The Edmonton Oilers are in a very strange place this morning–they have over $11M in cap space and are finishing up the summer’s business. They had a target (Clarkson) and apparently were willing to spend upwards of 6 large a year, but it didn’t take. It could be a very quiet July–Hemsky is on the trade block and they have a stated need for a complementary LW for the 2line–but those things could happen a week before camp if nothing shakes loose during the cabin weeks. I’m sure they’d also like to add some toughness and size to the top 6F, but I don’t know if we’ll see ‘eye-catching’ as much as functional at this point.
The 3line currently looks like this:
There is potential here, the line has a “MacTavish” feel to it. Gordon is a fiesty shutdown center with terrific PK and checking skills; Paajarvi the speed demon and aggressive forechecker/backchecker and a guy who continues to develop as an offensive option; Joensuu, a big guy who protects the puck well, increases zone time and has some offensive acumen. This isn’t Marchant-Moreau-Grier, but there are some things to like about this trio.
MacT always liked players like Michael Peca and Radek Dvorak, and you can kind of see what he’s thinking with the two wingers on this line. Both have some draft pedigree and both were touted as being able to play farther up the batting order earlier in their careers. Both have a tremendous opportunity to work with a quality checking center to form a shutdown line for the new coach.
The odds of this trio staying together for the year are low. However, I do like the look of it from a distance. The elements are there, the chemistry awaits.
The Dustin Penner chatter took on a life of it’s own yesterday. We’ve talked about DP many times on this blog since he left (most recently here) and I absolutely believe what I wrote:
- I know, and I know. However, if you’ve missed out on Clarkson and need someone to play with Gagner and be big and skilled, why not go with someone who has been successful with Gagner and can be big and skilled? I know.
A line of Gagner-Penner-Yakupov would be a helluva lot of fun (so would a 2line of Gagner-Penner-Hemsky by the way) but folks I can’t see it happening. This isn’t a “we had a lot of success together, and he still have some left” kind of conversation, it’s a “I could never reach him” type discussion.
If Craig MacTavish signs Dustin Penner this summer, he’s a smarter man than I think he is, and I think he’s pretty damn smart. I don’t think a guy like MacT–or most people, really–would trust the signing with the same experience and information. Human nature being what it is, I expect Penner ends up with a one year deal elsewhere and that team will have a long post-season run in which their coach is completely flabbergasted about work ethic.
It’s the curse of Dustin Penner and all big men since Frank Mahovlich: they just don’t look like they’re making much of an effort. It looks for all the world like the wind just blew the right way and they lucked out again. The numbers don’t care about quotes and visual and all those other things, and the numbers love him more than he loves pancakes.
Dustin Penner represents tremendous value right now. I don’t think the Oilers are shopping in his aisle.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Another busy show and lots to talk about at 10 this morning on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- David Staples from the Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk about MacT’s summer, Jamie Oleksiak and what’s to come before training camp.
- Carl Putnam from Five For Howling. We’ll dig deeper into the Boyd Gordon signing to see what the Oilers have in their new center.
- Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show. Final thoughts on the 2013 draft, Oil Kings 2013-14 and draft 2014.
- Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue. Ference and the Oilers ‘up the middle’ plus some junior hockey talk.
- James Mirtle, Globe and Mail. James wrote an excellent piece on the Clarkson signing in Toronto. We’ll talk about it.
You can leave comments at 10-1260 or on twitter @Lowetide_ or drop your thoughts into the comments section below. It’s going to be fun!
(Paajarvi photo by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved).