FULL STOP!!!

In an interview with Brad Bartko last night, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish suggested that while he was still “open for business” and that he was “reasonably comfortable that we’ve made some progress and reasonably comfortable with the depth of our line-up.”

Interview is here and David Staples take is here.

MY TAKE

gagner common1

We know strictly speaking that the Oilers are not in fact “done” as they have RFA Sam Gagner to sign and Taylor Fedun is still waiting on a contract for 2013-14 (at this point one wonders if the Oilers are mulling over re-signing Fedun or staying the course–there’s a lot of young blue headed to OKC with tremendous potential).

If MacT speaks the truth, there is good and bad news this morning. The good news is that Ales Hemsky is staying, and that’s a very good sign. I don’t think the Oilers will get full value for him (he’s coming off an ineffective season by his own standards) and have always felt keeping 83 made more sense than sending him away. How then do we make sense of the lineup? Well, if we’re doing a depth chart it might go like this:

  1. Taylor Hall: Whatever line he’s on, that’s the 1line. An outstanding player in his early 20′s, this team will go as far as he’s able to take them. 
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: The injury and tough season may have faded our own memories of his ability to an extent, but when healthy he’s an exceptional player in all three zones. And he’s also just a kid.
  3. Jordan Eberle: A fine winger who in many ways proved more this past season than during his career year. A big part of the Oilers future, and part of a stunning RW depth chart.
  4. Nail Yakupov: Yak City is going to fire 40 a year when he finds the range with that Tsar cannon of his, and he should take a big step forward this season.
  5. Sam Gagner: The contract will get done, and 89 will be on the 2line and 2PP posting crooked numbers. The wealth of wingers who can take a pass on this club suggests he’ll have an excellent season.
  6. David Perron: The jewel of the offseason, a veteran addition who should score 25 a year with this kind of support and passing ability. Perron has some grit and offers coach Eakins some versatility.
  7. Ales Hemsky: At this point–due to age and injury–he represents the end of the offensive portion of the batting order. The beauty of Hemsky is that it gives the Oilers a legit offensive threat on three different lines, although he will probably have as much impact slotting in for injury/slump among the top 6 as anything he can do on a modified 3line.
  8. Boyd Gordon: He is not an ideal choice for Hemsky’s center, but is a perfect fit for the roster. I’m not certain how Eakins will use Gordon (obviously own zone faceoffs, PK) as a de facto ‘checking line’ seems impossible at this point in time. A valuable player no matter his linemates.
  9. Ryan Jones: A great opportunity for Jones this season, as they need the offense and badly need responsible defensive play. Jones actual responsibilities (I expect he’ll be the LW on a Gordon-Hemsky trio) are not that great. Early exits  verboten.
  10. Ryan Smyth: I think he has more to show than we saw last season, and he could surprise by grabbing that 3line job I’ve given to Jones–at least for a time. Smyth fades with too much work but can be effective for stretches  even at this age.
  11. Jesse Joensuu: He’s my pick to grab the 3line L job from Jones, and when we get around to RE that’ll be my projection (unless something else happens). He is not well known to us, but his resume suggests a strong fit with this roster (he’s a big forward with grit).
  12. Anton Lander: The one Oiler prospect who appears to be a lock for the opening night lineup, Lander’s PK skills and agitating nature appear to be enough to land him the 4line C job.
  13. Mike Brown: Enforcer who should play 40-50 games. I’m thrilled we haven’t heard a word about this position, hopefully he’ll play here a decade getting 3 minutes a night.

The final roster spot could go to an extra defenseman, or to one of Ryan Hamilton, Mark Arcobello or a free agent signing (I think they’ll want to add a guy who can play a physical style, score a little and maybe penalty kill). There’s also the possibility of a trade despite MacT’s words to the contrary last night.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

kpd

 

I don’t think they’re done. Jeff Krushell will host the show this week, I’m on holidays and plan to do all kinds of important work–or drink beer. Hmm. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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114 Responses to "FULL STOP!!!"

  1. spoiler says:

    You never said what the bad news was this morning!

  2. "Steve Smith" says:

    spoiler,

    Yes he did – items 9 through 13.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Steve Smith gets a gold star this morning. :-)

  4. "Steve Smith" says:

    Am I nuts for thinking that, assuming no more moves are coming, the Oilers should have just kept Belanger for the last year of his contract? Or Horcoff, for that matter?

  5. Rube Foster says:

    I likw the “good news”. The more I look at the bottom six forwards the less I like the prospect of sending away Hemsky.

    As it stands today with LT’s projected 7-12 forwards we see very little improvement over last year’s group, which has been acknowledged as a weakness and major shortcoming. The projected line-up sans Hemsky also has virtually zero depth should Hall, Eberle, Yakupov or Perron spend any time at all on the DL.

    Pipe Dream / Asset Management: Signing Grabovski looks more and more appealing – shoring up depth at centre and giving RNH the first 10 games of the season to fully recover from his shoulder surgery (lack of depth at centre killed us last year, please no more Ryan Smyth at centre) . Close your eyes and imagine if you will a third line of Grabovski, Hemsky and Omark. Yes, we might have the smallest top nine forwards in the league and certainly the west, but imagine the nightmare other teams would have matching up with the Oilers top nine forwards. There would be more than few nights where the Oil got pushed around but I believe this top nine could drive the pace far enough and fast enough to be a playoff contender. It would also push Lander down the depth chart to the 5th Centre and let him mature in the AHL for the majority of the year. Gordon would still play his 15 minutes a game as a shutdown and PK specialist and between Smyth, Jones, Jonesuu, Eager, Brown we’d have enough bodies to compose a competitive 4th line and give us very good depth at forward when injuries inevitably occur. All for the price of signing Grabovski and convincing Omark that the new regime would give him a fair shot at 3rd line minutes and NOT trading Hemsky for Ryan Stone 2.0.

    The goal is to make the playoffs this year, we’re not going from the cellar to the Stanley in one year. This scenario would give us arguably some of the most skill in the league in our top 9 forwards and let the Oilers build some value in Omark and Hemsky who could then be used at the deadline or next offseason as pieces to acquire the “heavy” yet skilled centre and power forward that every team in league covets.

    Balance be dammed (sorry LT). Moneyball wasn’t just about finding players with high on base percentages; it was about exploiting something tangible and valuable that the other teams in the MLB undervalued. As LT is fond of reminding us Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals were a force to be reckoned with featuring slugger Jack Clark and a line-up of lead-off hitters. Do you think a Whitey Herzog forward line-up of RNH/Hall/Eberle, Gagner/Perron/Yakupov, Gabovski /Omark/Hemsky, Gordon/Smyth/Jones-Joensuu-Brown would get us to the playoffs? We would certainly be pretty deep for the shoot outs!

    Bon Voyage LT! May the weather be hot and dry and your beer be ice cold where ever you venture for your vacation!

  6. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Am I nuts for thinking that, assuming no more moves are coming, the Oilers should have just kept Belanger for the last year of his contract?Or Horcoff, for that matter?

    Well, we talked about it the other day, but the only thing I can think of is that the Oilers genuinely believe Lander is ready. He didn’t look ready, but this should be MacT’s wheelhouse.

    But I don’t think they’re done. Chris Kelly? Maybe.

  7. RMGS says:

    So, how long before MacT is on the Lowdown with Lowetide?

  8. Lowetide says:

    Rube: Thanks!

  9. Lowetide says:

    RMGS:
    So, how long before MacT is on the Lowdown with Lowetide?

    Based on the response from my last interview request, Twelfth of Never. :-)

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Enjoy the Vacation LT.

    You will be missed.

    Kelly would be a great add…. what does that mean for Gordon? Who’s the 3 and who’s the 4?

  11. regwald says:

    So, if Tambo was rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, MacT one upped him by bringing forth a new Captain (bye bye Horcoff), added a top 6 fwd while making the bottom 6 fwds worse and then he added in a solid dman in Ference.

    So, at first look, 3 significant pieces. I sure hope that MacT isn’t done, because to be truthful I am not convinced the bottom 6 is significantly better without Horcoff and Magnus than it sits today.

    My recommendation is keep at it MacT, you need to do a bit more.

  12. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: Based on the response from my last interview request, Twelfth of Never.

    Would it be easier to get Howson, Olczyk or Stu?

  13. russ99 says:

    I have this morbid fear that our third line will now be Smyth, Gordon (Horcoff Jr.) and Hemsky.

    Bye bye shutdown third line, bye bye playoffs, especially in our new division.

  14. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: Would it be easier to get Howson, Olczyk or Stu?

    The Oilers rotate their people through the morning, Spector, Gregor and Strudwick shows. At some point I’ll probably get an opportunity and am hopeful it will be MacGregor. However, it’s also true that I am a blogger and the Oilers have not embraced this area of the world. Someday hopefully they will, but there’s no evidence I can see that it’ll be via Lowetide.

    I’m cool with it, the Oilers do make their people available and MacT is very open. I was impressed that they reached out to Brad Bartko and hope that continues, because the Oilers have an insane platform (the blogs) that they could cultivate via podcast interviews, etc.

  15. SinceTheWHADays says:

    Well…I’m hoping that MacT is just playing coy with this latest interview because our Center position is still very weak. I can live with the D depth, as acquiring a legit #1D is very difficult, the top two lines should be fine and the bottom 6 could sort itself out with the players currently in the system, but Center is a major concern to me. Is David Steckel not going to happen? He seems like a logical fit and I don’t understand Managments lethargy for increasing our depth at Center. We wait.

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers rotate their people through the morning, Spector, Gregor and Strudwick shows. At some point I’ll probably get an opportunity and am hopeful it will be MacGregor. However, it’s also true thatI am a blogger and the Oilers have not embraced this area of the world. Someday hopefully they will, but there’s no evidence I can see that it’ll be via Lowetide.

    I’m cool with it, the Oilers do make their people available and MacT is very open. I was impressed that they reached out to Brad Bartko and hope that continues, because the Oilers have an insane platform (the blogs) that they could cultivate via podcast interviews, etc.

    On the other hand… a decade or so in and the Oiler bloggers don’t seem to be suffering for a lack of access and the somewhat adversarial relationship is probably healthy to a point for both sides.

    That said, I sincerely hope they are taking the work of you, Vollman, Dellow, Gabe, Willis, etc. seriously.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: On the other hand… a decade or so in and the Oiler bloggers don’t seem to be suffering for a lack of access and the somewhat adversarial relationship is probably healthy to a point for both sides.

    That said, I sincerely hope they are taking the work of you, Vollman, Dellow, Gabe, Willis, etc. seriously.

    I think the Oilers are in fact embracing things like advance stats and that’s a very good thing. How they got there, don’t know. It’s very good that they’ve arrived there and I don’t believe it is a coincidence that it happened about the time MacT took over (or at least the public portion and the draft/trade/free agent impact was felt).

  18. RMGS says:

    Lowetide: I was impressed that they reached out to Brad Bartko and hope that continues, because the Oilers have an insane platform (the blogs) that they could cultivate via podcast interviews, etc.

    Indeed, and the team would be smart to reach out to one of the best. In the meantime…:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amauMhnxkRI (preferred this to the original Mathis!)

    Enjoy your vacation, LT.

  19. regwald says:

    SinceTheWHADays:
    Well…I’m hoping that MacT is just playing coy with this latest interview because our Center position is still very weak.I can live with the D depth, as acquiring a legit #1D is very difficult, the top two lines should be fine and the bottom 6 could sort itself out with the players currently in the system, but Center is a major concern to me.Is David Steckel not going to happen? He seems like a logical fit and I don’t understand Managments lethargy for increasing our depth at Center.We wait.

    And the other question about the Center depth is when will the Nuge be 100% healthy. If memory serves me right, Taylor wasn’t ready until November. So who will be the #2 Center for the first month or 6 weeks of the season ?

    That’s a huge hole to fill.

  20. SinceTheWHADays says:

    regwald,

    Exactamundo!!!

  21. fuzzy muppet says:

    If he is indeed done, Mact barely gets a passing grade for his off-season work.

    He vowed to fix the bottom 6 and somehow he managed to make it worse.

    So who are the top prospects for next years lottery?

    This looks like another bottom 10 team.

    Rinse repeat ad nauseum

  22. böökje says:

    “If MacT speaks the truth” – Don’t count on it. I think he has learned a few things and we are going to return to the previous administrations approach of either not saying anything or misleading in most cases.

    Jesse Joensuu – I think this guy is going to be the surprise of the year.

    “I think the Oilers are in fact embracing things like advance stats and that’s a very good thing. How they got there, don’t know. ” – I think it’s very likely that a few members of the Oilers organization are regular readers here, one or two may even be posters. I am always curious who the ‘highest ranking’ member of Oiler management is who reads these posts, but whoever it is has probably gained from their experiences here (and elsewhere online) and has helped push the discussion in management towards advanced stats. Most things have muliple factors behind them so I am not saying its all because of the discussions here, but I bet its a factor.

    “Am I nuts for thinking that, assuming no more moves are coming, the Oilers should have just kept Belanger for the last year of his contract? Or Horcoff, for that matter?” – No, you are nuts for various other reasons. I think many of the moves were made with the notion of improving the competative attitude in the room. Belanger’s black hole apparently affected the room. I think Horcoff was trying to ‘be that guy’ but no longer had the inclination to smash his sticks against the wall after losing games. They could have given him a 3rd/4th line roll and passed the ‘C’ on to Hall, but I think the optics and the emotional impact of that was costly. Also, they clear out salary for a few years. This space gives room for more FA signings next year.

    Enjoy your vacation LT!

  23. Alex T says:

    Here’s my take on the bottom six: C – W – W
    Gordon – Lander (apprenticing under Gordon) – Jones/Joensuu for 3rd line checkers

    Arcobello – Smyth – Hemsky for light days/teams 4A line
    Arcobello – Eager – Brown for heavy days/teams 4B line

    We refer to 4th line as energy line. I think goals provide more energy than fights.
    This gives Smyth and Hemsky days off and incentive to up their game.
    I realize it’s way too expensive for a fourth line, but since we got em, let’s use em.

    MacT says he promised Arcobello a real shot. And what a great opportunity to have Lander study 3rd line center. He and Gordon could rotate between centre and wing duties.
    And wouldn’t it be fun watching other team’s 4th line pluggers deal with our scoring 4th line?

    Is MacT going this way?

  24. lance says:

    Lowetide,

    I suspect you will get minimal interviews with the brass until you they sense you need their “gifts” for your future. There were no gifts from the Porfirio.

    If you ever accept anything from the regime, I hope you never accept the corresponding state where you feel you need said treats to continue. I read here largely because of your distance from the machine. It still kinda feels like free speech, you’ve built a tremendous following without their handouts just fine.

    Please don’t ever kiss the ring. Your ongoing success is a beckon to all trying to work outside.

  25. böökje says:

    fuzzy muppet:

    He vowed to fix the bottom 6 and somehow he managed to make it worse.

    Last year Ralph was almost religious about using his bottom six a lot, I suspect that the bottom six will see about 60% of the ice time they did last year.

    With Boyd Gordon and Hemsky in the bottom six, they are improved a great deal, similarly with Belanger not on the ice, the bottom six is improved further. With a more reliable group of defencemen behind them, the bottom six will be improved.

    It’s not great, but its a meaningful improvement.

  26. Lowetide says:

    lance:
    Lowetide,

    I suspect you will get minimal interviews with the brass until you they sense you need their “gifts” for your future.There were no gifts from the Porfirio.

    If you ever accept anything from the regime, I hope you never accept the corresponding state where you feel you need said treats to continue.I read here largely because of your distance from the machine.It still kinda feels like free speech, you’ve built a tremendous following without their handouts just fine.

    Please don’t ever kiss the ring.Your ongoing success is a beckon to all trying to work outside.

    Not going to happen. I’m not a pressbox guy and have either paid for the tickets to get in or been given them. That’s not just to keep the distance, it’s also because imo taking the press pass means you’re honor bound to ask questions of the players, etc after the game.

    And I just don’t see the value. Not really my thing. So I’d be taking something without using it for the express reason it was offered to me.

  27. böökje says:

    lance:
    Lowetide,

    I suspect you will get minimal interviews with the brass until you they sense you need their “gifts” for your future.There were no gifts from the Porfirio.

    If you ever accept anything from the regime, I hope you never accept the corresponding state where you feel you need said treats to continue.I read here largely because of your distance from the machine.It still kinda feels like free speech, you’ve built a tremendous following without their handouts just fine.

    Please don’t ever kiss the ring.Your ongoing success is a beckon to all trying to work outside.

    Don’t listen to him – if you ever get the chance – totally sellout! Free access to the games, catered dinners, access to the players, golf games, free Rexall drugs, etc. You can’t say no to that. Some other peon can take over being the honest voice of the public. Selling out is a beautiful thing!

  28. Matt.N says:

    File this thought under “Things that will never happen”

    Contact Grabovskis people with a two year offer. Tell him he will be playing between Hall and Yak/Ebs until January. Tell him that he will be traded at the deadline to a contender. Even ask him for a list.

    Gets a Nuge replacement for a few months and draft picks, prospects at the deadline. All it costs is money.

  29. theres oil in virginia says:

    Damn! I was just thinking, over the weekend, “I’m glad LT doesn’t take vacations.” Oh well, enjoy the break.

    I tried listening to the interview, but could barely get past the opening music, and once the guy started talking, I’d had enough. That’s pretty “eff”-ed if MacT will go on that joke of a show, but not the Lowdown.

  30. Jordan says:

    I have one thing to say about the bottom 6 as it is.

    Meh.

    If Hemmer isn’t traded, there’s a top 6 scoring winger to toss out against the dregs.

    Oh darn – thats too bad.

    Whether Gordon’s success against the toughs was smoke and mirrors or legit awesomeness, he’s going to help stem the bleeding whichever line he’s on, and if he gets good help, he might make 1/3 of a decent 2-way line.

    Which leaves a lot of question marks.

    Now, I’m not opposed to having question marks in the bottom six. Even looking at all the 1-way AHL vets coming in – there’s likely value there. And if the plan is to say “Here’s 3 spots, guys. May the best hockey players win,” well I have to say I like that a lot.

    There’s no question that the team is leaving value on the table on the FA side. I’d bet of the players left, some would come here, but at a higher price point than the Oilers want, and some won’t. So, let them sit and sweat and invite some to camp and see who earns it.

    If this is actually how things roll out, I’m going to be really happy with how this off-season has gone:
    – Upgrade top 4, reasonable contract, player matches need
    – Upgrade top 6, young 20 goal scorer, established, minimal risk, great contract & term for decent player & pick
    – Bought out Belanger
    – Traded Horcoff without retaining salary or taking a bad contract AND got a depth player
    – Lots of value signings (Belov, Jonesuu, AHL depth)
    – No bad-value long-term contracts
    – At least equivalent goaltending depth – may be improved (time will tell)

    You guys can complain about how it’s not good enough all you want. This off-season has been full of win for MacT and think him sitting back now and letting people pitch at him for a while makes a ton of sense. More smart bets this year than we’ve seen in the last 4 combined. I’m quite pleased with how everything is looking.

  31. striatic says:

    if we include Hemsky, the bottom 6 isn’t really “bad” if you break it down player by player, position by position. it certainly is “weird” though.

    3LW Joensuu – Below Average Offensive 3rd Liner
    3C Gordon – Above Average Defensive 3rd Liner
    2RW Hemsky – Above Average Offensive 3rd Liner

    2 out of 3 players on the 3rd line are above average for their slot. that’s good. The “bad” is that the 3rd line seems like a really weird mix of extremely defensive Gordon, highly offensive Hemsky and huge question mark Joensuu. slot by slot? above average. as a whole? weird as hell.

    4LW Smyth – Above Average 4th Liner
    4C Lander – Below Average 4th Liner
    4RW Jones – Above Average 4th Liner

    2 out of 3 players on the 4th line are above average for their slot. that’s good. While Lander is below average even for a 4C, his CorsiRel from last season and playoff performance in OKC are positive signs. small sample sizes though and Lander hasn’t proven anything yet.

    so 4 of 6 players in the bottom six are above average for their slot, in my opinion. i think this is why MacT is “reasonably comfortable”.

    but you need to ask yourself if moving Yakupov to 2RW and signing Joensuu as a potential 3LW are really the best ways to push guys down the depth chart into minutes they may excel with. you also need to ask yourself if, given the current UFA situation, the two “below average” slots, 3LW and 4C, couldn’t be filled with above average players.

  32. Lowetide says:

    Striatic: That’s exactly how I see the 3line. Exactly.

  33. steveb12344 says:

    böökje,

    I think it’s very likely that a few members of the Oilers organization are regular readers here, one or two may even be posters. I am always curious who the ‘highest ranking’ member of Oiler management is who reads these posts

    Actually, Eakins stated that he likes to read all the stuff on the net about his team. Something about knowing what the fans are saying about his players, to better protect them from it. If he’s looking for popular Oiler fansites to monitor, I’m sure Lowetide would be at or very near the top of the list.

    Also maybe coincidentally, but just a few days before the Eakins announcement, While reading comments on one of the blogs. ON, I think. I noticed a commenter saying something about what Roger Neilson had told him. At the time i just wrote it off as some idiot name-dropping to sound cool. That may have been the case, but after Eakins got hired he made numerous comments to the press about his relationship with Neilson.

    I tried very hard to go back and find that comment, but when you read 4-5 Oiler blogs daily, it doesn’t take long for the thread comments to get into the thousands. Either way, him or not, you can be reasonably sure that if he is indeed keeping his finger on the pulse of Oilernation, that he likely frequents these boards.

  34. fuzzy muppet says:

    böökje,

    As it stands now, I fail to see how the bottom six is an better than the boat anchor of last year.

    Boyd Grdon is well and good but is he better than Horcoff? Doubtful, he brings LESS offense. Jonessu has proven nothing as an NHLer. Ditto with Lander. Smyth looks shot, Brown can’t play, Jones is awful defensively. And they’re banking on Hemsky to return to form after they pretty much said he wasn’t coming back. This is not improvement.

    Half your starting roster is terrible.

    Sure the top six looks well and good(if and when RNH is fully healthy) , but they’ll be dog tired by January of Eakins rides them like he should to keep that bottom six sheltered.

    The Defense is slightly better. Everything else looks about the same.

    Eakins better be a miracle worker.

    It’s clear i”m off the kool-aid. Took the better part of 7 years for me to shake it’s grasp. but this team is closer to picking first than winning a cup again.

    That said, hopefully MacT is just blowing smoke about being happy, because that bottom six looks like the worst in Hockey.

  35. Andropod says:

    I don’t think for a minute that MacT is done trading. Looks like negotiating 101 to me. He has to look less keen and then win a stare down to get viable deals done.

  36. spoiler says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    Damn!I was just thinking, over the weekend, “I’m glad LT doesn’t take vacations.”Oh well, enjoy the break.

    I tried listening to the interview, but could barely get past the opening music, and once the guy started talking, I’d had enough.That’s pretty “eff”-ed if MacT will go on that joke of a show, but not the Lowdown.

    Virginia (or should I call you John Carter?)

    Brad is actually a remarkable 20 yo with Cerebral Palsy trying to beat all the odds and become a radio broadcaster. You probably don’t know the background, I’m thinkin. He takes the Radio and TV program at NAIT and produces his own webcasts (AFAIK).

    He made the effort… went to the Oiler development camp and while there convinced MacT to come on his show… meanwhile our beloved LT sits around his unmowed backyard drinking Bohemian Maids.

  37. Bag of Pucks says:

    I tend to agree with Staples’ take in this quote.

    “It also strikes me that MacTavish, after talking so boldly at first, might be going in the other, calmer, wiser direction right now, playing it cool, not sounding overly keen, seeing how things develop and if a few more smart pick ups, maybe even a big one, will fall his way as other teams struggle with the cap and filling out their own rosters.”

    MacT has addressed the holes he absolutely had to fill, and now he can & should play a little more hard to get.

    Some reasonable Bottom 6 options should shake loose, particularly from those Cap strapped clubs, as we get closer to training camp. And I suspect, MacT also wants to send the message to his American leaguers that there’s opportunities to compete for jobs at camp, and the NHL roster is not set in stone.

    I was never a big fan of chasing a big money Top 2 D. Ultimately, Klefbom and then Nurse are projected for those roles so I think the org does need to see and assess what they have in Oscar this year before pulling the trigger on that type of ‘bold’ move. Really not keen on breaking camp with Jones on the third line and much prefer Hemsky fetching a big two way winger in return, but he does have skill (which should fetch some return right?) and there’s no point in shuttling him out like he’s the old 8 tracks at the garage sale.

    What MacT’s comments really tell me is that he’s not selling players like Hemsky or Schultz Sr for pennies on the dollar. I would imagine the Sens acquiring Bobby Ryan have quashed any deal that may have been available there. If there’s no willing dance partners out there at the moment, MacT is better served heading to the powder room to ratchet up the demand. Come training camp when teams are struggling to get under the cap, he could be the belle of the ball.

  38. Clay says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers rotate their people through the morning, Spector, Gregor and Strudwick shows. At some point I’ll probably get an opportunity and am hopeful it will be MacGregor. However, it’s also true thatI am a blogger and the Oilers have not embraced this area of the world. Someday hopefully they will, but there’s no evidence I can see that it’ll be via Lowetide.

    I’m cool with it, the Oilers do make their people available and MacT is very open. I was impressed that they reached out to Brad Bartko and hope that continues, because the Oilers have an insane platform (the blogs) that they could cultivate via podcast interviews, etc.

    Dear Oilers Management,

    The only thing that kept a good portion of your fan base interested over the past 8 years of complete ass-hatterie, was the excellent writing, insight, and discussion on blogs like this one. For you to dismiss the Oilogosphere’s importance to the vibrancy of your business is, well, par for the course, I guess.

    Sincerely,

    The thinking-man’s Oiler fan.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Clay: I don’t really look at it that way. The Oilers have built a relationship with Gregor, Struds, Spec etc over a long period of time. I get that, they don’t know me really from a hole in the ground. I do take heart though in last night’s interview because it tells me they may be altering their previous position.

    Either way, I’m with spOILER: Bartko for the win!

  40. Woodguy says:

    I don’;t think MacT is done.

    I also think that everything is in a holding pattern until Gagner is signed.

    Not sure when his hearing is scheduled (or if it is yet)

    Hubub has it the hangup isn’t $, but NTC clause.

    I guess that the Oilers will cave on the NTC if Sam gives up a bit of salary.

    Its very strange that Grabbo isn’t signed.

    I still think that he has a handshake deal with a team that is going to arb with one of their current C’s and don’t want to announce anything in order to not upset the apple cart.

    As far as I can see, 2 teams fit that mould. WIN – Little, and EDM-Gagner.

    Hopefully I’m right.

  41. Mr DeBakey says:

    Man, nothing like a Bohemian Maid.

    Bohemian Maid made on the hillside.

  42. Bar_Qu says:

    I was all for the Oilers goimg to get Antropov as a big body for the 4 line and as RNH injury insurance (having another NHL center in the fold) but striatic’s lines look good to me. Its also more in keeping with MacT’s coaching philosophy of letting youth break in on the 4 line (aka the Horcoff strategy).

    If the Oil do more this summer, good. If not, then i think they are a better team than last year in most areas, including coaching/tactics.

    Edit:enjoy your break LT

  43. Lowetide says:

    Used to drink Bohemian beer as a kid because that’s what they had. That and Sportsman’s cigarettes because I was underage and the guy you bought them from saved the Players for himself.

  44. jake70 says:

    I guess that the Oilers will cave on the NTC if Sam gives up a bit of salary.

    Maybe I was dreaming but does Gagner not have a lady friend at Uof A? If so, explains the digging in on the NTC. Anyway, NMCs/NTCs should be paid for not with a “bit of salary” but a significant chunk of salary, given how much it handcuffs teams down the road.

  45. lance says:

    böökje: I am always curious who the ‘highest ranking’ member of Oiler management is who reads these posts

    My thinking on this has changed. I did believe that any company trying to win would naturally exploit all the free resources available, but upon hearing about the team’s PR to their seat holders as being hype and fluff and overall too long, then followed by Lowe’s six ring circus, I now doubt they bother. And though they were able to attract Schultz and Belov, I believe it was most likely through promise of ice time rather than anything resembling innovative media or progressive management.

    In Southern California I’ve met people who make their living by staging houses for photography. In Alberta, decorating is often best left to the builder. A key point of passage seems to regard being able to admit that I don’t know best, and to me Lowe’s circus suggested to me the opposite. Lowe looked like a pioneer. He can fix a fence and paint a house and build a winning hockey team. Honey badger don’t need no experts.

    Probably none of the posters have ever played a minute of pro hockey. Change of surface area for the #7 hole as a function of a skater’s trajectory has never been important before. I suspect there is simply nothing to see here.

    LT – I’m glad to read about your disinterest in the toys and ploys.

  46. TheOtherJohn says:

    If the Oilers go into the upcoming season with the roster as is:
    They’ve added a 3-4 D man and the totality of whatever slot in the order Belov is capable of playing.Many here cite J Schultz as a top 4 D, clearly not off of last year. They have switched out Horcoff a good defensive center for Gordon an elirte defensive C and whatever the upgrade is from MPS to Perron is.

    Beyond that we have a whole pile of “what if’s” like:

    1)what if J Schu can play meaningful top 4 minutes;
    2) what if Joensuu is a real 3LW or even a real NHLer;
    3) what if Smytty isn’t done like he showed for 45 games over the last 1 1/2 years;
    4) what if R Hamilton is not a career minor leaguer;
    5) what if the very sporadic scoring Lander has done in the AHL is a precursor to a jump to NHL;
    6) what if someone in minors has a real breakout season.

    So done or not, the Oilers improvement comes from the “kids” getting better knowing we don’t have RNH for 4-6 weeks at start of the season, the addition of Ference, whatever Belov can add, Perron’s scoring and a bunch of What If’s.

    Better team than last year? yup. Not by a whole helluva lot though and I would not yet be saving up to buy playoff tickets just yet

  47. Soup Fascist says:

    Lowetide, doesn’t appear like you give any credence to MacT’s pronouncement that, based on his professional approach in OKC, that Eager will have an opportunity to make the Oilers? Or do you think that Eager is just done?

    Call me crazy, but I think he has a shot of making this team – and contributing.

  48. russ99 says:

    Soup Fascist,

    I’d feel a lot better if Eager (sans concussion issues) and Omark were available options for the bottom six.

    As it stands now, we’re in a pickle given even a usual amount of the injuries expected that a hockey team goes through in the course of a season.

    Granted, MacT should be looking to add better options than those two…

    I still believe this isn’t a playoff team until we match up with our new division rivals on the bottom six, especially on the third line. Otherwise we’re throwing our defensemen and goalie to the wolves yet again.

    We simply won’t be able to just outscore the Sharks, Kings, Ducks and Canucks as presently constructed.

  49. striatic says:

    Lowetide: Striatic: That’s exactly how I see the 3line. Exactly.

    the only hope i have for the “weirdness” of the 3rd line is that MacTavish is a former coach. i have to hope that when he thinks about Gordon and Hemsky playing together, he is visualizing how they will interact on the ice at a level above what i am capable of visualizing. he is certainly capable of using his years of playing and coaching and first hand knowledge of Hemsky’s playing style as a guide for understanding how a “weird” combination of players might work out in practice.

    maybe i’m being too optimistic. i’d love to ask MacT about it though.

    speaking of which, LT .. if MacT is doing podcast interviews, do you think there’s any chance he might do your radio show or a written interview for your blog?

  50. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Taylor Fedun is still waiting on a contract for 2013-14 (at this point one wonders if the Oilers are mulling over re-signing Fedun or staying the course–there’s a lot of young blue headed to OKC with tremendous potential).

    It’s my understanding that Oilers submitted a qualifying offer to Fedun. Haven’t heard yet that he has accepted it — deadline is July 20 or so — but he still has a few days to negotiate. But at this point the Oilers have done their mulling over & the puck is in Fedun’s end of the ice. I suspect he’ll sign.

  51. striatic says:

    russ99: We simply wont be able to outscore the Sharks, Kings, Ducks and Canucks as presently constructed.

    i think outscoring the Ducks is well within the realm of possibility.

  52. Soup Fascist says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    I wonder how much we are understating the kids getting better as an avenue for a step change in improvement though? I know MacT should not be pinning his hopes on the chance that the kids being a year older / stronger will make a 20 point difference in the standings, but certainly Eberle and RNH had comparatively bad years for varying reasons and should be better. J Schultz can’t help but be more competent in his own zone. And Hall is just hitting his stride as an elite forward. If only Yak can avoid the much ballyhooed sophmore slump ……..

  53. Lowetide says:

    Soup Fascist:
    Lowetide, doesn’t appear like you give any credence to MacT’s pronouncement that, based on his professional approach in OKC, that Eager will have an opportunity to make the Oilers?Or do you think that Eager is just done?

    Call me crazy, but I think he has a shot of making this team – and contributing.

    In order for me to believe MacT is done, I’d have to be certain he:

    1. was convinced Lander could play a prominent EV/PK role should anything happen to Gordon, while also helping to keep the 4line above water.

    2. was convinced either Ryan Jones can fulfill the 3rd line role that a ‘Pisani type’ might provide, including penalty killing and offense or

    3. was convinced that Joensuu could provide skill, the physical element required and penalty killing as needed (we’ll call that the Moreau role)

    ALL OF THAT assumed, I still think he’d look to add an NHL role player or two at a lesser level (2-way, camp invite) in order to make certain he was covered.

  54. Spydyr says:

    Most GM”S are at the lake enjoying their well deserved cottage break. Things will slow down till the Olympic camp in late August.

  55. Tarkus says:

    Meanwhile, Paajarvi will be donning a different number with the Blues. Something a little more Hartikainenesque:

    St. Louis Blues ‏@StLouisBlues 1h

    Paajarvi will wear No. 56. His dad was born in 1956 as were several legendary Swedish athletes, including tennis star Bjorn Borg. #stlblues

  56. TheOtherJohn says:

    Soup Fascist

    Last year Tambellini made a similiar bet. He added Yak and JSchu to a 29th place roster counted on kids to get better and ended up 24th. We’ve added a few nice pieces (with at least a couple of subtractions 10 & MPS) and hope someone iin the plethora of 12, 13, 14 forwards we signed ,OKC players or Belov surprise.

    If Hall has a similar year we need noticeable upticks from Ebs, RNH, JSchu and continued progress from Yak. Can it happen, absolutely! Is it tough to do, yup

  57. Jordan says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Soup Fascist

    Last year Tambellini made a similiar bet. He added Yak and Sjchu to a 29th place roster counted on kids to get better and ended up 24th. We’ve added a few nice pieces (with at least a couple of subtractions 10 & MPS) and hope someone iin the plethora of 12, 13, 14 forwards we signed ,OKC players or Belovsurprise.

    If Hall has a similar year we need noticeable upticks from Ebs, RNH, JSchu and continued progress from Yak. Can it happen, absolutely! Is it tough to do, yup

    John, you’re right – the team didn’t do especially well in the standings last year.

    I think there’s enough evidence that the poor performance was at least partially due to Kruger’s use of personnel and time on ice for player who were really quite bad.

    I don’t think this team is playoff bound as is without some luck, but I do expect they will be better than last year by at least 5 spots in the standings overall.

    They look to me like a team that’s at 5-6 in the division, and 19th in the NHL.

    There’s a lot of question marks for sure – if half of them turn out okay, and the other half can be replaced with some of the depth we have… This could turn out really well.

    The way this goes really badly is if our high-end players go down early. Then they’re hooped.

    Edit – But then, so’s anyone else’s team, unless they’re coached by Paul MacLean, who is clearly a witch.

  58. rickithebear says:

    People should look At the Vollman chart in his SWAY article on ON.
    Alot of Blue was retained unless it was replaced by tougher comp larger Bue

    Small white in the shutdown Quadrant was retained Or replaced with Blue

    Larger white with slight higher than average or worse comp was dumped or replaced/bumped by Better

  59. supernova says:

    Lowetide: Not going to happen. I’m not a pressbox guy and have either paid for the tickets to get in or been given them. That’s not just to keep the distance, it’s also because imo taking the press pass means you’re honor bound to ask questions of the players, etc after the game.

    And I just don’t see the value. Not really my thing. So I’d be taking something without using it for the express reason it was offered to me.

    Lowetide,

    I am impressed on how you approached alot of areas with Integrity and Reason.

    The thing is you don’t need MacT or management or player interviews to be a must listen or must read.

    if you have them great but you approach it from a completely different aspect which obviously has brought you many readers and listeners.

    Keep up the great work, if they give you access, we know you will use it in a way that we appreciate.

    Enjoy the holidays and the sun.

  60. supernova says:

    steveb12344:
    böökje,

    I think it’s very likely that a few members of the Oilers organization are regular readers here, one or two may even be posters. I am always curious who the ‘highest ranking’ member of Oiler management is who reads these posts

    Actually, Eakins stated that he likes to read all the stuff on the net about his team.Something about knowing what the fans are saying about his players, to better protect them from it.If he’s looking for popular Oiler fansites to monitor, I’m sure Lowetide would be at or very near the top of the list.

    Also maybe coincidentally, but just a few days before the Eakins announcement, While reading comments on one of the blogs.ON, I think.I noticed a commenter saying something about what Roger Neilson had told him.At the time i just wrote it off as some idiot name-dropping to sound cool.That may have been the case, but after Eakins got hired he made numerous comments to the press about his relationship with Neilson.

    I tried very hard to go back and find that comment, but when you read 4-5 Oiler blogs daily, it doesn’t take long for the thread comments to get into the thousands.Either way, him or not, you can be reasonably sure that if he is indeed keeping his finger on the pulse of Oilernation, that he likely frequents these boards.

    Could be, in between your triathlons and moving, enjoy our blogs, they are delightful!

    Welcome Coach Eakins!

  61. khildahl says:

    Lowetide:
    2. was convinced either Ryan Jones can fulfill the 3rd line role that a ‘Pisani type’ might provide, including penalty killing and offense or

    I would trade 2013 Hemsky for 2006 Pisani in a heartbeat, and I love Hemsky.

    Pisani is in my mind one of the most underrated players this team has ever had.

  62. Doug McLachlan says:

    With all the Lander-Gordon discussion this weekend – particularly on Matheson’s twitter feed – I was reminded of a quote from Scott Gomez to the effect that if you have him as your 3rd centre, you have a Cup contender, if you have him as your 1st centre – you are DOOMED!!

    My thoughts on Gordon is that he is a solid, classic, #3 centre – but if he were legitimatly slotted into a #4 centre spot (with additional PK and key faceoff duties) you may have done something very interesting.

    With that in mind, and knowing that the MacT blender should make all line-combinations tenuous at best, here are my thoughts on what to do with the forwards:

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle

    This is the clear top line. Because Hall. Nuge may not start here as he rehabs but will be up top as soon as he is able and Eberle is clearly the choice here to start but may shift down and back up the lines as matchups and performance warrents.

    Penner-Gagner-Yakupov

    While this is the nominal second line, I am surprised that everyone assumes it is frozen even if/when Gagner resigns/gets one year arb deal. Putting Yakupov’s cannon on the top line from time to time seems perfectly reasonable and who knows if the chemistry with the new addition of Penner makes this a natural fit as we all suppose. This is a starting point, not the obvious destination.

    Joensuu-Grabovski-Hemsky

    That Grobo is sill sitting out there confuses me. Sign him to a two or three year deal and have some fun with it. My preference would be a two year deal and explain that he will get his time with the Halls and the Yakupovs so he can get his counting numbers because, why wouldn’t you. I have to believe he will thrive now that he’s out from under Carlyle’s yoke and at 29 is a great movable piece. Shift him up the chart to give the second (or even first line) a different look. PP or PK time as warrented. Hemsky is also given a quality talent at pivot to make use of his skill set while we discover if Joensuu can rediscover his form. As with Grabo, the wingers here can shift up and down to shift the look or to play the hot hand. Hemsky, in particular gets shifted into favouable offensive zone starts and PP time to boost his counting stats and shield him from the top defensive players so his deadline trade value is at it’s peak – as he clearly will not be here in April – but with Grabovski as his pivot as opposed to Gordon, he may actually get top price when that time comes.

    Smyth-Gordon-Jones

    Tell me that this doesn’t look a hell of a lot better as your fourth line than as your third. You still make use of Gordon’s face off skills and defensive talents on the PK and whenever there is a “must win” face off to be had so he will still get 3rd line minutes, just not always at evens. Jones is a source of much ridicule on this blog but he has a crash/bang energy that can be valuable if harnassed correctly, if he is having one of those nights you could shift him up to exploit it but you wouldn’t need to. Smyth is not overtaxed and actually has something in the tank to contribute when the time comes.

    Brown spells off Jones and Eager spells of Smyth as needed and Lander takes his coffee while waiting for Nuge or when a pivot goes down for a few games.

    If you get a deal for Hemsky before training camp opens, try and sign Peter Mueller for the #3 RW roll. I think this is a fantastic value pick-up to make. Yes there is an injury gamble but there is talent there and on a short term deal, he has both the incentive and (with the wunderkinds) the opportunity to put up nice counting numbers that can attract the $ he has been seeking for a few teams now.

  63. supernova says:

    Clay: Dear Oilers Management,

    The only thing that kept a good portion of your fan base interested over the past 8 years of complete ass-hatterie, was the excellent writing, insight, and discussion on blogs like this one.For you to dismiss the Oilogosphere’s importance to the vibrancy of your business is, well, par for the course, I guess.

    Sincerely,

    The thinking-man’s Oiler fan.

    Well you are not wrong this is a very slippery slop from a PR perspective.

    If they give a “blogger” access then they would have to look at all “bloggers”, not saying they have to give credential to them all but they could be inundated with requests and emails on who and why.

    If the Oilers were starved for attention this would be more likely to happen.

    Contact JJ Hebert, @JJOilers and let him know your thoughts.

    I have done so in the past in a different forum. I don’t agree with their stance but I understand it.

    I feel they should have “exceptional status” like the CHL does for young players.

  64. TheOtherJohn says:

    Doug

    That is the most expensive 4th line in hockey history: $6.75m.What a horrible use of $$. Chicago just won cup w 4th line under $2.0m

    Worse not sure either Smyth or Jones are capable of dealing with significant Def ZS

  65. striatic says:

    Doug McLachlan: That Grobo is sill sitting out there confuses me. Sign him to a two or three year deal and have some fun with it.

    there isn’t the cap space available to do this.

    you also don’t have David Perron on the roster for some reason.

    but if you enter that roster with Perron instead of Penner, with Gagner signed for around 5 million which is probably what it will take, you don’t have enough money to pay Grabovski more than Gordon, which is the bare minimum you’d have to do to entice Grabbo to Edmonton to play career killing 3rd line minutes.

    you’ve created an impossible lineup.

  66. 8p0intgame says:

    RNH (3.775) – Hall (6) – Eberle (6) (15.775)
    xxx (?) – Perron (3.812) – Yakupov (3.775) (7.587)
    xxx (?) – Joensuu 0.950) – Hemsky (5) (5.950)
    Gordon (3) – Smyth (2.25) – Jones (1.5) (6.75)

    I wanted to see how much Doug’s 4th line would cost. Gordon is a bit pricey for a fourth liner but swap out Smyth for a player with Jones’ money next year and we should be okay.

  67. striatic says:

    CAPGEEK.COM USER GENERATED ROSTER
    My Custom Lineup
    FORWARDS
    Taylor Hall ($6.000m) / Ryan N.-Hopkins ($3.775m) / Jordan Eberle ($6.000m)
    David Perron ($3.813m) / Sam Gagner ($4.500m) / Nail Yakupov ($3.775m)
    Ryan Smyth ($2.250m) / Mikhail Grabovski ($4.000m) / Ales Hemsky ($5.000m)
    Jesse Joensuu ($0.950m) / Boyd Gordon ($3.000m) / Ryan Jones ($1.500m)
    Mike Brown ($0.737m)
    DEFENSEMEN
    Justin Schultz ($3.775m) / Ladislav Smid ($3.500m)
    Nick Schultz ($3.500m) / Andrew Ference ($3.250m)
    Jeff Petry ($1.750m) / Anton Belov ($1.525m)
    Philip Larsen ($1.025m) / Corey Potter ($0.775m)
    GOALTENDERS
    Devan Dubnyk ($3.500m)
    Jason Labarbera ($1.000m)
    OTHER
    Buried: Ben Eager ($0.175m)
    ——
    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $69,074,167; BONUSES: $9,150,000
    CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $48,333

    signing Grabovski while keeping Hemsky doesn’t really work. assuming you’ll need 4m to sign Grabovski, the only way you can get in under the cap is to somehow convince Gagner to only take 4.5 million when Hemsky is getting 5 million and comparable centres like Filppula are getting 5 million. we should call that unlikely.

    even if you can make signing both Gagner and Grabovski work [which is unlikely if only because Grabovski wants to some somewhere he can play 2nd line minutes with some PP time and would never come to Edmonton in a 3rd line role] but even if you do manage to convince Grabbo to sign and Gagner to sign for less, you are still in salary cap HELL when it comes to paying RNH, Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry next year, let alone going after Bouwmeester as a UFA.

    so signing Grabovski without losing Hemsky makes for a totally non-sensical roster.

  68. Bruce McCurdy says:

    supernova: Enjoy the holidays and the sun.

    You don’t live anywhere near Edmonton, do you? Or as it’s soon to be known, Lake Agassiz II.

  69. 8p0intgame says:

    striatic,

    Trade Eberle for all the missing pieces?

  70. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You don’t live anywhere near Edmonton, do you? Or as it’s soon to be known, Lake Agassiz II.

    Whenever I take holidays, since I was in my 20′s. Sigh.

  71. Doug McLachlan says:

    striatic: there isn’t the cap space available to do this.you also don’t have David Perron on the roster for some reason.but if you enter that roster with Perron instead of Penner, with Gagner signed for around 5 million which is probably what it will take, you don’t have enough money to pay Grabovski more than Gordon, which is the bare minimum you’d have to do to entice Grabbo to Edmonton to play career killing 3rd line minutes.you’ve created an impossible lineup.

    Yes it should be Perron, not Penner – Pancake induced brain cramp.

    The $ question is fair on both Gagner and Grabovski but the point I am making is once the contract is signed, where a player plays ought to be based on ability and production (fancy stats and all) not the numbers on the paycheque.

    1st line, 2nd line, 4th line are rather arbitrary designations, at least they were historically for MacT as a coach and suspect he envisions the same as a GM.

    I think you may be able to massage the numbers such that between Nuge’s injury and Hemsky’s eventual trade we could shoehorn Grabovski and Gagner onto this line-up.

    8p0intgame: RNH (3.775) – Hall (6) – Eberle (6) (15.775)xxx (?) – Perron (3.812) – Yakupov (3.775) (7.587)xxx (?) – Joensuu 0.950) – Hemsky (5) (5.950)Gordon (3) – Smyth (2.25) – Jones (1.5) (6.75)I wanted to see how much Doug’s 4th line would cost. Gordon is a bit pricey for a fourth liner but swap out Smyth for a player with Jones’ money next year and we should be okay.

    Sure, swap Smyth for Joensuu if the optics are more paltable for everyone but in terms of how they actually play, I suspect that MacT is hoping that Joensuu can challenge Smyth’s minutes.

  72. theres oil in virginia says:

    Spoiler (and LT),

    Did not know anything about Brad, and only heard about 1 second of his voice (didn’t catch any hint of the Cerebral Palsy). I assumed that he was one of those fake high-energy radio guys who excel at annoyance. (You know what they say about “assume”, it makes an “ass” outta “u” and “me” – or in this case just me.) My apologies, I hope no one was upset by that. Thanks for the info, I’ll give the show an honest listen later today.

    Sincerely,
    John Carter
    ;)

    PS – I stand by my comment about the crappy intro music.

  73. Lois Lowe says:

    It’s another perfect day out on the coast. I feel bad for you Albertans with all of that rain. Now you know what we feel like in during the winter. Of course, we’re smug about rain in the winter too because it is better than -20oC and dealing with ridiculous things like snow.

  74. Lowetide says:

    Lois Lowe:
    It’s another perfect day out on the coast. I feel bad for you Albertans with all of that rain. Now you know what we feel like in during the winter. Of course, we’re smug about rain in the winter too because it is better than -20oC and dealing with ridiculous things like snow.

    I was born in Mission BC. Whenever I go to the coast–once a year, basically–and it rains my family bitches and moans and I go outside and stand there until I can feel the cold in my bones and get the chills.

    It reminds me of my childhood. Seriously. amazing what you get used to, and then miss.

  75. Doug McLachlan says:

    striatic: CAPGEEK.COM USER GENERATED ROSTERMy Custom LineupFORWARDSTaylor Hall ($6.000m) / Ryan N.-Hopkins ($3.775m) / Jordan Eberle ($6.000m)David Perron ($3.813m) / Sam Gagner ($4.500m) / Nail Yakupov ($3.775m)Ryan Smyth ($2.250m) / Mikhail Grabovski ($4.000m) / Ales Hemsky ($5.000m)Jesse Joensuu ($0.950m) / Boyd Gordon ($3.000m) / Ryan Jones ($1.500m)Mike Brown ($0.737m)DEFENSEMENJustin Schultz ($3.775m) / Ladislav Smid ($3.500m)Nick Schultz ($3.500m) / Andrew Ference ($3.250m)Jeff Petry ($1.750m) / Anton Belov ($1.525m)Philip Larsen ($1.025m) / Corey Potter ($0.775m)GOALTENDERSDevan Dubnyk ($3.500m)Jason Labarbera ($1.000m)OTHERBuried: Ben Eager ($0.175m)——CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $69,074,167; BONUSES: $9,150,000CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $48,333signing Grabovski while keeping Hemsky doesn’t really work. assuming you’ll need 4m to sign Grabovski, the only way you can get in under the cap is to somehow convince Gagner to only take 4.5 million when Hemsky is getting 5 million and comparable centres like Filppula are getting 5 million. we should call that unlikely.even if you can make signing both Gagner and Grabovski work [which is unlikely if only because Grabovski wants to some somewhere he can play 2nd line minutes with some PP time and would never come to Edmonton in a 3rd line role] but even if you do manage to convince Grabbo to sign and Gagner to sign for less, you are still in salary cap HELL when it comes to paying RNH, Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry next year, let alone going after Bouwmeester as a UFA.so signing Grabovski without losing Hemsky makes for a totally non-sensical roster.

    Thanks for running this through. Assuming that Hemsky is traded at some point during the season you get cap releif there. You are correct that day one you need to be under and if you are correct that Gagner and Grabovski are accepting too sharp a paycut, let’s figure out how to Lou this roster up.

    Bonuses count against this year’s cap or next (or is that only true for over 35 players)?

    If you do your Hemsky for a bag of picks/pucks would the number you would sign Mueller for be small enough to provide the cushion needed to top up the Gagner and Grabovski contracts?

    I am pursuing this in the belief that the criticism is that it can’t be done not that it shouldn’t be done.

  76. 8p0intgame says:

    If you trade Eberle, you free up 6 million in cap space and the depth chart looks like this:

    RNH (3.775) – Hall (6) -Yakupov (3.775)
    xxx (?) – Perron (3.8125) – Hemsky (5)
    xxx (?) – Joensuu (0.950) – xxx (?)
    Gordon (3) – Smyrh (2.25) – Jones (1.5)

    Trade Eberle for a 3C and a 3RW (capable of sheltering Joensuu) and sign Gagner for 5 million.

  77. ashley says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I’m not sure about Belanger, but if this is the final approach, we definitely should have kept Horcoff. We gain a veteran winger, but lose a quality veteran C. Is that progress? Sure he was overpaid, but he is a real NHL veteran centreman. And we had him on our roster.

    If there is cap room anyway, why send him away for essentially nothing? This move in particular seems like change for the sake of change. Now who are we going to complain about during every 5 game losing streak?

    We’ll miss him come winter. Especially when he scores a hatty on us to put DAL in the final playoff spot in the WC.

  78. striatic says:

    Doug McLachlan: The $ question is fair on both Gagner and Grabovski but the point I am making is once the contract is signed, where a player plays ought to be based on ability and production (fancy stats and all) not the numbers on the paycheque.

    unfortunately that isn’t how it works in terms of getting the player signed in the first place. a player won’t sign unless they can have some understanding of where they will be playing in the lineup and if Gagner is signed, Grabovski won’t sign in Edmonton because he will know he will be playing 3rd line minutes which will drop his long term value.

    and like i said, even if he was willing to sign to play 3C, you still need to clear cap space for him and you can’t do that without losing Hemsky.

  79. unca miltie says:

    Lowetide: Whenever I take holidays, since I was in my 20′s. Sigh.

    I am at Pigeon Lake, watching my boat sit on the lift and my golf clubs are nice and shiny sitting in the closet..

  80. striatic says:

    8p0intgame: Trade Eberle for a 3C and a 3RW (capable of sheltering Joensuu) and sign Gagner for 5 million.

    that is a terrible idea.

    it is much more difficult to find an elite 1RW than it is to get a 3C and 3RW.

    you can get those as free agents quite easily.

    speaking of which, can we get past the notion that Boyd Gordon isn’t a legit 3C? last year he played 3C with great success and the year before that he played 2nd most C minutes through 16 playoff games.

  81. dessert1111 says:

    4 of 6 players in the bottom six are above average for their slot, in my opinion. i think this is why MacT is “reasonably comfortable”.

    but you need to ask yourself if moving Yakupov to 2RW and signing Joensuu as a potential 3LW are really the best ways to push guys down the depth chart into minutes they may excel with. you also need to ask yourself if, given the current UFA situation, the two “below average” slots, 3LW and 4C, couldn’t be filled with above average players.

    I think the bottom six has improved and I won’t tear my hair out if things stay status quo (I have some faith that a player like Arco or Rajala will make things interesting at camp), but at the same time, I also find it hard to believe MacT can’t get two better pieces than Joensuu and Lander for the bottom 6 — one of the free agent market, the other by trading some of our defensive depth.

    On the other hand, maybe having a couple slots open for a battle isn’t such a bad thing. Could help keep roster spots competitive.

  82. Doug McLachlan says:

    striatic: unfortunately that isn’t how it works in terms of getting the player signed in the first place. a player won’t sign unless they can have some understanding of where they will be playing in the lineup and if Gagner is signed, Grabovski won’t sign in Edmonton because he will know he will be playing 3rd line minutes which will drop his long term value.and like i said, even if he was willing to sign to play 3C, you still need to clear cap space for him and you can’t do that without losing Hemsky.

    Normally I would agree with you but I think a special case may be there for Grabovski on a shorter term deal. There will be PP minutes to go around and while I have placed him in the 3rd Center slot, that is a nominal description. He will, as all the offensively gifted centers on the Oil will, get his time with Hall, Yakupov, Perron and Eberle.

    With Jonensuu and Jones I’m pretty certain he will be able to out strip his prorated 27pts (16/48) from last season in Toronto.

    Right now the suiters do not appear to be banging down his door. There is an element of risk being taken by Grabovski here, to be sure, but also a huge opportuinty – should he click with one or more of the wonderkids – he could post some very bankable numbers for the contract to follow. Two year deal and he is back on the market at 31 after, presumably, posting impressive numbers with less that top 6 ice-time while having demonstrated his maturity in helping the Oil into the playoffs for the first time is years. His salary with the Oilers has no provincal tax and he gets to top it off with the Leaf money. It’s not that bad a deal.

    Perhaps the better question to ask is where else is there an obvious open slot with a first or second line where he will fare better? Calgary was the first team to come to mind and I’m not convinced he gets better numbers there even if he is the nominal #2 centre/

  83. supernova says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You don’t live anywhere near Edmonton, do you? Or as it’s soon to be known, Lake Agassiz II.

    come on man,

    its Alberta, one minute monsoon, and then the next sun, then snow.

    I am wishing good things on him.

    Also lots vacation outside their home city.

  84. striatic says:

    Doug McLachlan: There will be PP minutes to go around and while I have placed him in the 3rd Center slot, that is a nominal description.

    you need to play RNH on the PP, and Gagner is a better PP option than Grabovski so you need to play Gagner.

    there isn’t room for Grabovski on the PP unless you put him on the point on the 2nd PP which i would suggest isn’t a very good idea.

  85. linkfromhyrule says:

    striatic: that is a terrible idea.

    it is much more difficult to find an elite 1RW than it is to get a 3C and 3RW.

    you can get those as free agents quite easily.

    speaking of which, can we get past the notion that Boyd Gordon isn’t a legit 3C? last year he played 3C with great success and the year before that he played 2nd most C minutes through 16 playoff games.

    Trading eberle for lesser players…

    Bold? Yes
    Stupid? Yes
    Likely to cause riots in the streets? Yes
    well, that’s all I’ve got on that.

  86. supernova says:

    striatic: you need to play RNH on the PP, and Gagner is a better PP option than Grabovski so you need to play Gagner.

    there isn’t room for Grabovski on the PP unless you put him on the point on the 2nd PP which i would suggest isn’t a very good idea.

    striatic,

    Understand your thinking on Eberle, but it isn’t completely disagree with it.

    The only way i trade one of Hall, RNH, Yak, and Eberle.

    is if we are trading for a Big, proven center or a proven #1 Defenceman.

    there is no way we draft and develop Eberle and trade him for a 3C and 3RW, we are moving backwards then.

    Trade draft picks, trade other players but only trade top players for top players.

  87. godot10 says:

    Note: Even though I am still “mad as hell” at MacT for trading away Paajarvi, I will sort of defend the guy.

    He has done a lot. It doesn’t mean that he should necessarily stop, but he had done far more than Tambellini did for the last two years to balance the roster to start the season.

    Goal:
    Dubnyk, Labarbera (a legit NHL backup), Backman (a legit AHL #1)

    Defense:
    4 healthy veteran NHL defensemen for the first time in forever. Petry, Smid, Ference, NSchultz
    2 guys who can legitimately challenge for top 4 roles. Belov, JSchultz
    7 guys who are legit 3rd pairing D or who legitimately challenge for the 3rd pair. Belov, JSchultz, Potter, Larsen, Klefbom, Fedun, Marincin.

    Top Six: Check. Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Perron, Gagner, Yakupov Note: Once Gagner filed for arbitration, his is de facto signed to a one year contract. Gagner is guarenteed to be in camp.

    Boyd Gordon will be an extremely unhappy camper if the Oilers sign another centre without one leaving. He undoubtedly signed with the expectation that he would be the 3rd line centre. Signing a centre winger is probably okay.

    Gordon-Hemsky is a pretty good start to a solid 3rd line. If Hemsky is traded (and half his salary retained, the Oilers should be able to get a proven 3rd line type of winger in return).

    There is a plethora of candidates for the left wing on this line, like with the depth defense. Multiple bets to reduce the risk. Smyth, Jones, Joensuu, Lander. Yep, Lander could very well slot in as the left wing on the 3rd line. Lander, Gordon, Hemsky.

    Colin Fraser demonstrated that the quality of the 4th line really more is a reflection of the quality of the defense. So the losers in the 3rd line left wing batter, plus Hamilton, Arcobello, Miller, Rajala, Brown leave multiple options for an adequate 4th line on a team contending for the playoffs. Not good enough for contending, but good enough to compete for the playoffs.

    I still think Penner would be a good addition. But I doubt MacT would ever do that.

    Thinks that really would be nice before the season starts. 1) Adding a 3rd line player who is center/winger. 2) Upgrading one of the 4 veteran D.

  88. Doug McLachlan says:

    striatic: you need to play RNH on the PP, and Gagner is a better PP option than Grabovski so you need to play Gagner.there isn’t room for Grabovski on the PP unless you put him on the point on the 2nd PP which i would suggest isn’t a very good idea.

    When RNH is back, agreed, he plays top PP and while I think he’s back before camp is over, some here have speculated he may not be back until November or December. There will be PP minutes.

    I’m wondering, though, if you wouldn’t see him out there taking draws on the 2nd PP – with Yakupov’s cannon on the point – in some of Eakin’s different looks.

  89. Woodguy says:

    Puck Daddy saying that Belov is awesome.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/anton-belov-khl-top-defenseman-big-future-edmonton-193311931.html

    I love this quote:

    “First of all, I want to develop professionally. I had a chance to sign a multi-year contract with Omsk this summer and provide for myself and my family for a very long time. But I think that these things make an athlete relaxed. When you know that you have a contract, that the money is coming, a feeling of easy and fullness sets in and the development halts right away,” Belov stated.

    “You can even tell yourself ‘Everything is good, I am working,’ and at the same time you’re standing still. This is what I am afraid of. This is the reason I have always signed minimum term contracts, preferably for one year. I want to grow, progress and that’s why I made a decision to go to the NHL. I need to be demanding to myself until the end.”

    *swoon*

  90. Alex T says:

    Godot10,

    I think Hemsky with Gordon on the 3rd is too much round peg in the square hole. Put Lander on one wing and another gritty defensive type on the other (Joensuu, Jones, Hamilton?). Build a true checking line and run them against the other team’s top lines. And get Gordon to teach Lander how to be a true shut down centre.

    Put Hemsky on the 4th line with Smyth (who he’s had success with in the past) and an offensive centre like Arcobello or Miller. Run them against the other teams 3rd D pairing and 4th line. If it works, we get Hemsky highlight reel goals and a tradable asset by the deadline. If it doesn’t, we throw them back in the MacBlender.

    Hemsky on a checking line would be an unhappy camper. Set him up to succeed and perhaps we get something for the asset. Set him up to fail, and he may as well spend the season in the Czech league.

  91. Bruce McCurdy says:

    striatic: a player won’t sign unless they can have some understanding of where they will be playing in the lineup and if Gagner is signed, Grabovski won’t sign in Edmonton because he will know he will be playing 3rd line minutes which will drop his long term value.

    ^^^This^^^

    godot10: Boyd Gordon will be an extremely unhappy camper if the Oilers sign another centre without one leaving. He undoubtedly signed with the expectation that he would be the 3rd line centre.

    & ^^^this^^^

    Only way Grabovski signs here is if Gagner is gone for some return that doesn’t include a top six centre. No way he signs to be a 3C. No way Gordon signed a 3-year deal to be demoted to 4C, & no way MacT is planning to pay his 4C $3MM a year. Be nice to have overqualified players up and down the line-up, sure, but I don’t see it as realistic at all.

  92. bendelson says:

    That is a very nice contract for Josh Bailey… Huge actually(3.3 x 5)
    Those UFA years get expensive don’t they? Josh Bailey FFS.

  93. Gerta Rauss says:

    I just listened to the podcast. I hope Mac T’s statement that they are happy with the players right now is just bluff and posturing. There is still some hope and wishful thinking with the current players and the roles we’ve pencilled them into.

    Assuming Hemsky is staying and playing 3RW, picking up a UFA 3LW(Antropov/Prospal) and a UFA 4C(Steckel) are minor moves easily achievable. I can’t understand why they wouldn’t acquire these player types.

    Leaving the station with our current roster would be OK, I guess. Acquiring 2 more forwards via UFA at the positions stated above would be better. Much, much, better.

  94. Doug McLachlan says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Ok, the tribe has spoken. The point I was trying to make was that MacT’s history, to my recollection, was that he didn’t put a lot of stock into fixed, inflexible rolls but rather shifted lines and assignments around to suit the level of play he saw from players and sometimes just put players in the blender to see if he could create some different chemistry.

    To hear Eakins talk about different systems for different situations sounded very similar to my ears and sometimes the best set up of lines 1-4 for system A is going to be different than the set up of lines 1-4 for system B, even with the same players at your disposal.

    Given that we will have Gagner or Grabovski as our #2 pivot, does this mean Yakupov is down with Gordon until Hemsky is dealt (if only to ensure attractive counting numbers for Hemmer until he is traded)? Is that optimal use of the talent we have assembled?

  95. Jon K says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    What if, as MacT previously alluded to, Gagner is re-signed and then plays next season on the RW? If I recall correctly, MacT said earlier in the offseason that he could see a shift to RW for Gagner in the short term.

    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Yakupov-Grabovski-Gagner
    Perron-Gordon-Hemsky/Clifford (example)

    Perron has some experience playing the toughs and he potentially can create offense rather than simply being a complementary player.

    Anyway, the scenario above is unlikely as it presupposes that the Oilers can acquire Grabovski at all. Playing in the West may simply not be an option for him, especially as a newly-wed.

  96. striatic says:

    Doug McLachlan: Given that we will have Gagner or Grabovski as our #2 pivot, does this mean Yakupov is down with Gordon until Hemsky is dealt (if only to ensure attractive counting numbers for Hemmer until he is traded)? Is that optimal use of the talent we have assembled?

    Gagner will be the #2 pivot.

    even if he goes to arbitration, the Oilers will get him back for next year at least.

    Yakupov will play 2RW. he showed more last year than Hemsky did and deserves to play ahead of Hemsky based on present performance.

    i do think that you want to give Hemsky some good minutes as a showcase for trade, but i don’t think you do that until it is clear the playoffs aren’t going to happen or if Yakupov slumps.

    if the team is clicking along, you just keep Hemsky in the 3RW slot and don’t sweat trading him too much. he basically becomes an in-house rental for a playoff run.

  97. Ice Sage says:

    Happy holiday, LT –
    may it be filled with frivolity and fine, sunkissed gams

    (and since a ‘watched pot never boils’, it’s really gonna hit the fan now… ;-)

  98. Hammers says:

    Woodguy:
    Puck Daddy saying that Belov is awesome.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/anton-belov-khl-top-defenseman-big-future-edmonton-193311931.html

    I love this quote:

    “First of all, I want to develop professionally. I had a chance to sign a multi-year contract with Omsk this summer and provide for myself and my family for a very long time. But I think that these things make an athlete relaxed. When you know that you have a contract, that the money is coming, a feeling of easy and fullness sets in and the development halts right away,” Belov stated.


    “You can even tell yourself ‘Everything is good, I am working,’ and at the same time you’re standing still. This is what I am afraid of. This is the reason I have always signed minimum term contracts, preferably for one year. I want to grow, progress and that’s why I made a decision to go to the NHL. I need to be demanding to myself until the end.”

    *swoon*

    I have been saying he will be a top 4″D” and I believe it . Mc needs to sign Fedun as he may get playing time this year . Potentially better than Potter & Larsen . Again time will tell all .

  99. bones says:

    Lowetide: Based on the response from my last interview request, Twelfth of Never.

    Heaven forbid. LT’s interview technique is all wrong – it’s his show, so each interview/show should ideally have:
    - more talk about himself
    - constant interrupting and talking over his guests
    - disagreeing arbitrarily
    - “take my wife” jokes
    - repeated anecdotes/name-dropping about who coached him when he was a kid
    - constant reminders on how he told Lowe to rebuild
    - generalisations about soft euros
    - more remarks about lazy/uncommitted foreign players
    - more value placed on enforcers, less on skill (as skill doesn’t win games)

    That Connor guy is funny though. Until he forgets to upload the podcast ;)

  100. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: ^^^This^^^

    & ^^^this^^^

    Only way Grabovski signs here is if Gagner is gone for some return that doesn’t include a top six centre. No way he signs to be a 3C. No way Gordon signed a 3-year deal to be demoted to 4C, & no way MacT is planning to pay his 4C $3MM a year. Be nice to have overqualified players up and down the line-up, sure, but I don’t see it as realistic at all.

    MacT has talked about Gagner playing RW on more than one occasion.

  101. denny33 says:

    Woodguy,

    Not really sure i understand the Grabo stuff…someone in here highlighted his off-ice stuff and that is a drop in the bucket.

    Randy Carlyle has DEEP ties to the Jets organization…..

    Winnipeg media has said Grabo will not be in a Winnipeg locker room.

    I am told there were lessons learned about locker room issues from Whitney and Belanger….

    No need to try another malignancy…..although, I do get the on-ice fit.

  102. Doug McLachlan says:

    denny33,

    I don’t think we heard of any locker-room issues when Burke signed him to the 4 year contract that he was just bought out from – the issue seems to have been with Carlyle not the room.

    I have no reason to think this would be “another malignancy” – he was just pissed about his drop in ice-time and offensive opportunities. As Straitic, among others, has pointed out – my plan exposes him to the same risk here and probably it isn’t a fit for that reason. Shame, I would love to have such a depth of stregth down the middle after last season exposed such a lack of depth there.

  103. denny33 says:

    Lowetide,

    Your work ethic at this makes me blush….

    You deservea good holiday LT.

    Really enjoy this blog….

  104. denny33 says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    A fight with his fromer teamate in Montreal ( Carlyle not present ) was featured ( not posted by me ) in a list of about 6 very interesting off-ice stories on Grabo…..

    But if you think it is – just – a Carlyle issue…..no problem.

  105. khildahl says:

    Woodguy,

    I love the quote in that article where he says he’s already strengthening his shoulders.

    He did his homework, apparently.

  106. striatic says:

    Woodguy: MacT has talked about Gagner playing RW on more than one occasion.

    problem is, there is even less room for him at RW, unless you trade Hemsky and demote either Yakupov or Gagner to 3RW.

    So you could go with something like:

    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Perron-Grabovski-Gagner
    Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
    Smyth-Lander-Jones
    Brown

    you absolutely must move Hemsky to get the cap space to do this.

    the reason i don’t like it, is because Gagner has not been especially impressive at RW in the past few seasons. maybe he needs to spend more time on the wing to get used to it, but he seems to be much more offensively productive as a C.

  107. regwald says:

    Woodguy: MacT has talked about Gagner playing RW on more than one occasion.

    Yup, cause the depth at center with RNH on the shelf until November provides the Oilers the luxury of moving Gagner to wing. I have heard what MacT says, but I just don’t see how that is possible if he is prepared to take this group to training camp.

    One comment does not jive with the reality of this roster. It truly doesn’t.

  108. Factotum says:

    Gerta Rauss:

    Assuming Hemsky is staying and playing 3RW, picking up a UFA 3LW(Antropov/Prospal) and a UFA 4C(Steckel) are minor moves easily achievable. I can’t understand why they wouldn’t acquire these player types.

    Leaving the station with our current roster would be OK, I guess. Acquiring 2 more forwards via UFA at the positions stated above would be better. Much, much, better.

    ^^^ This. All day. Improvements by increment.

    Maybe MacT is just waiting to see what he can shake loose from the Hemsky tree before adding those last couple of depth pieces. Hope he doesn’t wait too long. At the same time, it’s wise to leave space on the reserve list for waiver pickups later. Could be that just the right piece becomes available at exactly the time Eakins learns the team well enough to identify what he wants.

  109. Rebilled says:

    ashley:
    “Steve Smith”,

    I’m not sure about Belanger, but if this is the final approach, we definitely should have kept Horcoff.We gain a veteran winger, but lose a quality veteran C.Is that progress?Sure he was overpaid, but he is a real NHL veteran centreman.And we had him on our roster.

    If there is cap room anyway, why send him away for essentially nothing?This move in particular seems like change for the sake of change.Now who are we going to complain about during every 5 game losing streak?

    We’ll miss him come winter.Especially when he scores a hatty on us to put DAL in the final playoff spot in the WC.

    When was the last time theformercaptainshawnhorcoff scored a hatty? 2006?

  110. Woodguy says:

    denny33: Not really sure i understand the Grabo stuff…someone in here highlighted his off-ice stuff and that is a drop in the bucket.

    No one has really provided anything to prove that’s he’s a detriment.

    His last coach before Carlyle relied on him heavily.

  111. Woodguy says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    denny33,

    I don’t think we heard of any locker-room issues when Burke signed him to the 4 year contract that he was just bought out from – the issue seems to have been with Carlyle not the room.

    I have no reason to think this would be “another malignancy” – he was just pissed about his drop in ice-time and offensive opportunities.As Straitic, among others, has pointed out – my plan exposes him to the same risk here and probably it isn’t a fit for that reason.Shame, I would love to have such a depth of stregth down the middle after last season exposed such a lack of depth there.

    This.

  112. Woodguy says:

    regwald: Yup, cause the depth at center with RNH on the shelf until November provides the Oilers the luxury of moving Gagner to wing. I have heard what MacT says, but I just don’t see how that is possible if he is prepared to take this group to training camp.

    One comment does not jive with the reality of this roster. It truly doesn’t.

    Gagner plays 1C and Grabbo plays 2C until RNH comes back, then Gagner goes to RW.

    Hey look!

    C depth!

  113. Gret99zky says:

    I hope MacT isn’t done and is just playing coy.

    Because as it stands this line-up is miles away from the post-season. Miles.

  114. gcw_rocks says:

    I hope this is MacT learning his lesion to keep his mouth shut, because if he really thinks this roster in done, or has depth he is delusional. This is not a playoff team, but they is no reason it couldn’t be. There are plenty of pieces still left in free agency that could plug holes at reasonable prices.

    Theoretically Hemsky should improve the third line but if he bleeds shots like last year, spend time on the IR and is miserable because the top six get all the powerplay time, and Jones is on the other wing the Oilers are back in lottery contention and another season will have been wasted.

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