Dallas Eakins plans on doing a makeover with his team during the Olympic break. Among the things I hope he looks at: line matching, getting the top line out right after a penalty-kill, riding Ben Scrivens more, using his 4th line less, not playing Nick Schultz and Phil Larsen, and giving all of Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick and Oscar Klefbom a long look.
The things I want to see from Craig MacTavish include: signing Ales Hemsky, trading Nick Schultz, signing Dillon Simpson, signing top end college free agents, signing Ben Scrivens.
The one thing I’m not looking forward to? The Sam Gagner trade. Edmonton’s trading a $4.8M center who isn’t strong at the position, is having a bad season and who many posters on this blog wanted off the team no matter the return a few short weeks ago. Folks, the return is going to be closer to Kyle Clifford and a pick than it is to Tyler Toffoli—Dean Lombardi isn’t going to trade a guy who is delivering offense for his team this season in a deadline deal. MacT goes to market with 89 at a dreadful time, and fan expectations are running miles ahead of reality. If Kevin Lowe had traded Raffi Torres for Samsanov in 2006 spring, would that have made sense? Same item here. Minor league players—Derek Forbort, Tanner Pearson, along with depth players—Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan—are likely in play.
This is straight Corsi (I usually run Corsi Rel in these photos, but Eberle and Gagner keep overlapping) and we see Boyd Gordon’s fantastic season in full view here. Nuge, Gagner and Gordon are all facing the toughs, speaking to Eakins not looking for matchups so much as zone start opportunities. I’d like him to have that gear—his GM sure did—and would also like to see him run Gordon more at even strength:
- Nuge 15:59 EV TOI per game
- Gagner 14:49 EV TOI per game
- Gordon 11:38 EV TOI per game
- Smyth 11:29 EV TOI per game
I think the 4line is getting too much time as well, and Hendricks should be 4line plus PK, maybe the deadline deals will make it so.
Jonathan Willis does an excellent job of describing the Arco dilemma here. The one fellow who would benefit immediately from a Gagner deal is Arcobello, and I think there’s a reasonable chance the skill center returns to Edmonton (and the starting lineup) if a trade goes down. I also believe there’s an excellent chance the club signs him to a contract for next season. Arcobello can pursue free agency, but along with money is opportunity and Edmonton gave him his chance. Either way, the bias Jon mentions in his article is real, and if the young man decides to sign elsewhere the club should be able to replace him with a similar player.
The guy I’m hoping the club gives a chance to? Anton Lander. It’s going to be tough, because he hasn’t delivered offensively as an Oiler, and Eakins/MacT may have already made up their minds (ala Harski). Based on published reports he’s progressing and has a lot of nice things in his game. I suspect he’ll flourish, but am very uncertain it will be in Edmonton.
I don’t think this means anything, but Martin Marincin is looking good compared to his fellow rookies.
Matt Hendricks sure is taking on a leadership role. If he can penalty kill and they use him on the 4th line, he can help. If they see him as a modern day Moreau, I don’t see the offense, and 8 goals from a third liner is a settle.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy day, and with all the trade rumblings I imagine one of these days we’ll see something. Today would make sense—off day, don’t play until tomorrow—and I do wonder about 89 to the coast. I’ll say Kyle Clifford and Derek Forbort are the return, the Oilers agree to retain a significant portion of the Gagner salary, and that the Al Gore melts.
Scheduled to appear 10 this morning, TSN1260:
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk reasonable return for Gagner, the horrible PP and Eakins at the break.
- Ryan Marsh, UofA Golden Bear Assistant Coach and Vimy Hockey Campus Director. We’ll talk about the incredible season the Golden Bears are enjoying currently, and how to improve specific skills.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp on TSN 1260. Team plays tonight, we’ll preview.
- Scott Taylor, Manitoba Hockey News dot com.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Olympics readiness.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Looking forward to it!