BALANCE

I have a glorious photo at the ready for my “Finally! Balance!” post, but the Oilers are still not quite ready for takeoff. It’s tough luck for MacT and Dallas Eakins–why do the injuries ALWAYS impact the weak spots?–but the bottom line is that this roster isn’t balanced.

  • The goaltending is fine
  • The defense is improved and in the neigborhood of fine if the team gets some breaks (Belov emerging, health for top 4)
  • The RW depth chart is rock solid
  • The LW depth chart (Hall-Perron-Smyth-Joensuu) is as well

I’m prepared to give a passing grade on all of these areas, but the center position isn’t good enough at this time. Should the club decide to keep Taylor Hall at C, then LW would be a weakness. It’s a tough item, being this close to the goal and not getting it done, but that terrific photo of “balance” I’ve been holding on to for two years will stay in the hangar.

UNLESS

Unless there’s some kind of a deal to be made for a centerman this weekend. It’ll be cutdown day here soon, and that means the waiver eligibles must be sent down. I’ve talked about Zack Smith and Justin Abdelkader, others have mentioned Jim O’brien and tonight the name Joe Colborne is walking past my screen a lot.

I don’t know if they like one or the other or even if they’re looking. I do know this: the Edmonton Oilers don’t get the “balance” seal of approval again this year.

And it’s been about a decade.

Lordy.

 

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121 Responses to "BALANCE"

  1. Ca$h-Money! says:

    I’m not convinced it’s that easy to fix, or that bad a problem, for a few reasons.

    1. We all list our 4 starting centers like it’s a huge problem of depth, but who would be the top 4 centers for Pitsburgh if both Crosby and Malkin were injured? I bet it wouldn’t be very impressive.

    2. The idea that RW is deep but LW is weak doesn’t bother me much. Look at Chicago: if 2 forwards on a line are star players, the third forward doesn’t have to be. Their “top 6″ doesn’t exist: it’s a “top 4″. Each line has two of Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Hossa. Who plays with those guys, Brandon Saad? Doesn’t really matter.

    3. We’ve all convinced ourselves that we came in 24th last year because our 4th line was bad: NO 4th LINE IS BAD ENOUGH TO RESULT IN A TEAM ENTERING A FREE FALL. I’m not saying they weren’t bad, I’m saying the problem was the D., and the third line, and a second line (Gags/Hemsky/etc.) that was porous… all of it coming back to coaching and systems in my opinion.

    The reality is that our team will be better this year if our defence and coaching are better this year, and if Taylor Hall can play C about 85% as well as he can play LW.

    On the idea of shoring up the 4C position, how many extra wins would replacing Acton with O’Brian et. al. generate for this team? From my position if the top 9 is awesome and the 4th line only plays 5 minutes/night, then I don’t really care. If we can move Jones + Grebs + Potter for a solid 3rd/4th line type then that’s fine, but I don’t see it happening.

  2. Lowetide says:

    CA$H: I’m not saying they won’t make the playoffs, I’m saying they didn’t manage balance in one summer. Perhaps it was too much to hope for–this was a poor roster–but the fact remains many (certainly this blog) were screaming for an additional center before the Gagner injury.

    This team isn’t balanced, I don’t really think anyone can argue it.

  3. thejonrmcleod says:

    I hear the Leafs could be looking to trade Joe Colborne. Could he be a fit for the Oilers?

  4. Lowetide says:

    thejonrmcleod:
    I hear the Leafs could be looking to trade Joe Colborne. Could he be a fit for the Oilers?

    He’s big and has skill. Is he better than Arcobello? I don’t know.

  5. thejonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide,

    Good Corsi Rel QoT numbers last season (though he played only 5 games). I was thinking he’d be an upgrade over Acton, but I’m not sure if he’d be best suited for a fourth line role.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Ryan Jones assigned to OKC. Imagine whatever deal–real or imagined–fell through.

  7. Young Oil says:

    My question is, what do we have that other teams want to get players like Smith, Abdelkader or Colborne without sacrificing our depth? Those players aren’t worth top tier prospects (Klefbom/Marincin/Nurse), I doubt MacT wants to deal picks from this upcoming draft (we don’t have 2nd and 4th round choices already), players like Jones and Omark clearly have no trade value, and I don’t think a second tier prospect (Davidson, Musil or Gernat) would get it done. Also, Detroit and Toronto have cap issues to some extent, and Ottawa has a self imposed cap, so none of them would want to take on salary in all likelihood.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get any of those three players, but I don’t see what we could give up to get the deal done.

  8. speeds says:

    Ca$h-Money!,

    A big part of the reason teams generally look for quality depth, IMO, goes beyond wanting their 4th line to outscore the other 4th line when they play head to head (although obviously that is desirable on its own).

    When injuries inevitably hit, you want to have the best players possible to move up the depth chart – it’s not necessarily for their contributions when everyone is healthy, but for their ability to step in and contribute when everyone is not

  9. Yeti says:

    thejonrmcleod,

    He wouldn’t need to play a fourth line role on this team.

  10. thejonrmcleod says:

    Yeti,

    Not right now. But what if Hall stays at C? Then RNH and Gagner eventually get healthy. Plus Gordon. That’s 4 Cs.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Young Oil:
    My question is, what do we have that other teams want to get players like Smith, Abdelkader or Colborne without sacrificing our depth? Those players aren’t worth top tier prospects (Klefbom/Marincin/Nurse), I doubt MacT wants to deal picks from this upcoming draft (we don’t have 2nd and 4th round choices already), players like Jones and Omark clearly have no trade value, and I don’t think a second tier prospect (Davidson, Musil or Gernat) would get it done. Also, Detroit and Toronto have cap issues to some extent, and Ottawa has a self imposed cap, so none of them would want to take on salary in all likelihood.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get any of those three players, but I don’t see what we could give up to get the deal done.

    There’s always a way. Detroit may like one of the players on Edmonton’s AHL team well enough to deal Abdelkader, or perhaps it’s Corey Potter and a 2015 pick. Where there’s awill there’s a way.

  12. Its a Trap says:

    Waivers, where we can acquire the Ryan Jones equivalent of a center.

  13. Young Oil says:

    The only deal that I can think of is Potter at half salary ($387500) and a 2015 3/4 round pick to Toronto for Colborne. This would save cap space for the Leafs, as well as let them send Reilly down to Jr instead of having him as a 7th Dman.

    Edit: Sorry LT, I sent this before I saw your reply!

  14. Yeti says:

    thejonrmcleod,

    There’s always the possibility that if they like the taste of Hall at centre, they’ll take a fancy to Gagner on the wing.

  15. Lowetide says:

    Young Oil:
    The only plausible deal that I can think of is Potter at half salary ($387500) and a 2015 3/4 round pick to Toronto for Colborne. This would save cap space for the Leafs, as well as let them send Reilly down to Jr instead of having him as a 7th Dman.

    I don’t know why the pick would be included, Potter is a perfectly useful defenseman. There’s any number of ways to make a deal. Let’s say Edmonton is interestested in Abdelkader AND Colborne, but will trade for only one.

    They could offer Detroit Lander and Potter for Abdelkader and a 2014 3rd, or they could ask Toronto for Colborne in exchange for Potter straight up.

    No is an answer. Still have to ask.

  16. BrazilianOil says:

    Would you take Ales Hemsky on the Hurricanes? If so, how much would you give up to get him?— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) September 26, 2013

  17. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide: He’s big and has skill. Is he better than Arcobello? I don’t know.

    Given that Arcobello is only here because of injuries to our top 2 centres and is likely to be a career AHLer, I think we need to have a higher standard.

  18. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque: Given that Arcobello is only here because of injuries to our top 2 centres and is likely to be a career AHLer, I think we need to have a higher standard.

    I’m responding to Jon R, not suggesting Edmonton should grab him. Honestly, he seems to be a bit of a wanderer prospect wise, but looks can be deceiving.

  19. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide,

    I’m just hoping that the Oilers are looking at a higher baseline for replacement players/trades than what they have in years past. “Is he an improvement on Acton/Arcobello” is the kind of question I’d expect to be debated in 2009-2010.

  20. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Lowetide,

    I’m just hoping that the Oilers are looking at a higher baseline for replacement players/trades than what they have in years past.“Is he an improvement on Acton/Arcobello” is the kind of question I’d expect to be debated in 2009-2010.

    Ah, gotcha. Yes, I think the Oilers should decide on Lander (looks like they may have) and then upgrade as soon as possible.

  21. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Lowetide: I don’t know why the pick would be included, Potter is a perfectly useful defenseman. There’s any number of ways to make a deal. Let’s say Edmonton is interestested in Abdelkader AND Colborne, but will trade for only one.

    They could offer Detroit Lander and Potter for Abdelkader and a 2014 3rd, or they could ask Toronto for Colborne in exchange for Potter straight up.

    No is an answer. Still have to ask.

    Toronto has pretty close to zero need for another defenseman especially one of Potter’s calibre.

    With the Franson signing today:

    Phaneuf-Gunnarsson

    Franson-Fraser

    Gardiner-Ranger

    Liles

    Rielly

    Holzer

    Percy

    Blacker

    Finn

    Granberg

    Brennan

    I would think Potter would likely be about 9th or 10th on their depth chart and, at almost 30 years of age, is not likely to be any better than he is now.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Dead Car: The Leafs are shopping Colborne, either they’re interested in the extra’soffered or not. This isn’t the kind of deal you upset your future over.

  23. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide,

    Honestly, the Leafs might be more interested in picks than they would be in bodies. They need cap relief. What they’d love to get are a starting goalie or playmaking centremen, but we don’t have either to spare.

  24. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Lowetide:
    Dead Car: The Leafs are shopping Colborne, either they’re interested in the extra’soffered or not. This isn’t the kind of deal you upset your future over.

    What “extras” are you referring to?

  25. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Lowetide,

    Honestly, the Leafs might be more interested in picks than they would be in bodies.They need cap relief.What they’d love to get are a starting goalie or playmaking centremen, but we don’t have either to spare.

    They got their starting goaltender in Bernier and really don’t have the cap space for another C.

    I agree, draft picks are likely what they would want back.

  26. prairieschooner says:

    How is it that the big brains at Oiler HQ did not address the Centre position?
    Did they really believe that Miller/Arcobello/Lander/Acton were capable of filling the 4 position and enough depth for the inevitable injuries?
    Miller was toast early on and yet nothing in fact Mac T said he felt they were set at centre.
    We have been harping about a lack of depth at centre since last year ..does Mac T not read this blog?

  27. Racki says:

    prairieschooner:

    I think it’s obvious that MacT tried to address center but was greeted with a whole lot of frustration. Teams hang on to their centremen… it’s a fact we have to accept. It’s one thing to want to do something, and another to be able to do something without giving up too much.

    I know the last thing we want are excuses, but it’s sadly true. Only thing I’ll say is maybe he should have taken a shot at Grabovski since he only went for 3M and dumped some other ideas like Grebs and .. using hindsight here.. Jones.

  28. Woodguy says:

    So if RNH is motoring along when Gagner gets back and they move Gagner to LW and keep Hall at C, is that better than Gagner at C and Hall at LW?

    Probably too early to tell.

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    One thing we should be confident about is that Eakins is in the best position possible to tell MacT whether Colborne is an upgrade over Acton/Lander/Arco to sufficiently warrant making a move.

    Another thing to consider, however, would be that if the leafs knew Colborne was going to be the odd man out (great film BTW), why not put him on the block earlier and why not chase after him rather than Acton if he is much better.

  30. Lowetide says:

    I think we have to be fair here, the Oilers are down 2 C’s and they happen to represent 30-35 minutes a night when healthy. There’s not a team in the league who has the kind of depth required to close that wound in a short period.

    The issue for me is this one: EVEN when all are healthy, there’s still plenty of questions about #4, #5 and #6 options.

    How many C’s does a team use in a typical year? I don’t think the Oilers have enough.

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The first time I read LT’s lines as C-L-R it made perfect, intuitive sense to me. The “standard formation” looks bizarre to me now.

    ——–
    Bobby Mac didn’t get the memo about D not affecting SV%.

    Pavelec is getting way better treatment than Dubs from the TSN crew… strange how perception works.

  32. Mr DeBakey says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: What “extras” are you referring to?

    Aren’t we talking about Potter?

  33. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide,

    Agreed, which is why I get depressed when the question “is he better than Arcobello or Acton?” needs to be asked.

    The question should be “can he compete against Greg Campbell or Carl Soderberg”, or even better, “can he hold his own against Mike Richards and Jarrett Stoll”?

  34. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    So if RNH is motoring along when Gagner gets back and they move Gagner to LW and keep Hall at C, is that better than Gagner at C and Hall at LW?

    Probably too early to tell.

    Part of the answer to that probably depends on whether the players from last year’s 2 line (Gagner, x, Hemsky) rebound under a new system.

  35. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Mr DeBakey: Aren’t we talking about Potter?

    Is he an extra?

    He sure would be for Toronto.

    And his cap hit is higher than Colborne’s.

    I expect the Leafs are trying to find a way to get Morgan Rielly on the roster…might be tough to do.

  36. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Mr DeBakey: Aren’t we talking about Potter?

    well, to be fair, “extras” would imply something above and beyond whatever it is we are talking about.

    FWIW I’d guess they’d want a pick. You don’t solve cap problems by taking on contracts.

  37. Racki says:

    Woodguy:
    So if RNH is motoring along when Gagner gets back and they move Gagner to LW and keep Hall at C, is that better than Gagner at C and Hall at LW?

    Probably too early to tell.

    I’ll call it ahead of time and say yes… I think it will be.

    Namely because Hall still looks like Hall, when at C so far. Yes, yes.. it’s pre-season.. soft competition and all that. I’ll concede that. But I think Hall is able to be Hall because he has Smyth and Hemsky on his line. Next, not only does Hall being at C get use out of those two guys who’d previously dropped off the earth, but it makes decisions for the opposition coaches harder. Who is our top line? Who do they send the big D out against?

    Gordon looks like he can skate with the big boys.. so up the middle in the top 9 would be Hall, Nuge, Gordon. Bookends would be Smyth, Hemsky, Perron, Eberle, Gagner (if he can play LW) Yakupov, and even Joensuu from time to time (possibly full time the way he’s played so far). I’d say this team is a fair bit better with that depth chart than we’ve seen in quite some time. Granted, I think I say that annually!

    Lastly, I think Hall should stay at C and it shouldn’t be completely tied to Gagner. Hall should stay at C because he’s strong and so far looks good at C. He provides a much stronger one two punch with Nuge than Gagner could, by my estimation. It also allows options. Gagner could still be 3rd line C if the Oil wanted. Plenty of possibilities for lines in this group, when healthy.

    Only issue is that stinker of a 4th line. I’ve repeatedly suggested that the Oilers ride 3 lines hard for now until that situation changes (would have to be before the deadline, as if they were in the playoffs, they’d need a good 4th line).

  38. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Dead Cat Bounce:
    I expect the Leafs are trying to find a way to get Morgan Rielly on the roster…might be tough to do.

    Bobby mac was talking about this today. With Franson signed and with Liles buried or what have you… Reilly would be the 7th D. not ideal spot for a kid that needs minutes.

  39. speeds says:

    Lowetide:
    I think we have to be fair here, the Oilers are down 2 C’s and they happen to represent 30-35 minutes a night when healthy. There’s not a team in the league who has the kind of depth required to close that wound in a short period.

    I get what you’re saying, but at the same time I think you’d agree that you’re presenting a pretty charitable view of the way the Oilers are down two centers, as though both were the same kind of unpredictible injury situation.

    Gagner, absolutely, fluke play, you can’t count on that happening except in so far as to generally have enough depth to do your best to mitigate against injuries.

    But RNH? They knew he wasn’t going to be ready to start the year. That’s a bit different from Gagner – there’s a reason people were talking about Grabovski for a long time until he signed.

  40. speeds says:

    Woodguy:
    So if RNH is motoring along when Gagner gets back and they move Gagner to LW and keep Hall at C, is that better than Gagner at C and Hall at LW?

    Probably too early to tell.

    What would be wrong with RNH/Hall/Gagner/Gordon as your 4 C’s?

  41. Lowetide says:

    speeds: I get what you’re saying, but at the same time I think you’d agree that you’re presenting a pretty charitable view of the way the Oilers are down two centers, as though both were the same kind of unpredictible injury situation.

    Gagner, absolutely, fluke play, you can’t count on that happening except in so far as to generally have enough depth to do your best to mitigate against injuries.

    But RNH?They knew he wasn’t going to be ready to start the year.That’s a bit different from Gagner – there’s a reason people were talking about Grabovski for a long time until he signed.

    Sure, which is why I’m saying they needed to add another center and am not releasing my super cool balance photo which I’m dying to post.

  42. BlacqueJacque says:

    speeds,

    Gagner isn’t the guy you want taking defensive assignments, based on his past performance. I mean, last year, he was blatantly cherry picking to my mind. Way worse than Jonesy.

    Not only that, I think there’s a fair question to be asked if he would be happy in that role. Grabovski is just the latest player to leave his team for more scoring opportunities, and a pretty notorious case of it, at that. Points get dollars. That said, I do think Gagner could suck it up and play the role, but I doubt he’d be effective in it the way Mike Richards is, for example.

  43. Racki says:

    speeds: What would be wrong with RNH/Hall/Gagner/Gordon as your 4 C’s?

    When it looks like you have Yakupov on line 3 RW (assuming Smyth/Hall/Hemsky sticks) I say absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Joensuu-Gagner-Yakupov eating up the soft parade could really work. Sounds good on paper, anyways.

  44. BlacqueJacque says:

    Racki,

    Hemsky is gone after this year.

  45. prairieschooner says:

    My point was the number 4 position. We were hoping that Lander was going to be able to do the job rather than knowing what we had. We have depth elsewhere but not ar centre where we have some AHL guys trying to get the job.
    Shouldn’t Mac T have gone for an experienced NHL centre until Lander or whoever can take the job ?
    This smacks of the Horcoff injury scenario where they stick their head in the sand and hope for the best

  46. jp says:

    Racki: I think it’s obvious that MacT tried to address center but was greeted with a whole lot of frustration. Teams hang on to their centremen… it’s a fact we have to accept. It’s one thing to want to do something, and another to be able to do something without giving up too much.

    It also seems possible the plan all along was to move Hall to C at least temporarily. We were discussing the possibility all summer, but it wasn’t until late that it was confirmed. That would certainly explain why it looked like MacT sat on his hands Re: center depth.

    (RNH)
    Hall
    Gagner
    Gordon
    Arco/Lander/Acton/Miller

    as a depth chart, even with RNH injured for a month is quite passable. The Gagner injury in addition threw all that out the window, but if Hall at C was the plan all along then MacT’s inaction looks a lot more reasonable.

    The team is in a pickle right now, but bringing in MORE waiver wire quality players wouldn’t have solved the problem. And if you want an upgrade on those players it’ll cost something you don’t want to give up. MacT bet Hall and co. could hold the fort until RNH returned and looks to have lost the bet. It’s also possible RNH is closer to return that we realize.

  47. speeds says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Just because I listed Gagner 3rd doesn’t necessarily mean EDM would be giving him defensive assignments.

    Gordon could be seeing more than 4th line minutes in that setup, perhaps with the Oilers essentially playing 10F (the 4 C’s paired with mostly with the 3 lines of wingers, perhaps Hall takes the odd shift on the wing, and with the 4th line W’s picking up a few minutes as well here and there)

  48. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Racki,

    Hemsky is gone after this year.

    Don’t say that. I mean… did you really have to say that. I hate that. We just got him back. He’s our’s now. You can’t take him away. I won’t let you. No.

  49. BlacqueJacque says:

    speeds,

    That might be overworking Gordon a bit. Sure, you could put Hall or Nuge in that role, but then you’re rewarding Gagner for being bad defensively and punishing Hall and Nuge for being good at it.

  50. BlacqueJacque says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yakupov and Schultz need new contracts. Sorry.

  51. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Don’t say that. I mean… did you really have to say that. I hate that. We just got him back. He’s our’s now. You can’t take him away. I won’t let you. No.

    A-fucking-men

  52. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Gordon is too good to play 4C. He stays at 3C.

    What works when everyone is back is that we know either Hall or Gagner can play C on the top 2 lines, so if one of Gagner or RNH gets hurt, we’ll still have a legit top 6 C option. Hall can bounce around between wing and C from game to game, as can Sam. When everyone’s healthy one of them plays wing…

    works for me. I still maintain I don’t really care who actually plays 4C, especially if it’s only 5 minutes a night. Acton seems fine for now, or Lander, whatever.

  53. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Just want to draw your attention to the fact that the Baron’s TC roster provides a helpful phonetic spelling of all the names:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlxzSmUsZtlXdEo4bWNWWkE4UUkzeEpFbHNkTzdiZFE#gid=1

  54. Racki says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Racki,

    Hemsky is gone after this year.

    Strictly talking about this year. Yakupov will eventually go supernova anyways, so no matter who else is here at RW, he’d eventually reach the top line. But for now, looks like it’s Smyth-Hall-Hemsky, followed by Perron-centerman of choice- Eberle

  55. Racki says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    Gordon is too good to play 4C.He stays at 3C.

    What works when everyone is back is that we know either Hall or Gagner can play C on the top 2 lines, so if one of Gagner or RNH gets hurt, we’ll still have a legit top 6 C option.Hall can bounce around between wing and C from game to game, as can Sam.When everyone’s healthy one of them plays wing…

    works for me.I still maintain I don’t really care who actually plays 4C, especially if it’s only 5 minutes a night.Acton seems fine for now, or Lander, whatever.

    I’ve been beating that drum for a bit now. With the players currently available to form a 4th line here right now, any 4th line slapped together is near useless… as MacT would say, the best they can hope for would be to be a non-factor. So 5 mins a night sounds about right to me. Put all the focus on the top 9 for now.. worry about the 4th when its closer to playoff time (if the Oilers are in the race). There’s probably a little too much worry put on the 4th line. Although at the same time, it would be good to have some guys there that can move up to the top nine when injuries occur. Prospect depth is generally how a lot of teams handle that though.

  56. BlacqueJacque says:

    Racki,

    I like that idea, I just have some concerns about our left side in that scenario. Smytty just can’t play 18 minutes a night for 82 games, and I honestly don’t even know who the third line left wing is at this point.

  57. Racki says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Racki,

    I like that idea, I just have some concerns about our left side in that scenario.Smytty just can’t play 18 minutes a night for 82 games, and I honestly don’t even know who the third line left wing is at this point.

    I think Joensuu makes a good 3rd line lw (by the looks of it). But yah, you’re likely right.. it’s a longshot to think Smytty can handle LW duties at that clip all season, and pretty unlikely that Joensuu can jump into the top line. I also don’t think having the two best shooters (arguably) in Perron and Hall together on the top line is good either. So I’m not sure the best option there. Some have suggested Gagner move to LW on the top line, and I think that could make sense, with Gordon getting 3rd line center duties. I think that is the most appealing idea yet. So perhaps Smyth can handle top line LW until Gagner returns.

  58. rickithebear says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    I’m not convinced it’s that easy to fix, or that bad a problem, for a few reasons.

    1.We all list our 4 starting centers like it’s a huge problem of depth, but who would be the top 4 centers for Pitsburgh if both Crosby and Malkin were injured?I bet it wouldn’t be very impressive.

    2. The idea that RW is deep but LW is weak doesn’t bother me much.Look at Chicago:if 2 forwards on a line are star players, the third forward doesn’t have to be.Their “top 6″ doesn’t exist: it’s a “top 4″. Each line has two of Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Hossa.Who plays with those guys, Brandon Saad?Doesn’t really matter.

    3.We’ve all convinced ourselves that we came in 24th last year because our 4th line was bad: NO 4th LINE IS BAD ENOUGH TO RESULT IN A TEAM ENTERING A FREE FALL.I’m not saying they weren’t bad, I’m saying the problem was the D., and the third line, and a second line (Gags/Hemsky/etc.) that was porous…all of it coming back to coaching and systems in my opinion.

    The reality is that our team will be better this year if our defence and coaching are better this year, and if Taylor Hall can play C about 85% as well as he can play LW.

    On the idea of shoring up the 4C position, how many extra wins would replacing Acton with O’Brian et. al. generate for this team?From my position if the top 9 is awesome and the 4th line only plays 5 minutes/night, then I don’t really care.If we can move Jones + Grebs + Potter for a solid 3rd/4th line type then that’s fine, but I don’t see it happening.

    1. correct.

    2. have beeen looking @ our core relative to top 90 forwrds in GPG and PPG
    hockey reference. last two weeks.
    Hall 14 .41gpg and #14 .97 ppg
    Eberle #17 .40 gpg and #20 .90 ppg
    Yak #39 .35 gpg and # 75 .74 ppg
    Perron # 33 .37 gpg and #59 .73 ppg
    RNH (healthy) #77 .29 gpg and #31 .84 ppg
    Gagner #100 .26 gpg and #66 .69 ppg
    I would be ok with
    Hall 6m; Ebs 6m; Yak 6M; RNH 6m; Perron 5M; in 17-18

    3. Edm
    #26 26.8 sf/gm
    #29 32,8 shot against
    Defensively:
    with dubnyk getting .920 save % facing 32.3 shots 2.57 GA.
    the opposition goalies only need .904 SV% to get that same GA.
    offensively: the team needs a 9.6 shooting % to get 2.57 GF
    the opposition needs to have a 7.8

    -Defence and System to reduce shot count.
    - proper use of players @ even.

    I would really like to see the Shot/gm count last three years in pre season.
    this year we are 26.8 shots /gm

  59. Colonel Obvious says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    speeds,

    Gagner isn’t the guy you want taking defensive assignments, based on his past performance.I mean, last year, he was blatantly cherry picking to my mind.Way worse than Jonesy.

    Not only that, I think there’s a fair question to be asked if he would be happy in that role.Grabovski is just the latest player to leave his team for more scoring opportunities, and a pretty notorious case of it, at that.Points get dollars.That said, I do think Gagner could suck it up and play the role, but I doubt he’d be effective in it the way Mike Richards is, for example.

    Grabovski did not leave Toronto because he was unhappy with his role. He was bought out by management because they are incompetent.

  60. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Colonel Obvious: Grabovski did not leave Toronto because he was unhappy with his role.He was bought out by management because they are incompetent.

    He may be referring to the rumors that Grabo was looking for some kind of top 6 guarantee for his new contract.

  61. BlacqueJacque says:

    Colonel Obvious: Grabovski did not leave Toronto because he was unhappy with his role.He was bought out by management because they are incompetent.

    Wrong. He got bought out because he was unhappy with his role and didn’t make a secret of it.

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2013/08/23/former-leafs-mikhail-grabovski-finds-home-with-capitals/

    “I play in the [expletive] Russian KHL, I make lots of [expletive] points and what’s going to happen? He make me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again,” Grabovski told TSN. “Yeah, I don’t score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach [you'll find success].

    The article also supports my contention that points = dollars.

  62. Big Dan says:

    I hear all this complaining about the 4th line. Ryan Jones succinctly pointed out that even through all of the new coaches who said the right things, the dressing room stayed the same.

    Eakins brought in a couple of “his” boys. Acton (defensive acumen) and Hamilton (slice of offense) may not be much better than cuts like Lander/ Jones/ Omark, but there’s not much difference. They’ll play 5 minutes a night, follow Eakins’ game plan, back him up, and help change the losing attitude that has stunk up the Oilers since 2006.

    I liked a lot of MacT’s moves – like the two Marlie loyalists – along with Belov, Gordon, Ference, Joensuu, Perron. Yeah, with the help of a crystal ball, it would have been nice to get Grabo but we don’t even know if he would have signed here seeing that our top two lines were stacked.

    MacT’s bizarre moves:
    - Steve MacIntyre. Unless he takes out a couple Canucks, this is a waste of a roster spot. Doesn’t Mike Brown know how to fight?

    - Ryan Jones. Talked about here at length. We all saw this coming.

    - Denis Grebeshkov. He sucked in the KHL. Paul Ranger chose Toronto over us, but why wasn’t Tom Gilbert the consolation prize? Or better yet, nobody. Where is MacT going to bury him? They have 7 good young D in the AHL. Are they going to send down Potter instead and assign Grebs to the pressbox?

    - Jason Labarbera. He had a good save percentage in Phoenix, but who doesn’t? I really wanted Anton Khudonin, who is hungry for a chance. He has shone everywhere he has played, has great upside, and I predict he will play a lot more than people expect. Cam Ward is overrated.

  63. BlacqueJacque says:

    Big Dan,

    Acton shouldn’t be here. Whatever marginal difference there is between him and Lander, the fact that his dad is an assistant coach should be a dealbreaker. It’d be something else if Acton was a clearly competent third liner or better, someone who isn’t easily replaced.

    Grabo wouldn’t have signed because he wanted a scoring line role.

    Ryan Jones was a fair gamble and costs us nothing, really. I think MacT could have negotiated harder, but it’s not like we need the cap room.

    Gilbert got bought out and last I heard he’s on a tryout with the Panthers. He got no offers at all during the summer.

    Labarbera looked terrible against the Rangers, but was it really a stretch signing him for 1x$1m?

  64. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: Sure, which is why I’m saying they needed to add another center and am not releasing my super cool balance photo which I’m dying to post.

    Don’t you think RNH will only miss 4-5 games as I do . Everyone cool down . Do we need a 4th line center YES but the Nuge won’t be long coming back . Agree on 1 thing our 4th line is worse than last year . Acton & Hamilton are not better than we had . At least Smithson was an NHL 4th line center .Eakins & coach Acton are sticking there necks out on this 4th line .

  65. Colonel Obvious says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Are you this dense in your real life? Those quotes, given after the fact, are evidence of exactly nothing.

  66. BlacqueJacque says:

    Colonel Obvious:
    BlacqueJacque,
    Are you this dense in your real life?Those quotes, given after the fact, are evidence of exactly nothing.

    Still butthurt from yesterday’s spanking?

    Tell me, is this how you contribute everywhere? I seem to remember you posting at ON. Got banned there, eh?

  67. rickithebear says:

    we were 26.8 shots/gm
    were should we gain.
    Yak went from 1.4 to 2.4 shots/gm by last 1/3 of season 1.7 to 2.4 +.7 shots
    RNH back to 2.15 sh/gm +.2
    MP to Perron +.4 sh/gm
    Smyth back to promary role 1.45 to 2.35 +.9
    jones to Jeonsuu +.4

    our 4th line was .84 shots/gm for all three positions with a combined 4.9% shooting.
    Hamilton and acton are not an improvement.
    eager to his usual role is 1.15 sht/gm 10.8% that would be 3 more goals than the 7 G from the 4th last year.

  68. BlacqueJacque says:

    Bizarre game in Vancouver.

    The Rangers are outshooting the Canucks and generally playing better, but down 5-0.

  69. Gret99zky says:

    Re: the Balance Photo.

    Mr. Miyagi on the post at the beach? Tuco on the wooden gravemarker with the noose around his neck?

    Dang, I wanna know because I don’t think it’s going to appear this year.

    Nor do I think the Oilers appear in the postseason this year.

    Too many ?????.

    Too few proven NHL guys and not enough depth.

  70. Colonel Obvious says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    I tried to be polite but you are really are a worthless waste of space. The next post of mine you understand will be the first. Your comment on “skillsets” was laughable. You are a classic case of the kind of person who is incapable of learning. So crawl back into the hole you came from because you’re just talking to the mirror right now. Jackass.

  71. BlacqueJacque says:

    Colonel Obvious:
    BlacqueJacque,

    I tried to be polite but you are really are a worthless waste of space.The next post of mine you understand will be the first.Your comment on “skillsets” was laughable.You are a classic case of the kind of person who is incapable of learning.So crawl back into the hole you came from because you’re just talking to the mirror right now. Jackass.

    You never tried being polite.

    You posted an erroneous argument on skillsets which I easily disproved, and since then it’s been ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem.

  72. Colonel Obvious says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  73. justDOit says:

    Colonel Obvious:
    BlacqueJacque,

    I tried to be polite but you are really are a worthless waste of space.The next post of mine you understand will be the first.Your comment on “skillsets” was laughable.You are a classic case of the kind of person who is incapable of learning.So crawl back into the hole you came from because you’re just talking to the mirror right now. Jackass.

    You forgot the ‘li’ in Oblivious, Colonel – but you really put the Colon in Colonel.

  74. BlacqueJacque says:

    Colonel Obvious,

    Been nice knowing you.

    LT has a pretty high tolerance for trolls – but I’ve got a feeling that you’re on the fast track back to HFB. Enjoy your stay in the meantime.

  75. bookje says:

    Both of you crossed the line when you started insulting each other. Pretty soon LT is going to come along and be disappointed with everyone. I hope you are happy that you have disappointed your LT!

  76. BlacqueJacque says:

    bookje:
    Both of you crossed the line when you started insulting each other.Pretty soon LT is going to come along and be disappointed with everyone. I hope you are happy that you have disappointed your LT!

    Care to quote me insulting him?

  77. bendelson says:

    Big Dan,

    Any chance Khudonin’s performance was buoyed by Boston’s D in the same fashion you claim LaBarbera’s to have been bolstered in Phoenix?

    I’m trying to understand your firm dislike of Dubnyk, Ward and LaBarbera and your profound confidence in Khudonin. Is there a method behind your madness or is this just unbridled Khudonin love at work here?

  78. bendelson says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Although the line… Still butthurt from yesterday’s spanking?… Could be construed as nothing more than harmless jocularity amongst friends, it also could be interpreted as somewhat insulting to a foe who likely disagrees with the premise altogether.

    (Not that I would be insane enough to make any attempt at speaking for Bookje).

  79. BlacqueJacque says:

    bendelson,

    Yeah, did you see what I was responding to?

    Are you this dense in your real life?Those quotes, given after the fact, are evidence of exactly nothing.

    I wasn’t being friendly, I admit, but I don’t think the comment was an escalation or even uncalled for.

    I’ve also moderated online forums longer than most people have been on the internet. To say I’ve got a sixth sense for trolls is an understatement. I figured I’d goad him into showing his true colors with a sharp remark (one that still fell short of his hostility), and presto.

  80. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Maybe this should be the balance video. From 1984, so that was a good year.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DfubZlBZV0s&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DDfubZlBZV0s

  81. oilgreg says:

    These comments are much more “Oil Nation” like than The insightful viewpoints I have read on Lowetide. I stopped reading the comments on Oil Nation. Lowetide, I hope you act accordingly to ensure the continued quality of your site.

  82. DenverOilFan says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    Maybe this should be the balance video.From 1984, so that was a good year.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DfubZlBZV0s&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DDfubZlBZV0s

    I’ve lived in Denver for the past 13 or so years, and every now and then, I’ll bust out “It’s that big chunk of fuuuugdge…” and no one has any f’n idea what I’m talking aboot. In fact, they call ‘em candy bars, not chocolate bars. wtf.

  83. jp says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Just want to draw your attention to the fact that the Baron’s TC roster provides a helpful phonetic spelling of all the names:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlxzSmUsZtlXdEo4bWNWWkE4UUkzeEpFbHNkTzdiZFE#gid=1

    Funny, but you do what you’ve got to do to build the fanbase.

    Top scorer is CJ Stretch – sounds just like it’s spelled.

    Big Dan:

    - Denis Grebeshkov.He sucked in the KHL.Paul Ranger chose Toronto over us, but why wasn’t Tom Gilbert the consolation prize?Or better yet, nobody.Where is MacT going to bury him?They have 7 good young D in the AHL.Are they going to send down Potter instead and assign Grebs to the pressbox?

    I’m about 95% sure that Grebs will accept a mutual buyout (like Rajala) and head back to the KHL if the Oilers don’t want him. That said, they might well send Potter down and keep Grebeshkov. Grebs hasn’t shown much, but Potter’s upside is ~7D.

  84. Magnus says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Big Dan,

    Acton shouldn’t be here.Whatever marginal difference there is between him and Lander, the fact that his dad is an assistant coach should be a dealbreaker.It’d be something else if Acton was a clearly competent third liner or better, someone who isn’t easily replaced.

    This. Acton is not an NHL player. A far as I see, O’Marra = VandeVelde = Acton. The only difference being Acton has the assistant coach’s last name stitched on the back of his jersey. I see them all as being below average AHLers that could fill in on the bottom lines for a few games if needed.

    I really have a hard time believing the team went out and signed this guy with an eye towards the 4th line center position. When your team is already lacking in center depth, why place your bets on a guy putting up 16-19 pts in the AHL with no NHL experience. It’s completely brainless.

    Say what you will about Jerred Smithson and his lack of skills, but A) he was an NHL veteran who often played hard minutes, B) he’s bigger and more physical than Acton, C) he’s better at face offs than Acton, and a right-hander to boot, D) he has a history of putting up the same number of points in the NHL that Acton did in the AHL, D) he could have been had for the same price.

    The Acton signing makes no sense as a hockey move. At worst, it looks like nepotism. Change in the bottom 6 was necessary. But what was the sense of signing AHLers when there were several capable NHL veterans available to be signed?

  85. Racki says:

    This should be settled by a fist fight. And since one of you is likely smaller than the other, Steve MacIntyre will beat up the winner to prevent you from hurting people smaller than you again. Phil Kessel will then hack at his shins while running away as Alex Ovechkin takes pictures of Kessel and laughs at his silly Russian-like bad haircut.

  86. OilClog says:

    They’ve got to be picking someone up, no way MacT isn’t looking, with a seriously scowling Eakins over his shoulder.

    Eakins is doing his best Clint Eastwood. “You wanna talk about his hands, he has a left and a right one” Get off my lawn!

  87. bendelson says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    You asked for a quote so I simply provided one for your analysis.

    Nothing more …

  88. OilClog says:

    Magnus,

    I think it’s simply a coach bringing a couple marginal players with him, why not. Or we could get long winded about it

  89. 106 and 106 says:

    And this was a great discussion until those guys got their panties in a knot.

    Centre depth is the next step – competition for that spot looking more like the competition for the D would be great. I just think Miller missed his mark this year and no one took the job. Not enough competition.

    Keep that Pic in the archive, but don’t toss it in the bin.

    Teams getting closer.

  90. OilClog says:

    BlacqueJacque: Care to quote me insulting him?

    I believe it was a hint towards your general energy feeding into the comments. Negative without a sliver of positive contribution to a constructive conversation. Angry circles.

    Brule is available again

  91. BlacqueJacque says:

    oilgreg:
    These comments are much more “Oil Nation” like than The insightful viewpoints I have read on Lowetide. I stopped reading the comments on Oil Nation. Lowetide, I hope you act accordingly to ensure the continued quality of your site.

    You’re absolutely right, and I’m sad to say I did contribute. On the other hand, I contributed knowingly because I’ve seen LT tolerate trolls for months and (in DSF’s case) years. Having past experience with types like Colonel Obvious (and if he is Captain Obvious from ON like I suspect, I also have personal experience with him) I figured it to be less painful and damaging in the long run to poke his button and let him go nuclear and hopefully get banned soon, rather than having this drag out over the better part of a season.

    Am I guilty of over-stepping my bounds? Sure. Am I trying to influence LT into adopting a stricter standard of moderation? Yeah, sadly, I am. Like I said – years of moderating forums online has made me very sensitive to trolling and past experience shows me that even a few trolls can absolutely ruin a forum in a short period. As this blog grows more popular, the lowest common denominator will eventually prevail unless a rigorous moderation regime is applied, but that’s something LT will have to discover on his own. I’ve already made my argument on several occasions.

    I hope that judging by my interaction with Obvious in this thread, that you may perhaps understand my motives and see my reasoning. I’m sure you’re tempted to say “just ignore him”, but that ultimately doesn’t work, since as the number of readers grows, the number of potential victims of the troll grow as well and all he needs is one response to start a snowball that will ruin a discussion. My strategy with trolls like Obvious is to make that one response the kind that makes him go nuclear.

    So… that’s that. I hope you understand.

  92. Mo Deet says:

    Long time reader and fan of this comment section, so decided to finally register. Don’t know where the cat profile pic is coming from (Word Press stock photo?) but whatever. Finally, the login page told me to notify LT that WP 3.6.1 is available.

    Apologies if someone has offered this already, but it has occurred to me that Oilers management probably knows Acton/Hamilton are borderline NHLers. Seeing that they don’t have much better to draw from in the system (and that assertion can debated), and having either failed to pull the trigger on a trade or decided to keep their options open, could the additions of Acton/Hamilton be about fostering a systems thing? New coach, new system, and two players who already know the vocabulary.

    Coaches’ favorites aside, and player merit aside (it being relative given the options we know of), if Mac T wanted to do something to help Eakins succeed, it doesn’t hurt to have one or two guys in the dressing room who, going into TC at least, can translate things for the rest of the group, or just reassure guys that they are in fact getting the right memo.

    As a learning/teaching strategy, it’s something I’ve seen applied on some of the sports teams I’ve played for, and as a sometime instructor it’s a tactic I’ve applied ad hoc to pairings and groupings when I can see that some students grasp a concept and some don’t.

    You got a rookie coach on a team that’s been a revolving door in that department, All Else Being Equal, maybe Acton/Hamilton can be seen as an effort, by management, to bolster the chances of player buy-in and successful systems execution. In a situation, really, where early failure could easily scuttle the new hire (Eakins) and tank yet another season.

    All that conjecture aside, I do know Mac T really, really, really needs Eakins to succeed.

  93. Numenius says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    In a recent thread, Colonel Obvious mentioned that he used to be Captain Obvious. He said he changed the name to avoid being confused with Captain Happy (DSF, now Dead Cat Bounce).

    So yes, it’s the same person.

  94. DeadmanWaking says:

    BlacqueJacque: As this blog grows more popular, the lowest common denominator will eventually prevail unless a rigorous moderation regime is applied, but that’s something LT will have to discover on his own.

    I don’t see it that way. There’s something different in the water supply here, which I’ve never quite put my finger on, but it’s real nonetheless. All good things someday come to an end, but so far LT’s little corner of the Al Gore has proven surprisingly resilient to the splintering Morgul bray. You’re behaving more like Saruman than Gandalf in your estimation of hobbit mettle and solidarity.

    Dryer Sheet Feline does sometimes step over the line. But really, when he’s not being poked in return he’s more of a poltergeist than a troll. Hogwarts tolerated their poltergeists indefinitely with no dire consequence. A poltergeist having a Banner moment is certainly troll enough, but when he wakes up the next morning, he’s just a poltergeist with split trousers.

    When I read Ben Zander (conductor of the Boston Philharmonic), he made a big deal of Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so &@*% seriously. It’s not a bad thing to tolerate a few relatively tame poltergeists. They help to keep proceedings humble. The real enemy here is group think. If the goal of the group is affirmation by like minds, it only takes a few trolls to come along and piss loudly in the empty punch bowl to ruin the soothing echo-chamber aura.

    What we have here is not group think. What we have here are a few like minds who have decided to band together for a while to share a similar journey. Part of that journey is frequently transiting the Tropic of Cancer—the magical line that divides passion from objectivity, hot from cold—that unpredictable magic line strewn somewhere between Florida and Puerto Rico, where all the compasses gyrate wildly and point in strange directions and misdirect the unwary. In other words, DSF’s home turf. Never mind the sea monsters. The reality is we’re all here to enforce a mutual Ulysses pact. Sea monsters come with the territory.

    Ulysses pacts are legal agreements designed to override a present request from a legally competent partisan in favor of a past request made by that partisan. An example of when Ulysses contracts are invoked is when people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication at perceived remission times.

    Somehow this crazy house is not built on sand. I don’t understand it myself, but there it is. Half the time I feel like a poltergeist myself, so I try to confine my act to the margins. I deliberately took a pass on wading into this particular thread because the conversation was unusually engaged. Even a clown with big feet needs to know when to fold ‘em. There’s a right place and a wrong place to pinch your nose.

    The other day I posted this quote from William James:

    Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

    I like to think I do a little bit more here than just wake up the sleepy drunks between acts long enough to order another drink. I watched Casablanca for the first time the other night (yeah, I know, somehow there was always another Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I was keener to open first). There’s a sly line where the fat man from the Blue Parrot says “Rick’s wouldn’t be Rick’s without them.” This as Rick himself is sailing on, perish the thought.

    This week I’ve been working my way through Roy’s Writing Tools. His advice mainly inhabits the middle distance of journalism, but as these things go it’s unfailingly sensible, and never loses sight of cut muscle behind the giant stacks of Sade’s Liver Oil.

    Rule 21: Know when to back off and when to show off.

    When the topic is most serious, understate; when least serious, exaggerate. Most writers have at least two modes. One says “pay no attention to the writer behind the screen, look only at the world”. The other says–without inhibition–”watch me dance aren’t I a clever fellow”. In rhetoric these two modes have names: the first is called understatement, the second is called overstatement or hyperbole, the original Greek name.

    That immediately suggested to me an interesting analysis of the movie Cabaret: everything about that time, that place, and those characters is hyperbole except for the dance numbers which are deadly serious, at least in their subtext to the movie audience. With the holocaust inching up the flag pole, ordinary hyperbole becomes a tight collar that needs to bust some new moves.

    Trolls are inherently repetitive, like the mosquito that keeps returning to hover beside your ear you somehow never manage to swat. I think the ambiance around the camp fire suffers a fatal blow once you reduce the fraternal ritual to sitting around draped in mosquito netting and reeking of DEET. It’s not the bite so much as the whine that drives you to it. If Tom Waits shows up in a bear suit with an accordion slung around his neck and begins waggling his jerry-built bear ass around the camp fire in a wheezy polka medley of gravely sarcasm, hardly anyone for a time is minding the stray insistent, quavering dotard. The bear act is a rain dance to the god of open meadows.

    Tom Waits – “A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.”

    Let’s not fall into a prevent defense until we really have to. My brother adores the prevent defense when adopted by the other team because “it prevents you from winning”.

    The best defense is Rule #6, in sickness or in health.

  95. Big Dan says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    I think Acton is sticking because he was a Marlie and a Dallas Eakins disciple, not because he is Keith Acton’s relative. Although I’m sure it helps.

    I also don’t think Acton will be here the whole year. Lander did not have a good camp but MacT is high on him; he was quick to call him up last year after a big game. Lander will be back when he gets his game back because when he does, he’s better than Acton. I think Jones will get briefly called up a few times too when injury strikes, if he shores up his defense. I think Omark will get another 20 games or so too when Hemsky goes down – but I think he wasted his last real chance. Too bad.

    It’s not a stretch to sign Labarbera. He has a track record as an ok backup like Clemmenson. But just because he’s cheap and he’s Dubnyk’s workout buddy does not mean there were not better options.

    Why did Phoenix sign Greiss and let Labarbera go? Because Greiss has upside. Labarbera doesn’t.

    In my mind, MacT made a plethora of good moves and a few small ones I disagree with.

  96. Big Dan says:

    bendelson,

    I don’t have a firm dislike for Dubnyk or Labarbera. They are both serviceable. Dubnyk far exceeded my expectations last year. I like him and would love for him to prove me wrong. He is just so frustrating because he’ll play so great and then get caught sleeping in overtime let’s say (a Jagr winner against Dallas is an example). He just needs to be better late in games and cut down on the occasional softy.

    I think he’s good for now and I’d like to see him in a playoff series before hoping for a Halak/Hiller type. But my gut says he’s about the same as James Reimer= ok but not in the tier where you win Cups. And that’s what we are gunning for in a couple years; to be a contender.

    As for Khudonin, I “saw him good” I guess. He was excellent in the AHL. He has been outshone by established #1′s like Nicklas Backstrom and Tuukka Rask. While Ward is a consistent, dependable #1 (look at the freefall the Canes had when he got hurt), he’s not worth $6M. And I think he may find himself only playing 50 games this year – he’s never had a good backup flanking him the past few years.

    Khudonin has a record of 14-5-1 and a .933 save percentage in 21 NHL games. Yes, he is playing against softer competition and was on good teams. But those numbers are staggering enough for me to think he’s got upside. He’s earned his shot.

    In any league he’s been in (ECHL, AHL, KHL, WHL), his save percentage has never been lower than .912. I thought he was great back in 2006 when he played for the Saskatoom Blades.

  97. Eastern Oil says:

    As many have said before me, I am a long time reader and have enjoyed this blog thoroughly. LT, you run a fantastic blog and I thank you for it, and the commenters on this site should be very proud of their contributions. Compared to some other sites it is like a breath of fresh air.

    Anyways……

    @ Magnus:

    You brought up a point that I never understood in the off-season re: letting Smithson walk and banking on AHL players. At first, and I still dare to hope this may be the case, I thought it meant that a better 4C would be picked up and Lander/Acton/Arco would contribute as a decent C depth chart. As you said, despite Smithson’s flaws, I would rather have him as my 4C than any of the other 3 listed.

    Sunday is a big day for the waiver wire as teams need to be cap compliant by Mon? and the season starts Tuesday. Perhaps something is still yet to drop. But if we enter the season without shoring up that position I will be a little nervous. I may be wrong in thinking this, but isn’t a borderline 4C that has had substantial NHL experience better than a perrenial AHLer?

  98. Lowetide says:

    DMW: Very kind words. Thanks.

    This blog is partly here because of Kim Gernack, who was ‘redtwilight’ on hfboards at the turn of the century. He and I got into a massive discussion about Dan Lacouture versus Daniel Cleary and not one time did we spit on the other guy. Kim had this ability to make a strong argument, in a funny but interesting way, but still hold his ground.

    Kim called me three times from Red Deer to ask if I wanted to go to an Oiler game with him, I declined all three times. A little while later, he fell ill in the hospital and passed away. It was shocking to me, because I’d made a good friend who I’d never met–and in this way I found the power of the internet and hf/blogs like this one.

    So, everyone is welcome. Everyone. The assholes and the deep thinkers–often the same people–along with the kids who don’t behave. You know why? One of the newbies on this blog was Jonathan Willis, and he tried his ideas and suggested things and offered input and became part of the community. If I’d shut out Willis for some early post? Well, that’s not going to happen here.

    I don’t know how old the gents are who got into a scrap on this blog last night, but they’re old enough to drink and that means they’re old enough to fight their own fights.

    I believe Kim Gernack would want it that way.

  99. theres oil in virginia says:

    Hopefully they’re also old enough to forget their own fights and move on.

    I’ve read plenty of posts here that I’ve taken exception to (privately), and have at times taken exception to certain posters (privately). What I find interesting is that given a few weeks things turn around to the point that I’m agreeing with those exceptions on whatever is the current topic. Just chill and give it some time.

    I do appreciate it when folks make an effort to disagree respectfully. Not respectfully in the sense that you respect your elders, but respectfully in the sense that you respect others’ personhood. I don’t like very many people, but I must remember that they have personhood. Well, most of them at least! :)

    I find that, even when the argument is heated, if the participants remain respectful it makes for a very good read. (An exchange between VOR and Woodguy a few weeks ago comes to mind – very interesting argument.) On the other hand:
    “You’re a poo-poo head!”
    “No, you’re a poo-poo head!”

    just doesn’t go very far with me. That’s why god included a scroll bar when he created the browser. Thanks, god.

  100. Ryan says:

    Magnus,

    I’ll admit that I also have a hard time looking at a guy as marginal as Acton–with the assistant coaches name on the back of his jersey taking a roster spot. Glad to know that I’m not the only one, lol.

  101. theres oil in virginia says:

    If they plan on trotting out wingers like Eager, Brown, and MacIntyre on the fourth line, then I’d say they did Lander a huge favor by sending him down.

  102. russ99 says:

    Truth is, any trade of quality players doesn’t happen this time of year. People want to know what they’ve got.

    I’ll wistfully recall the awesomeness of the old preseason waiver draft again, as there seemed to be decent players available that could fill a weak spot.

    So it’s waivers or bust until late November unless one of the teams fighting to get under the cap has to make a deal. I’m not convinced that that’s an issue either, considering how easy it is for players to pickup injuries and some cap room can be stashed on IR.

    The summer was when those positions of weakness should have been addressed. We needed at least one more center and one more shutdown winger (if Joensuu fits in one of those spots) and we got Acton, Hamilton and the late pickup of an enforcer.

    Hopefully MacT can learn from Tambellini’s mistakes and use the waiver wire during the season to address problem areas.

  103. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    DeadmanWaking: Sea monsters come with the territory.

    I recall having to read Aristotle’s Organon once (not a very pleasant experience for me). In the chapter, On Interpretation (18b-19a), he repeatedly uses “sea-fight” as an example of the language of necessity running up against the reality of events. Let’s let him explain a bit:

    Let me illustrate. A sea-fight must either take place tomorrow or not, but it is not necessary that it should take place tomorrow, neither is it necessary that it should not take place, yet it is necessary that it either should or should not take place tomorrow.
    ~19a30-33

    I’m happy to tell you that without that incredible terse, but massively inviting and imaginative example, I wouldn’t have made it very far into that text.

    “A sea-fight”!? I said to myself. “Well this is grand!” I reflected, as I conjured up monsters, battle ships, tug-boats, flying beasts and small helmeted and non-helmeted men.

  104. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    theres oil in virginia: Thanks, god.

    Gord?

  105. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Lowetide,

    This is a very special place blessed with some amazing writers. Just wanted to props them in Oiler Orange.

  106. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Big Dan:

    - Denis Grebeshkov.He sucked in the KHL.Paul Ranger chose Toronto over us, but why wasn’t Tom Gilbert the consolation prize?Or better yet, nobody.Where is MacT going to bury him?They have 7 good young D in the AHL.Are they going to send down Potter instead and assign Grebs to the pressbox?

    - Jason Labarbera.He had a good save percentage in Phoenix, but who doesn’t?I really wanted Anton Khudonin, who is hungry for a chance.He has shone everywhere he has played, has great upside, and I predict he will play a lot more than people expect.Cam Ward is overrated.

    I would have preferred Ranger or Gilbert to Grebs… but I’m not convinced (yet anyway) that Grebs is a complete waste or that the other options are sterling. But I’m in the camp that thinks getting lots of depth was smart, but maybe could have found better options.

    I would have preferred Khudo too. He’s younger and would probably be in a better spot to push DD. He also came marginally cheaper than Labarbs.

    That said, there isn’t much to distinguish the two goalies in actual performance. Both came in this year as competent backups with a chance to take the lead if necessary at low dollars for a very short term. So, I’m not spending a lot of energy on my preferences here.

  107. srisribillyg says:

    LT,

    Could it be Dubnyk’s mediocre 5-on-5 close save percentage that keeps people skeptical?

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?disp=1&db=201213&sit=5v5close&pos=goalies&minutes=500&teamid=0&type=shots&sort=ShPctA&sortdir=ASC

  108. tubes says:

    I just want whatever DeadmanWaking is on.

    Fantastic stuff.

  109. theres oil in virginia says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Gord?

    Yes, of course. Gord almighty!

    Also, apropos:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PJzMHObabo

  110. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    srisribillyg: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?disp=1&db=201213&sit=5v5close&pos=goalies&minutes=500&teamid=0&type=shots&sort=ShPctA&sortdir=ASC

    Yes. That is why. It also explains why Schneids was chased vigorously.

    But, if you raise the mins. to 750 he doesn’t look so bad:

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?db=201213&sit=5v5close&type=shots&teamid=0&pos=goalies&minutes=750&disp=1&sort=HARTp&sortdir=DESC

    mid of the pack. this eliminates the big-time back-ups and smaller sample sizes.

  111. kooler says:

    Just reading that Magnus Paajarvi could be send down to the AHL….he would have to clear waivers correct?

  112. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    kooler:
    Just reading that Magnus Paajarvi could be send down to the AHL….he would have to clear waivers correct?

    hearing where…?

    and yes… he’d have to clear I’m pretty sure. pick him up!!!

    there’s your Winnik type!

  113. FastOil says:

    Lowetide: He’s big and has skill. Is he better than Arcobello? I don’t know.

    At least he has a decent shot at an NHL future. Arco is going to have to be better than good to overcome his child body.

  114. Acumen says:

    LT,

    After hearing your redtwilight spiel for the umpteenth time (and I mean that in a good way), I feel inclined to say that the ‘hockey board philosophy’ you two put forward has actually been hugely beneficial to me in life in general.

    I’ve been a fly on the wall buzzing around with a few different names since Kim was still posting and HF was a descending message board on a white backing with hyperlinks for every post. That’s when I was about 12, I am now 24. You guys put forth that style of respectful argument that I have tried to bring to pretty much every discussion where opinions vary. It was second nature when I took an Intro Logic course and has won me the respect of numerous professors as I close out the last semester of a History degree, on my way to pursue one in law. So, on the heels of a discussion about what discourse should be allowed and how, I figure this is a timely moment to let you know that your example does make a difference.

    FWIW, I was having beers with a student I was in a Film class with a couple years back last night. She reminded me of a time that we were in a formal class debate arguing the merits of form v. content in the films we had watched, and at one point I told her what she said was “absolute crap” in the most jovial and non-antagonistic way. She told me that my way of viciously attacking her argument while still regarding her happily and respectfully (with a big smile the whole time) showed her how to do the same. So it carries on.

    Anyways… continue your hockey discussion :)

  115. FastOil says:

    Woodguy:
    So if RNH is motoring along when Gagner gets back and they move Gagner to LW and keep Hall at C, is that better than Gagner at C and Hall at LW?

    Probably too early to tell.

    True, but I prefer the C as the better all round player and IMO Gagner still isn’t that.

  116. srisribillyg says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Not sure if we are looking at the same thing? For 2012-2013, when I run 5v5 close at =>750 mins, Dubnyk comes up as 20 out of 23 goaltenders at .912. He played 970 of his 2100 minutes (46.2%) last year in a 5v5 close situation, which seems to be about an average ratio amongst starters (I’ve not run the numbers on all of them; I just checked a few to make sure it wasn’t totally out of whack).

    For a while now, I’ve been puzzling out why the prevailing saw-him-good view of Dubnyk — i.e. not a bona fide #1; one weak goal per game meme, etc. — is at odds with what the stats say — i.e. quality NHL starter, based on overall save percentage. FWIW, my own saw-him-good view is that Dubnyk hasn’t yet shown me enough to believe.

    I’d wondered if this saw-him-good view might have something to do with whether or not Dubnyk was making the saves when the outcome of the game was still in doubt. I tried sifting through behindthenet to find something like “Save Percentage Close” as a starting point, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the data I needed. On a complete lark, I e-mailed Eric Tulsky (I’d never had any correspondence with the man before) and asked for his advice and he pointed me at Stats.HockeyAnalysis. They define 5v5 close as the score being tied or within one goal in the first or second period, or being tied in the third period (is that the same definition for Corsi and Fenwick close? I don’t actually know, to be honest!). After seeing that Dubnyk was near the bottom in 5v5 close for starters in 2012-2013 I thought maybe I was on to something. However, if you look at his previous body of work, his 5v5 close numbers are actually *better* than his overall save percentage in other seasons where he was the starter/co-starter:

    • In 2010-2011, Dubnyk was at .924 in 5v5 close, good for 18 of 39 goalies who played 750 or more minutes in that situation. He started the season as a backup and became a #1/1A in late January, after which he started 19 of 36 games. He was .916 overall.

    • In 2011-2012, Dubnyk was at .925 in 5v5 close, good for 14 of 32 goalies who played 1000 or more minutes in that situation. But again, he started the season as a backup and from mid-January onward assumed the #1 role, starting 28 of the final 39 games. He was .914 overall.

    So I’m not sure that I am on to anything but a bunch of noise really. Sample sizes too small? Is 5v5 close save percentage the wrong tree to be barking up? Intuitively, it seems like it should be as useful as other “close” stats, in that it helps eliminate a lot of score effects.

    Anyways, I think the acid test for Dubnyk is whether or not he can deliver that .920+ save percentage while shouldering a true starter’s workload. Say 55 starts (that’s about 2/3 right?). That’s not something he’s shown he can do over a full 82-game season. If he does it, the story will be about how he’s emerged as a true number one. If he doesn’t, the questions will continue.

  117. Cameron says:

    Joe Colbourne may indeed be available from Toronto, but the most likely destination is Calgary (who have gobs of cap space) along with the corpse of JM Liles Contract.

    The move creates breathing room for TO, and Calgary would get back a useful D-man, and a Centerman with size and some ability.

    Calgary media/fans are screaming that the deal should also include a 2nd (or 1st) coming our way.

    Ignoring for the moment the details of the speculated trades, it’s pretty clear that TO should vastly prefer to dump a massive salary on Calgary than to deal Colbourne for a 2nd to Edm.

    Factor in the Burke/Nonis relationship, and I have to say it is highly unlikely TO does business with Edm for Colbourne.

    Lastly, it is fascinating to me how similar the fanbases of both Edm and Cgy are in their desires. Both wanted Monahan, both wanted to move up into the top of the draft to get an impact center (Barkov or MacKinnon), everybody wants to pry Couturier out of Philly, ongoing arguments about whether to full-out suck, or try to make the last playoff spot, etc.

    I leave FN having read a lengthy discussion of a deal with TO and come here to find the exact same discussion from an Oiler perspective. It’s like I can hop between the Star Trek mirror universe whenever I want.

    Perhaps I should grow a goatee.

  118. Lowetide says:

    Acumen:
    LT,

    After hearing your redtwilight spiel for the umpteenth time (and I mean that in a good way), I feel inclined to say that the ‘hockey board philosophy’ you two put forward has actually been hugely beneficial to me in life in general.

    I’ve been a fly on the wall buzzing around with a few different names since Kim was still posting and HF was a descending message board on a white backing with hyperlinks for every post. That’s when I was about 12, I am now 24. You guys put forth that style of respectful argument that I have tried to bring to pretty much every discussion where opinions vary. It was second nature when I took an Intro Logic course and has won me the respect of numerous professors as I close out the last semester of a History degree, on my way to pursue one in law. So, on the heels of a discussion about what discourse should be allowed and how, I figure this is a timely moment to let you know that your example does make a difference.

    FWIW, I was having beers with a student I was in a Film class with a couple years back last night. She reminded me of a time that we were in a formal class debate arguing the merits of form v. content in the films we had watched, and at one point I told her what she said was “absolute crap” in the most jovial and non-antagonistic way. She told me that my way of viciously attacking her argument while still regarding her happily and respectfully (with a big smile the whole time) showed her how to do the same. So it carries on.

    Anyways… continue your hockey discussion :)

    Kind words, Acumen. Thank you.

  119. gcw_rocks says:

    Shockingly, I am less sold on the wings than you are, LT. If Hemsky’s possession numbers stay in the tank or he gets his annual injury the RW depth takes a major hit. It’s a qualified pass at best.

    There should be some big questions on the LW as well, with Smyth’s footspeed and the Finn’s ability to sustain at the NHL level.

    I too was hoping for a balanced roster and I agree they don’t have one. I suspect they are father away than you think. Love the optimism though. This team has beaten me down. Not sure how you do it.

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