from “first callup: Lander” to “hey, that 5th C we picked up is more useful than the 49 seconds devoted to the other guy.” Steve Tambellini could make that trade right now, today.

There was a time when Oiler fans just had to sit and take it.  Not now.  We have Taylor Hall. I wonder if he’s happy with the thought of losing the second season due to these little, fixable things. I wonder when he talks.

Hope it is soon.

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78 Responses to "COULDN’T GET IT RIGHT"

  1. raventalon40 says:

    Hope it is soon, too.

    Can never have enough effective depth players.

  2. Jonathan Willis says:

    Yeah.

    But the small errors aren’t a new thing, either. The items you’ve picked out reflect the way this team has been run at least since Tambellini was brought in, and arguably much longer.

    The rebuild can fix the talent on the ice, but it can’t change the basic philosophy behind how the team is built.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    Yeah.

    But the small errors aren’t a new thing, either. The items you’ve picked out reflect the way this team has been run at least since Tambellini was brought in, and arguably much longer.

    The rebuild can fix the talent on the ice, but it can’t change the basic philosophy behind how the team is built.

    Sure, but at some point Tambellini is going to have to make a move, address these things and put his name on the record. And I do think that these young guns are going to make the management accountable. Taylor Hall is not promised to us forever, nor is Nail Yakupov.

    this is year 3 for Hall. Not making the playoffs will have an impact.

    On everyone. jmo.

  4. mc79hockey says:

    Whitney has issues that have to do with things outside of health. He’s healthy, folks. This is us with Whitney.

    I’m confused by this. Do you know something? Or do you mean he isn’t getting any healthier?

  5. OIL4LIFE says:

    Lowetide , What trade do you think is out there? Who is giving up on good centers? Just asking

  6. Lowetide says:

    mc79hockey:
    Whitney has issues that have to do with things outside of health. He’s healthy, folks. This is us with Whitney.

    I’m confused by this. Do you know something? Or do you mean he isn’t getting any healthier?

    I mean we’re not waiting for something to heal. Reading through the previous thread there seems to be a feeling that he’s going to recover to a higher level. Whitney himself has said this is the new 100% for him.

  7. regwald says:

    Lowetide: Sure, but at some point Tambellini is going to have to make a move, address these things and put his name on the record. And I do think that these young guns are going to make the management accountable. Taylor Hall is not promised to us forever, nor is Nail Yakupov.

    this is year 3 for Hall. Not making the playoffs will have an impact.

    On everyone. jmo.

    I think Hall will continue to make his statement on the ice. Like going 3/5 in the faceoff circle last night. He is like a thoroughbred you can take him for a walk. He only knows balls to wall, hard at it. If he speaks out in the dressing room or to reporters it will send shock waves all the way to Katz’s fancy digs in Vancouver. It will be like the aftershock of an earthquake.

    I hope you are right and he says it. It is the only eye opener that might generate some action.

  8. Lowetide says:

    OIL4LIFE:
    Lowetide ,What trade do you think is out there?Who is giving up on good centers?Just asking

    I’m not talking about top flight centers, but it isn’t a stretch to suggest a club might be able to find a more suitable option than Lander, VandeVelde or Arcobello (who actually didn’t look terrible last night).

    They have the Hordichuk roster spot, they should use it. Hell the kid LA just traded, or Steckel. Ideally, they find the new Reasoner.

    Someone suggested to me today that Paajarvi should play center. Maybe that’s the ticket, then you could move Omark in when his EURO season is over. -:)

  9. borisnikov says:

    I’m worried that if Hall speaks as you expect him to, Lowe, his ego, Tambo and company will pull the ‘we’re your boss and we’ve won cups in our careers’ card. Just what we need, team leadership divided with “team leadership”. I hope management is smart enough to get out of their own way.

  10. mattwatt says:

    Lowetide,

    Great post. Agree with you on all sentiments. This team has done well so far but the holes are there, and they need to be addressed.

    This is where the rubber meets the road with this management group. Getting to the bottom was the easy part. Being a perennial winner is a completely different monster. This team needs another defense man, something has to be done with Hordichuk (his value is mute sitting on a bench and takes up a roster spot for MPS or Hartki), and Tim Connolly could be cheap if they desire and would add the depth they want.

    For if changes do not happen soon this management group will find out that while youth is always promised, it is not always delivered.

  11. oilersfan says:

    what surprised me is that not more has been made of trying to sign Dominic Moore. JW wrote about it in the COH the other day and it seems to me he is the absolute best fit. His wife dies of cancer over a month ago. not sure if this makes him more or less likely to want to play. If it were me I think I would want to get a change of scenery and immerse myself in a game I love while making new friends. Will be interesting to see if they try for him and if he is willing to sign. Also, what kind of game shape he might be in.

  12. Jesse says:

    I feel like it’s sort of to the point where if and when Steve Tambellini gets canned, it’s going to be as a scapegoat. He’s the bullseye that everything gets directed to — if the oilers cross that threshold, whether it be missing the playoffs this year or next, where it’s decided that a change needs to be made they obviously aren’t going to clean house and axe the entire three headed monster.
    With all that said, where’s the threshold? Is it missing the playoffs this year because (as Oil Change showed) they all sat around last July 1 and said, “I think we’re good” ?

  13. RMGS says:

    Lowetide: Sure, but at some point Tambellini is going to have to make a move, address these things and put his name on the record.

    Many have been saying this for years, countless times on this wonderful blog.

    Hoping for Hall to call a spade a spade is too much to ask. He’s the team’s best player but now only one of several budding stars. With the NHL culture’s disdain for rocking the boat, I just don’t see it, though it may become our desperate last hope.

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I have a feeling TR thought twice about his decision to pull the goalie in that Calgary game last year after Hall had his outburst…

    but still, you’ll notice publicly… the organization circled the wagons and Hall came out publicly to apologize:

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/01/23/taylor-hall-regrets-arguing-with-oilers-coach-tom-renney/

    I think Hall can’t afford to shame the brass publicly and stay on their good side. See: Comrie, Souray.

    It’s not clear that he can do it privately either… this is a petty, vindictive bunch.

    I’d love for him to initiate some moves… but I worry not only about mgt’s ability/initiative to do anything, but their ability to take internal criticism from an “employee who hasn’t won anything yet” (which is how I imagine they see him).

  15. bookjLe says:

    We will learn a fair bit about the organizations current strategy over the next few months.

    It should be different than in past years as the goal is different.

    It is important to understand that for 2.5 seasons man agents goal was to NOT win much.

    If 20 can’t play in a game or two, I expect that they pick up a centre in the same manner as Fistric .

  16. BlacqueJacque says:

    Dominic Moore’s wife just died less than a month ago.

    I’m not all that certain he’s going to be focused. I know I wasn’t when I lost my mother.

  17. Clarkenstein says:

    Really? It’s really come to this in Oilerville? We have to depend on a player to shame management into doing something? I have harped on this so long I’m getting sick of listening to myself. The management of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is a fucking joke! No more, no less. How many years is this now that the team is (piss)poor on faceoffs? How many years is this now the team is like a firedrill in their own end? How many years is this now the team is probably the weakest at centre in the league? How many years is this now the team is brutal on 5v5? How many years is this…blah, blah, blah!! Same crap different year. We’ve seen over the past couple years how brutal the owner of this team is at improving his product. It’s painfully obvious he’s got idiots running the show. And you expect them to make a move, any move, to improve this team?
    Stop the insanity. Please. Stop it now.

  18. bookjLe says:

    Belanger is back for Sunday’s game. Untie your undies everyone.

  19. BONVIE says:

    I think Arnott would help.

  20. misfit says:

    Belanger’s back Sunday. That means we’ll have 3 centermen in the lineup, and two on Saturday. Is the Detroit game a throwaway? Is management really comfortable going with Nuge/Gagner/VV/Smyth against the Redwings because they’re worried about having 5 centermen once Horcoff comes back a month from now and being without a 5th round pick? Should they be?

  21. bookjLe says:

    BONVIE:
    I think Arnott would help.

    So did the Rangers

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Todd Harvey anyone?

  23. leadfarmer says:

    BONVIE,

    Would definitely help the annual tank job.

    Seriously stop with the Arnott talk. The guy cant pass a physical, put that old horse out to pasture.

  24. bookjLe says:

    Tambellini is an idiot, he should trade a second round pick for Jason Arnott

  25. Woodguy says:

    Without Vic’s TOI tool I’ve felt lost to see who is playing against who.

    The guys at Left Wing Lock have filled the cap with their Line Match tool:

    http://www.leftwinglock.com/line-matching/

    Very cool.

  26. Woodguy says:

    Also,

    @theninjagreg has created a tool for Vollman graphs on demand:

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=&f7=&update-filters=Update+Results

    Very, very cool.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Man, Gagner got a healthy dose of the Sedins both nights.

  28. leadfarmer says:

    Ryan Sutter on pace for a -37 season, over 48 games.

  29. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide:
    Man, Gagner got a healthy dose of the Sedins both nights.

    If he was bigger, he would have gotten a healthier dose of them.

    (Please note that I have no idea what I mean by that.)

  30. leadfarmer says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I think Tambellini is drooling over the thoughts of trading Gagner and running 4 AHL centers for a while to get another #1 overall pick. And when he does he will be permanently stuck in Troll face.

  31. "Steve Smith" says:

    leadfarmer:
    “Steve Smith”,

    I think Tambellini is drooling over the thoughts of trading Gagner and running 4 AHL centers for a while to get another #1 overall pick.And when he does he will be permanently stuck in Troll face.

    He might have to Jeff Gilooly RNH to make that work – sounds like he’s not out for an extended period. I assume that’s why he signed Hordichuk.

  32. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Great post LT, completely agree. I can see Hall letting loose after a 5-1 drubbing for the 4th loss in a row type scenerio. He’s obviously extremely competitive and hates to loose.
    these depth issues really should have been addressed in the offseason. Your options become limited once the season starts. It’s the wait and see if it works out management style. Nothing is proactive with this group. How long can they wait? How many seasons do they throw away? There’s no prospects that are going to come in and help win games for another 2-3 years. They’re not going to wait that long to address obvious holes are they?
    Maybe ST is just be a placeholder. Maybe Katz doesn’t trust him to make the riskier decisions.

  33. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Man, Gagner got a healthy dose of the Sedins both nights.

    Look at Petry and Whitney last game.

    RK trying like hell to get 2-5 out against Jagr and Benn and Gulutzan trying like hell to get them out against Whitney.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Also,

    @theninjagreg has created a tool for Vollman graphs on demand:

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=&f7=&update-filters=Update+Results

    Very, very cool.

    Oilers LW are very interesting. RK is a fascinating guy
    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=LW&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

  35. jimbones100 says:

    SK Oiler Fan,

    I shudder when I think that Katz is in charge. This is the guy who brings his 10 year old kid to draft meetings and the guy who almost screwed up the arena deal. He has lots more money then me but by my measure I hope he stays away from hockey decisions.

  36. Ryan says:

    5 year reader of this fine blog.

    “Steve Tambellini could make that trade right now, today.”

    Love that.

  37. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Holy hell Justin Schultz
    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=D&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    Mirrors Hall.

    Put your best players in the Ozone regardless of who their out against and let it buck.

    Ralph’s trying to win 5-4, but the team 5v5 SH% of 4.6 isn’t letting that happen.

    The gifted line with the chosen one and his older brother playing D to win the game, the rest of the team to tie it.

  38. bookjLe says:

    SHawn Horcoff doesn’t even appear on the chart – it must be because he is so useless and overpaid.

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=C%2BLW%2BRW&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results
    :)

  39. Woodguy says:

    Poor old 10 taking on the toughs in the shitty end of the rink again:

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=C&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    I think Belanger can almost do his job now though…I hope. He’ll have to.

  40. jp says:

    SK Oiler Fan:
    Great post LT, completely agree. I can see Hall letting loose after a 5-1 drubbing for the 4th loss in a row type scenerio. He’s obviously extremely competitive and hates to loose.
    these depth issues really should have been addressed in the offseason. Your options become limited once the season starts. It’s the wait and see if it works out management style. Nothing is proactive with this group. How long can they wait? How many seasons do they throw away? There’s no prospects that are going to come in and help win games for another 2-3 years. They’re not going to wait that long to address obvious holes are they?
    Maybe ST is just be a placeholder. Maybe Katz doesn’t trust him to make the riskier decisions.

    To be fair, I think the depth this year is a lot better than it’s been in recent times. I agree it still isn’t what it needs to be, but the Oilers do have 10 NHL defensemen in the organization (including Randy Jones and Brett Clark, who’ve been full time NHLers for a bunch of years before this season). The depth there isn’t the issue, it’s the lack of 1 more top 4 guy. There’s clearly been a change in approach imo.

    Up front, they started the season with 4 capable NHL centres, plus Lander and VV who are both capable of filling in on the 4th line if needed. Lander looked pretty decent in his short time in the lineup too. Yes, they could have gotten even more depth guys, but if it wasn’t just centers dropping off with injuries the lineup would be a lot more able to absorb it.

    I’m not saying everything’s perfect, but I really do think there’s been a positive change in how management has attempted to deal with team depth this year. They could go a long way to proving that’s the case by picking up a stopgap (or better a long term replacement) for Horcoff, which I think we’ll very likely see them do. Anyway, this has been a run of shit luck for injuries. Yes, that happens, but there aren’t many teams that could absorb the loss of their 1C, 3C and 4C. And hey, they still picked up a point…

  41. Woodguy says:

    bookjLe:
    SHawn Horcoff doesn’t even appear on the chart – it must be because he is so useless and overpaid.

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=C%2BLW%2BRW&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    Great minds and all….

  42. Ducey says:

    Clarkenstein: Really? It’s really come to this in Oilerville? We have to depend on a player to shame management into doing something? I have harped on this so long I’m getting sick of listening to myself. The management of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is a fucking joke! No more, no less. How many years is this now that the team is (piss)poor on faceoffs? How many years is this now the team is like a firedrill in their own end? How many years is this now the team is probably the weakest at centre in the league? How many years is this now the team is brutal on 5v5? How many years is this…blah, blah, blah!! Same crap different year. We’ve seen over the past couple years how brutal the owner of this team is at improving his product. It’s painfully obvious he’s got idiots running the show. And you expect them to make a move, any move, to improve this team?Stop the insanity. Please. Stop it now.

    Insanity is wanting the GM fired when the team has moved from 29th to 13th. Insanity is going nuts because the GM doesn’t trade Oscar Klefbom for a 5th C or 6th D man. Insanity is going bananas because the GM doesn’t sign some guy out of retirement to play tomorrow.

    I expect you would want to bring in Brian Burke to replace Tambo.

  43. Woodguy says:

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=D&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    Last year 2 and 5 were blue and harder comp.

    I don’t think Petry is comfortable with the up pressure game yet, seems hesitant on whether to pressure or haul ass back.

    Ends up in no mans land a lot.

    His passing decisions aren’t as good as they were last year either.

    Some really poor plays that you wouldn’t see him make often last year.

    Progression is not a straight arrow.

  44. Woodguy says:

    Ducey: Insanity is wanting the GM fired when the team has moved from 29th to 13th.Insanity is going nuts because the GM doesn’t trade Oscar Klefbom for a 5th C or 6th D man.Insanity is going bananas because the GM doesn’t sign some guy out of retirement to play tomorrow.

    I expect you would want to bring in Brian Burke to replace Tambo.

    The only thing Tambo has done to help the team is say “With the first overall pick the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select……”

  45. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Holy hell Justin Schultz
    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=D&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    Damn right!

    Gotta also point out that Whitney’s not in all that bad a place. Not good, but that graph isn’t showing his major issues.

    Woodguy:
    Poor old 10 taking on the toughs in the shitty end of the rink again:

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=C&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    I think Belanger can almost do his job now though…I hope. He’ll have to.

    Re: #10. That is just abuse! And he’s even keeping the bubble small up there in the corner. Impressive.

  46. bookjLe says:

    Woodguy: The only thing Tambo has done to help the team is say “With the first overall pick the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select……”

    Avoided signing goalies, players, etc that would have moved them all the way up to Calgary territory
    Hired Ralph Krueger
    Rebuilt entire off-ice and farm team parts of the organization.
    Didn’t piss away a bunch of draft picks or pick stupid picks with the first rounders
    Hasn’t loaded the team down with NTC contracts
    Picked the right DD vs JDD goalie
    Picked the right Cogs vs Gags
    Flushed a lot of bad contracts/guys

    I think he has started to address some line up issues with Belanger, Eager, and Fistric, but these are marginal low end moves.

    He needs to prove that he can build a competitive team and he has to start this year. He needs to start showing a bit of that this season. Over the summer, perhaps he needs to make a bigger trade like Hemsky for some needed parts (A Dman perhaps). The difference between now and 5 years ago is that I think he can get players to come here via trade and FA now that the team does not suck.

  47. SK Oiler Fan says:

    jimbones100:
    SK Oiler Fan,

    I shudder when I think that Katz is in charge. This is the guy who brings his 10 year old kid to draft meetings and the guy who almost screwed up the arena deal.He has lots more money then me but by my measure I hope he stays away from hockey decisions.

    Agreed, quite scary. Lots of money, but lacking professionalism. Could be worse – see Wang’s World on the island

  48. bookjLe says:

    jp,

    By the chart, Whitney is doing better than Smid.

  49. Woodguy says:

    So Halak has a .889 and Elliott is sporting a .864

    Variance giveth, variance taketh away.

    Feel free to put a narrative to those numbers.

  50. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookjLe:
    jp,

    By the chart, Whitney is doing better than Smid.

    With better zonestarts. But you’re right that the chart is not kind to Smid generally.

  51. Woodguy says:

    bookjLe:
    jp,

    By the chart, Whitney is doing better than Smid.

    Tougher zone starts for 5, but 5 and 2 getting severely out shot is a big problem this year.

    5 has a .880 5v5 ONSV% and Whitney has a .914

    Justin Shultz has a .967.

    That will come crashing to earth soon, but his ONSH% is only 4.65% so his PDO might not get affected too much when the SH% goes up.

  52. bookjLe says:

    Small samples and all of that.

    With that said – Schultz looks great out there and I expect him to have some nice big blue bubbles over the years!

  53. SK Oiler Fan says:

    jp,
    Oh, the depth is better for sure. The quality of depth just wasn’t good enough from the start if the goal was to compete for a playof spot.
    Agreed, there aren’t enough complete players in the middle of the order either. I know it’s alot to ask, but this team could use A 2006 Spacek, Samsonov, and Stoll

  54. Ryan says:

    bookjLe:
    SHawn Horcoff doesn’t even appear on the chart – it must be because he is so useless and overpaid.

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&f4=C%2BLW%2BRW&f7=5-&update-filters=Update+Results

    Poor old Sam Gagner, playing the flotsam and jetsam, raking up 2nd assists, and getting out shot.

  55. Ryan says:

    bookjLe,

    True, but sandbagging a team for draft picks and avoiding disastrous contracts is a different skill set than making a hockey trade. Is there proof that he can make a hockey trade?

  56. jfry says:

    Great links in this thread today, guys!

  57. Lucinius says:

    I’m probably saying something that all you stats guys will probably disagree with, but, in my opinion (and based on merely watching the games and not scrutinizing the relevant advanced stats) the biggest problem with the Smid/Petry pairing has been horrific defensive zone help from the forwards they’ve been with rather than their own short-comings, more often than not.

    Meaning, that while Smid and Petry (more the latter than the former, imo) haven’t been as good as they were for parts of last season the biggest issue they’ve had is they haven’t been getting the same kind of puck support and options as last year from the forward groups they’ve been out with. The RNH/Hall/Eberle line in particular (but Yakupov, hemsky and Gagner are culprits of this as well), while able to make some nice defensive plays against the rush, have faltered at puck support in the defensive zone or giving Smid/Petry good options at exiting the zone. Often they’ve cheated for offense, fumbled a pass, or been in the wrong position.

    I don’t mean all the time, of course. But often enough. Whereas with the Schultz pairing only the former has been an issue, whereas on the exit Justin Schultz is just that good at finding them or using is calm and steady brain to get out of trouble.

    I’d go through all the advanced stats and see how all this matched up with my observations… but I’ve found going too deeply into advanced stats has actually detracted from my enjoyment of the game (it gets tedious, the debates over which advanced stats are good/bad/irrelevant, and just that it.. waters down the pure visceral joy of watching this club play by using nasty, vile logic and maths).

    On the whole, I’ve enjoyed the game Smid and Petry have brought this year. Although I feel they started the season at a not great level they’ve been getting better (Smid in particular).

  58. Lowetide says:

    Lucinius: No doubt, that’s one of the things a team with so many young forwards is going to learn on the job. Good point.

  59. oilersfan says:

    Nobody has mentioned that Stauffer has mentioned a few times that the name he has heard the Oilers may have interset in is Roman Hamrlik. He has been a healthy scratch in Washington. Any thoughts on him?

    One should also note that the Oilers did sign Randy Jones and Brett Clark, both NHL veterans with hundreds of games each, to the AHL team. One can only hope once they are in game shape they take either Whitney or Potter’s spot on the team.

    Question for you all. If they sign either of Clark or Jones to NHL contracts, do they need to clear waivers? Similarly, if the Oilers decide to sign Omark due to some sort of injury , when the Swiss season is over, would he have to clear waivers? I don’t think he would, assuming there would be a few teams with injuries at that point in the season.

  60. "Steve Smith" says:

    oilersfan,

    I believe, but I stand open to correction, that players are never exposed to waivers when moving from the AHL to the NHL under the new CBA. It was rightly recognized as a pointless incentive to leave such players in the minors, which helped nobody (except less worthy, waiver ineligible players who would be called up instead).

  61. Ribs says:

    oilersfan: Nobody has mentioned that Stauffer has mentioned a few times that the name he has heard the Oilers may have interset in is Roman Hamrlik. He has been a healthy scratch in Washington. Any thoughts on him?

    A first overall pick? Tamby would be all over that!

  62. Gret99zky says:

    Great post, LT.

    I jeer you sometimes because of the eternal optimism you possess but I really appreciate it more often than not. I agree that many arrows are pointing in the right directions. Its fun watching the kids develop. The future is looking bright.

    I just can’t believe, no matter how hard I try, that this team makes the playoffs this year. I didn’t believe it in July and I don’t believe it now.

    I just don’t think Tambi has what it takes. And besides perhaps Columbus I can’t envision the 7 teams that are going to lie down and let these Oilers pass them in the standings to scoop up that 8th spot.

    Of course I hope they make it to the second season but logic and reason say otherwise.

  63. russ99 says:

    Sometimes you gotta wonder if that conspiracy theory of the Oilers brass not doing what it takes to win until the new building opens doesn’t have a slight grain of truth to it.

  64. DBO says:

    Go get David Steckal out of TO. He has been healthy scratched a few times. Won’t take much since he is a 4th liner, with possibly some 3rd line ability in a pinch. He is a 5th rd pick at most in a trade. Or hell, trade them Hordichuk since TO loves tough guys, or even Peckham (fits TO mold/want for toughness),. Or Boyle from the Rags (was mentioned in earlier thread) would be perfect, since he could effectively replace Horcoff if he is bought out this summer, is more in the age range (28) of this team and brings a toughness we lack. I would be prepared to trade a solid asset for him, like a Marincin . Funny thing is Whitney and a prospect could get it done since in NY they are looking for PP help, and that is the one thing Whitney actually does. Now, it doesn’t help our D depth at all so more moves would have to happen, but it would solve a huge problem while adding to a needed area for the cup run in 2 years(which I believe is our true window). Management should have 2015 cup run in big letters on every spare wall in their building. if a player doesn’t fit that timeline, then they are an asset that can be moved.

    What is crazy, money aside, we have 3 full lines for 2015 ready to go.

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky (yes we need to re-sign him)
    Harti-Lander-MPS

    So you need a 3rd/4th line, which I know can be bought as free agents, but adding a Boyle who would be 30 in 2015 and bring needed size and toughness is important. Maybe Hamilton improves, who knows, but the late 20′s early 30′s 3rd/4th line guys are needed with toughness and defensive awareness. On D same thought

    ??-Shultz
    Smid-Petry
    Shultz-???

    Maybe it is Klefbom or Musil in those spots, or a vet UFA to fill a hole. But no one else is untradeable, so this year you can still inch into the playoffs with this current roster, but dammit i hope they see that in 2 years we are true cup contenders, so build for it now by adding pieces we need and removing spare parts.

  65. godot10 says:

    1)The price of a legit top 4D in a trade is too high right now and was too high last summer. Sometimes doing nothing is better than creating another hole by doing something. The Oilers probably could have had Hjalmarsson, but at the price of Gagner. That would have been a bad trade.

    2) Fistric was a nice little deal. Jones and Clark getting prepped in OKC is good.

    3) The OIlers can probably get Streit as a UFA next summer to bridge the gap to Klefbom and Marincin, so patience, though painful, might be the right course of action. The cluster is looking exciting enough that other UFA may begin to consider the Oilers.

    4) Since Arcobello was sent down, I think we might see Hall at centre on Saturday against Detroit.

    i.e.

    Smyth, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Yakupov, Gagner, Hemsky
    Paajarvi, Hall, Hartikainen
    Eager, Petrell

    And seven D.

  66. sliderule says:

    It’s too late to do much.The time was last July when there were a couple of bigger free agent forwards
    On the market.
    This weekend will start to tell the tale.Lose to Detroit and Columbus and Lowetide can start drawing up our draft list.

  67. DBO says:

    sliderule,

    Actually I think the opposite. With this year being so short, there will be way more teams “in it” at the deadline, and one good 3 or 4 game run can vault you from 11th to 7th. Just need a tune up, not an overhaul to make the playoffs. Get a 4th line physical centre who adds depth when we are healthy and fills a need when we are not (which is often). And pick up an actual NHL dman (which may be in house with Clark. He is an upgrade on Potter and probably Whitney at this point) to play the Sutton role (6/7, never going to hurt you when he plays)

  68. Jordan says:

    WRT the Vollman chart for LW….

    The thing that strikes me most about this is Smyth’s bubble.

    The man is nearly breaking even with a terrible ZS.

    Smytty is swimming up the waterfall folks. He deserves a lot more credit than he’s been getting.

  69. Zipdot says:

    russ99:
    Sometimes you gotta wonder if that conspiracy theory of the Oilers brass not doing what it takes to win until the new building opens doesn’t have a slight grain of truth to it.

    You read my mind — this entire thread adds fuel to the fire and it’s been on my mind for weeks.

  70. Woodguy says:

    Ryan,

    Poor old Sam Gagner, playing the flotsam and jetsam, raking up 2nd assists, and getting out shot.

    I don’t think its flotsam and jetsam, but he is getting outshot and that’s a concern.

    Like Lucinius says, the 2-5 pairing is getting out shot and the forwards aren’t helping.

    Here’s a pretty interesting table.

    Justin Shultz WOWY 5v5 Zone adjusted Corsi:

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1683&withagainst=true&season=2012-13&sit=f10

    If he’s not with Elder or the gifted line, he’s getting buried.

    Also,

    I really think its the up ice pressure system that RK put in place.

    I love it because a highly skilled team like EDM should thrive, but given the copious amount of 2 on 1′s we see, the forwards are blowing assignments all over the place.

    The D are being taught to pinch and hold up the break out around the opposition blue line while the F are supposed to blow past them to shore up behind them, but often someone is getting left on an island.

    Gagner is particularly bad at that as the C is supposed to cover for the pinching D.

  71. Woodguy says:

    bookjLe,

    Avoided signing goalies, players, etc that would have moved them all the way up to Calgary territory
    Hired Ralph Krueger
    Rebuilt entire off-ice and farm team parts of the organization.
    Didn’t piss away a bunch of draft picks or pick stupid picks with the first rounders
    Hasn’t loaded the team down with NTC contracts
    Picked the right DD vs JDD goalie
    Picked the right Cogs vs Gags
    Flushed a lot of bad contracts/guys

    So what did he do after breakfast?
    :)

    There is a serious lack of “added good players outside of drafting 1st overall” on that list.

  72. godot10 says:

    DBO:
    sliderule,

    Actually I think the opposite. With this year being so short, there will be way more teams “in it” at the deadline, and one good 3 or 4 game run can vault you from 11th to 7th. Just need a tune up, not an overhaul to make the playoffs. Get a 4th line physical centre who adds depth when we are healthy and fills a need when we are not (which is often). And pick up an actual NHL dman (which may be in house with Clark. He is an upgrade on Potter and probably Whitney at this point) to play the Sutton role (6/7, never going to hurt you when he plays)

    With the upcoming draft, why would one want to give up a lottery ticket on Seth Jones by going from 11th to 7th? At 11th in the conference, one is drafting in the top 10 (with a lottery ticket for Seth Jones). At 7th, one is drafting in the top 20 (with no lottery ticket for Seth Jones). There are a lot better centres in the top 10, than in the top 20.

    The Oilers want to be with the pack in the hunt for a playoff spot. If they get in, great. But it is impossible to fix the defense in this short season to have any chance in the playoffs. These are not the 2006 OIlers who once they got a goaltender could compete with anybody. So one doesn’t sacrifice any significant part of the future to make the playoffs this year.

  73. russ99 says:

    I’m not sure you really could have done anything about the bottom six this offseason, since we’re saddled with Horcoff’s contract and dumping Smyth would have been a really unpopular move.

    You can split hairs with the intelligence of bringing back Eager, Hordichuk and Petrell, but Petrell has worked out, HartikInen and Paajarvi are at least solid 4th line options and there was lockout uncertainty about the cap and contracts, so that could very well play a factor.

    This summer is really when we find out how important the playoffs are to Katz and management. By my reckoning most of our FA’s should be gone with a chance for real upgrade, especially at the backend and by creating a real shutdown line as other teams are scrambling to get under the lowered cap.

    To me the bigger sin this summer was not stocking OKC properly, along the lines of what AHL clubs like Houston and Dallas have.

  74. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks for the hockey analysis link.

    It answered my question about why RK would put Whitney out with the Gagner line when they are getting killed in terms of goals against per 60 on and producing no offence. I owe RK an apology it actually makes perfect sense. It isn’t just on the power play those 4 guys click. Turns out at evens they are quite seriously out chancing. If the four of them were finishing at league average they would all be plus players. Bad luck is combining with bad defence and the result isn’t pretty.

  75. bookjLe says:

    Woodguy:
    bookjLe,

    There is a serious lack of “added good players outside of drafting 1st overall” on that list.

    I agree and it may be telling that most of the reclaimation projects he took on did not turn out well (Petrell perhaps?). No hidden gems were found during that time. One could argue that the tank job time was not the time to make real deal for real players, however, it now must be the time to be looking for some depth in the needed areas and over the next year or so, one would think that getting a d-man, a centre, and a solid backup goalie would be important. I would try to do as much of that through FA as I could given that players might actually come here now and that you don’t want to be raiding the future to serve the present yet (not until cup run time). The Oilers also don’t really have much to offer in terms of a trade other than future assets.

    So, it’s getting to be put up or get out time for Steve Tambellini. I don’t have a problem with that nor with a criticism of him not getting real NHLers (when it comes with a recognition of the tank job). However, Lowe was pretty good at getting players prior to his whale hunting days and one would think that Lowe and MacT could work the trade front to gather needed parts.

  76. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookjLe: I agree and it may be telling that most of the reclaimation projects he took on did not turn out well (Petrell perhaps?). No hidden gems were found during that time.

    I think that is fair as far as it goes… but I’m not sure how far it goes.

    I’m more inclined to say Belanger was a decent bet (though he appears to have been overpaid and overtermed), Petrell/Eager are serious bubble candidates. It’s hard to say they were safe bets, or even that they offered much upside (beyond the limited role they were brought in for)… but Barker, Hordichuk…

    all tolled these aren’t the moves of someone building an NHL team, but of someone shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic… since getting a lottery pick seems like it was paramount, I guess there was some method there… but it’s not a promising sign going forward.

    at some point ST is going to have to put down the gun and build a team.

  77. oilswell says:

    I’m having a hard time figuring out how much outrage to feel that so little is being done to address the injuries.

    Over a whole season how many standings points do you suppose they are above replacement level players? And how many standings points do you suppose Lander and Arcobello are below replacement level players?

    So assuming in total Horcoff and Belanger are out 1/5 of the season each, what is the total standings points the the management are likely to flush? If its even 3 the gap between Lander+Arcobello and Horcoff+Belanger is really significant, yes?

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