OILERS AT PREDATORS G31 (12-13) 25.3.13

Steve Tambellini took over as Oilers GM late summer 2008. The business of the 2008 off-season was done–Jordan Eberle was drafted, Lubo had been acquired for Stoll & Greene, Raffi had been sent away for Gilbert Brule, Erik Cole was an Oiler at the cost of Joni Pitkanen and the free agent signing of note that summer was Jason Strudwick. All of those things happened before Steve Tambellini got to Edmonton July 31, 2008.

If we made a list of major events that Steve Tambellini has watched over since his arrival, how many of them can we absolutely say were made to improve the team right away? I’m talking about a trade like the Lubo pickup–an effort to improve performance immediately. Here are the major events of Steve Tambellini’s first year as GM:

  1. September 30, 2008: Claimed Steve MacIntyre on waivers from Florida Panthers. This transaction is notable for two reasons: first, during the Tambellini era the Oilers have endured a plethora of enforcers and Coke Machines who can’t actually take a pass/make a pass or move the puck forward. MacT had always employed BG, who could do a few more things than your average player in this role. Edmonton’s enforcers have been a moving target during these years, suggesting the club didn’t really solve the problem (although recent pickup Mike Brown appears to be the real deal). The second reason it’s notable is that ST used the waiver wire, something we’ve seen many times (Jesse Boulerice, Ryan Jones) during his time here.
  2. January 17, 2009: Traded G Mathieu Garon to Pittsburgh for L Ryan Stone, G Dany Sabourin and a 2011 4th round selection (Tobias Rieder). Here we see another trend for Tambellini, adding draft picks and minor league players while sending away NHL players. Garon remains an NHL goaltender, while Stone and Sabourin are outside the league and Rieder is finally ready to turn pro. I would characterize these trades as ‘crippling’ at the NHL level while giving the scouting staff another bullet to cash down the line.
  3. March 4, 2009: Traded L Erik Cole and a 2009 5th round pick (Matt Kennedy) in exchange for L Patrick O’Sullivan and R Ales Kotalik. The trade was a little more complicated than that, Edmonton held LA’s 2nd rd pick for a second (Jesse Blacker) before sending it on for Kotalik.  As with the Garon trade, Cole remains an NHL player but O’Sullivan and Kotalik are on the outside looking in.
  4. April 15, 2009: Fired Craig MacTavish. It’s kind of funny now, firing the coach who won 38 games and 85 points in the 2008-09 season. Tambellini’s replacements would not do as well.
  5. May 26, 2009: Oilers hire Pat Quinn as head coach and Tom Renney as Associate Coach, with Kelly Buchberger staying on as assistant coach. Charlie Huddy was out of work for about 5 minutes, and the Oilers began a period of transition that may not be over at the coaching position. One of the things about living in Edmonton is that you hear things, and the Quinn experiment may have been exposed as doomed early on. Coach Renney would be relied on during the year and of course has other chapters in this piece. I found Quinn to be a fun quote and a fascinating addition. I don’t think there are many men in the coaching profession who would have put JFJ on the 1line.
  6. June 27, 2009: Oilers trade C Kyle Brodziak and a 6th rd pick in 2009 draft (Darcy Kuemper) to Minnesota for 4th rd pick (Kyle Bigos) and a 5th rd pick (Olivier Roy). As with many of Tambellini’s trades, he seems to have cornered the “subtraction by subtraction” market from his opposition GMs. Brodziak has been very productive and Kuemper beat both Bigos and Roy to the NHL, impressing many with his 2013 debut. As with so many of the trades during the Tambellini era, players are sent away for no immediate help.
  7. July 1, 2009: Oilers sign G Nikolai Khabibulin to a 4-year, $15 million dollar contract. Tambellini’s signature move came in his first sojourn into July 1st free agency and he gave both extreme dollars and term to an old goaltender, once again choosing “the path less trodden” as his best option. Khabibulin rewarded ST with a 31-78 W-L record and some bad PR.
  8. July 9, 2009: Oilers trade F Tim Sestito to New Jersey for a conditional pick. I list this transaction because Sestito is still getting into NHL games (3 this season) and the Oilers are still waiting for their pick.
  9. September 10, 2009: Oilers sign C Mike Comrie to a 1-year contract. Comrie never really got to show his stuff completely healthy, but it was a nice feel good story if you forget about the Corey Perry part of the story.

This brings us to the end of Tambellini’s first full season as GM. Among the players he acquired by trade, waiver or free agency, only Nikolai Khabibulin remains in the league and unless Tambellini signs him again that should be taken care of in 18 games. Among the men he sent away, Matheiu Garon, Erik Cole, Craig MacTavish, Kyle Brodziak, Darcy Kuemper and Tim Sestito remain in the league. Tomorrow: flushing forwards, 10 at a time.

Jonathan Willis is going some great things with zone entries (Bruce McCurdy doing the same with exits) over at Cult of Hockey.

  • Willis: The Oilers had exactly one shot (and I’m including missed shots here) off 43 uncontrolled 5v5 zone entries. Mind boggling.

The Oilers have been creative in the neutral zone in spurts this season, with passes to wingers in full stride and such, but they’re not good at retrieval when Hartikainen doesn’t dress and Smyth fading. I wonder if this size/puck retrieval/PF thing will reach a fever pitch, and if that happens I wonder if the Oilers will end up dealing a Yakupov for a Lucic. I’m beyond saying things are impossible, we’re through the looking glass here people.

Nashville is the place Edmonton played one of their really poor games this season (along with the early SJS game and Saturday’s Blues tilt at home), losing 6-0 on March 8th. Edmonton played much better in a 3-2 win just over a week ago at home. Barry Trotz has now won 516 games with Nashville, in a third place tie all-time for wins by a coach with one organization:

  1. Al Arbour, NYI (740)
  2. Lindy Ruff, Buffalo (578)
  3. Billy Reay, Chicago (516)
  4. Barry Trotz, Nashville (516)
  5. Toe Blake, Montreal (500)
  6. Glen Sather, Edmonton (464)
  7. Dick Irvin, Montreal (431)
  8. Scotty Bowman, Montreal (419)
  9. Jack Adams, Detroit (413)
  10. Scotty Bowman, Detroit (410)

Devan Dubnyk

There is a sense of urgency for the Oilers now, best reflected in the words of the coach:

  • Krueger: “We need to go back on the road and play very special hockey now, in Nashville and then again in St. Louis. Anything less than three points here in the next two games will make things difficult. We would have liked to have at least six points on this home stand.”

The Oilers will have RNH back, which probably means the club will be sending out Hartikainen. I expect this will be a paper move, there should be a few transactions by the weekend.

Jim Matheson has a note up about Laddy Smid’s situation:

  • If the Edmonton Oilers believe unrestricted free agent Ladislav Smid is part of their core (he certainly is, and could easily have an A on his jersey), then they will offer him a five-year contract for likely $17.5 million and get the deal done before the April 3 trade deadline.

I think it’ll cost more, but you never know.

birkin2

 

Youth is a funny thing. The world worships youth nowadays, but 30 years ago experience had value and it still does when there’s a job to do well. I think that’s the lesson for the Oilers this week: Dan DeKeyser may be a plug and play, but replacing Ladislav Smid with a player that has zero NHL experience is not the plan of wise men.

The Oilers have D prospects as far as the eye can see, and it’s likely that one or two of them (say Klefbom and Simpson) will end up being significant top 4D talents. DeKeyser may be a head of them, but they still need transitional blue, and Smid is that at the very least.

Sign the man.

mar 25

 

Oilers won’t move up the standings much (if at all, PHX plays too) tonight, but a clear win puts them 1 point behind Nashville with two games in hand. All is not lost, but a repeat of last season’s elevator shaft trip through games 30-40 (2-9-0) is a must to avoid.

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282 Responses to "OILERS AT PREDATORS G31 (12-13) 25.3.13"

« Older Comments
  1. spoiler says:

    God we cheat to exit the Zone way too early, No puck control and Gagner was already gone. Can’t do that with Yak already on the first train out. Meanwhile Preds had the puck down low and dangerous.

  2. Reg Dunlop says:

    Oilers could trade Khabbi for a 2nd, but they would have to throw Hall in. Is that an overpay?

  3. Clay says:

    So, the good news is one of Barkov or MacKinnon will still be available at 4th overall.

    Just sayin’.

  4. nelson88 says:

    Lowetide,

    There aren’t many (if any) Oilers who stand in the “good” category tonight but I’m curious how you lay the blame on the 4th line?

    They weren’t on the ice for the 1st goal.

    The Oiler most responsible for the 2nd goal was the wonder kid defensman who almost made a fantastic defensive play (according to Louie) except for the fact it wasn’t because there is no way a good defensive play would have let Erat get the puck to start with. It was a gong show from that point. Schutlz Jr. will be a great player but right now he is Paul Coffey without the offensive chops. He spends more time below the offensive dots then MPS. He really needs a rest or at least to have his ice time cut back.

    The 3rd goal was all on Fistric. It should have been a simple 2 on 2. So benign that Smyth can be seen having a leisurely skate to the bench for a change.

    Again, nobody deserves praise but the “narrative” on the 4th line sucks needs a bit more meat on the bone considering the relative time on ice and salaries involved.

  5. spoiler says:

    It’s a goal???!!!!

  6. hunter1909 says:

    spoiler: Someone told Hemsky there were Boston scouts in the crowd.

    They’re more close personal friends of Tyler Seguin; later on they’re going to be calling Seguin and sharing some of the mirth associated with Taylor Hall’s hockey career.

  7. DBO says:

    well maybe there are scouts? Heard MAclean said Bulin was worth more then him I suppose

  8. spoiler says:

    Dirty Russian with one of his patented body part deflections.

  9. DBO says:

    and the kids really do play way better together.

  10. spoiler says:

    Move Yak to defence!

  11. Lowetide says:

    nelson88:
    Lowetide,

    There aren’t many (if any) Oilers who stand in the “good” category tonight but I’m curious how you lay the blame on the 4th line?

    They weren’t on the ice for the 1st goal.

    The Oiler most responsible for the 2nd goal was the wonder kid defensman who almost made a fantastic defensive play (according to Louie) except for the fact it wasn’t because there is no way a good defensive play would have let Erat get the puck to start with. It was a gong show from that point. Schutlz Jr. will be a great player but right now he is Paul Coffey without the offensive chops. He spends more time below the offensive dots then MPS. He really needs a rest or at least to have his ice time cut back.

    The 3rd goal was all on Fistric. It should have been a simple 2 on 2. So benign that Smyth can be seen having a leisurely skate to the bench for a change.

    Again, nobody deserves praise but the “narrative” on the 4th line sucks needs a bit more meat on the bone considering the relative time on ice and salaries involved.

    The 4th line had an insane shift before (I believe the) second goal where all three were caught deep after a long, long shift, changed but too late. Two shifts later they created a gong show in their own end by not getting the puck out.

    The 4th line can’t play. We knew that when they all returned from a year ago, but they simply can’t play.

  12. VanOil says:

    spoiler:
    Move Yak to defence!

    I figure he could slot in as our #4D today with no lack of competence.

  13. godot10 says:

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Paajarvi, Gagner, Yakupov

    The rest of the year please.

    Hartikainen, Horcoff, Hemsky (Sub Smyth for Harti in the 3rd period if necessary)

    Smyth, Lander, Brown

  14. DBO says:

    really Hall? toe drag Shea Weber?

  15. spoiler says:

    Would someone tell Hall to JUST SHOOT THE FUCKING PUCK!

    That’s not the first time tonight he’s given up an opportunity by going all Barbara Ann.

  16. DBO says:

    godot10,

    Agree. Completely. Bye bye Jones, Petrell, Belanger

  17. VanOil says:

    godot10:
    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Paajarvi, Gagner, Yakupov

    The rest of the year please.

    Hartikainen, Horcoff, Hemsky (Sub Smyth for Harti in the 3rd period if necessary)

    Smyth, Lander, Brown

    Agreed

  18. godot10 says:

    Hall seems to get a lot more grief than Hemsky does HERE for not shooting the puck, even though Hemsky has not been shooting the puck for a decade, and Hall is leading the team in boxcars.

  19. Reg Dunlop says:

    That was inexcusable. Brown jams at Rinne, gets surrounded by 5 preds with NO help from the oilers on the ice. Pathetic.

  20. spoiler says:

    Good shift. And once again Yakupov is the first forward back.

  21. DBO says:

    yep, 3:51 left out out the 4th line? wtf?

  22. godot10 says:

    Paajarvi does seem to be about the only Oiler capable of finding Yakupov on the ice for a pass.

  23. Zelepukin says:

    This should be the minimum intensity they should be playing with all the time, every period, every game.

  24. spoiler says:

    Horrible dump and chase by Gagner there.

  25. nelson88 says:

    Lowetide,

    Here are the stats for some of the big dogs for the 11 completed games in March.

    Hall: 3G 6A and -2
    Eberle: 1G 5A and -5 the guy is a favourite of mine but that isn’t good enough
    Schultz 3 A and -8
    Hemsky (10 games) 4A and -2

    Sample size? advance stats? The oilers best players are young and don’t have the jam (yet) to make this a playoff team. Perhaps the problem is that Freddie isn’t holding the wonder kids accountable. Clearly some on the internet aren’t.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Well they didn’t deserve it tonight, and that’s the truth. Krueger needs to find a new 4th line by tomorrow night and that’s for sure.

  27. Reg Dunlop says:

    One step closer to a top 3 pick. One step closer to going off the board and selecting Lazar.

  28. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Jack made the end seem super intense. Was that being Jack, or did the Oil actually play like they are capable of? I was watching online, but the feeds kept getting choppy.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Dennis King ‏@DKingBH 1m

    Final chances: 13-13; 4-2 ST

  30. DBO says:

    Lowetide,

    Lander better be on his way up. I like Harsky, but he hasn’t played well enough to be in lineup as long as they keep the deadwood around and he has waiver eligibility. Think Godot had the lineup on a previous post, but here is what it should be

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Paajarvi-Gagner-Yakupov
    Harsky-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Smyth-Lander-Brown

    I would even switch Smyth and Harsky, reunite the old top line and let Harsky and Brown smash people.

  31. dessert1111 says:

    Lowetide: Nah, there are good hockey players on the club but the gap between good and bad is miles and miles of miles and miles.

    For sure, lots of good hockey players. But there’s something lacking that is more than just the talent level of the bottom guys, no? Team chemistry? Systems? Try? Even the good guys get man-handled too much for my liking. It’s not their talent level, it’s something else, something on a team level, imo

  32. Lowetide says:

    nelson88:
    Lowetide,

    Here are the stats for some of the big dogs for the 11 completed games in March.

    Hall:3G 6A and -2
    Eberle:1G 5Aand -5 the guy is a favourite of mine but that isn’t good enough
    Schultz3 Aand-8
    Hemsky(10 games)4A and -2

    Sample size? advance stats? The oilers best players are young and don’t have the jam (yet) to make this a playoff team. Perhaps the problem is that Freddie isn’t holding the wonder kids accountable. Clearly some on the internet aren’t.

    Hall’s last 11 (3-7-10) games isn’t good enough? Okay. I think that’s unreasonable though

  33. spoiler says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    Jack made the end seem super intense.Was that being Jack, or did the Oil actually play like they are capable of?I was watching online, but the feeds kept getting choppy.

    They were a lot better from the 5 minute mark of the 3rd on. Except for the final minute. Then it was back to suckage.

  34. Ribs says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    Jack made the end seem super intense.Was that being Jack, or did the Oil actually play like they are capable of?I was watching online, but the feeds kept getting choppy.

    Bunch of one man rushes…bleh.

  35. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: Hall’s last 11 (3-7-10) games isn’t good enough? Okay. I think that’s unreasonable though

    MacT: it’s also what you leave.

    They’ve all been out-scored. The kids aren’t there yet, and it’s bloody optimistic to think they would be their first year facing the toughs. They’re close though. I like what I’m seeing.There are still some pretty dumb errors being made, but their speed and talent are undeniable. They’ll get it.

  36. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: MacT: it’s also what you leave.

    They’ve all been out-scored. The kids aren’t there yet, and it’s bloody optimistic to think they would be their first year facing the toughs.They’re close though. I like what I’m seeing. Still some pretty dumb errors are being made, but their speed and talent is undeniable.They’ll get it.

    This isn’t Hall’s first year facing the toughs. Oilers aren’t going to win the Stanley but they could be a lot closer to the playoffs with something resembling NHL players F’s 10-12.

  37. nelson88 says:

    Lowetide,

    No. Hall’s is fine but to make a fair argument I included as “positive” a cross section as possible. You still haven’t answered the question. Honestly, you really think those stats are good enough for your supposed 1st and 2nd line players?!

    The Oilers 4th line and D are no great shakes but if the folks making the big bucks and playing 15 – 20 minutes per night are putting up those results you are not a playoff team.

  38. Lowetide says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 5m

    “We came with a better sense of desperation in the third, but we needed to play like that all game.” – Nick Schultz

  39. Lowetide says:

    “It’s just not enough. 20 minutes against good teams is just not enough.” – Shawn Horcoff

  40. Lowetide says:

    3m

    “We had a decent start, had a lull in the 2nd and dominated the 3rd but by then it was too late.” – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

  41. Lowetide says:

    nelson88:
    Lowetide,

    No. Hall’s is fine but to make a fair argument I included as “positive” a cross section as possible. You still haven’t answered the question. Honestly, you really think those stats are good enough for your supposed 1st and 2nd line players?!

    The Oilers 4th line and D are no great shakes but if the folks making the big bucks and playing 15 – 20 minutes per night are putting up those results you are not a playoff team.

    The Oilers 1st and 2nd lines are fine, they really are. Now, they’ve been banged up a little, but honestly Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, Hemsky, Paajarvi are fine, and honestly I’m also okay with the top 2 pairings and the goalie.

    This isn’t about the top 6 forward and the top 4d or the 1G anymore.

    This is about depth. The Oilers have none, or very little.

  42. dessert1111 says:

    I, for one, am sick of hearing excuses from them. They have talent — why can’t they just play like they want it as bad as the other team for the whole game?!

    Hey, maybe they can get this year’s college free agent AND Seth Jones.

    Klefbom – J Schultz
    College guy – Petry
    Jones – Smid

    Might be a good defense in a couple years….

  43. dessert1111 says:

    By the way LT, I agree that the 4th line isn’t good enough, but I truly believe it’s more than that at this point. There are fundamental problems with this team that goes far beyond the crappy fourth line. I don’t know if any of the players are playing consistently well enough. Sure, Hall, Gagner, etc play really well sometimes. Game in and game out? No. Other players on the roster rarely play well enough in their role. So many issues team-wide.

  44. godot10 says:

    The subpar defense really hurts the effectiveness of the forwards.

    The Oilers defense is really a 2nd pairing (Smid-Petry), a 3rd pairing (Schultz-Schultz), and an AHL level pairing.

    The 4th line would probably even be passable if the Oilers had more than 4 NHL defensemen.

  45. godot10 says:

    So MacT has to work a miracle this week in Toronto.

    But if the miracle happens, I bet they send Paajarvi to the AHL to make room! (-.

  46. Lowetide says:

    dessert1111:
    By the way LT, I agree that the 4th line isn’t good enough, but I truly believe it’s more than that at this point. There are fundamental problems with this team that goes far beyond the crappy fourth line. I don’t know if any of the players are playing consistently well enough. Sure, Hall, Gagner, etc play really well sometimes. Game in and game out? No. Other players on the roster rarely play well enough in their role. So many issues team-wide.

    Sure, that’s part of the maturation process and they’re frustrated/trying to do too much. However, that will pass and they’ll be even better at pushing things.

    This is where losing organizations lose their way. This is where the Islanders trade their future. Oilers youth is stunning.

    Oilers veterans are ghastly.

  47. Genjutsu says:

    Lowetide,

    In defense of Belanger he was playing well until breaking his toes then he was put in over his head with Horc out. He’s still an NHLer.

    Jones has been behind the eight ball not playing for so long. Brown is an enforcer type and plays better than any I can recall on this team.

  48. Lowetide says:

    5m

    “Our urgency was there in the third, but you’re not going to make playoffs if you don’t maintain that for 60 minutes.” – Krueger

    Also said they’re fine with Smyth at center but may callup someone tomorrow.

  49. asiaoil says:

    I don’t know if it’s possible but here is what I would do:

    - trade Hemsky for a slightly bigger, younger 2nd line RW (Stafford, Stewart etc)
    - trade Eberle (yes Eberle) for a bigger salary top pair dman (JBo or similar)
    - trade Khabi, Whitney, Peckham, Jones, Eager for younger bottom 6 help or release

    The next year would be…..

    Hall RNH Yak
    MSP Gags Stafford/Stewart
    Harski Horcoff UFA/trade
    Smyth UFA/trade Brown
    Belanger

    JayBo Shultz
    Smid Petry
    Schultz Klefbom
    Potter

    Dubnyk/UFA

    Nothing to do on the defense for next year and we only need a couple of beefy bottom 6 players through UFA and using any assets we gain from trading guys like Whitney, Jones & Peckham. I don’t care if we trade every pick this year aside from the 1st rounder for the right guys. This is win now or the kids lose heart and want out. Let me repeat – next season is indeed win now territory unless you want an endless rebuild like Atlanta or NYI.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Potter’s goal has now been changed to Hall’s.

  51. Bos8 says:

    For God’s sake get a center or two. They can always switch off to wing.

  52. Reg Dunlop says:

    Lowetide,

    ‘Oilers youth is stunning’; I am afraid you are overestimating them. ‘ Oilers veterans are ghastly’; I am afraid you are right on the money.

  53. rich says:

    Was at the game and looked at most of the comments posted. Sorry for any redundancies. Couple of things really stood out.

    - 4th line was pathetic. In the 2nd period it was comical. Potter is behind the net looking for someone to make a pass and all 3 forwards are beyond the redline (Smyth, Brown and Jones).

    - Too much of the FPS (Fancy Pass Syndrome) in the 1st and 2nd periods. By the 3rd period, they finally started driving the net and creating issues for Nashville.

    - Were totally outskated in the first 2 periods. Could not handle the Nashville forecheck and break the puck out because they either couldn’t make a simple pass or too often the forwards were cheating for offense.

    - Eberle was pretty invisible tonight. Don’t mind him with Nuge and Hall, but like how Horcov drove the middle and got pucks to the net.

    Another loss. Only question now is if Tambellini can be decisive when he walks to the podium at the draft, eh?

    - Gagner is another who cheats for offense and does not get down low in his own zone to help get possession. Result of this in the first two periods was a frequent inability to get the puck out.

    - Fistric (another one of ST’s outstanding acquisition’s) was brutal tonight. He and Potter together were pure Chaos.

    - Shultz the younger was badly beaten on the 2nd goal. Learning curve.

  54. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers 1st and 2nd lines are fine, they really are. Now, they’ve been banged up a little, but honestly Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, Hemsky, Paajarvi are fine, and honestly I’m also okay with the top 2 pairings and the goalie.

    This isn’t about the top 6 forward and the top 4d or the 1G anymore.

    This is about depth. The Oilers have none, or very little.

    They’re not. They’re really not. They need to out-score the opposition before this team should start spending assets on going somewhere. But they will get there.

    I agree too that the 4th line isn’t great. Changes do need to be made there. But I don’t see the same level of pressure as you do.

    When you make trades under pressure, you get bent over. Oilers need some trades where they don’t get reamed.

    And until the top 9 can carry the play and outscore the opp, the 4th line isn’t a pressing concern. Be patient. Make acquisitions that actually improve the team. Other team’s dreck isn’t worth the change and the learning curve, unless there is someone you really like. There’s a reason why employee loyalty is rewarded throughout the business world.

    It was nice to hear they’re after a touted NCAA free agent. Management doesn’t want to not improve their team. No way better than a cheap free agent signing. But like that move, you have to have something in front of you that makes sense.

    Not to mention, prices usually maximize the closer it is to the deadline. A GM is going to want to wait till he’s sure he has the best offer in front of him. If there are moves to be made, those moves are far more important to this team long term than where they finish this year.

    I think they will make those moves. I think the Braintrust is big on accountability being part of the player culture and that they will trade guys just to reinforce that point. But I also want the most available out of those trades.

    And I think Hemsky is gone if someone antes enough up to the plate. The Oilers have been firm on their asking price for him in the past, and I expect them to be so again, this year. But I think it happens this time. I think this year there will be multiple teams interested.

  55. rich says:

    Meant to add a couple of other comments from my friends at the game.

    - “you’ve got a good goalie, he just needs help in front of him.”
    - “Paajarvi can skate, plays both ways.”
    - “Team has skill.”

    FWIW. That and $8 will get you a beer at Preds game.

  56. stevezie says:

    Lowetide,

    I will also have to disagree in re: the top 4 D being fine. Well, sort of. The problem is there’s only four of them (and that’s being generous to Schultz the elder). If your top 4 are only “not bad” you can’t afford a drop off to the final pair. Potter can play a few minutes if Pronger is playing the rest, but when you’re platooning decent defenceman you need 6 of them.

    So I guess you’re right, the problem is the final two (actually I like Fistric). You could also solve the problem by upgrading your top 3. Obviously this is harder to do, but I’d feel a lot happier pushing The Elder down the lineup than just replacing Potter.

  57. Bulging Twine says:

    Lowetide:

    The 4th line can’t play. We knew that when they all returned from a year ago, but they simply can’t play.

    Did any of the guys who played 4th line tonight play on the 4th line last year? Jones, Smyth and Brown.

  58. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: They’re not. They’re really not.They need to out-score the opposition before this team should start spending assets on going somewhere.But they will get there.

    I agree too that the 4th line isn’t great.Changes do need to be made there.But I don’t see the same level of pressure as you do.

    When you make trades under pressure, you get bent over.Oilers need some trades where they don’t get reamed.

    And until the top 9 can carry the play and outscore the opp, the 4th line isn’t a pressing concern.Be patient. Make acquisitions that actually improve the team.Other team’s dreck isn’t worth the change and the learning curve, unless there is someone you really like.There’s a reason why employee loyalty is rewarded throughout the business world.

    It was nice to hear they’re after a touted NCAA free agent.Management doesn’t want to not improve their team. No way better than a cheap free agent signing. But like that move, you have to have something in front of you that makes sense.

    Not to mention, prices usually maximize the closer it is to the deadline.A GM is going to want to wait till he’s sure he has the best offer in front of him.If there are moves to be made, those moves are far more important to this team long term than where they finish this year.

    I think they will make those moves. I think the Braintrust is big on accountability being part of the player culture and that they will trade guys just to reinforce that point.But I also want the most available out of those trades.

    And I think Hemsky is gone if someone antes enough up to the plate.The Oilers have been firm on their asking price for him in the past, and I expect them to be so again, this year. But I think it happens this time.I think this year there will be multiple teams interested.

    Mike Brown played 8:24 at evens tonight, including an insane shift that led to a GA. He was -2 on the night, and on this goal made certain he was both in the photo and nowhere near the action at the same time
    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20122013,2,475&event=NSH235&lang=en

    I believe that was the same shift where his entire line was out forever, turned the puck over when 2.5 of them were behind the net and then decided to change. I’ll give Brown credit for actually hauling ass back on the play.

    Nuge-Hall-Eberle
    Gagner-Paajarvi-Yakupov
    Horcoff-Harski-Hemsky
    C-Smyth-Jones/Brown

  59. mc79hockey says:

    @Spoiler

    Is there some reason that we can’t build a functional bottom end of the team while we wait for the top end to come into its own? I think they’ve got eight honest to goodness NHLers up there already: Hall, Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov (will be soon enough), Gagner, Horcoff, MPS and RNH and then they need one more. It’s a season of small samples but I’m inclined to think that they’re better than their results so far this year and that Horcoff’s injury didn’t help. Missing 17 games in an 82 game season is one thing; in a 48 game season it’s killer.

    They were trying to be competitive though last year – Tambo explicitly stated he did not want to be in the lottery, something he didn’t say before 2010-11 – and the bottom end of the team was a disaster. The bottom end is a disaster this year. It bit them tonight, with a winnable hockey game getting away from them because the fourth liners figured they should extend a shift in the offensive zone after they were out for a minute (gallingly, neither Belanger or Jones got minuses on that play – Brown at least had the honesty to do the dog ass tired skate of shame back down the ice) and then again on the third goal, when Fistric got Christmas eyes for a hit he ended up missing and Potter got confused.

    These holes aren’t unexpected. They aren’t new. There were guys available in the summer – Zbynek Michalek was basically given away and he’s a real top four defenceman. With some puck luck, they’d be much better off GF-wise and they’d still be in a worse spot than they could be because the bottom end of the team sucks. Not only does the bottom end of the team suck but they’re actually spending like $7MM on guys who are either in the press box (Whitney) or in OKC (Eager and Hordichuk).

    I don’t get the excuses for these guys and this mess.

  60. LMHF#1 says:

    Lowetide: Mike Brown played 8:24 at evens tonight, including an insane shift that led to a GA. He was -2 on the night, and on this goal made certain he was both in the photo and nowhere near the action at the same time
    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20122013,2,475&event=NSH235&lang=en

    I believe that was the same shift where his entire line was out forever, turned the puck over when 2.5 of them were behind the net and then decided to change. I’ll give Brown credit for actually hauling ass back on the play.

    That’s a number of games in a row (save for the STL embarrassment) where Brown has played a substantial negative part in a goal against. That he continues to get ice time is borderline insane.

  61. Lowetide says:

    LMHF#1: That’s a number of games in a row (save for the STL embarrassment) where Brown has played a substantial negative part in a goal against. That he continues to get ice time is borderline insane.

    Agreed. And so much! Holy hell that’s a lot of time.

  62. oilersfan says:

    Is anybody else worried that Eberle appears to be nothing more than a really high end complementary player? He has a he ll of a shot but he sure doesnt drive the play when hall isnt on the ice with him. I think that contract of his could have been signed for 1-1.5 million less if it was signed this year. I like the player fine. But i see him as more of a finisher who needs the right teammates to excel. Consider that he pretty makes the sane as Kane and Toews the next few years . is he anywhere near their level of overall play? Without the right linemates he seems very average. More like Michael Ryder than Mike Bossy. Hall on the other hand carries the play better than any oiler forward since messier and i think will earn tha contract.

  63. Woodguy says:

    dessert1111:
    By the way LT, I agree that the 4th line isn’t good enough, but I truly believe it’s more than that at this point. There are fundamental problems with this team that goes far beyond the crappy fourth line. I don’t know if any of the players are playing consistently well enough. Sure, Hall, Gagner, etc play really well sometimes. Game in and game out? No. Other players on the roster rarely play well enough in their role. So many issues team-wide.

    The fundamental problem is that the D cannot create a break out with a good first pass.

    The F’s can take some blame because they force the D to make a 30ft instead of 15ft pass too often, but the Oilers don’t exit the zone with possession enough.

    They chase the puck for over half the game.

    Can’t win if you don’t have the puck.

  64. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Hall’s last 11 (3-7-10) games isn’t good enough? Okay. I think that’s unreasonable though

    Hall.

    He’s the problem.

    Christ.

  65. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    The subpar defense really hurts the effectiveness of the forwards.

    The Oilers defense is really a 2nd pairing (Smid-Petry), a 3rd pairing (Schultz-Schultz), and an AHL level pairing.

    The 4th line would probably even be passable if the Oilers had more than 4 NHL defensemen.

    I think the Oilers have 2.5 NHL Dmen.

    Petry, Smid and half of Shultz the Elder.

    Only 1 of them can make a first pass, and Petry’s had plenty of wtf? moments this year.

    Rookie Shultz will be something else, but he’s a rookie doing rookie things. Looks tired too.

    1 guy who can defend and make a pass.

    Its not anywhere near an NHL D

  66. DBO says:

    oilersfan,

    He is Joey Mullen. 40 goal scoring winger who needs someone else to help him, but damn I’ll take him.

  67. asiaoil says:

    As MC points out – this thought that it’s impossible or not wise to collect real NHL players until your top line is crushing top opposition is utterly ridiculous. Collecting trash on purpose or because of incompetence should be firing offenses – especially with the percentage of the cap that this trash represents.

    Maybe Katz will finally do something when he realizes that the other owners are laughing their asses off at his expense because of his bumpkin managers

  68. oilersfan says:

    As a follow up to my post on eberle…. For all the criticism the bottom sux is getting. hall rnh and eberle have betwen them 15 goals. Consider how many games the oilers have lost by one goal and what a difference if those three players had the 30 they were at after 32 games last season. I realize a portion of their dropoff has been due to Horcoffs injury and the team purposefully playing them against top compettion, but more of the blame should be at their feet. Chicago broke out because Toews and Kane broke out as elite players at 20 years old. If these guys are elite its time to show it . 8 goals isnt acceptable from Hall. 2 is far less acceptable from RNH. When was the last time a firward was drafted first overall and he had 2 goals 30 games into his second season? Ovechkin, crosby, kane, stamkos, tavares. Nope nope nope nope and nope, to say both of them are having disappointing seasons is an understatement even with hall at a point per game.

  69. oilersfan says:

    One last point. Glencross has 13 goals and is on pace for over 30 again in a regular schedule. Jice move Lowe way to assess the talent… He would be absolutely perfect to playLW with horcoff and hemsky

  70. Ducey says:

    oilersfan:
    Is anybody else worried that Eberle appears to be nothing more than a really high end complementary player? He has a he ll of a shot but he sure doesnt drive the play when hall isnt on the ice with him. I think that contract of his could have been signed for 1-1.5 million less if it was signed this year. I like the player fine. But i see him as more of a finisher who needs the right teammates to excel. Consider that he pretty makes the sane as Kane and Toews the next few years . is he anywhere near their level of overall play? Without the right linemates he seems very average. More like Michael Ryder than Mike Bossy. Hall on the other hand carries the play better than any oiler forward since messier and i think will earn tha contract.

    That fella on hockeybuzz wrote that Ebs has been playing with a broken finger. That might be part of the issue. He has looked more tenative to my eye.

  71. PunjabiOil says:

    Not worried about Eberle at all. Young player, shooting % below career average, playing with injury (as hinted by Stauffer). He was playing exceptionally in the AHL – the goals will come.

    The problem is there is no depth and few puck moving defencemen.

  72. edwards_daddy says:

    I don’t know what’s more incredible, that Tambellini still has a job, or that you guys aren’t so angry about it.

  73. BlacqueJacque says:

    Ducey: That fella on hockeybuzz wrote that Ebs has been playing with a broken finger.That might be part of the issue. He has looked more tenative to my eye.

    Was that an E5?

  74. godot10 says:

    Trading Eberle is something Mike Millbury would have done. Luongo, Chara, Redden, Brewer, etc, etc etc.

    Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins are just adjusting to playing more and extremely tough minutes. With Hall, they were still outchancing the top lines of other teams.

    You set back the rebuild, by resetting the core even younger.

    A little patience. Don’t compound one mistake, not having supporting players, by making another, and trading away your elite talent.

    Though it time for Wirtz and Pulford to get supporting players. Last chance saloon this summer, or this rebuild could go off the rails.

  75. russ99 says:

    After the game last night I had a mental picture of Lowe and MacTavish as Randolph and Mortimer Duke in “Trading Places” yelling at their inept broker (Tambellini) to “Get back in there and sell!!”

  76. nelson88 says:

    Woodguy: Hall.He’s the problem.Christ.

    DickSeeFinger. Nice to see you made it past the troll police yet again.

  77. sliderule says:

    Very interesting comment from Rich who was at game and could see whole ice about forwards hanging out over the red line leaving few options for d to make a play other than carry the puck which half of them can’t do.

    I saw the same thing against Blues were we passed the puck back and forth with no forecheck pressure and then would turn it over trying to pass to forwards over the red right in teeth of trap.

    That is poor coaching my friends

  78. leadfarmer says:

    How about this LT. Would you trade Yak for a top 3 pick in this years draft if you could select Jones. I think I would. I like Yak and he is going to have a good career, but this team cannot be built with a top 6 of Ebs, Gagner, and Yak. All 3 of them are good with the puck, but do nothing without the puck. Looks like Yaks lack of coaching in junior is really showing ( multiple sources reported that he was told just to go out and score) and he doesnt know what to do without the puck.

    Plus this would fulfill the dream of oilers management of having a Jones-Klefbom top pairing next year.

    And for the love of God please stop trying to bring up Lander. He is not ready. Claim some waiver wire filler for the time being but Lander should be banned from the NHL until 2015.

  79. godot10 says:

    leadfarmer:
    How about this LT.Would you trade Yak for a top 3 pick in this years draft if you could select Jones.I think I would.I like Yak and he is going to have a good career, but this team cannot be built witha top 6 of Ebs, Gagner, and Yak.All 3 of them are good with the puck, but do nothing without the puck.Looks like Yaks lack of coaching in junior is really showing ( multiple sources reported that he was told just to go out and score) and he doesnt know what to do without the puck.

    Plus this would fulfill the dream of oilers management of having a Jones-Klefbom top pairing next year.

    And for the love of God please stop trying to bring up Lander.He is not ready.Claim some waiver wire filler for the time being but Lander should be banned from the NHL until 2015.

    Nobody is going to trade away a shot at Jones. And Drouin is probably a better prospect than Yakupov, so if you lose out of Jones, the default is better too.

  80. FrankenOil says:

    For the love of God Oilers, please pick up Jussi Jokinen on waivers (if he isn’t plucked before us). Carolina is clearly dumping salary due to the Semin contract. He’s an obvious upgrade on Belanger in terms of offense and is at least comparable in terms of FO% (Jokinen is 58% this year and was 55% last year). 29 year old and could be a very versatile player for this roster.

  81. Rebilled says:

    Wow.

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