It’s that time of year friends, when we discuss trade options and values. This is an interesting deadline, as the Oilers are both historically bad and incredibly unlucky—as they apparently have the one NHL veteran defenseman who can’t play well enough to get traded at the deadline (Nick Schultz) but it’s all in a year’s work in hell.
LAST SEASON’S DEADLINE
My post is here, and I’ll post my guesses for outgoing:
- 2013 2nd round pick (ANA)
Ladislav Smid (UFA): Edmonton hasn’t signed him yet and that might mean there’s a gap between agent and team in terms of zero’s on the contract. Smid is going to get paid, the Oilers have to figure out if they want to be the team to pay him.Signed
- Ryan Whitney (UFA): Defensemen always have increased value at the deadline.
- Mark Fistric (UFA): I doubt the club would get less than the pick they gave up for him (3rd rd pick).
- Ryan Jones (UFA): He’s coming off an eye injury, but his wheels are fine. An NHL team might want to increase their offense in the bottom 6F and have a guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, either.
- Nikolai Khabibulin (UFA): Will the Oilers re-sign him?
- Ales Hemsky (UFA 2014): The Oilers were not getting strong offers for him a year ago (the rumored return was a 2nd and a 4th from Nashville).
- Ben Eager (UFA 2014): One year left at $1.1M and the concussion issues are a concern. Plus he’s been on waivers.
- Eric Belanger (UFA 2014): Makes $1.75M and might fill a need for a 4line C, faceoff guy and penalty killer. Injured.
- D Theo Peckham (RFA 2013): Forgotten man among the Oilers, but he’s a defenseman with NHL experience and that has value.
It’s funny, I was wrong about the deadline portion of the list, but the Oilers are no longer associated with all but three players (Jones, Eager, Hemsky) and this deadline could take care of that situation. As it turned out, the Oilers didn’t trade any of those guys, which based on the fact many are no longer in the NHL shouldn’t come as a surprise.
LAST YEAR’S TRADES (DON’T CRY)
- March 29: Traded Tobias Rieder to Phoenix for Kale Kessy
- April 2: Traded Dane Byers for Garrett Stafford
- April 3: Traded 2014 4th round pick for Jerred Smithson
THIS SEASON’S DEADLINE
- Ales Hemsky: I’m still hopeful he signs, this injury is a terrible turn. Mark Spector has his value as a 3rd rd pick, but Ryan Rishaug suggested yesterday the return would be more substantial. I suspect Edmonton will want a player in return, even if it’s a promising minor league player. Ottawa remains the team I’d like to see get Hemsky.
- Anton Belov: There were reports that Boston was scouting the big man, and I would think there might be some interest from other teams. I don’t know if Edmonton has plans for him, he has shown some promise this year but it’s hard to assess when things are a mess.
- Nick Schultz: He can’t possibly be this bad, but it’s 42/58 Corsi when he’s on the ice 5×5 and lately he’s looked like a gent on his way to retirement. I had hoped they could fetch a second, now thinking 4th?
- Ryan Jones: I wonder if his recent fights are in an effort to fit a need for another NHL team. Jones is not my favorite player type, but he certainly has his uses and perhaps there’s a team out there who can use his speed and scoring.
- Ryan Smyth: It’s difficult for me to even write his name here, for lots of reasons (including the fact he could eventually break into the top 5 all-time in Oiler scoring) but he certainly has value based on good arrows. If he is sent away, one hopes he wins the Stanley and brings it home for a day. That would be a beautiful thing.
- Ilya Bryzgalov: He’s entered a low ebb for the season, but he is better than he’s been recently and suspect NHL teams will look at him—which is different than trading for him.
- Corey Potter: Potter isn’t a terrible option for depth defenseman, and I wonder if the Oilers have any plans for him. At the very least, Taylor Fedun is as easy replacement.
- Anton Lander: Hendricks addition made me think Lander is done, and that’s probably true. However, Eakins chose to play the new hire at LW suggesting to me they might see him as a LW next year (depth chart: Hall, Perron, Hendricks, Gazdic) although there aren’t a lot of GF in there. Anyway, Lander looks pretty much ready and should have a good career in St. Louis or Nashville or Phoenix.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
- #64 Nail Yakupov, 5. Made a key play on the Eberle goal when he made a nice chip up the boards to spring the 2-on-1, though somehow the goal was scored as unassisted. Also set up Eberle for another fine chance out of the corner. His night ended early when he was sent careening into the boards after being smoked by Cooke, not a dirty hit per sé although this player sure does seem to be involved in a lot of injuries. To add insult to injury, the Wild scored while Yakupov was still crawling to the bench, giving him yet another shiny -1 for the night.
Woodguy (in last night’s comments section)
- So Eakins blames Yak for the 3rd goal via his turn over. Watch the replay (in the boxcar section of NHL.com game stats). Ference backs all the way from the blueline until the goal line and doesn’t engage anyone, including the goal scorer until the puck is in the net. But its Yak’s fault.
I don’t know how this ends, but am always reminded of how many nights Shawn Horcoff would be talking to Hall/Eberle on the bench between shifts, helping, mentoring. I wonder if Yakupov could use that kind of personal tutor. I also wonder if Eakins can survive this season, this is a very severe level of horribleness and at some point Craig MacTavish may have to step in.
CORSI FOR %, 5X5 2013-14 SEASON
- Martin Marincin 51.3
- Mark Arcobello 48.1
- Ales Hemsky 47.8
- David Perron 47.7
- Anton Belov 47.7
- Ryan Smyth 47.7
- Jeff Petry 47.5
- Jordan Eberle 47.4
- Nail Yakupov 46.6
- Sam Gagner 45.4
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 45.0
- Andrew Ference 43.7
- Justin Schultz 43.6
- Boyd Gordon 43.4
- Taylor Hall 43.0
- Ryan Jones 43.0
- Jesse Joensuu 42.8
- Nick Schultz 42.4
- Luke Gazdic 38.8
We’re beyond the point of worrying about Taylor Hall, and have reached an extreme. The Oilers are in an area where their final record will be historically bad compared to their own history, which includes a couple of 25 win seasons. I don’t know the system that is capable of beating down Taylor Hall to a 43-57 portion of the possession pie, but that system is the devil itself.
Can you keep the coach and save the system? Because if you can’t, perhaps MacT should stop trading the Smid’s and Dubnyk’s and have a good long look at where this team is going. Right now, the long term damage has been negligible (Scrivens is about equal to Dubnyk, and Smid appears to be eroding) but someone left the cake out in the rain and roster melting is possible.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE?
If the team isn’t this bad (projected final record would be something like 25-50-7) and the players are better (I do think this roster is superior to the Whitney-Petrell-Belanger-Eager group) then what’s the problem?
There’s only a few things it could be:
- A fracture
- Quitting on the coach
- They’re just not that good
That’s all folks. Choose your poison. Do you feel there is a fracture, say between Hall and Yakupov that divides the team? If so, then the body language and comments of the coach mentioned above are perhaps a tell, but that’s reading a whole lot into not very much. Are they quitting on the coach? I’m beginning to wonder, but that’s also a cop out—we’re 50 games in and would have heard something by now. Smid said there would be more trades, and we’ve seen that, but there’s no evidence that a mutiny is taking place.
And yet, we are here. I firmly believe the Oilers are better, much better, than their record. These aren’t stupid men, there’s not a system alive that RNH couldn’t figure out in 50 games. Injury? Bah! That leaves:
I’m of two minds here:
- Stay the course. Hell men, you can’t just keep shooting the man in the suit every summer, it’s a sign of addled thinking. Eakins was hired for his ideas and his inexperience was part of it. I know that his manner and frank talk have made some people angry, but I don’t give one damn about any of that. Give me a straight talk boss any day of the week, and if I’m out, I’m out and let’s move on. This isn’t going to be easy, but the Oilers team that Eakins took over was a combination of an abandoned shack and a house party. What a mess.
- Find the fracture, and choose your leader. If there is a problem in the room, and internal fixes aren’t helping, then for God sakes send the problem away. I have a bad feeling the difficulty might be incorporating Nail Yakupov into the group, and if that’s the issue, then for the love of all that is good send the kid to a new town. He doesn’t deserve this, and the Oilers chose their King in June 2010.
The Edmonton Oilers can’t possibly be this bad. Mutiny? Fracture? This is ghastly, and Craig MacTavish needs to fix it before we start hearing reports about Daryl Katz talking to some “mysterious source” about how to get this back on track. That news is usually followed by the hiring of a Craig Patrick and then bloodshed in the big offices.
And perhaps that’s the fix.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A really big shoe, as Ed Sullivan used to say. Scheduled to appear on TSN 1260 beginning at 10:
- Steve Lansky. Can Eakins survive? Trade deadline and Torts in Van.
- David Fucillo, Niners Nation. Talking SF-SEA and two teams who have been on a collision course all season long.
- Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk Yakupov’s future, Eakins future and what to do at the deadline.
- Massimo Mirabelli, FC Edmonton. A lot of added pieces during the offseason, we’ll talk about 2014 for the Eddies.
- Jungle Jim Hunter. Olympics prep for athletes.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ twitter. I’ve made a call to Lombardi, maybe he’ll call me back.