A TOUCH OF GREY

I wrote an article over at ON after the game last night talking about possession players. I suspect that if we all took a #2 HB and wrote down our definition of a ‘possession player’ the answers would be similar–someone who can handle the puck, perhaps strong along the wall, someone like Ryan Smyth in his heyday or Taylor Hall since he landed.

I have a tendency to view things in black and white–dangerous thing, that. When you go through life doing it, there’s all kind of nuance and subtlety that passes you by. Also, when you argue a point without allowing for the possibility of being incorrect, it leaves you two options: admit you’re wrong after digging a hole or stubbornly defending a position that is not defensible.

Early this month, Tyler Dellow wrote a fascinating piece on Ben Eager and his shot differential (Corsi). It struck as an invaluable item because it cut through the verbal and used math and logic to deliver something that had more than two sides–Ben Eager has been good and bad and that is reflected by the quality of team he’s played for during the last several years. Makes sense, and yet the fan (me) looks at things in black and white, as in “Ben Eager has been disappointing.”

The summer Edmonton hired Eager, I wrote this about his role:

  • Eager at 6 minutes a night and you’re happy. Right. 6 minutes a night, cut back on the penalties taken and let him agitate like an old time washing machine. I have him playing 9 minutes a night in the RE template because the coach will try him in several roles until he feels comfortable with him.

Eager ended the season playing 8 minutes a night, which is fine because they ended up buggering up Paajarvi and needed some extra minutes from him. In his two seasons with the Oilers, Eager’s CorsiON has been ghastly, but the guys he’s lining up with and the general quality of the team he’s on make that a predictable result.

WHAT TO DO?

MacT used to run some pretty good 4lines (Dowd with Devereaux and BG, Reasoner with Laraque had some great moments, Reasoner with Thoresen too) and I think Eakins has some nice options available. Boyd Gordon would be an outstanding 4C option in my opinion, Will Acton less so and Anton Lander might be someday. Among wingers available to the new coach, I think Jesse Joensuu or Ryan Smyth would be ideal but the depth chart will no doubt force them up the batting order this season. Ben Eager and Ryan Hamilton are the strongest current options, but Steve MacIntyre and Mike Brown are likely to get plenty of at bats if healthy.

And that’s where this weekend’s waiver/trade possibilities come in. There should be some terrific options available (hello, Detroit!) and the Oilers would be wise to grab one or more. There are better players available for the taking, and last night tells us that there’s plenty of room to grow.

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85 Responses to "A TOUCH OF GREY"

  1. Andropod says:

    After last night the sky is not falling but the clouds are a little lower than they were before the game. Eakin’s credibility took a hit too – in the prior games, the team appeared to be trying to walk the talk of the coach.

    Last night they looked like a team that had stopped listening to the coach.

    Last night said to me that this team will most likely not make the playoffs and could be as bad, or little better than the Krueger team.

    Krueger was nice to listen to as well, and we had similar high hopes with him. I want this to be different, I want us to have 3 scoring lines and a 4th line that bullies and intimidates, and to make the playoffs and perhaps even go into the second round, and I know that last night was the pre-season and only one game, but until our team shows it can and will slice and dice the goons thrown at us with lopsided scores IN OUR FAVOUR I’m going to need to reign in my previously growing enthusiasm.

    Am I wrong?

  2. VanOil says:

    I would like to see a waiver wire pickup but I doubt it will happen. Someone promising normally shakes free and this years cap crunch means it could be better then normal.

    My plan this year remains to not focus on the 4th line when I read the pre game line ups and hope for the best. Its not a great plan, but then again neither is the Oilers.

    The good news from this September is that the Oilers new skill first drafting strategy show there is promise of internal solutions for this line in the years ahead. If we can just make it through this year… again.

  3. fuzzy muppet says:

    Brad Boyes signs in FLA for 1 Million.

    The oilers don’t need actual NHL players apparently

  4. hunter1909 says:

    Andropod: Last night said to me that this team will most likely not make the playoffs and could be as bad, or little better than the Krueger team.

    Andropod: I’m going to need to reign in my previously growing enthusiasm.
    Am I wrong?

    Nope.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Andro: I think the Oilers are miles better already than a season ago. They have a lot more urgency in getting back to the puck defensively and having a quick outlet available. I really like Eakins calling his team out last night, suspect they’re skating somewhere as we speak and having a strip torn off.

    Eakins gameplan may take some time and of course they’re down 2 centers and that complicates things, but for me (and I didn’t see last night’s game) they’ve cut down on those horrible “penned in for 30 seconds” shifts a lot already.

  6. BlacqueJacque says:

    I really wonder how the Oilers aren’t embarrassed by having Will Acton on the roster. At his end of the skill range, there are a thousand plugs available to fill that hole, it’s not like Acton offers that much more over any waived player or even Lander. As much as we knock Steve Tambellini, he somehow resisted the urge to sign his son Jeff, and although arguments could have been made for drafting Keegan Lowe with our first 3rd round pick, we didn’t. KLowe let him find his own way in the league.

    I’d feel differently if Acton had done something to really distinguish himself, if he’d proven better than expected, but like Ryan Hamilton over Pitlick or Jones, if there’s a difference, it’s no bigger than the puck taking a fortunate bounce on one meaningless shift in the neutral zone that leads to an offensive dump and a line change.

  7. Woodguy says:

    I’m not a Dale Tallon fan, but he did some nice work getting Boyes, Gilbert, and Thomas signed after PTOs.

    Those are 3 real NHL players who will help the team.

    Been following some Panthers bloggers and its sounds like Gilbert might even start on the top pair.

  8. gcw_rocks says:

    fuzzy muppet,

    Florida has picked up two pretty good players out of the bargain bin in Boyes and Gilbert. MacT went to the same bin and walked away with Acton, Hamilton, and Macintyre. If MacT is smart then Talon is a fucking genius.

  9. russ99 says:

    Don’t like to see anyone get hurt, but I have to admit a bit of schadenfreude to see the Oilers one-game reactionary move to goon up backfire in their faces already.

    Can we get another center now please?

  10. russ99 says:

    I do have to admit that if we’re griping about 4th line players and press box candidates, then the Oilers have a much better roster than in the past.

  11. BlacqueJacque says:

    Woodguy,

    You mean to tell me the Oilers were deciding between Anton Lander, Will Acton, and Mark Arcobello while Brad Boyes was sitting by the phone, available to anyone willing to extend him a two-way minimum contract?

    sigh

  12. gcw_rocks says:

    Andropod,

    This is probably a lottery team. One more significant injury to a key player and it is definitely a lottery team. Boyes, Thomas, and Gilbert on the roster plus the return from trading one or two of the defence to make room for Gilbert and the Oilers would have depth to partially mitigate the injuries, but MacT prefers Smac and nepotism. I don’t see a lot of joy in oilerland.

  13. godot10 says:

    I’m still surprised that Lander is not on the roster considering the injuries to Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins. Lander is a safe boring player who isn’t going to hurt you, and he can play that way with skilled players. And Lander (between the other options of Arcobello and Acton) is someone you can play Yakupov with on a soft minutes line, and create mismatch with the other team, even though you have injuries at centre.

    I would have gone

    Smyth, Hall, Hemsky…not much choice here.
    Perron, Gordon, Eberle…a second tough minutes line
    Joensuu, Lander, Yakupov….soft minutes, give Yakupov a chance to win you games with a talent mismatch.
    Hamilton/Eager/Acton/Arcobello/Brown…pick and choose based on opponent.

    Instead of Lander being bland supporting Yakupov in a soft minutes role, MacT and Eakins have chosen Eberle trying to carry Arcobello in a soft minutes role.

    I don’t think Yakupov and Arcobello would work at this point, and I think Parkatti has data (albeit a small sample size) showing that it wasn’t good in pre-season. So here is where you want your bland boring centre (Lander) who can play with skilled players, and not hurt you defensively.

    I think that is a bad decision.

    I think the key to surviving until Nugent-Hopkins gets back was to try to create mismatched lines for Yakupov.

    My two cents.

    ========

    Krueger was handed a one-legged Whitney, no Gilbert, no veteran assistant coach, Peckham blocking a roster spot, and all the same bad bottom sixers.

    Eakins is being handed no Nugent-Hopkins and no Gagner to start the season.

    Krueger hamstrung at the start of the race by management incompetence. Eakins by bad injury luck.

    I am expecting the worst, and hoping for the mediocre.

  14. gd says:

    I don’t have the greatest understanding of stat analysis, but I’ve always taken the point that possession player is really a proxy for good player, which seems to me what teams like Detroit, Chicago and San Jose have done a better job of drafting and developing than teams like Edmonton. While smart statistical analysis can help, it is still crucial to have the type of scouts who can find the “hidden jewels” and the development team that can bring out the best in a young player.

    My concern is the Oilers as a management team aren’t learning the right lessons from the winning teams and are potentially “spinning their wheels”. My hope for MacT and Eakins is they will look at all aspects of the organization and what part of the scouting and development area have not been working. When you see how Whitney, PRV and Gilbert are struggling on other teams, and how bad the rookie team got beat, it makes me realize the team has done a real bad job of procuring NHL talent over the past 5 years. I like the hire of Green and the Euro goalie scout to hopefully find the next Read, Dillon and Fasth, and hope this is a precursor to more proactive/effective organizational moves. I think it’s crucial that the Oilers get Klefbom/Nurse/Khaira/Pitlick/Moroz et al, as good a development plan as possible through coaching and communication, because they can’t afford many more PRV/Lander/Chorney stagnations.

  15. hunter1909 says:

    Smyth Hall Hemsky??

    Who the fuck is coaching, Pat Quinn?

  16. Young Oil says:

    I don’t think you can base opinions on this team off of last night’s game. They flat out sucked, it happens to every team once in a while. Eakins will be pushing them hard until October 1, and hopefully they will be done then.

    Also, instead of relying on the waiver wire, wouldn’t it make more sense to offer a late round pick for a player who is likely to be waived who would be a good fit on this team? Like I don’t know how the waiver wire works exactly, but isn’t it one of the 6 teams who finished below us last year would get the player on waivers if we both put in a claim?

    Also, here are some updates from our prospects yesterday:

    Khaira got an assist in his WHL debut.

    Yakimov scored a goal yesterday, and he has 5 points (2G 3A) in 8 GP and is +3, 68% on the draw.

    Moroz got an assist, and has a goal and an assist in 3 games, but is -2.

    Platzer is continuing to impress, and has 3G 1A in 2 games, which is great to see!

    Nurse didn’t post any points in his first game and was -1, but I think we all know he will turn that around quickly.

    Other prospects:

    Hartikainen has 7 points (3G 4A) in 9 KHL games.

    Chase scored two goals in his first game a few days ago, and plays again tonight.

    Zharkov has 1 goal in 9 games (getting only 8.5 minutes a game though).

    Roy hasn’t played yet this season due to injury.

    In fact, most of our prospects of note have been doing quite well, but there are two that are showing some really poor arrows early in the season (I know they could still turn it around, but it’s still worrying).

    Slepyshev has 0 points in his last 21 KHL games dating back to last season’s playoffs, while playing 10 minutes a night. It could just be a slump, or he has less than ideal linemates, but that is worrying when his offense is supposed to be his best quality.

    Houck has 0 points and is -9 in his first 4 WHL games. The team goal differential is -10, but the next worse +/- on that team is -5. Yikes!

    Hope I didn’t skip over too many prospects! Was focusing on the ones in Canada and Russia.

  17. Racki says:

    It will be interesting to see who the Red Wings place on the waiver wire. Might be worth waiting than most of the players that have been out there. I’d say too that not signing Brad Boyes is strange, but maybe the offer was there but he wasn’t willing to come here for a bottom six role?

    Sometimes good things come to those that wait. But we won’t be first in line for this, however.

  18. godot10 says:

    gd:
    I don’t have the greatest understanding of stat analysis, but I’ve always taken the point that possession player is really a proxy for good player, which seems to me what teams like Detroit, Chicago and San Jose have done a better job of drafting and developing than teams like Edmonton. While smart statistical analysis can help, it is still crucial to have the type of scouts who can find the “hidden jewels” and the development team that can bring out the best in a young player.

    My concern is the Oilers as a management team aren’t learning the right lessons from the winning teams and are potentially “spinning their wheels”. My hope for MacT and Eakins is they will look at all aspects of the organization and what part of the scouting and development area have not been working. When you see how Whitney, PRV and Gilbert are struggling on other teams, and how bad the rookie team got beat, it makes me realize the team has done a real bad job of procuring NHL talent over the past 5 years. I like the hire of Green and the Euro goalie scout to hopefully find the next Read, Dillon and Fasth, and hope this is a precursor tomore proactive/effective organizational moves. I think it’s crucial that the Oilers get Klefbom/Nurse/Khaira/Pitlick/Moroz et al, as good a development plan as possible through coaching and communication, because they can’t afford many more PRV/Lander/Chorney stagnations.

    Gilbert and Paajarvi havent struggled on other teams. Gilbert was Gilbert in Minnesota with a horrible PDO…i.e. bad luck, not bad hockey.

    And the media in Edmonton who hated Paajarvi all along are spinning a mostly positive Paajarvi story in the St. Louis papers as a negative story.

    Hitch isn’t down on Paajarvi. He is trying to figure out what he has. They signed Morrow (probably at this point more for his leadership abilities than his hockey abilities) and he is being looked at in the 3rd line checking winger slot where Paajarvi was initially slotted. I don’t think Hitchcock is going to let Paajarvi wither on the vine like Renney did. Hitch is going to figure him out. Paajarvi is a complicated prospect. He has an unusual skillset and had unconventional development path. He will need a lot of individualized coaching because of that.

  19. Woodguy says:

    The rubber meets the road when we see TOI in the regular season.

    Anything over 5min/gm for the 4th line will be a fail.

    I think Eakins will play it close to that.

  20. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Woodguy:
    I’m not a Dale Tallon fan, but he did some nice work getting Boyes, Gilbert, and Thomas signed after PTOs.

    Those are 3 real NHL players who will help the team.

    Been following some Panthers bloggers and its sounds like Gilbert might even start on the top pair.

    The Panthers new owner took over the team just yesterday and has opened the purse strings.

    Tallon also traded for Krys Barch this morning and, worth noting, he has first shot at any waiver wire pick ups that become available this weekend.

  21. Ice Sage says:

    Woodguy:
    I’m not a Dale Tallon fan, but he did some nice work getting Boyes, Gilbert, and Thomas signed after PTOs.

    Those are 3 real NHL players who will help the team.

    Been following some Panthers bloggers and its sounds like Gilbert might even start on the top pair.

    We’ll see. Florida has such poor depth that they could offer playing time to these once-effective NHL players. I can’t believe anyone is pining for GIlbert!

  22. godot10 says:

    hunter1909:
    Smyth Hall Hemsky??

    Who the fuck is coaching, Pat Quinn?

    Taylor Hall is not good at defense yet. He is going to face tough opposition. Eakins has given him two veteran guys who know what they are doing, to accelerate the transition process to centre. That is all.

  23. stubblejumper says:

    Last nights game also showed that neither Hall or Eberle are ready for the “C”. Those guys can’t be playing like that when they are expected to “lead” this team. imho the race is between Ference and Gagner..by a long ways.

  24. hunter1909 says:

    godot10,

    I beg to differ. Taylor Hall looked great at centre when he had good wingers(Eberle and I don’t remember).

    Old man Smyth only drags everything down to his(sadly) worthless level, while anyone but Lowetide knows Ales Hemsky plays hockey with about as much attention to team play as a blind squirrel going to a nut hunt.

    Playing the best player on the team with these two, they might as well start packing Hall’s bags.

  25. jp says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    Brad Boyes signs in FLA for 1 Million.

    The oilers don’t need actual NHL players apparently

    Wow. $1M.

  26. Woodguy says:

    Ice Sage: We’ll see.Florida has such poor depth that they could offer playing time to these once-effective NHL players.I can’t believe anyone is pining for GIlbert!

    Gilbert is a better Dman that probably at least 10 players who will line up as 3RD on opening night, maybe as many 15.

  27. Hammers says:

    I think Eakins was refering to Halls line when he said play like that and they will get benched . Last nights game also showed we really need our best 2 aquisitions in Ference & Perron or we will be in trouble . Perron & Eberle need to be together and I think I prefer Arcobello with them untill RNH returns . Having Yak & Joensuu with Gordon works . 4th line looks like Acton (mistake) Eager & Hamilton and I prefer Pitlick getting the recall if no waiver wire pick up . Re Smack & Brown one starts on IR . Third pairing “D” must be N. Schultz & Belov .

  28. hunter1909 says:

    Looks like Oiler fans are in for another season of the same old, same old.

    For once I won’t blame management. They’ve tried their best.

  29. Lois Lowe says:

    The Oilers looked hungover (and probably were) yesterday.

  30. jp says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Woodguy,

    You mean to tell me the Oilers were deciding between Anton Lander, Will Acton, and Mark Arcobello while Brad Boyes was sitting by the phone, available to anyone willing to extend him a two-way minimum contract?

    sigh

    Not exactly. The Panthers and Islanders offered him TC invites. The Oilers did not, but at that point they had 3 top 6 RWs and 3 NHL centers (plus the injured RNH). Not a glaring need for Boyes, and likely not the ideal situation for him to walk into.

  31. fuzzy muppet says:

    LT

    You have any advice for me. Getting married in 4 hours….

  32. FastOil says:

    IMO it is a mistake to not have extra centres on a team. They can play wing. If as said Hall stays at centre and that moves Gagner to RW, we don’t need another LW, we need another centre and he can play LW. 5 centres at least.

  33. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Lois Lowe:
    The Oilers looked hungover (and probably were) yesterday.

    They were also playing a back to back after flying from Edmonton to OKC overnight while the Stars made a very short hop from Dallas.

  34. DBO says:

    I see the over reactions have begun!#@!!

    We are lacking quantity at centre at the moment. Other then that, this team is much improved, even if our 4th line has face punchers. I fully expect Eakins to run the kids a lot, thereby limiting the ice for the 4th line to 5 mins a night, unless they PK. And while we are hurting now, our top 9 rivals anyone in the NHL when we are healthy. A shrewd waiver claim or trade could shore up that weakness instantly.

    I think the main thing we forget is our defense, in my opinion, is much improved and will certainly help both the kids up front, but Dubnyk as well. And that improvement alone makes us a playoff contender. if someone steps up, or we end up with a solid vet to anchor the 4th line centre role, then we are fine.

  35. wheatnoil says:

    DBO:
    Other then that, this team is much improved, even if our 4th line has face punchers.

    A few fewer face punchers this morning. Any news on SMac and Brown that anyone’s heard?

  36. Ryan says:

    Missed the game yesterday, can someone update me on how both Smac and Brown got injured?

  37. Lowetide says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    LT

    You have any advice for me.Getting married in 4 hours….

    Congrats! Have a drink if you’re nervous, if she’s the right girl (and clearly she is) then everything else is window dressing. And for God’s sake enjoy it, because tomorrow you’ll be shocked by how quickly the day went.

  38. thejonrmcleod says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: They were also playing a back to back after flying from Edmonton to OKC overnight while the Stars made a very short hop from Dallas.

    DSF making excuses for the Oilers?! A new era of reasonableness has begun!

  39. Andropod says:

    Ryan:
    Missed the game yesterday, can someone update me on how both Smac and Brown got injured?

    Smac stuck out his knee, mistimed his hit and took the board instead.

    Didn’t see Brown.

  40. Andropod says:

    thejonrmcleod: DSF making excuses for the Oilers?! A new era of reasonableness has begun!

    Oh, and they were apparently also running around OKC on PR exercises all day. Not sure which day.

    But that’s a reason to win 6-0 instead of 1or 12-0. Not lose 4-0!!!

  41. iHockeyWpg says:

    Ryan,

    Brown was injured by Anton Belov. He tried to throw a check and inadvertently hit Brown instead. Typical Oilers luck.

  42. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    And, so it begins:

    Rob Mixer ‏@RobMixer 15m
    Skille, Goloubef, Smith, McKenna and Craig must clear waivers to be sent to Springfield. They’ll know Monday at noon ET.

  43. Dead Cat Bounce says:
  44. jp says:

    Racki:
    It will be interesting to see who the Red Wings place on the waiver wire. Might be worth waiting than most of the players that have been out there. I’d say too that not signing Brad Boyes is strange, but maybe the offer was there but he wasn’t willing to come here for a bottom six role?

    Sometimes good things come to those that wait. But we won’t be first in line for this, however.

    Just looking at the Wings roster. They have 17 forwards right now, but Helm, Tootoo and Eaves are banged up and likely to start the season on IR. Weiss was injured last night too, but he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. With 3 of those 4 on IR, the Wings wouldn’t have to waive anyone.

    No doubt there will be some waiver options around the league, but Detroit likely won’t be the source. When they get healthy they could be a great trade target though.

    In other news, CVV appears to have made the Flyers out of camp.
    http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/nhl/192622/surprise-chris-vandevelde-makes-flyers

  45. Ribs says:

    So Tulupov took out Eager and now Belov takes out Brown? I sense a pattern forming here. Hmm… *puts on tinfoil hat*

  46. Lois Lowe says:

    Jack Skille certainly was a miss at 7OV.

  47. theres oil in virginia says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    LT
    You have any advice for me.Getting married in 4 hours….

    I have some advice for you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAp9sFVdERQ

    Hehe. I’ve been married for a few years now. It’s not so bad. (*whispers: Help me…*)

  48. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    RE: Eager and Corsi.

    I am still somewhat confused about corsi applied to individuals. AFAIK it has only been shown to be relevant at a team level… did I miss the memo?

    Individual player corsi is interesting as it adds some info, but Dellows stuff clearly shows that individual corsi is driven more by team and usage than individual talent.

    Yet every chart of late focuses more and more on individual corsi (and corsi rel for the matter which is worse)… I don’t get the trend.

  49. jp says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Jack Skille certainly was a miss at 7OV.

    Perfect fit for the Oilers. Is Barker still available?

    Skille certainly isn’t “the answer”, and he isn’t a C. He does have size and likes to hit though. Doubt he’s any worse than Eager/Brown/Hamilton, though whether he’s any better is an open question.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Glad for VandeVelde, hope he keeps the job. That’s two recently flushed guys (Colin McDonald) the Oilers drafted and developed for other teams.

  51. BlacqueJacque says:

    Ice Sage: We’ll see.Florida has such poor depth that they could offer playing time to these once-effective NHL players.I can’t believe anyone is pining for GIlbert!

    Didn’t Boyes put up 35 points last season?

  52. hags9k says:

    Yes Boyes was 48-10-25-35 last year…

    I’m surprised at how quickly the tune is changing around here. One broken jaw and one shutout preseason loss and we are heading to the exits? Can we at least wait until the season starts?

    It’s a long winter, lots of hockey to be played. Maybe Dubnyk steps up and keeps our head above water for a month until we get our center(s) back healthy. I’m still excited to see what we can do out of the gate. Hemsky, Joensuu, Belov could all have bigger impacts than expected.

    GOILERS

  53. Yeti says:

    > MacT used to run some pretty good 4lines

    I would happily give your left testicle for Brodziak – Stortini – Glencross right about now.

  54. Numenius says:

    Young Oil,

    Also, Aidan Muir has a goal and an assist in 2 regular season games with the Indiana Ice.

  55. tcho says:

    hags9k,

    Far too reasonable an attitude, sir. The sky is falling. :-)

    And congrats to Fuzzy Muppet – big day. Enjoy.

  56. Rebilled says:

    LT is right, the Oilers would be wise if they did a lot of things they usually don’t do. They hate centres.

    Hello Detroit! I’m glad you’re in the East so hopefully we can get some of your scraps!

    Premature congrats to Ference for the captaincy with a cup on the last year of Gags deal. Wonder who the goalie will be?

  57. theres oil in virginia says:

    hags9k:
    I’m surprised at how quickly the tune is changing around here. One broken jaw and one shutout preseason loss and we are heading to the exits? Can we at least wait until the season starts?

    Not me, I think one bad preseason loss means they’re going 0-82.

  58. Andropod says:

    hags9k:
    Yes Boyes was 48-10-25-35 last year…

    I’m surprised at how quickly the tune is changing around here.One broken jaw and one shutout preseason loss and we are heading to the exits?Can we at least wait until the season starts?

    It’s a long winter, lots of hockey to be played.Maybe Dubnyk steps up and keeps our head above water for a month until we get our center(s) back healthy.I’m still excited to see what we can do out of the gate.Hemsky, Joensuu, Belov could all have bigger impacts than expected.

    GOILERS

    We’ve gone from “lookin’ good” to “let’s hope this was an aberration”. I agree things could still work out ok or even well, and wins/losses in the preseason are one thing, having your regulars stink it up against a clutch of goons in the last game before regular does not look good from any angle. Sorry.

  59. Andropod says:

    theres oil in virginia: Not me, I think one bad preseason loss means they’re going 0-82.

    Not 0-82 but the playoffs just took a step back, and the last few years just came right back into clear focus, that’s all. However a good drubbing of the Jets would certainly restore some balance.

  60. Gret99zky says:

    Nice to see a couple down to earth posts again.

    I agree this roster is better in some ways than last years group.

    I don’t see this group making the playoffs though. I don’t see a top 20 finish to be honest.

    It will be fun to watch the kids grow. Hopefully Yak scores a pile of goals and Don Cherry attempts to sue him for endlessly traducing celebrations.

  61. theres oil in virginia says:

    There are definitely issues with the team, but those have been pretty apparent for some time. That last preseason game has nothing to do with it. The bits of pre-season I saw showed good signs like the Oilers actually executing a zone breakout. Some bad signs too, but it looks like the ship is moving in the right direction. Other teams will come out of the gates with issues too.

  62. speeds says:

    Apparently Adam Hall, and Luke Adam are on waivers. I wonder if EDM will think either guy is worth a claim?

  63. Lowetide says:

    Colton Sceviour is an interesting player also on waivers. I was hoping Edmonton would keep their powder dry here because tomorrow will be the watershed, but there’s upwards of 5 guys now who are worthy imo.

  64. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Willis shows up on Bleacher Report and picks the Oilers to miss the playoffs.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1789592-2013-14-nhl-power-rankings-inaugural-edition/page/31

  65. theres oil in virginia says:

    speeds:
    Apparently Adam Hall, and Luke Adam are on waivers.I wonder if EDM will think either guy is worth a claim?

    I don’t know a lot of these “waiver wire specials”. Given the familiarity with Eakins’ system that Acton and Hamilton have, do you think any of these guys at the replacement level could displace them from the roster? Also, Arcobello has the advantage that he is an Oilers prospect, and I imagine they want to see what he’s got at this level.

  66. bookje says:

    You guys are seriously Hilarious. The conclusions you are drawing upon a single preseason game are astounding!

  67. speeds says:

    LT: If you had to pick between keeping Acton as the 4th line C, with 48 contracts, or claiming Hall, demoting Acton, and having 49 contracts, which would you pick?

    Do you think it’s better to wait and see who else might become available, or to take someone now if they are looking to upgrade (and I’m not sure they are)?

  68. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    LT:If you had to pick between keeping Acton as the 4th line C, with 48 contracts, or claiming Hall, demoting Acton, and having 49 contracts, which would you pick?

    Do you think it’s better to wait and see who else might become available, or to take someone now if they are looking to upgrade (and I’m not sure they are)?

    I think Hall is a signficant upgrde. Hell I’d take Hall, Colton Sceviour AND Adam!

  69. theres oil in virginia says:

    bookje:
    You guys are seriously Hilarious.The conclusions you are drawing upon a single preseason game are astounding!

    Oh no, Bookje. Even a fool can see that it’s over. No point in even playing the regular season. Just take your toys and go home.

  70. speeds says:

    Lowetide,

    Maybe it’s just the Belanger experience, but I do wonder about Hall potentially slipping a bit at age 33. Not a ton of risk though, with a guy making very near the league min on a 1 yr deal.

  71. wordbird says:

    Nothing to see here:

    The Wild released David Steckel from his pro tryout, the team announced Friday.

    Steckel, a veteran of 419 NHL games, wasn’t able to land a contract with an NHL team prior to training camp, a likely casualty of the salary cap decreasing about $6 million after last season. He spent training camp with the Wild on a tryout.

    Steckel is a 6-foot-6 center with a reputation as a good two-way forward and faceoff specialist. But the Wild don’t want to block a roster spot for one of their talented young forwards.

    Steckel might end up signing an American Hockey League contract, which would allow him to sign an NHL contract if one becomes available during the season.

  72. denny33 says:

    Ice Sage,

    Don’t laugh….there must be some story behind Tom Gilbert and his supporters in here….has to be…
    very strange…

  73. godot10 says:

    Pretty much anyone can play the 4th line if you have a good defense.

    Colin Fraser in LA. McDonald in NYI, and now Vande Velde in Philly. Brule and Pouliot played for Tippett in Phx for awhile. Eager in Chicago and SJ. 4th liners are made and broken by the quality of the defense.

    MacT was right to focus on the defense.

  74. Lowetide says:

    denny33:
    Ice Sage,

    Don’t laugh….there must be some story behind Tom Gilbert and his supporters in here….has to be…
    very strange…

    Gilbert’s a good defenseman, can’t imagine why anyone would be in the dark about why this blog likes him.

  75. Kris11 says:

    The Oilers had one poor preseason game. In general, they looked okay in the preseason. That causes me no worries.

    What does cause me to worry is the center depth without RNH and Gagner. Yikes.

    If RNH only misses the first two or three games, no worries. If he misses 10-12, could be a problem. Once he’s back, you have a playoff contending team:

    Perron-Hall-Eberle
    Joensuu-RNH-Yakupov
    Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
    Eager-Acton-Hamilton
    Arcobello/Jones

    When Gagner is back, Hall slides to LW, and Eager is bumped off team.

    Ference-Jultz
    Smid-Petry
    Nultz-Belov
    Larssen/Grebes

    Dubnyk
    Labarbera

    I say they are within 5 points (over or under) of the last playoff spot. But injuries at C can kill it all really fast.

    Am so excited about Nurse next year. Kid looked damn special and he has miles of improvement in him.

  76. Kris11 says:

    godot10:
    Pretty much anyone can play the 4th line if you have a good defense.

    Colin Fraser in LA.McDonald in NYI, and now Vande Velde in Philly.Brule and Pouliot played for Tippett in Phx for awhile.Eager in Chicago and SJ.4th liners are made and broken by the quality of the defense.

    MacT was right to focus on the defense.

    Very, very good point, IMO.

  77. theres oil in virginia says:

    Kris11:
    If RNH only misses the first two or three games, no worries. If he misses 10-12, could be a problem.

    I’m a little concerned that even when he comes back, he’ll start slow. Still better than Arco though.

  78. Lynas1 says:

    Hey LT. This is completely off topic but I was curious, and subsequently looked up how some of our guys overseas were doing. Hartikainen and Yakimov are looking pretty good right now. Are you going to be keeping an eye on them/doing any pieces on that group? To my dismay, Zharkov doesn’t look to be doing all that well all be it with limited ice time over the first 7 game sor so.

  79. Lowetide says:

    Lynas1:
    Hey LT.This is completely off topic but I was curious, and subsequently looked up how some of our guys overseas were doing.Hartikainen and Yakimov are looking pretty good right now.Are you going to be keeping an eye on them/doing any pieces on that group?To my dismay, Zharkov doesn’t look to be doing all that well all be it with limited ice time over the first 7 game sor so.

    Yeah, I’ll have an article up tomorrow (probably later tomorrow) either here or on ON about it. Keep hoping Marco Roy plays so we can get them all posting numbers.

  80. Kris11 says:

    I don’t worry so much about a slow start for RNH. He’s a cerebral player with great skating. If he is a bit weaker shooting and in board battles and in faceoffs because of his shoulder than he should be, it doesn’t hurt him that badly.

  81. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    Pretty much anyone can play the 4th line if you have a good defense.

    Colin Fraser in LA.McDonald in NYI, and now Vande Velde in Philly.Brule and Pouliot played for Tippett in Phx for awhile.Eager in Chicago and SJ.4th liners are made and broken by the quality of the defense.

    MacT was right to focus on the defense.

    VDV was released from his PTO

    Has a AHL only contract with the Phantoms.

  82. Woodguy says:

    denny33:
    Ice Sage,

    Don’t laugh….there must be some story behind Tom Gilbert and his supporters in here….has to be…
    very strange…

    You are wilfully ignorant of many things discussed on this blog.

    Very strange that you miss that and post stuff like “very strange”

  83. theres oil in virginia says:

    Kris11,
    I hope that’s the case. Also, his FO% couldn’t get much worse, so no worries there.

  84. Woodguy says:

    wordbird:
    Nothing to see here:

    The Wild released David Steckel from his pro tryout, the team announced Friday.

    Steckel, a veteran of 419 NHL games, wasn’t able to land a contract with an NHL team prior to training camp, a likely casualty of the salary cap decreasing about $6 million after last season. He spent training camp with the Wild on a tryout.

    Steckel is a 6-foot-6 center with a reputation as a good two-way forward and faceoff specialist. But the Wild don’t want to block a roster spot for one of their talented young forwards.

    Steckel might end up signing an American Hockey League contract, which would allow him to sign an NHL contract if one becomes available during the season.

    Steckel may be too slow for the AHL and is certainly too slow for the NHL

  85. godot10 says:

    Woodguy: VDV was released from his PTO

    Has a AHL only contract with the Phantoms.

    Was basing comment on this.

    http://www.csnphilly.com/hockey-philadelphia-flyers/vandevelde-goes-unknown-probable-flyer

    No one knew much about him. No one gave him much of a chance. No one thought he’d last this long, either.

    Well, VandeVelde has.

    In fact, unless another bomb drops from the Flyers’ front office, the 26-year-old has won the vacant spot at left wing over Austrian Michael Raffl and Phantom/Flyer Tye McGinn (see story).

    http://www.csnphilly.com/hockey-philadelphia-flyers/holmgren-talks-roster-moves-whats-come

    VandeVelde has a minor-league deal. He will likely be offered a two-way contract, Holmgren said. The Flyers have 48 pro contracts and a couple of “slide” contracts, as well. Fifty is the limit.

    The wild card, once again, is Laughton.

    =====
    Close enough not to invalidate my point.

    The difference between a marginal 4th liner succeeding or failing is the quality of the defense.

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