SOLVING PROBLEMS

The best teams solve problems with a long term view. When Craig MacTavish traded for David Perron last summer, that deal might have solved the 2line LW (or RW) problem for five years or more. That’s the kind of thing a good general manager does—not on every deal because there are short, stopgap measures required to bridge between eroding players and prospects emerging—and if you get enough in a cluster contending each season is likely.

I learned about this from the Montreal Canadiens of my youth. Long-term solutions. The new free-agency era impacts things but there’s still plenty of really good problem solving by smart general managers.

I believe the Ben Scrivens trade could be another Perron-style. Edmonton dealt a third round pick (currently #62 overall) for Scrivens, who is a free agent at the end of the season. When they traded for Scrivens, it was obvious that getting him signed would be a priority if he delivered the goods during a short audition.

We are here.

Derek Van Diest writes today “he (Scrivens) and the Oilers are suspected to be in contract talks with his current deal up at the end of the year.” This doesn’t mean Scrivens is the de facto 60 games a year starter for the Oilers beginning next season, but does represent a good trade decision being followed by a (hopefully) sound contract for Scrivens.

The goaltending problem won’t be solved completely, but Scrivens has earned a contract extension from the Oilers. Adding a veteran goalie to Scrivens should give Edmonton the kind of quality and depth at the position that will be required to contend in the tough Pacific division.

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54 Responses to "SOLVING PROBLEMS"

  1. Ducey says:

    Sign Scrivens, trade Bryz.

  2. Younger Oil says:

    Here is my ideal potential plan for the next few months:

    1. Trade Eberle and Musil for Josi and Wilson. We have RW depth more than most positions, and too many prospect Dmen, Nashville needs offence, we need defence and a 3rd line forward. With Jones and Weber being the future, Josi could be a candidate to shake loose.

    2. This leaves room to resign Hemsky at $4-4.5M, and give him the clear cut #2RW job, even #1 if Yakupov falters a bit. Resign Scrivens too.

    3. Package Gagner with a 2015 1st round pick for either a top 4 D, or an upgrade for #2C. If you get a D, draft Reinhart/Bennett. If you get a C, draft Ekblad.

    4. Trade any other upcoming UFA for whatever draft picks we can get, because as of now we’re not drafting from #2 until #116.

    5. Sign Winnik in the offseason.

    Going into next year, that would give us:

    RNH-Hall-Yak

    #2C-Perron-Hemsky

    Gordon-Wilson-Winnik

    Lander-Hendricks-Pitlick

    Petry-Marincin

    Josi-Schultz

    Klefbom-Ference

    Scrivens

    That would also allow us to keep Nurse and Ekblad in the minors for another season, so we don’t have to rush their development.

    Also would be open to trading down from #2 and swapping picks with Ottawa or Phoenix and getting Lazar or Samuelsson in return.

  3. book¡je says:

    Ever since I saw the Scrivens bubble wrap vine video I have known that he is the goalie of the future for this team!

  4. gr8one says:

    book¡je,

    haha…I had to go find it…but very nice.

    I too am now convinced.

  5. hockeyguy10 says:

    At least one of the Oiler forwards is taking an interest in advanced stats :-)
    Jordan Eberle
    Jordan Eberle
    @ebs_14
    Follow
    Does anyone know if in NHL 15 they will have corsi?
    11:15 p.m. Mon, Feb 24

  6. VanOil says:

    hockeyguy10:
    At least one of the Oiler forwards is taking an interest in advanced stats
    Jordan Eberle
    Jordan Eberle
    @ebs_14Follow
    Does anyone know if in NHL 15 they will have corsi?
    11:15 p.m. Mon, Feb 24

    Eakins promised a seminar on Hockey Analytics for all players during the current mini camp. He feels they are written about a lot but his players don’t understand what they mean. See the Feb 20th Mini Camp Raw Eakins interview at 7:24. Eakins himself thinks they are over emphasized.

  7. cabbiesmacker says:

    hockeyguy10:
    At least one of the Oiler forwards is taking an interest in advanced stats
    Jordan Eberle
    Jordan Eberle
    @ebs_14Follow
    Does anyone know if in NHL 15 they will have corsi?
    11:15 p.m. Mon, Feb 24

    Nice shot by Eberle.

  8. hockeyguy10 says:

    cabbiesmacker,

    The best reply was…..No,just Fenwick….

  9. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Brownlee and Matty both have articles saying Hemsky will be traded.

    “Count me among those who have Ales Hemsky a goner by the trade deadline, which falls Wednesday next week. MacTavish won’t get great value for Hemsky as a rental, but there’s no chance he’ll re-sign here.”

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/2/24/the-speculation-game

    “The Oilers have just three games between now and the March 5 trade deadline, and Hemsky, an impending unrestricted free agent, will be moved if general manager Craig MacTavish can find a buyer.”

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/24/what-would-shea-weber-cost-the-oilers/

    neither entertaining re-signing.

    either they know something or they are relying on their distaste for the Czech to cloud their world of possibility.

    I hope they have to eat those words.

  10. spoiler says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: “Count me among those who have Ales Hemsky a goner by the trade deadline, which falls Wednesday next week. MacTavish won’t get great value for Hemsky as a rental, but there’s no chance he’ll re-sign here.”

    This has always been the ultimate consideration in the whole to trade Hemmer or not to trade Hemmer debate. MacT would know by now whether or not Hemmer will re-sign for reasonable dollars. If he won’t, then Mac has no choice but to trade him.

  11. gd says:

    I love the parallels between Eakins bringing in Scrivens from his former team to Sutter bringing in Kiprusoff to Calgary, and there seems to be some similarities between Scrivens and Roloson.

    I would love to see the Oilers have two 1A goalies for less than $5Mill for the next couple of years. There are so many teams who are all in on one goalie for the next few years that it should be a buyers market for guys in the 20-40 range of goalies, especially once Hiller and Miller go wherever they are going. By my count there are at least 50 guys who are reasonable NHL goalies and MacT just needs to make sure we have two of them with someone like Bachman in the minors.

    I would hope that leaves enough cap room to maybe take on one or two effective, but overpaid top 4 Dman for the next couple of years.

  12. Woodguy says:

    Oilers haven’t had good goaltending since Rollie was not re-signed.

    DD had flashes, but wasn’t upper end.

    Scriven’s body of work is still a smallish sample, but he’s trending so bloody high that even if he comes of some he’s still in the top 1/3 of the league.

    Sign him for as long as he will sign.

    Everyone always repeats the mantra of “buy low, sell high”, well here’s a golden opportunity to buy low.

    Its not slam dunk or 100% to turn out.

    If it wasn’t you wouldn’t be buying low.

    I want his contract to be for at least 4 years, will be ok with 3.

  13. Woodguy says:

    Scrivens is in the same spot that Anderson was the summer that the Brilliant Mastermind signed Khabby.

    Many of us liked how Anderson was trending, but he never was on the map for the Mastermind.

    Too many NHL GMs look to the past instead of trying to project the future.

    MacT has those warts (Ference contract, offer to Clarkson), I hope he cleans that part of him up a bit.

  14. Woodguy says:

    Reid Wilkins ‏@ReidWilkins 51m
    Scrivens says he’s open to signing with the Oilers, but also knows free agency can help maximize earnings.

  15. book¡je says:

    Woodguy:
    Oilers haven’t had good goaltending since Rollie was not re-signed.

    DD had flashes, but wasn’t upper end.

    Scriven’s body of work is still a smallish sample, but he’s trending so bloody high that even if he comes of some he’s still in the top 1/3 of the league.

    Sign him for as long as he will sign.

    Everyone always repeats the mantra of “buy low, sell high”, well here’s a golden opportunity to buy low.

    Its not slam dunk or 100% to turn out.

    If it wasn’t you wouldn’t be buying low.

    I want his contract to be for at least 4 years, will be ok with 3.

    I agree, the risks are low but potential benefits huge.

  16. book¡je says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think Hemsky has had enough of the Oilers.

  17. hunter1909 says:

    VanOil: Eakins promised a seminar on Hockey Analytics for all players during the current mini camp. He feels they are written about a lot but his players don’t understand what they mean. See the Feb 20th Mini Camp Raw Eakins interview at 7:24. Eakins himself thinks they are over emphasized.

    He must read Lowetide.

  18. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909: He must read Lowetide.

    Surely he aims higher.

  19. VanOil says:

    I agree with signing Scrivens. I also feel it would be good to have an experienced back up that could play 30 odd games making sure Scrivens is not overwhelmed by the work load. There are many of these players available, for instance Bryzgalov. I would have no problem signing him to a short term (1 to 2 years) as a 1b backup. Signing both the current goalies for a total of around 5.5M with Scrivens getting a longer term than Bryzgalov would solidify the position. Attention could then be spent on finding competent blue liners.

  20. fifthcartel says:

    I wonder if Scrivens continue playing up to a pretty solid level, if they still go whale hunting at Hiller or someone. Scrivens could be saving them one big mistake if he’s the real deal.

  21. VanOil says:

    Lowetide: Surely he aims higher.

    We talked about this, Hall shooting too high is the real reason the dog’s got out. Pesky Corgi’s.

  22. anonymous says:

    I would guess they get what they can for Hemsky. Playing hard minutes on the 3rd line isn’t going to help his durability and both the Oilers and Hemsky likely realize this.

  23. Lois Lowe says:

    VanOil,

    When Eakins said they were overemphasized, I think he meant that he personally puts too much emphasis on them. The seminar was so the players would understand what he was on about.

  24. VanOil says:

    Lois Lowe,

    My inference from his comments was different. I thought he was expressing that Analytics were over emphasized in the press he thinks the players are exposed to. But either way at least we know they are part of the conversation in the room.

  25. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    huh… my read of Eakins when you hear the rest of it was that he was trying to introduce these ideas to the team but didn’t want them to overthink it.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Agree with Lois Rom.

  27. book¡je says:

    Hey, fellow geeks, you might like this story of a guy who is winning at Jeopardy after scouring internet blogs for stratigic approaches to the game. It’s moneyball for Jeopardy. It’s also worth noting that he is being hammered for his bad body language.

    http://m.thestar.com/#!/entertainment/arthur-chus-dangerous-game-of-jeopardy/e72f17de02794558b530c986831fc4bf

    This second one is more about specific strategies,

    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/feb/24/arthur-chu-jeopardy-misunderstood-mastermind-game-theory

  28. anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t advanced stats be of better use to a gm than a coach? Other than putting lines together. I’d think a coach would get a lot of blank stares introducing them to players as part of strategy.

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Agree with Lois Rom.

    My interpretation isn’t mutually exclusive from Lois’ … maybe that is what you are saying.

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    anonymous:
    Wouldn’t advanced stats be of better use to a gm than a coach? Other than putting lines together. I’d think a coach would get a lot of blank stares introducing themto players as part of strategy.

    A coach has a lot of ways to use information without spelling it out to his players.

    But, in general I agree with you that the benefit of adv stats knowledge to players is arguably minimal. A few areas where it probably would help though:

    1) solidify strategy, ie., look to carry in, maintain possession

    2) recognize power of luck

  31. flyfish1168 says:

    Ralph Krueger has done vey well for himself. 2011, Krueger was appointed a member of the World Economic Forum and has been key in the development of new leadership models. Today his was named the new director of Southampton.

    Nice to know many people thinks highly of this man. No real experience in soccer but still getting the job. Glad to see him moving up

  32. Racki says:

    I honestly think the importance of good goaltending is slightly overstated.

    The importance of a good defence (including forwards who commit to a good defensive system) is far more important. The Oil could easily make do with a tandem of Bryzy and Scrivens again, if they actually put more effort into assembling a proper team, starting with repairs to this blue line, and bringing in some forwards who are hungry for the puck no matter what zone it’s in.

  33. anonymous says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: A coach has a lot of ways to use information without spelling it out to his players.

    But, in general I agree with you that the benefit of adv stats knowledge to players is arguably minimal. A few areas where it probably would help though:

    1) solidify strategy, ie., look to carry in, maintain possession

    2) recognize power of luck

    I guess it would also give the coach evidence of what works and what doesn’t. Assuming everyone is on board.

  34. Ryan says:

    Racki,

    Racki, I’m the guy who took you to the Staples / Edm Journal Box for that 2010 Oilers preseason game :) How the hell have you been since then?

    Yeah, the Oilers blue is in dire need of repair. Puck retrieval could be improved too.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: My interpretation isn’t mutually exclusive from Lois’ … maybe that is what you are saying.

    Oh crap, read Lois wrong. Agree with you, Rom. Prefer Lois in all other areas. :-)

  36. Racki says:

    Ryan:
    Racki,

    Racki, I’m the guy who took you to the Staples / Edm Journal Box for that2010 Oilers preseason game How the hell have you been since then?

    Yeah, the Oilers blue is in dire need of repair.Puck retrieval could be improved too.

    Oh hey man, been a while! :) That was a great time and I appreciate getting to go to that game too (thanks again). I’ve been pretty good.. married into front row seasons tickets since then! lol Too bad the team has been horrible :(

    How’ve you been?

  37. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Racki: married into front row seasons tickets since then! lol

    This is the reverse Costanza!

    congrats!

  38. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: This is the reverse Costanza!

    congrats!

    Thanks Rom… and I assume that’s congrats on the marriage, cause the front row seats to this shit show have been painful at best! (kidding, I’ve seen my share of great moments up close now like Ebs’ first goal, Nuge’s hatty, Yak’s beauty LA winner, and such to make up for the rest of the torment).

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Racki: Thanks Rom… and I assume that’s congrats on the marriage, cause the front row seats to this shit show have been painful at best! (kidding, I’ve seen my share of great moments up close now like Ebs’ first goal, Nuge’s hatty, Yak’s beauty LA winner, and such to make up for the rest of the torment).

    both!

    Racki: I would trade my entire hockey card collection for Shea Weber.

    sure. I covet things too… but it gets a little irritating, esp. from people paid to write about the Oilers.

  40. wheatnoil says:

    Woodguy:
    Reid Wilkins ‏@ReidWilkins51m
    Scrivens says he’s open to signing with the Oilers, but also knows free agency can help maximize earnings.

    Interesting decision ahead for Scrivens. It’s true that free agency can usually maximize earnings, BUT every year there’s a couple goalies left standing when the music stops. Also, there’s no promise that he’ll end up as a starter on those teams. UFA can be high reward but also high risk for goalies. Signing with the Oilers for reasonable money on a short-to-medium term contract is the safer option for Scrivens.

    Meanwhile, signing a goalie with a small NHL sample size to a long-term contract is a high risk, high reward move for a team. Signing such a goalie to a short term contract mitigates that risk, but removes a lot of the reward.

    I think a medium term contract could work for both sides. Maybe 3 years? The problem is that the Oilers will want 3 years at a reasonable rate while Scrivens isn’t going to hand over 3 years that easily. The Oilers may have to settle for 2 years if they want to keep the cap hit low-ish. Sort of a ‘show-me’ bridge contract, but still high enough that Scrivens won’t think it’s worth the risk of trying to get more in UFA. I’m not sure what that number is… are there any recent comparators out there? Off the top of my head, I’d say $2.5 Million, but that’s not based on anything.

  41. book¡je says:

    My guess is Scrivens signs for 3 years and $2.75- 3 million per year. I know that is a big overpay for his short track record, but I think that is what it costs the Oilers to keep him away from free agency. The team needs some hope and I think he brings that so the Oilers will pay.

  42. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    sure. I covet things too… but it gets a little irritating, esp. from people paid to write about the Oilers.

    Oh yah for sure. I know it’s damn near unfathomable that the Preds would trade Weber, but that won’t stop most people (myself included) from dreaming up some crazy trade that would bring him here. It’s hard not to bring up that Pronger had gone through 4 trades too. And while I don’t think it’s 100% implausible he’d be moved, it’s damn near.. but still, what else we got to talk about at this time of the year? :P But, yes, shame on Matty for recycling this silly thought. The fact that Weber’s contract being so front loaded (and therefore the Preds have paid off to years of the big pay) is probably enough reason on its own to refute any rumors of him going anywhere, I suppose. There’s still quite a bit left to pay, but I think the Preds are willing.

  43. VanOil says:

    book¡je,

    I would go as high for Scrivens as 3 years 10M. It is a lottery win for him and hopefully for the Oilers. I would also stretch the budget out to go 2 year 5M for Bryz. Combined that is still cheaper than swing hard for Hiller or Ward and gives you two bullets not one. Then as Racki notes we can go about the way more important task of finding a defense and a defensive system that works.

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Racki,

    For me, it’s the monomania of it all.

    Sure, Weber is fantastic. Sure, he fits the Oiler fanbase mold perfectly.

    But, c’mon… let’s show some creativity here. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And, while Weber may actually get traded, maybe even to the Oilers, you need to start from a place of reasonableness and keep your options open.

    If a guy like Matty were ever in charge of an NHL team he’d run it into the ground. Narrow focus on a few players, followed by a deathgrip love for them with no way to shake it.

    In 5 years he’ll still be trying to trade Hemsky, pick up Stafford and Weber.

  45. gogliano says:

    book¡je:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think Hemsky has had enough of the Oilers.

    He must read Lowetide.

  46. Lowetide says:

    gogliano: He must read Lowetide.

    Surely he aims higher.

  47. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Racki,

    For me, it’s the monomania of it all.

    Sure, Weber is fantastic. Sure, he fits the Oiler fanbase mold perfectly.

    But, c’mon… let’s show some creativity here. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And, while Weber may actually get traded, maybe even to the Oilers, you need to start from a place of reasonableness and keep your options open.

    If a guy like Matty were ever in charge of an NHL team he’d run it into the ground. Narrow focus on a few players, followed by a deathgrip love for them with no way to shake it.

    In 5 years he’ll still be trying to trade Hemsky, pick up Stafford and Weber.

    Oh I definitely agree. I admit that I, myself, aim quite high with what I want in a d-man, but also admit those are unlikely pipe dreams. Why can’t we just be getting a 31 year old Pronger right now (minus the strong desire to skip town)? Damn it.

    Damn this whole building through the draft business. :P

  48. 106 and 106 says:

    I got 99 problems, but Scrivens ain’t one.

  49. Marc says:

    Why would Hemsky re-sign?

    He’s 30 and this is his last chance at a big money contract. There is one true 1st line forward who is a pending UFA (Vanek), an injury prone guy (Gaborik) and then a few second line scorers (Moulson, Cammelleri, Stasny). After that, nothing.

    There are at least half a dozen teams who will be going into the offseason looking for scoring and the cap is going up. Top six UFA forwards are going to get paid this season.

    Even at LT’s $3.5M per year (which is a gross overpay for a 3rd line winger), he’d be leaving at least $1.5M per year, and probably a few years of term, on the table. All so he could get a diet of D Zone starts with Gordon as his center, and a few scraps of powerplay time.

    Why would he do that?

  50. Captain Smarmy says:

    I don’t think Hemsky gets 5 million a season but we’ll see I guess.

  51. Ryan says:

    Racki: married into front row seasons tickets since then! lol Too bad the team has been horrible

    How’ve you been?

    Wow. congrats man. Yeah, I’m married now too, except I only married into front row seats in my living room. :) Life’s been good though.

    Time sure flies… maybe one day in our lifetime we’ll see the Oilers make the playoffs again. lol.

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