SOLSBURY HILL

Craig MacTavish held his Annual General Meeting with season ticket holders this week, and it was a truly unique event. MacT is such a great communicator, and that added to the fact that Steve Tambellini was not (not trying to be a jerk, it’s a fact) a great communicator means Oiler fans have a new pipeline to the team and its plans.

MacT’s comments about Oscar Klefbom do two things:

  1. Indicates to us that Klefbom is well clear of the group (Marincin, etc) coming up behind. We should probably assume Klefbom is going to play his rookie NHL season in 2013-14. That might be 25 games or 40 or 75, but it sounds like he’s inside the top 8 or so as we sit.
  2. MacT said this about his observation of Klefbom: Oscar pivoted and went back hard and fast for the puck. He fought off a pretty physical forecheck, turned to the back of the net, made a movement of the puck, a simple play, a direct pass up to the wall. That player subsequently turned the puck over. Oscar closed the gap in a hurry in the corner, used his stick, finished his check, knocked the guy off the puck, spun the other side of the net and moved the puck out. I turned to Pelle at the time and said, we can pretty much pack up our briefcase right now and get outta here, I’ve seen enough.” I think it’s important to note that he’s talking about speed, mobility, all of the things he mentioned in his initial press conference but in the defensive zone. Sometimes when we talk about mobile defensemen, we as a group tend to think of offensive player types. I like the fact that MacT talks about closing gaps, and that tells me we’re looking for Eric Brewer’s and similar players who can use that footspeed on the defensive side of the game. I’d suggest that looking at things in this manner explains the reported interest in the big Russian Zadorov and the apparent lack of interest in Kyle Bigos.

MacT also talked about the 7th overall selection, and I do think it’s a major item for the summer. Let’s start with what he said:

  • MacT:  “Well, we’ve talked to a number of teams about that seventh pick and moving that pick in either direction. I think that’s something that we’re very amenable to. If we do move that pick back and get an asset that we feel can come in and help the current group, we’d be more than happy to have any of those discussions, and have had many of those discussions with a lot of the managers at this point. In terms of moving up, I’ve had a couple discussions with managers about moving up.”

It made me think of a trade from one year ago, that went like this:

  • Pittsburgh trades C Jordan Staal to Carolina for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and Carolina’s 1st round choice (Derrick Pouliot) in 2012 Entry Draft, June 22, 2012

This is probably a template for the “bold move” the new GM mentioned at his opening press conference earlier this spring. Pittsburgh had some cap problems, and needed a replacement for the outgoing Staal plus some supreme value to make up the difference. I’ve used Fedor Tyutin as a defensive example, perhaps Jakub Voracek is an example at forward. I’m not suggesting the Oilers trade Jeff Petry, the 7th overall and Martin Marincin for Tyutin, but do believe it’s reasonable for us to expect MacT can put together an attractive package for one or both of those players using the 7th overall pick in the same way Carolina did one year ago.

Solsbury Hill is a song about dreams, and about making drastic, sweeping changes in approach. I believe we are closer to that 3-for-1 trade than we’ve been at any time since Chris Pronger moved his furniture to Edmonton. Feels like Christmas.

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45 Responses to "SOLSBURY HILL"

  1. leadfarmer says:

    I wouldnt consider that a bold move, I would consider that overpaying and not a very smart move for a guy that was going to come your way anyway. Thats a bold move from Pittsburghs pov though, and a great cap move.

  2. leadfarmer says:

    I wouldnt consider that a bold move, I would consider that overpaying and not a very smart move for a guy that was going to come your way anyway. Thats a bold move from Pittsburghs pov though, and a great cap move.

    I just realized that Semin was +35 over Skinner. Anyone know what happened there?

  3. Woodguy says:

    I like this new MacT era.

    Haven’t heard the word “poise” or the phrase “compete level” at all.

    Just smart hockey talk about valuing puck possession over everything and kind of players you need to play that way.

    Feels like a new day.

    Also hearing MacT saying “we have a compelling story” when talking about attracting players to Edmonton is much better than “we signed a declining vet for 3 years because he can see what we are building!”

    Also,

    Here are a couple of cool draft links.

    First, sarahconnor at Bruin’s blog Stanley Cup of Cowder put together this intereactive site to see where your team draft picks have come from. You can select the year and the team.

    Here’s the link to Edmonton for all years: http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/NHLDraftMapping/Dashboard1?:embed=y&:display_count=no

    Second, Rex LIbrus at NHLnumbers.com gives the Oilers scouting a report card based on regions: http://nhlnumbers.com/2013/5/24/who-are-the-oilers-best-scouts

  4. Lowetide says:

    leadfarmer:
    I wouldnt consider that a bold move, I would consider that overpayingand not a very smart move for a guy that was going to come your way anyway.Thats a bold move from Pittsburghs pov though, and a great cap move.

    There’s no way the Oilers can assume anyone is coming their way. The template of that trade might be the perfect fit for the Oilers to land an impact player.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Ha! The Regina Pats, Peterborough Petes. All of those kids developed by Montreal Canadiens system in the 1960′s finally filtered out to the NHL in the 1970s and beyond and they STILL hold their lead!!!!!!! Incredible.

    Craig Ramsay came out of junior and was already a solid 2-way player. Thanks Roger Nielson!

  6. supernova says:

    Very good post LT,

    It is awesome to have a GM that communicates with his teams fans, hopefully that doesn’t cost us in trade talks.

    Team most likely to have talks with on moving up Carolina, then Tampa Bay.

    Moving the pick entirely would be a Phoenix or a Dallas, maybe even a Pittsburgh or Boston.

  7. RexLibris says:

    This is why I think that the Oilers’ management has those 60s and 70s Canadiens teams in mind as the ultimate goal for the organization. They just kept feeding talent into the roster at a rate that was greater than the team could absorb. The excess was sold off to keep the system going and address short-term needs. Draft-develop-leverage-sustain.

    Lowe and MacTavish would have grown up when the Canadiens’ way was the way it was done, similar to the talk about the “Detroit model” today.

    Here’s hoping that Lowe and MacTavish don’t try and repeat the draft and develop template of the dynasty Oilers (out of this world group in ’79-’80-’81, followed by ten long years of awful drafting).

  8. Lowetide says:

    Pronman is killing it with his series. 31-40 is up, great stuff on Gauther and Petan
    http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1531

    I swear we’ll only have him for this draft before someone puts him behind a paywall.

  9. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks for the shout out. I had a feeling that Musil was quietly doing some good work, but was surprised to see the results illustrate to what extent. At this point, if the Oilers take a European prospect on one of Eklund, Nordmark or Musil’s advice I’d just bet on him to have a professional career ahead of roughly half of all the other players taken.

    Which brings up an interesting idea: Lindholm?

    I know I’ll be very interested to see what sort of player types are taken out of the WHL/NCAA this year and next based on MacTavish’s new drafting guidelines.

  10. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    Woodguy,

    Thanks for the shout out. I had a feeling that Musil was quietly doing some good work, but was surprised to see the results illustrate to what extent. At this point, if the Oilers take a European prospect on one of Eklund, Nordmark or Musil’s advice I’d just bet on him to have a professional career ahead of roughly half of all the other players taken.

    Which brings up an interesting idea: Lindholm?

    I know I’ll be very interested to see what sort of player types are taken out of the WHL/NCAA this year and next based on MacTavish’s new drafting guidelines.

    Rex, are you on twitter? I’d love to have you on this week’s show to talk about that article. Outstanding work.

  11. Woodguy says:

    RexLibris,

    I know I’ll be very interested to see what sort of player types are taken out of the WHL/NCAA this year and next based on MacTavish’s new drafting guidelines.

    I hope Stu can find some gems in rounds 2-3 from the CHL, especially D.

    I think the player type is definitely changing.

    Big is still best, but not without brains and speed.

    Should be fun to watch for the next few years.

    Pretty sure some of the NA guys on your list will start to see some NHL games as well.

    Good piece.

  12. Gi JQE says:

    Off topic. Just wanted to mention that buddy of mine was hanging out with Hallsy last night in Kingston and sent me a picture with Hall. He looks beefed up. Buddy also said he is probably a good 6’1 or even 6’2, which makes sense based on him standing beside my buddy.

    Encouraging that he may be bigger then listed and chance for more optimism on next year for him. I don’t think Hall can be listed with the ‘small skilled forwards’ cliche of the Oilers anymore…

  13. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide,

    Agreed. I’m always thankful that I can still access his stuff free-of-charge.

    Two things stand out in that review to me: reading about Gauthier I’m reminded of 2009 and O’Reilly going early in the 2nd round. Shame the Oilers didn’t decide to move an expiring UFA for one or two 2nd round picks. Also, Nic Petan. I think the Flames take him with one of their 1st round picks. Feaster and Weisbrod like the Winterhawks, love their definition of hockey IQ (despite questions about their own limitations in that area) and aren’t afraid of drafting small players. Also, no 2nd rounder this year means they may reach earlier than otherwise.

    If the Oilers could walk away from rounds 1 and 2 with a center at #7 (by draft or a trade for Couturier) and Tristan Jarry and perhaps another center or Samuel Morin perhaps, I’d be content with that.

  14. supernova says:

    Gi JQE:
    Off topic.Just wanted to mention that buddy of mine was hanging out with Hallsy last night in Kingston and sent me a picture with Hall.He looks beefed up.Buddy also said he is probably a good 6’1 or even 6’2, which makes sense based on him standing beside my buddy.

    Encouraging that he may be bigger then listed and chance for more optimism on next year for him.I don’t think Hall can be listed with the ‘small skilled forwards’ cliche of the Oilers anymore…

    I am always careful of stuff about buddies or family friends saying stuff but….

    I am sure Hall’s limited ice time and 4 th line duty in the worlds will light a fire under him.

    Plus he is also turning from a boy to a man. Be interesting to see what a full healthy off-season will do for him.

  15. Gi JQE says:

    supernova,

    Ya for sure hear ya. Was only passing on as I saw the picture and he looked taller then 6’1… And buddy was pretty sure he was too.. he isntb5’11 that’s for sure

  16. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide,

    I’d love to.

    I’m twitter-less. But I can drop you an email with some contact info to try and set something up.

    I’ve got something else coming up, once I figure out how to display a chart the size of my head, on draft success on a team-by-team basis against a league-average. The first part is from 1996 to 2006, but I’m working on expanding it back to 1979 and up to 2008. Not sure if that would be of more interest. SPOILER ALERT: the Oilers aren’t very good at the draft podium. Surprised? Me neither.

  17. SoxandOil says:

    I thought Hall was just under 6’1 at the combine.

    What a missed opportunity not getting moving Whitney for a pick. A 2nd or a 3rd should have been possible. Looking back at Tambos tenure these kind of asset management failings stand out. Looking back at MacTs coaching style he should have no trouble moving out a player if he feels he won’t be part of the future.

    Absolutely fantastic song btw.

  18. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    Lowetide,

    I’d love to.

    I’m twitter-less. But I can drop you an email with some contact info to try and set something up.

    I’ve got something else coming up, once I figure out how to display a chart the size of my head, on draft success on a team-by-team basis against a league-average. The first part is from 1996 to 2006, but I’m working on expanding it back to 1979 and up to 2008. Not sure if that would be of more interest. SPOILER ALERT: the Oilers aren’t very good at the draft podium. Surprised? Me neither.

    Cool. Do yo have my email?

  19. RexLibris says:

    Oh, and speaking of twitter, I like to think this is why I haven’t started an account: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRBoPveyETc

    Leave it to Will Farrell to read one from the “throne”.

  20. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: Cool. Do yo have my email?

    Is it available through ON?

  21. justDOit says:

    I’m already impressed with the job that MacT has done – introducing the word ‘competitiveness’ to the hockey world is a breath of fresh air for me.

  22. supernova says:

    Gi JQE,

    the listing of players height and weights is always a bit of a mystery.

    Nothing like standing face to face with these guys and really seeing first hand the actual size.

    Hall also has a build where he can continue to put on muscle.

  23. RexLibris says:

    SoxandOil:
    I thought Hall was just under 6’1 at the combine.

    What a missed opportunity not getting moving Whitney for a pick. A 2nd or a 3rd should have been possible. Looking back at Tambos tenure these kind of asset management failings stand out. Looking back at MacTs coaching style he should have no trouble moving out a player if he feels he won’t be part of the future.

    Absolutely fantastic song btw.

    THe funny thing is that outside observers roasted him at the beginning for trading away too many players for pick and here we are today picking him apart for not moving those same roster spots (expiring UFAs, veterans) for depth picks. Damned for negligence and roasted for action, I wonder if he finds GM work again. More likely as a back room man, development person.

    The picks for players moves were abysmal, though.

    I would have liked to see Whitney moved for a 2nd or 3rd. Even one more 2nd round pick would have given the Oilers a far better bargaining position to move up.

  24. RexLibris says:

    justDOit:
    I’m already impressed with the job that MacT has done – introducing the word ‘competitiveness’ to the hockey world is a breath of fresh air for me.

    Agreed. If I heard the word “compete” used as a noun one more time I think I may have become “belligerent and stabby” to quote Anthony Bourdain.

  25. FastOil says:

    Great song LT, I’ve always been a fan of Gabriel.

    I was at Commonwealth in ’83 (IIRC) to see Bowie and Gabriel (The Tubes opened, remember them?). Smoking hot day, Supertramp’s then new sound system that they spent all of their Breakfast in America money on I’ve heard. They played the Psychedelic Furs and others between sets, the sound was amazing on that clear powerful system which I really enjoyed, being right into audiophile stereos at the time.

    By the time Pete came on everyone was getting pretty sunburnt and the crowd was quiet and somewhat listless. The Tubes I guess hadn’t really made an impact on many. Gabriel came out with a 4 piece band I think. The bass player looked like a Mad Max character with a V shouldered leather vest, shaved head and had some kind of unusual bass, 10 string or something.

    The band was of course great, and when they started playing Solsbury Hill the crowd came alive and the concert truly started. Bowie was on his Let’s dance tour as headliner, in suits and with lighting and more of a stage show, but for me Peter Gabriel (with no lighting in the afternoon sun, him and 4 great musicians just playing) were the highlight of the day. Awesome.

  26. supernova says:

    RexLibris,

    are you saying you are a celebrity?

    You need a little thick skin, but really no different than a blog you comment on and if people disagree.

    By the way i really enjoy your posts / comments and think your tweets would be high quality as well.

  27. supernova says:

    RexLibris: THe funny thing is that outside observers roasted him at the beginning for trading away too many players for pick and here we are today picking him apart for not moving those same roster spots (expiring UFAs, veterans) for depth picks. Damned for negligence and roasted for action, I wonder if he finds GM work again. More likely as a back room man, development person.

    The picks for players moves were abysmal, though.

    I would have liked to see Whitney moved for a 2nd or 3rd. Even one more 2nd round pick would have given the Oilers a far better bargaining position to move up.

    I was just about to comment on the same exact thing.

    Tambo was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stage.

    I sincerely hope that the benefit of not moving some of our guys pays off in the intangibles of the core being shown it is their hands and we trust you. After all on that day they were in a playoff position and then plummeted.

    Hindsight is more than 20/20.

    All that to say glad we shipped Tambo out, His real crisis this year was not doing something with Peckham, and Whitney way earlier and not acquiring a center or two when Horcoff went down.

    RK was taking a knife into a gun fight, with a horrible 4th line and really one healthy center.

  28. SoxandOil says:

    RexLibris,

    I was actually thinking of that when I was typing. I think the difference between his early action and his lack of action near the end was that in his beginning he was sending out serviceable players like Brodziak and Grebeshkov. Then instead of playing Omark and showcasing him he healthy scratched him to the point that he became untradeable, I know that coaching plays into this but come on. Slightly different with Whitney but same result at the end of day.

    Totally agree though. Having 3 2nds really makes the possibility of trading into the first round a lot easier.

  29. RexLibris says:

    supernova:
    RexLibris,

    are you saying you are a celebrity?

    You need a little thick skin, but really no different than a blog you comment on and if people disagree.

    By the way i really enjoy your posts / comments and think your tweets would be high quality as well.

    Ha, no, not even in the slightest bit a celebrity. And thankful for it. But the things people will say to others online just boggles the mind sometimes.

    I post pretty often over at FN and telling some of the readers there that the Flames are not in an especially envious position or being run by particularly astute management has certainly toughened me up a bit.

    Thanks, I’ve considered twitter, but I don’t know that I’d have the discipline to attend to it regularly. It also kind of falls into that category for me of “better to remain silent and thought a fool than…”

  30. supernova says:

    RexLibris,

    I rarely go to FN but can only imagine.

    You might sound to them like DSF sounds like to us. Yuck sorry to put you in that group.

    I lived in Calgary for 5 years and also I am there quite regularly, and have in person conversations about their team. I also think that Feaster made a really good fodder for us Oiler fans this year, with the O’Reilly signing and then his trades of Iggy, and Jay-Bo.

    as much as I love seeing the flames crumble it would be fantastic to see the Oilers in 1st and Flames in 2nd, and to have alberta as a daunting road trip for incoming teams.

  31. Captain Happy says:

    RexLibris:
    This is why I think that the Oilers’ management has those 60s and 70s Canadiens teams in mind as the ultimate goal for the organization. They just kept feeding talent into the roster at a rate that was greater than the team could absorb. The excess was sold off to keep the system going and address short-term needs. Draft-develop-leverage-sustain.

    Lowe and MacTavish would have grown up when the Canadiens’ way was the way it was done, similar to the talk about the “Detroit model” today.

    Here’s hoping that Lowe and MacTavish don’t try and repeat the draft and develop template of the dynasty Oilers (out of this world group in ’79-’80-’81, followed by ten long years of awful drafting).

    If you’re looking for a more contemporary example of this Rex, I suggest you take a closer look at what Lombardi has been doing in LA.

    He spent his first few seasons there stockpiling draft picks and prospects to the degree that, even with a couple of 1st round misses, he had enough bullets to start, as you say, selling off to keep the system going and it continues to this day.

    Despite having acquired players like Richards and Carter he still has a plethora of high end prospects working their way slowly up the system in Toffoli, Pearson, Vey, Weal, Kozun, Forbort et al.

    Of course, it helps tremendously if your drafting is as strong as LA’s has been.

    Here are their SECOND round picks:

    2006 – Trevor Lewis

    2007 – Wayne Simmonds

    2008 – Slava Voynov

    2009 – Kyle Clifford

    2010 – Tyler Toffoli

    That’s awfully impressive and should set them up to be a powerhouse for a very long time.

  32. Rondo says:

    LT,

    How are deals made during the draft ? Besides the obvious answer.

    Does it go like this for example Edmonton trades up Carolina trades down. Carolina thinks Edmonton wants Monahan, Edmonton think Carolina wants a D man.

    Do they make a side deal and say don’t take a Dman at #5. Or is it cut throat.? For example Oilers choose Nurse at #5.

    I’m having a hard time understanding how a bluff could work, unless my scenario is correct.

  33. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    LT,

    How are deals made during the draft ? Besides the obvious answer.

    Does it go like this for example Edmontontrades up Carolina trades down.Carolina thinks Edmonton wants Monahan, Edmontonthink Carolina wants a D man.

    Do they make a side deal and say don’t take a Dman at#5.Or is it cut throat.? For example Oilers choose Nurse at #5.

    I’m having a hard time understandinghow a bluff could work, unless my scenario is correct.

    I’m sure it could work all kinds of ways. Ottawa wanted to deal up with Toronto in 2009, Burke and Murray had a talk that probably represented the final stanza in a long, long conversation over weeks

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzgalcl3tD8

  34. Rondo says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks,

  35. G Money says:

    leadfarmer:

    I just realized that Semin was +35 over Skinner. Anyone know what happened there?

    I know at the time Semin became available, a lot of the advanced stats folks were suggesting that his reputation was undeserved, that he was a much better overall player than he was given credit for, meaning that whoever got him was getting a good one.

    I recall flipside concerns with Skinner, that his boxcars were better than his underlying stats, suggesting a ‘correction’ was forthcoming.

    Looks like both came to pass.

    supernova:


    Tambo was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stage.

    I think that gives Tambo too much credit. The real issue is that
    - he stood pat on moves that he *should* have made
    - the moves that he *did* make were terrible, and those few usually too late

    It wasn’t “damned if you do damned if you don’t”, it was “bad at doing and bad at not doing”. (Cue the Trump soundbite).

    supernova:
    RexLibris,

    You might sound to them like DSF sounds like to us. Yuck sorry to put you in that group.

    I once clicked on a link that took me to one of RL’s articles on FN – he was fair, balanced, knowledgeable, and interesting. That kinda makes him the anti-DSF on every count, no? In fact, I got the impression that RL might actually be a *gasp* Flames fan, and if so, his posts on ON and LT shows just how fair and balanced he is… (not sucking up, really, don’t even know the guy, but sure glad he posts!!)

  36. Gret99zky says:

    If Klefbom and the #7 pick are the cavalry it’s going to be a very disappointing season.

    So far MacT has said some nice things but done exactly nothing. I hope he’s not talking himself into a corner.

    Looking forward to some actual moves that improve the team.

    We wait.

  37. rickithebear says:

    Pronman has such classic lines!
    DrIving home today!
    He was on pipeline and asked the unexpected disappointment at the Mem Cup.
    He said Petan.
    Even though he had 6A he was unable to show his skilled structure.
    Pipeline Guy said he tought Pronmann would have said
    Max Domi who is 3 pT and -9.
    Pronmann replied YOU SAID UNEXPECTED!

    MAX DOMI – JOCKEY HESUS?

  38. rickithebear says:

    dang it i meant to say ISS scout response to guy on pipeline! not pronmann.

  39. supernova says:

    G Money,

    You just took both of those comments out of context.

    I followed up the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” point by saying his real damage was not being more proactive earlier, which is what put him in that situation.

    In the reply/ comment to Rex I also had stated earlier that I really enjoy his comments and posts, and I would also enjoy if he joined the twitter world. I also stated that I almost never go to FN so I was being facetious when I made those comments.

    I think/ hope Rex Libris understood that I appreciate him being part of this and other blogs.

    I also appreciate you sticking up for him even when it is not required.

  40. spoiler says:

    Torey Krug is storybook. Like Sleeping Beauty or The Frog Prince.

  41. RexLibris says:

    G Money,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    For the record, I am not a Flames fan. Nearly the furthest thing from it. I want the Oilers to win multiple SCs over the next ten to fifteen years and if they could do it while steamrolling the Flames in round one every single year to get there, so much the better.

    That being said, I’m not a troll and understand that, like appreciating the fortune of being born in a wonderful, democratic, first world nation, I also had the good fortune to be born in this wonderful sports city at a time to see two dynasties thrive. So I can’t be too critical of a city or it’s population just because they had the bad luck to be born in the wrong place. ;-)

    Seriously though, if I were writing mean articles insulting the city, fans and franchise for no other reason than to be a jerk, well, I wouldn’t be writing for very long.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Rex is a fine writer, and I think very balanced. Jon’s that way too, it’s good to have perspective on these things.

    The other thing is this: the Oilers would never have been as great as they were if not for that team to the south pushing them. The team that got out of Alberta dominated 1984-1991.

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