DAMN THE TORPEDOES

Recently, Bruce McCurdy had a look at the massive roster turnover of Craig MacTavish’s first year in the GM chair. The McCurdy article is here.

  • McCurdy: Of the 23 players on the roster at this moment, nearly half (11) of them are new to the organization since that day. That’s not counting young players like Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, and Anton Lander, youngsters who were already percolating within the org when MacTavish took command. So was a vet (Ryan Jones) he re-signed from the open market last summer. Just eight other players — core youngsters (in order of seniority) Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Jeff Petry, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz, along with franchise icon Ryan Smyth — remain on the big club from the Tambellini era.

McCurdy lists the positive additions (Gordon, Scrivens, Bryzgalov, Perron, Gazdic, Hendricks, Fasth); the ‘meh’ group (Ference, Joensuu, Belov) but doesn’t fully list the fail group (Fraser, Jones, Grebeshkov, Will Acton, Jason LaBarbera). Your mileage may vary, but I believe Bruce framed the issue nicely, and it gives us a place to step off into a conversation about missteps during the summer and the season.

As I see it, the Oilers problems were so great last summer they could not be addressed completely in one year. The problems included things that went back to 2011:

  • Signing Cam Barker to help solve the blue. July 2011.
  • Trading Tom Gilbert the moment Jeff Petry looked capable (why would an NHL team send away an effective two-way D for a stay at home player). Feb 2012.

Balance. Balance balance balance. The Edmonton Oilers are spending a generation out of balance, and seem to be completely happy to do it. Meanwhile, a strong and established team like Chicago was looking to add defensive depth as recently as this trade deadline in an effort to shore up the position.

Craig MacTavish sent away Ladislav Smid—it’s my belief that he felt the veteran was too one-dimensional for the money paid, or new coach Dallas Eakins didn’t see the value—and the blueline has been saved (to the extent anything has been saved this season) by the department of youth. The addition of Martin Marincin directly coincided with an uptick in team fortunes:

  • On December 27, the Oilers were 12-24-3.
  • They called Marincin to the NHL on Boxing day.
  • Since then, the Oilers are 13-12-6.

Craig MacTavish has addressed some major issues on this Edmonton Oilers hockey team in year one. He’s also been helped by the scouting and development departments, with some of those later picks in 2010 and 2011 starting to impact in a positive way. The summer list includes D and C, but he appears to have solved the goaltending problem for now, and the last 17 games they are 10-4-3.

This is going to be an important summer for the Oilers. If MacTavish can address some of the team needs, and if the kids continue to develop, surely this club will contend for a playoff spot in 2014-15. Surely. The amount of time it has taken (Taylor Hall’s career begins with four wasted seasons) is criminal. I would respectfully submit the current GM had a big mess to clean up, made bigger by a crashing goaltender and an idiot in Vancouver.

The build is not over, and the job is not done. There are good signs. For me, it’s more important to win some games down the stretch than to tank for Ekblad. This organization has been losing too long, and has been bleeding for too long, to do anything but push hard to the end. They may not win five games in their last 12, but the club needs to play their hearts out with the best available lineup in all one dozen games.

Screw the draft slotting. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! It’s time to purge the ghost of the Cam Barker signing and breathe the clean air, take in the clear blue sky, and finally live with hope in our hearts again.

Surely it is finally time.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

FILE PHOTO: LA County Sheriff To Reportedly Reopen Investigation Into Natalie Wood's Death - Press Conference Today

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, it’s going to be the wide world of sports! Scheduled to appear:

  • Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. The Oilers win! We’ll talk about turning north, and the draft.
  • Tim Fragle, GM/Coach of the Sherwood Park Crusaders. AJHL playoffs are heating up!
  • Gord Graschuk, Little League Alberta. We’ll talk about baseball! Registration is on, and we’ll also talk about the growing number of Alberta and Canadian baseball players in pro ball.
  • Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings. The OK are back in the playoffs, after another 50 win season. Reinhart has been a big part of that, and we’ll talk to him on the eve of his final spring in junior.
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ. NCAA March madness and the Raptors exceptional season.

10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter.

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171 Responses to "DAMN THE TORPEDOES"

  1. Hall Awaits says:

    The way things are going we will be calling out Jake Virtanens name instead of Ekblads…

    *skims through schedule

    I stand corrected. Those last ten will be a huge test for this club. Godspeed!

  2. Ben says:

    Seeing how well the OKC crowd has performed in call-ups, I would really hope that Coach Todd “Craig T.” Nelson gets a shot to come up and fill the Steve “Helping Pucks into Our Own Net Since 1986″ Smith role next season.

  3. kosiork says:

    Here, here. I may be in the minority, but giving the current players a (admittedly small) small taste of winning seems to offer a little more benefit right now, as opposed to adding another teenager to the mix.

  4. HugThePost says:

    I just don’t get why the Oilers are seemingly content with guys like Fraser and Jones in the line-up when useful talent like Arco rot in OKC. Why? Why? Why? They should aim for better things in the bottom of the roster, not the league’s cast-offs.

  5. John Chambers says:

    Ben,

    I think that’s a great idea. Nelson has been wonderful at developing D. I wonder however if it would be a step down to move from a HC to an asst in the bigs. But yeah the Oilers could really stand a little more Nelsonand a little less Smith and Bucky.

  6. John Chambers says:

    HugThePost,

    And Fedun. Especially given how his career started in Edmonton I really wanted to see this guy get some time in the bigs.

  7. zatch says:

    For some reason, I am extremely wary of Ekblad. I dislike drafting D-Men high, and I get visions of EJ. A center appeals to me much more.

  8. TeeVee says:

    kosiork:
    Here, here. I may be in the minority, but giving the current players a (admittedly small) small taste of winning seems to offer a little more benefit right now, as opposed to adding another teenager to the mix.

    I agree completely. Keep winning and keep the confidence rolling.

  9. frjohnk says:

    Great post Lowtide. Whether we draft number 2 or number 5, does not matter. We will get a really good player. What matters is that the core group gain some confidence going into the summer. And it will also give the fan base something to cheer about and give us some hope for next year.

  10. barry.moore23 says:

    LT, that picture of MacT, Buchberger (I think), and Messier is ………. well, frightening. What, pray tell, could they possibly be thinking of ???? My wife, the Flyers fan, has adopted Hendricks as her favorite Oiler. :) B

  11. Lois Lowe says:

    I still don’t get the clamouring for Todd Nelson. The Barons aren’t in the playoffs as of today and are a pretty veteran laden team. I understand that Nelson was breaking a cadre of young D in, but the results really aren’t there.

    I am all for replacing Smith and Bucky, but I am not so sure I want Nelson to be one of the guys coming in.

  12. Ducey says:

    The improvement has less to do with Marincin and Hendricks (although both have been good) and more to do with the system.

    As the graphic last night during the game last night stated, in the last 16 games the Oilers are 7th in goals against. 7th! That is massive for a team that has bled goals against since 2006.

    Lots of people are saying “its the goaltending” and “its not sustainable”. But again I think its the fact they are playing much better defence. They are not giving up anywhere close to the type of shots DD was facing. The frequency of breakaways, 2 on 1s, and point blank uncovered guys in front of the net (except for Gagner’s guy) have gone way down. They are managing rebounds much better too.

    The last three games the team has looked much more organized defensively in the neutral zone. There still are a few fire drills in their own end, but not as much.

    If they can sustain the defensive play, get the PP going (which is quite conceivable), and learn to generate more offense off of playing the trap, they should be a pretty decent team.

    I still would like to see them lose a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games the rest of the year so they draft top 4.

    I also would like to see them play Lander as 2C the rest of the way and put Gagner as a winger. He is starting to generate the requisite offense, but just can’t seem to figure out how to cover his guy in the defensive zone. That, along with his poor faceoff #’s scream winger.

  13. Caramel Obvious says:

    The morning radio guys and Rishaug were talking a forward/D trade with Nashville as something that makes sense. The guy they mentioned was Josi, which on the surface makes a lot of sense. However ….

    They threw out Josi + Nashville #1 pick for Eberle. I think there is no way Nashville does this. However, if they were to consider it, it still doesn’t help the Oilers in the short term. The Oilers do not have an excess of skill forwards. I’d still make that trade, it would be crazy not to, however it doesn’t solve any problems.

    Fraser brought up Gagner + __________ for Josi. This is more like it. The question is what you have to add. I’d trade Gagner + Klefbom for Josi. Would Nashville?

  14. misfit says:

    The Oilers are 10-6-4 since we brought our son home from the hospital (he was born on Jan16, but mid-game, so I’m conveniently leaving that on out).

    …just saying.

  15. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    misfit: (he was born on Jan16, but mid-game

    A true Oiler. Only showed up for part of the game.

  16. cc says:

    With regards to MacT I think he had a pretty successful 1st 12 months on the job. These weren’t the exact players he moved for one another but this is what he did with the roster spots.

    Forward: Gordon/Perron for Horcoff/Paajarvi
    Goaltender: Scrivens/Fasth for Dubnyk/Labarbera
    Forward: Hendricks/Gazdic for /Mike Brown/Darcy Hordichuk/Ryan Jones (Jones was a fallback option when the Oilers didn’t sign Hendricks. The chances of him resigning are slim not none now.)
    Defense: Ference for Whitney

    I cannot look at these seven players without seeing significant upgrades and the cap hits are relatively the same moving forward. This also doesn’t include Klefbom, Marincin, Lander & possibly Pitlick and/or Horak that are likely to be on the roster next season.

    We can complain about the Smid & Hemsky deals, but it depends on what they do with the cap space this off-season. MacT needs to successfully replace Smid & Hemsky this off-season.

  17. sliderule says:

    With the oilers schedule they should still pick in top three.

    After Ekblad there are three very good centres.

    If we drop to fifth there is Dal Colle who has been playing centre the last half of season.He has 39 goals and 95 pts and played very well in the prospect game.

    If you go by boxes this third to fifth projected draftee is as good or better than those available in last five drafts.The oilers will get a very good player.

  18. commonfan14 says:

    Sorry if this has laready been discussed, but if it has been I missed it.

    In the latest Oil Change episode (not sure how old it is now – those things pile up on the DVR with repeats to the point I just ignore and eventually delete), there’s a scene with Eakins and all the brass in a conference room watching film of someone at the trade deadline while contemplating a deal that ultimately didn’t get done. The scene ends with MacT saying “we’ll re-visit it in the summer.”

    They take steps to not identify the players involved, but it’s framed as a 1-for-1 swap. Eakins (I think it was him) says that both guys involved are “not at all physical” so that’s not a factor to consider. The guy potentially coming back is also not familiar to Eakins, who’s really only seen him in the film they’re watching and says things like “I just wish I was more familiar with him” and “it’s hard to evaluate a guy after looking at 6 shifts.” MacT though, weighs in that the guy is clearly an upgrade in his opinion.

    There wasn’t much context to go on, but it seemed like it must have been something another team brought them late in the day as MacT didn’t pull the trigger even though he seemed tempted based on his gut. It seemed like the more practical concerns Eakins voiced about not having enough information won the day.

    From the little presented on the Oiler involved (not at all physical, signed for at least next year) it clearly seemed like Gagner. However, I suppose it could have been Eberle or Schultz too.

    Harder to figure is who the player coming back could have been. Strange that he’d be so unknown to Eakins but still someone MacT saw as a clear upgrade to Gags or one of those other guys even though he doesn’t bring any physicality.

    Any theories?

  19. Jon K says:

    Ben:
    Seeing how well the OKC crowd has performed in call-ups, I would really hope that Coach Todd “Craig T.” Nelson gets a shot to come up and fill the Steve “Helping Pucks into Our Own Net Since 1986″ Smith role next season.

    Given Nelson’s previous experience as an NHL assistant coach, his very impressive resume as a head coach in the AHL, and his comments about being passed over for the Oilers job, it seems overwhelmingly likely that Nelson will be leaving the Edmonton organization this off-season and looking for head coaching jobs elsewhere in the NHL or overseas.

    It’s too bad really.

  20. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Has anyone even seen Belov?

    Is his injury really just a “go home to Russia and enjoy the paycheck” thing?

    I had high hopes for the guy =/

  21. icecastles says:

    Jon K: overwhelmingly likely that Nelson will be leaving the Edmonton organization this off-season and looking for head coaching jobs elsewhere in the NHL or overseas

    I don’t think any of this logically follows. First, you’re assuming there are plenty of NHL jobs and it is a given that he would be offered one. Not at all the case.

    Secondly, if a guy wants to coach in the NHL, he’s not going to give up being HC of a very good AHL team to go coach in Europe. Unless, you know, he has career dyslexia.

  22. icecastles says:

    Marcus Oilerius: Has anyone even seen Belov?

    He was assigned to defend Crimea. Think he got a minus on that play.

  23. jb says:

    Interesting Hall quote. I think we all saw it on ice, but those consistent weak goals were backbreakers.

    “”I’m sure everyone around the room will tell you. You just play with more confidence. You aren’t afraid to make that little play that could turn into a big offensive chance when you know that you have guys like Viktor and Ben back there. It is a huge boost going into games knowing that we are going to give up chances, but we have good goalies in net.”

    This teams had a heart transplant. With the right moves on the blueline I’m back to being pretty positive about next year.

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The build is not over, and the job is not done. There are good signs. For me, it’s more important to win some games down the stretch than to tank for Ekblad. This organization has been losing too long, and has been bleeding for too long, to do anything but push hard to the end. They may not win five games in their last 12, but the club needs to play their hearts out with the best available lineup in all one dozen games.

    We’ve had meaningless win streaks to finish seasons. It doesn’t translate to the following season in a way that I can see. It doesn’t screw us out of potential impact player draft position.

    If the goal is to go back to the beginning of the season, i.e. win the corsi battle, but get unlucky in one way or another, I’m on board. Otherwise, getting a top 4 pick is critical.

  25. Clay says:

    zatch:
    For some reason, I am extremely wary of Ekblad. I dislike drafting D-Men high, and I get visions of EJ. A center appeals to me much more.

    When you consider how often dmen taken in the first few draft spots underwhelm, and combine that with how poor the Oilers’ record for drafting dmen in the first round is, the results of drafting Ekblad could be actually pretty funny. I picture him going up on stage after MacT calls his name, and instead of pulling on the Oilers #14 jersey, he unzips his bodysuit and out pops Old Man Whithers from Scooby Doo.

    “Would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that darn poodle sniffing at my crotch. Oh, that’s the owner’s son? Never mind then.”

    In all seriousness, even if the Oilers draft 4th or 5th, I would not be surprised one bit if Ekblad is on the board still. The trend recently s that the best dman in the draft slides farther than expeceted.

    NJD were shocked Larsson was there at #4 in 2011 (remember the #1 overall talk?). Ryan Murray in 2012 – hell most Oilers scouts were suprised he fell to #2, and of course last year Jones (aka the next Pronger) went #4 after spending good parts of the year at #1 on many lists.

    It’s a different year and all, and a reportedly weaker draft, but still.

  26. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lois Lowe:
    I still don’t get the clamouring for Todd Nelson. The Barons aren’t in the playoffs as of today and are a pretty veteran laden team. I understand that Nelson was breaking a cadre of young D in, but the results really aren’t there.

    I am all for replacing Smith and Bucky, but I am not so sure I want Nelson to be one of the guys coming in.

    What do you mean by veteran laden. This is the first year there’s been a concerted effort to get the kids playing.

    There’s no Cheechoo or Clark this year. And, last year’s dynamo Rajala is in Euro. Arco was gone for most of the season. Omark was only there for a portion.

    The offense has run through noted defensively oriented Lander all year and the vets Scott brought in (Pinizzotto, Combs, Fyten), while helping… aren’t exactly of the caliber of guys like Cheechoo and Clark.

  27. sumaclab says:

    The death march in the last 10 games will take some wind out of the sails.Yet I am pleased with the current state of the team. I do think we’ll finish ahead of Florida and the Islanders, I see a 32 win season with 71-73 points.We’ll pick either 4th or fifth.

    I think the biggest deal to be made this off season will be at the draft. Teams are loading up for next years draft.A first round pick from a team like Edmonton almost assuredly in most GM eyes may result in a lottery pick.Whether that is in the 17-20 range or higher is open to question.

    Buffalo if it receives the Isles pick and wins the lottery could have a 1-2 situation. They also may have another first round pick late in the first round from St Louis. Could MacT entice Buffalo enough to trade that 2cd pick to draft Eckblad? Buffalo will be in the McDavid lottery next year. They could increase their chances and still get a player and/or a prospect in return this year.

    The Isles are so hooped its sad.Snow has made some dumb moves this season. If he keeps his pick this year he will most likely be giving Buffalo 2 top 5 picks next years. he could set up Buffalo for years if the Isles fail to improve next season which seems likely. precarious situation for Snow.Its do I shoot my self now or do I take a slow poison that will kill me later.

    Florida will take another center I would assume.Bennett and Barkov along Huberdeau and Bujstadt looks like a set of 4 mighty fine pieces for a franchise.

    Calgary.If Virtanen is there they should take him. Or Dal Colle. Someone to compliment Monahan on the wing.

    Free Agency is a dogs breakfast of 4th liners and tweeners and overaged veterans on their last legs. The dmen available are meh at best.The Oilers should take a shot at Matt Greene but we’ll see. The biggest prize in free agency is Peter Stastny. Someone is going to pay him 8 million a year. I hope to God it is not us.The Clarkson debacle in Toronto is proof enough of that kind of stupidity.

    The biggest change next year for the Oilers could be Taylor getting the C. with the rise of Matt Hendricks on and off the ice and so-so play of Ference on the ice this year a change in leadership is most likely on the minds of most fans and Oilers Brass. Hemsky’s commented may strike true in that the leadership has to come from the core and I foresee Hall as Captain with MH with an A along with Gagner.

    Gagner stays. In my mind he has earned a mulligan.

    Onward and upward.

  28. Kitchener says:

    This isn’t ideal for centers, but not disaster either:

    1st line: Gagner gets carried by Hall & ___
    2nd line: RNH carries the mail
    3rd line: Gordon carries the mail
    4th line: tba

    The key is that Hall carries the first line while Gagner scores 65 points.

    Regardless of 89′s jersey color next season, we all win if he stays productive with Hall down the stretch.

  29. icecastles says:

    Kitchener: Regardless of 89′s jersey color next season, we all win if he stays productive with Hall down the stretch.

    I don’t know about that: according to some posters on here, the best way to win is to lose. Because winning, team morale and confidence are a switch you just throw when you decide it’s time.

  30. Doomoil says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    The morning radio guys andRishaug were talking a forward/D trade with Nashville as something that makes sense. The guy they mentioned was Josi, which on the surface makes a lot of sense.However ….

    They threw out Josi + Nashville #1 pick for Eberle.I think there is no way Nashville does this.However, if they were to consider it, it still doesn’t help the Oilers in the short term.The Oilers do not have an excess of skill forwards. I’d still make that trade, it would be crazy not to, however it doesn’t solve any problems.

    Fraser brought up Gagner + __________ for Josi.This is more like it.The question is what you have to add.I’d trade Gagner + Klefbom for Josi.Would Nashville?

    They then mentioned in complete seriousness that Nashville might want to trade Jones because ‘he will be more expensive then Josi’ and my brain started to leak out my ears.

  31. misfit says:

    zatch:
    For some reason, I am extremely wary of Ekblad. I dislike drafting D-Men high, and I get visions of EJ. A center appeals to me much more.

    EJ is a bonafide #1 defenseman in this league. It took him about 250 games to get there, but that’s pretty much what you should expect, no?

    Taking Erik Johnson 1st overall hurts a little when Staal, Toews, and Backstrom go 2-4, but if he was taken in the following draft where the top forwards were Kane, Turris, and van Riemsdyk, EJ at #1 doesn’t look quite as questionable.

  32. G Money says:

    LT sez: Screw the draft slotting. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! It’s time to purge the ghost of the Cam Barker signing and breathe the clean air, take in the clear blue sky, and finally live with hope in our hearts again.

    Man, I have to completely disagree with this.

    A winning streak now that takes us out of the bottom 3 would set the already-set-back rebuild back another year.

    Drafting in the top 3 means that, even if someone outside the bottom 3 wins the lottery, you pick no worse than fourth. Picking in the top 4 means getting a guy who (should theoretically) solve either the top pairing D (Ekblad) or the 2C (Reinhart, Bennett, or Draisaitl).

    Get outside of the top 4, and once again you’re drafting BPA, then hoping for that player to develop in the context of a hopelessly unbalanced team, then trying get value for trading a (likely underperforming) player to fill other holes in the roster.

    That’s a huge difference. And considering that any run that the team goes on now is almost certainly meaningless in affecting next season (it’s never made a difference before – why should it now?), you’re getting zero benefit at high cost.

  33. PaperKurtRussell says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Speaking of the Barons… I just glanced at the AHL standings and stats and noticed that OKC is second last in the league in goals against. Just like the big club, it’s an awful number. Definitely something that needs to be addressed throughout the organization. More experience? Different player types? Systems? etc…

  34. rickithebear says:

    Why the F………….. woiuld we want Josi?

    The guy is a 2.70 EVGA Dman 1st Comp 1st team w/ weber.

    Marincin is 1.90 EVGA DMAN 1st Comp 4th team W/ Petry, Schultz, Ference.

    Hell ference is 2.60 EVGA versus lower 1st.

    Wholy F…………….!

    Eberle!
    WTF!

  35. Hammers says:

    Said the same thing last night . Win as many as they can as it’s worth more than any “special” pick

  36. Ducey says:

    Kitchener,

    Since Jan 2, Gagner is pretty much on the same pace as he put up last year.

    Last year he had 38 pts in 48 games for .791 ppg. He was -6.

    Since Jan 2 he has 20 points in 27 games for .741 ppg. ( He has been -3 over that stretch).

    Translated over 82 games, thats 60 points (and somewhere around 55th in NHL points).

    Thats a nice offensive player.

  37. Kitchener says:

    G Money,

    They should’ve kept Khabibulin.

  38. Lois Lowe says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Outside of Kessey, Ewanyk, Musil, Gernat, and Miller; the rest of the team are not rookies.

    Pitlick , Hamilton, and Davidson are in their third AHL season.

    Also, players like Grebs, Eager, Potter, Larsen, Horak, and Lander have a fair bit of NHL games under their belts.

  39. Ducey says:

    PaperKurtRussell:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Speaking of the Barons… I just glanced at the AHL standings and stats and noticed that OKC is second last in the league in goals against.Just like the big club, it’s an awful number.Definitely something that needs to be addressed throughout the organization.More experience?Different player types?Systems? etc…

    They have been running a big group of young prospects in OKC. They had three rookie dmen in Klefbom, Musil and Gernat.

    MacT took away most of the minor league vets that most AHL teams rely on so that Nelson would have to play the prospects.

    I’d rather have it that way than win with a bunch of vets that will never play with the Oilers.

  40. Jon K says:

    icecastles: I don’t think any of this logically follows. First, you’re assuming there are plenty of NHL jobs and it is a given that he would be offered one. Not at all the case.

    Secondly, if a guy wants to coach in the NHL, he’s not going to give up being HC of a very good AHL team to go coach in Europe. Unless, you know, he has career dyslexia.

    I guess we shall see if Nelson goes or stays this off-season. I’d be willing to bet he goes. Regarding your other point, there are at least 3 NHL teams that will be looking for head coaches this off-season, in my estimation.

  41. The Great One says:

    Pitlick on emergency recall.

  42. delooper says:

    G Money:
    That’s a huge difference.And considering that any run that the team goes on now is almost certainly meaningless in affecting next season (it’s never made a difference before – why should it now?), you’re getting zero benefit athigh cost.

    I don’t see that. Drafting a guy that may solve a problem on the Oilers when Hall is on his 3rd contract isn’t doing anything immediately for the Oilers. The core cluster is set. The draft is now more of a long-term continuity thing. If they want to patch the holes in the ship, they’ll have to do it with free agents and trades.

  43. book¡je says:

    If the Oilers go in a winning streak to end the season it opens the possibility of FA signings and the team having some hope. This may be as important as a high draft pick.

  44. Ducey says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Outside of Kessey, Ewanyk, Musil, Gernat, and Miller; the rest of the team are not rookies.

    Pitlick , Hamilton, and Davidson are in their third AHL season.

    Also, players like Grebs, Eager, Potter, Larsen, Horak, and Lander have a fair bit of NHL games under their belts.

    I think you need to look at guys outside their ELC. Grebs, Eager, Potter are about it on your list. Potter only played 6 games.

    There are a bunch guys in their late 20′s that make a living lighting up the AHL every year. They didn’t really bring in a guy like this for this season. Ryan Hamilton could have been that guy, but he hasn’t done much.

  45. G Money says:

    Ducey: Since Jan 2, Gagner is pretty much on the same pace as he put up last year.
    Last year he had 38 pts in 48 games for .791 ppg. He was -6.
    Since Jan 2 he has 20 points in 27 games for .741 ppg. ( He has been -3 over that stretch).
    Translated over 82 games, thats 60 points (and somewhere around 55th in NHL points).
    Thats a nice offensive player.

    Yes.

    Before the season started, I looked at Gagner’s career trend for points. Treating last year as something of a high-side short-season outlier, I figured a reasonable target for Gagner would be .7ppg, which would put him at around the 55 pt mark for a full season.

    All he needed to do was get back on track in terms of developing his defensive chops. Up until last year’s Krueger Korsi Kliff, he had a slow but steady improvement track, suggesting that in the same way his points were an upside outlier, you could treat last year as a downside outlier for +- and Corsi.

    That should have left us with a 55 pt player pushing about breakeven on Corsi – an average to top third second line centre.

    The Sam Gagner we saw earlier this year was a shadow of what we’ve seen previously. I do hope that what we’ve seen of late – some clever offensive play and fewer utterly boneheaded defensive breakdowns – is closer to the “truth” of Gagner.

    On the other hand, if it is, we’ll probably have another Hemsky situation. Gagner will be traded for cents on the dollar, then some smart team is going to put him in with two big wingers and a decent puck-moving D against soft opposition and he’s going to light it up . . .

  46. admiralmark says:

    The Oilers love the trial by fire method of developing their youth. Sam Gagner, RNH, Marincin .. the list goes on and on. The Marincin one looks like its going to work out ? Whats scary about that is they will probably look at it and think its working so Nurse next season??

    As for draft position? I see 4-5 players at the top of the draft they desperately need. Yes Ekblad would fit the most glaring need. But this team desperately needs a 2C. Can Bennet, Reinhart, Draistl all step in right away? Knowing the Oilers they are thinking Yes. Regardless Oilers need Centers almost as much as D. Maybe more considering whats in the pipeline.

  47. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Outside of Kessey, Ewanyk, Musil, Gernat, and Miller; the rest of the team are not rookies.

    Pitlick , Hamilton, and Davidson are in their third AHL season.

    Also, players like Grebs, Eager, Potter, Larsen, Horak, and Lander have a fair bit of NHL games under their belts.

    Look over those names you listed again are rethink your argument.

  48. G Money says:

    delooper: If they want to patch the holes in the ship, they’ll have to do it with free agents and trades.

    If that’s true, then lets accept another five years out of the playoffs. Because free agents are NOT coming here without a massive overpay (and you can only afford a few of those), and excepting the few excellent trades like Perrarvi or good ones like Hendubnyk, trades have a nasty habit of creating a new roster hole to replace the one that was just filled.

    book¡je:
    If the Oilers go in a winning streak to end the season it opens the possibility of FA signings and the team having some hope.This may be as important as a high draft pick.

    Don’t see it. Why would a 25th place team be so much more appealing to a free agent than a 28th place team?

  49. rickithebear says:

    And to heck with weber as 1st comp Dman.

    2.60 EVGA/60 last 2 years with Jost 1st comp 1st team
    2.19 EVGA 1/2 years before suter left w/ suter1st comp 1st team
    2.60 EVGA 3/4 years before suter left klien/hamhuis 2nd comp 2nd Team.

    2.20 EVGA with Suter
    2.60 EVGA with out.

    Worst pk Dman in the Game.

    The value
    Averages 80 gm/season.

    A 2.00 EVGA/60 dman against 2nd comp.
    Give him slight shelterig like
    Keith and Seabrook protected by Hjarlamasson and Oduya
    lets them kick the heck out of 2nd/3rd comp.

    Weber averages 9 EVG and 8 PPG in a season.
    7.8 M cap hit and 7.8m in dead cap money in his last 3 years of contract.

    i did here a Nashville reporter say good time to trade him for Forward assets, cause alot of Dmen bubling up on team and system!

  50. book¡je says:

    G Money: If that’s true, then lets accept another five years out of the playoffs.Because free agents are NOT coming here without a massive overpay (and you can only afford a few of those), and excepting the few excellent trades like Perrarvi or good ones like Hendubnyk, trades have a nasty habit of creating a new roster hole to replace the one that was just filled.

    Don’t see it.Why would a 25th place team be so much more appealing to a free agent than a 28th place team?

    Trajectory. The team was trending to be a laughing stock. This could shift the narrative.

  51. gcw_rocks says:

    Winning steaks in garbage time are bad. Ask any Leafs fan about it. These winning steaks do two really bad things:

    1) They weaken the first position, meaning you most likely get a lesser player and one more likely to take longer to impact team

    2) It deludes management into thinking the problems aren’t add bad as they really are. That’s exactly what’s happening now. The Oilers recent record is touted as signs of improvement when the underlying stats show the team is as bad as ever and is riding hot goaltending and some puck luck

    The Oilers need a centre that can play first or second line or a premium right defender. Those things are available to be had in the top four. Any streak that takes them out of the top four is brutal.

  52. gcw_rocks says:

    “I would respectfully submit the current GM had a big mess to clean up, made bigger by gambling on a whole bunch of question marks (Acton. Joensuu, Jones, Grebeshkov, Belov, Hamilton) instead of focusing on proven talent. That same GM lucked out big time with the emergence of Marincin, a player that by any sane plan would be at least a year away from NHL employment, to help offset his failures.”

    Fixed.

  53. Kitchener says:

    The only option left is to cheer like hell for Calgary, NYI, and Florida:

    - Florida: Luongo and the eastern location make this easy. Go Panthers!
    - NYI: man, they stink, but okay… Go Isles!
    - Calgary: fuck it, I can’t cheer for the Flames

  54. delooper says:

    G Money: If that’s true, then lets accept another five years out of the playoffs.Because free agents are NOT coming here without a massive overpay (and you can only afford a few of those), and excepting the few excellent trades like Perrarvi or good ones like Hendubnyk, trades have a nasty habit of creating a new roster hole to replace the one that was just filled.

    Don’t see it.Why would a 25th place team be so much more appealing to a free agent than a 28th place team?

    Players don’t choose which team to join based solely on their position, and moreover there’s lots of free agents out there. The Oilers have a decent track record of signing free agents. This is a good as summer as any to build on that tradition.

  55. Ben says:

    A next year 4th line of Pitlick/Lander/Smyth (Gadzooks) would be fine.

  56. icecastles says:

    G Money: any run that the team goes on now is almost certainly meaningless in affecting next season (it’s never made a difference before – why should it now?), you’re getting zero benefit at high cost.

    More appealing to free agents.

    Better trade value for the guys currently here and on their way out.

    Both of these have a potentially greater and more immediate impact on the team’s success next year than another draftee who, for all we know, could blow a tire or flunk right out before ever seeing an NHL game.

    I don’t understand how people can worry about “setting the rebuild back by X years” then advocate losing and drafting guys who aren’t going to be difference makers until our current cluster is overaged and overpaid.

    At the end of the day though, if you’re not cheering for the team to win hockey games and rather to win draft lotteries (basically hoping for the consolation prize because you think there’s no chance of a ‘proper’ prize), I truly believe you’ve lost sight of the joy of being a fan. Talk about a culture of losing.

  57. slopitch says:

    No matter how well the Oilers play, the highest I see them finishing is 5th.

    If Jones can slid to 4th, I think Ekblad could slide as well. Larsson did the same. And quite frankly Larsson still isn’t there. The pick is not helping next years team regardless. Damn the torpedos, get the wins and build some momentum for next year. Hockey is a game that’s fun when your winning. If they have fun, it makes the offseason training much easier to do.

    I’m more then fine, drafting Draisatl (or BPA), putting him back in junior and letting him develop. The Oilers need a top 6 power forward just as much as they need a top pairing D. I watched Oil change last night and there were numerous clips from MacT about players developing for 3 years before they are ready. Its the better solution.

  58. G Money says:

    book¡je: Trajectory.The team was trending to be a laughing stock.This could shift the narrative.

    OK. Personally, I don’t see any free agent changing their minds about an Edmonton team that’s been out of the playoffs since the first third of the season because of a late season winning streak. But if a winning streak happens, we can always hope it fools someone.

    More likely is what GCW pointed out – that such a winning streak takes us out of the range of being able to draft someone who actually does address a need, and simultaneously convinces management that maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

    delooper: Players don’t choose which team to join based solely on their position, and moreover there’s lots of free agents out there. The Oilers have a decent track record of signing free agents.

    I guess I look at the long distinguished track record of free agents spurning to sign elsewhere for less money (Hossa, Clarkson), players with NMCs refusing to be traded here (Heatley, Erhoff reputedly), and massive overpays in $ and term to aging and/or flawed veterans (Souray, Ference) and draw a different conclusion than you.

    I suspect that free agency will cause more problems for the Oilers (cap hits vs underperformance) than it ever solves.

  59. delooper says:

    G Money:
    I guess I look at the long distinguished track record of free agents spurning to sign elsewhere for less money (Hossa, Clarkson), players with NMCs refusing to be traded here (Heatley, Erhoff reputedly), and massive overpays in $ and term to aging and/or flawed veterans (Souray, Ference) and draw a different conclusion than you.

    I suspect that free agency will cause more problems for the Oilers (cap hits vs underperformance) than it ever solves.

    But that’s selective memory. The Oilers also signed Chris Pronger, Boyd Gordon and Justin Schultz. Sure the Oilers don’t yet have what it takes to sign most of the “win now” top-of-their-career star players but that’s also not exactly what they need.

  60. G Money says:

    icecastles: advocate losing and drafting guys who aren’t going to be difference makers until our current cluster is overaged and overpaid.

    if you’re not cheering for the team to win hockey games and rather to win draft lotteries (basically hoping for the consolation prize because you think there’s no chance of a ‘proper’ prize), I truly believe you’ve lost sight of the joy of being a fan.

    I believe I’m being realistic in saying that this team has nearly zero chance of being a contender until our current cluster is overaged and overpaid.

    I do not consider myself a pessimist by nature. Hard-nosed realist, yes.

    I’m pretty sure I was in the minority on this blog when I predicted before the season that the Oilers would not make the playoffs this year. Seems I was in fact an optimist, as I came nowhere close to predicting the clusterfuck that was actually this season.

    In my opinion, a winning streak – which guaranteed 100% will be goaltending-driven and nothing else – does none of the things you say it will (more appeal to free agency or better trade value).

    I keep hearing the justification of “a winning streak gives momentum for next year”. This is nonsense. I have *never* seen this happen, and I dare you to give me an example where it has. Next season is a new season. The skill, coaching, and determination of the players who are here next year will drive what happens next year, not a handful of meaningless wins.

    I’d like to see some better players here next year, that would be infinitely more helpful than “momentum” from this season.

    As for the ‘joy’ of being a fan – I have been a fan of the Oilers since they joined the NHL, before they were ever good. I have lived through the joy, and I have lived through many many years of the dark ages. I’ve had the ‘joy’ of living in the city that is historically our most hated rival during those dark years. Do not dare question my dedication as a fan.

    In that context, I would rather trade a few dozen more losses for at least a smidgen of a chance, a tiny ray of light in the dark, of being a contender again, rather than toasting a handful of meaningless wins and then living through another five seasons like this one.

  61. delooper says:

    G Money:
    In that context, I would rather trade a few dozen more losses for at least a smidgen of a chance, a tiny ray of light in the dark, of being a contender again, rather than toasting a handful of meaningless wins and then living through another five seasons like this one.

    I’m pretty sure none of the Oilers want to take that trade.

  62. G Money says:

    delooper,
    I’ll give you Schultz – though a 21-year old UFA on an ELC given the chance to play with a bunch of other young players (which seems to be the big reason he signed) is hardly your archetype for a standard free agent signing.

    You’re bringing up Pronger as a positive example of the appeal of Edmonton? Really?

    As for Gordon, I love the player and love the signing – but the Oilers had to pay $3M/year for a 3C who puts up 20ish points a year. We can get free agents here – Ference signed here too – but an overpay is an overpay.

  63. Ducey says:

    gcw_rocks,

    2) It deludes management into thinking the problems aren’t add bad as they really are. That’s exactly what’s happening now. The Oilers recent record is touted as signs of improvement when the underlying stats show the team is as bad as ever and is riding hot goaltending and some puck luck

    Maybe they are not as bad as they seem?

    Do you have numbers that show that there has been no improvement in fancy stats the last 16 – 17 games?

    On the face of it, the goals against and the change in philosophy seem to be a basis for optimism.

  64. G Money says:

    delooper: I’m pretty sure none of the Oilers want to take that trade.

    Nor should they. Any player who doesn’t want to win every single game they play doesn’t belong in the NHL. But the business requirements of managing a team for long-term success are very very different from the requirements for being a successful player on the ice.

  65. G Money says:

    Ducey: Do you have numbers that show that there has been no improvement in fancy stats the last 16 – 17 games?

    If you squint really hard, you might see a little bit of improvement since February here:
    http://www.extraskater.com/team/edmonton-oilers/2013#game-by-game-5v5-close-ff

    But then again, when you start out at a staggering low, it doesn’t take a lot to be better, even if ‘better’ in this case is still ‘utterly terrible’.

  66. OilClog says:

    Lois Lowe:
    I still don’t get the clamouring for Todd Nelson. The Barons aren’t in the playoffs as of today and are a pretty veteran laden team. I understand that Nelson was breaking a cadre of young D in, but the results really aren’t there.

    I am all for replacing Smith and Bucky, but I am not so sure I want Nelson to be one of the guys coming in.

    Results aren’t there? What results are you looking at?

    Have you seen who the teams best defender is? Did you know the “veterans” down there are all getting very low minutes with a prospect push?

    How’s Klef looking?

    I’d take Nelson on any day of the week, he’s done very well with the young guys IMO.

  67. delooper says:

    G Money:
    delooper,
    I’ll give you Schultz – though a 21-year old UFA on an ELC given the chance to play with a bunch of other young players (which seems to be the big reason he signed) is hardly your archetype for a standard free agent signing.

    You’re bringing up Pronger as a positive example of the appeal of Edmonton?Really?

    As for Gordon, I love the player and love the signing – but the Oilers had to pay $3M/year for a 3C who puts up 20ish points a year.We can get free agents here – Ference signed here too – but an overpay is an overpay.

    It sounds like you’re in denial. Pronger, Gordon, Schultz are three pretty solid, worth-while free agent signings. You’re trying to “yabbut” all these observations somehow but I’m not tracking you.

  68. OilClog says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Outside of Kessey, Ewanyk, Musil, Gernat, and Miller; the rest of the team are not rookies.

    Pitlick , Hamilton, and Davidson are in their third AHL season.

    Also, players like Grebs, Eager, Potter, Larsen, Horak, and Lander have a fair bit of NHL games under their belts.

    Pitlick, Hamilton, Davidson.. What else do they have in common.. Serious injury.

    Larsen, Horak, Lander.. Do not have a proper amount of games under their belt in any fashion.

    Grebs and Eager are healthy scratches.

    Potter, played what 5 games down there..

    Yikes

  69. OilClog says:

    delooper: It sounds like you’re in denial.Pronger, Gordon, Schultz are three pretty solid, worth-while free agent signings. You’re trying to “yabbut” all these observations somehow but I’m not tracking you.

    Pronger was traded to town.. He never chose to sign here. Would never chose to sign here lol

  70. delooper says:

    G Money: If you squint really hard, you might see a little bit of improvement since February here:
    http://www.extraskater.com/team/edmonton-oilers/2013#game-by-game-5v5-close-ff

    But then again, when you start out at a staggering low, it doesn’t take a lot to be better, even if ‘better’ in this case is still ‘utterly terrible’.

    When teams transition from losing to winning more of their games — from being awful to being decent, do the advanced stats lead the charge, follow behind, or are they in sync with the wins and losses?

    As far as I know, nobody has done a real study of this. My guess is they follow behind, rather than lead the charge.

  71. G Money says:

    delooper,

    Yeesh man, if you seriously believe that the Oilers are remotely on a level playing field when it comes to signing free agents, nothing I say is going to convince you.

    OilClog,

    In fairness, he was traded here but he *did* sign a five-year extension (or something along those lines). He just reneged on it after a year. As did Peca. As did Spacek.

    Sigh.

  72. delooper says:

    OilClog: Pronger was traded to town.. He never chose to sign here. Would never chose to sign here lol

    Oh, wow. Eric Brewer. I forgot about that trade. Somehow I thought he was a free agent.

  73. russ99 says:

    admiralmark,

    But they didn’t rush Marincin.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=127780

    He played 2 full years in Junior after he was drafted, and 100 AHL games over 4 seasons.

    I thought he needed the rest of this year in OKC to get to a NHL entry level. but he obviously didn’t.

    I hope Klefbom and Nurse get their 100 AHL games. Klef has played 44 games in OKC.

  74. icecastles says:

    G Money: I believe I’m being realistic in saying that this team has nearly zero chance of being a contender until our current cluster is overaged and overpaid.

    Realism and perspective has no place in sports, jerk.

    G Money: Do not dare question my dedication as a fan.

    Why do you hate the Oilers, you joyless bastard?

    Also: hahahaha you’re OLD.

    (good gord, I get foolish when I’m procrastinating)

  75. icecastles says:

    G Money: Yeesh man, if you seriously believe that the Oilers are remotely on a level playing field when it comes to signing free agents, nothing I say is going to convince you.

    The Oilers are absolutely on a level playing field. Only problem is that they’re facing the wrong way, wearing cement shoes and got to the field an hour after the game ended.

  76. delooper says:

    G Money:
    Yeesh man, if you seriously believe that the Oilers are remotely on a level playing field when it comes to signing free agents, nothing I say is going to convince you.

    I guess I haven’t seen anything that would contradict that. Many Edmontonians have a self-defeat mechanism, it comes across as an inferiority complex that makes them believe irrational things. I find it kind of tedious. Edmonton is a lovely place and there’s plenty of industrious, energetic people there. It makes “trendy” places like Vancouver and Victoria look lethargic and disabled in comparison. Edmontonians should never forget that.

  77. G Money says:

    delooper,

    Interesting question. Not sure it’s been studied in the context of teams transitioning from awful to not-so-awful.

    That said, the highest value of the fancy stats is in the season on season predictability.

    That is to say, if you have a team that is lousy by Corsi but good by standings (or vice versa), the Corsi will predict that teams standings the next year and the year after that with much higher accuracy.

    The common explanation for this is that strong Corsi teams are by definition good possession teams which is what drives long-term success, while in the short-term, high variability items like special teams and goaltending predominate.

  78. Bruce McCurdy says:

    McCurdy lists the positive additions (Gordon, Scrivens, Bryzgalov, Perron, Gazdic, Hendricks, Fasth); the ‘meh’ group (Ference, Joensuu, Belov) but doesn’t fully list the fail group (Fraser, Jones, Grebeshkov, Will Acton, Jason LaBarbera).

    Thanks for the shout-out, LT. Mostly I focussed on the guys who are actually on the big team now, which excludes the last three of those guys in your so-called “fail group” (plus a couple more who got a passing mention like Ryan Hamilton and Brad Hunt), while Jones wasn’t a new player to the org so I didn’t spend any time on him either. As for Fraser, not sure I would classify him as an outright fail — he’s serving a purpose in the here & now as muscle on the back end, & I don’t expect to see him here in the longer term.

    Fact is MacT has picked up a lot of depth players, many of whom found themselves down on the farm as things fell out, which is only to be expected given the sheer numbers of guys brought in. Some of them were clear “swing & a miss” types, for sure, and time spent on dudes like Acton and Grebeshkov was largely wasted, even as they’ve been somewhat useful in OKC. Overall, I’d argue that the depth of the org is in much better shape than it was 12 months ago.

  79. russ99 says:

    G Money:

    Yeesh man, if you seriously believe that the Oilers are remotely on a level playing field when it comes to signing free agents, nothing I say is going to convince yo

    I don’t think anyone considers us on a level playing field compared to warmer climate and cup contending teams, but I firmly believe we’ll be able to offer enough money and term and a key role to the right players to overcome that.

    And yes, money, term and role are just as much a deciding factor to most FAs as contending is.

    Ask yourself – if you were an 30 year old-ish NHL veteran UFA looking at possibly your first (or last) big payday, would you take significantly less, not to mention a lesser role to have a small chance at a cup?

  80. G Money says:

    icecastles: Why do you hate the Oilers, you joyless bastard?
    Also: hahahaha you’re OLD.

    Damn, my secret is out. I prefer curmudgeon by the way. Now get off my lawn!

    icecastles: The Oilers are absolutely on a level playing field. Only problem is that they’re facing the wrong way, wearing cement shoes and got to the field an hour after the game ended.

    Geez, and you’re saying *I* have a problem with realism and perspective??!?

    delooper: it comes across as an inferiority complex that makes them believe irrational things.

    I’m a born-and-raised Edmonite (anyone remember that reference?) so I have the pride of my hometown invested in all things Edmonton, and therefore also am condemned to suffer the fandom the Oilers and Esks.

    That said, I haven’t lived there in a long time, so I’m not sure you could lump me in with any sort of localized inferiority complex.

  81. Lois Lowe says:

    OilClog:

    Larsen, Horak, Lander.. Do not have a proper amount of games under their belt in any fashion.

    Here are their professional resumes:

    Lander – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=107124
    Horak – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=112706
    Larsen – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=101280

    Tell me how those are not veteran professional players?

  82. mumbai max says:

    The Oil need 17 points in their last 12 games to match least years ppg average.

  83. TheOtherJohn says:

    book¡je: Trajectory.The team was trending to be a laughing stock.This could shift the narrative.

    Not quite sure a 10 game trajectory is going to change the laughing stock conclusion. We’ve earned that description over the last 8 years

    To have any positive trajectory we had better make hay with Buffalo and Calgary because we could easily pull off a 2-6-2 in the final 10.

    Beauty of being an Oiler fan is we play good teams and our faith in the “turnaround” gets crushed pretty easily

  84. AZOIL says:

    “Screw the draft slotting. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! It’s time to purge the ghost of the Cam Barker signing and breathe the clean air, take in the clear blue sky, and finally live with hope in our hearts again.”

    No, no, no! We did this last year, peaked at the end of the season and went from a 3-5 to a 7!!! Our little run last season didn’t carry over to the next season so that argument is a non starter.

    I would love if NYI, CAL, and FLA all go on winning streaks and we can continue ours as well but remain where we are in the standings but that doesn’t seem likely.

    It looks like the Isles have lost any desire to win but they do have one more game vs the Panthers so that helps. I think Calgary will keep on winning here and there and we should be ok to stay worse than them. I also think the Panthers will win some we don’t expect like last night with Luongo in net and they also play Calgary one more time so that helps as well.

    Our remaining schedule is a gauntlet and it has teams fighting for spots like the coyotes so I hope we are competitive but lose every one of the dang games!

    I hope Buffalo takes Ekblad so we don’t have to go back and forth on who to pick and we take Reinhart or Draisatl!!!

    If we suffer a full season of this we deserve something at the end, so I hope they don’t screw it up!

  85. delooper says:

    G Money:
    I’m a born-and-raised Edmonite (anyone remember that reference?) so I have the pride of my hometown invested in all things Edmonton, and therefore also am condemned to suffer the fandom the Oilers and Esks.

    I’m the best kind of Albertan — I was born in Saskatchewan!

    But I lived in Edmonton from 1979 to 1995. Middle childhood through undergrad degree at the U of A. I miss Edmonton. It’s changed quite a bit since I’ve left but I still miss it. I think I partially have a romantic view of Edmonton, heavily skewed by the local culture I was surrounded by in my youth. Ah well…

  86. G Money says:

    russ99: Ask yourself – if you were an 30 year old-ish NHL veteran UFA looking at possibly your first (or last) big payday, would you take significantly less, not to mention a lesser role to have a small chance at a cup?

    Hossa is the poster boy for that.

    Clarkson is also a recent example of a player who spurned higher dollars here for less money elsewhere. Seems that one was a bit more complex – suspect it was a combination of a better team and closer to home.

    That said, you’re absolutely right – for most free agents, if you offer them a ton of money and term, most will hold their noses and sign here.

    But from the perspective of managing the team, you can only do that so many times before you are toast.

    My point is:
    - Edmonton is *not* on a level playing field for signing free agents
    - Overpays in dollars or term are a given
    - Even with overpays, some players will simply refuse to sign here

    From the perspective of managing the team, it means you cannot look to free agency to solve more than one or two isolated problems.

  87. HugThePost says:

    G Money: Hossa is the poster boy for that.

    Clarkson is also a recent example of a player who spurned higher dollars here for less money elsewhere.Seems that one was a bit more complex – suspect it was a combination of a better team and closer to home.

    That said, you’re absolutely right – for most free agents, if you offer them a ton of money and term, most will hold their noses and sign here.

    But from the perspective of managing the team, you can only do that so many times before you are toast.

    My point is:
    - Edmonton is *not* on a level playing field for signing free agents
    - Overpays in dollars or term are a given
    - Even with overpays, some players will simply refuse to sign here

    From the perspective of managing the team, it means you cannot look to free agency to solve more than one or two isolated problems.

    The top teams have cores to their roster built through the draft and they add the odd free agent here and there to augment the core. I really despise the wide-eyed childish approach the Oilers have always taken to free agents, always looking to buy the next big shiny thing available because it will be the BEST EVER. I am really hoping MacT and his big brain steer the team away from this strategy and focus on the core and perhaps getting essential pieces by using redundant pieces as trade chips.

  88. delooper says:

    G Money:
    From the perspective of managing the team, it means you cannot look to free agency to solve more than one or two isolated problems.

    You sound pretty fatalist. The G-Money way sounds a lot like “lose until your 1st overall pics become free agents and leave”… then lose some more.

  89. icecastles says:

    delooper: The G-Money way sounds a lot like “lose until your 1st overall pics become free agents and leave”… then lose some more.

    You’re confusing it with the Steve Tambellini way.

  90. delooper says:

    G Money:
    Geez, and you’re saying *I* have a problem with realism and perspective??!?

    What makes the playing field un-level, from your perspective?

  91. B S says:

    Lois Lowe: Here are their professional resumes:

    Lander – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=107124
    Horak – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=112706
    Larsen – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=101280

    Tell me how those are not a veteran player’s resume?

    Horak had 86 AHL games prior to this season, Lander had 51. You can include NHL if you like (Horak 82, Lander 67) that still puts both under 200 pro games played in NA at the start of the season. The consensus has been that Lander was basically destroyed by being played in the NHL so early and his first 56 NHL games weren’t a fair representation of the player or an instructive experience, Horak likely faced the same treatment from the Flames. I don’t know what your definition of “Veteran” is but 200 games has been the “made it to the pros” cutoff around here, so personally I’d suggest at least 400 games before a player is a “veteran”.

  92. Lois Lowe says:

    B S,

    Lander and Larsen both played 3 seasons as a pro in Sweden. Those games count too.

  93. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    McCurdy lists the positive additions (Gordon, Scrivens, Bryzgalov, Perron, Gazdic, Hendricks, Fasth); the ‘meh’ group (Ference, Joensuu, Belov) but doesn’t fully list the fail group (Fraser, Jones, Grebeshkov, Will Acton, Jason LaBarbera).

    Thanks for the shout-out, LT.Mostly I focussed on the guys who are actually on the big team now, which excludes the last three of those guys in your so-called “fail group” (plus a couple more who got a passing mention like Ryan Hamilton and Brad Hunt), while Jones wasn’t a new player to the org so I didn’t spend any time on him either. As for Fraser, not sure I would classify him as an outright fail — he’s serving a purpose in the here & now as muscle on the back end, & I don’t expect to see him here in the longer term.

    Fact is MacT has picked up a lot of depth players, many of whom found themselves down on the farm as things fell out, which is only to be expected given the sheer numbers of guys brought in. Some of them were clear “swing & a miss” types, for sure, and time spent on dudes like Acton and Grebeshkov was largely wasted, even as they’ve been somewhat useful in OKC. Overall, I’d argue that the depth of the org is in much better shape than it was 12 months ago.

    Yeah, hope I didn’t mis-represent, wanted to use what you’d done as a starting off point to frame the issue. Man, there were a lot of holes last summer.

  94. AZOIL says:

    delooper: What makes the playing field un-level, from your perspective?

    Well geographically speaking Edmonton isn’t the most attractive place in the world, lets be honest. As a Canadian living down in AZ I miss the snow and the cold but if a player can choose city X or Edmonton where do they go? We might have the advantage on some markets that are crappy cities and the team sucks like Columbus or Buffalo but we are usually at a disadvantage until we start winning. Winning trumps all the other garbage!!!

  95. icecastles says:

    Lowetide: Man, there were a lot of holes last summer.

    There were. But my girlfriend TOTALLY misunderstands me when I say this. Then I have to answer lots of uncomfortable questions about where I really went that one week….

  96. delooper says:

    AZOIL: Well geographically speaking Edmonton isn’t the most attractive place in the world, lets be honest.

    Could you be more precise? This sounds like an argument against Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota, Chicago and even the New York teams. Are you talking about weather, or more than that? Dallas Texas is geographically pretty ugly. And it’s an awful place that people do their best to flee in the summers.

    As a Canadian living down in AZ I miss the snow and the cold but if a player can choose city X or Edmonton where do they go?

    Rather than approach this from a gut-instinct perspective, one could actually look at how all teams do in free agent signings. The above sounds like it’s very confused with personal biases rather than making an attempt to really assess what’s going on.

  97. Bag of Pucks says:

    Guys, does it really matter if Gagner’s started to recover some of his .ppg production?

    It was never the offensive production that was the issue. It’s the complete paucity of defensive awareness, backchecking tenacity and his utter hopelessness on the faceoff dot that makes this player expendable.

    You don’t WIN cups in the West with a player like Gagner as your 2C. Who’s he going to outplay on the Kings? Kopitar or Richards? How about the Blues? Backes or Sobotka? How about the Avs? Statsny, O’Reilly or MacKinnon?

    He’s a bandaid solution and always will be.

    The Oilers need to get their 2C in this upcoming draft and move Gags for help on the backend. This is the best course of action when the D FA crop is middling at best. Gagner doesn’t meet ANY need of significance. Move him to fill a D hole and draft his bigger, better replacement asap.

    Fortunately, I think MacT get this, and fully anticipate him moving out Gags on draft day or sooner.

  98. spoiler says:

    delooper: Rather than approach this from a gut-instinct perspective, one could actually look at how all teams do in free agent signings. The above sounds like it’s very confused with personal biases rather than making an attempt to really assess what’s going on.

    You mean like when G Money presented the Clarkson attempted signing as evidence? And then there are the other Moby Dicks that chose to sign anywhere? This hasn’t really been a debateable point for a long time and it is also backed up by the media types who talk to players and their agents.

  99. delooper says:

    spoiler: You mean like when G Money presented the Clarkson attempted signing as evidence?And then there are the other Moby Dicks that chose to sign anywhere?This hasn’t really been a debateable point for a long time and it is also backed up by the media types who talk to their players and agents.

    I thought this was supposed to be an analytical website. But as soon as we step away from talking about on-ice issues, it’s all “I’m Yosemite Sam, and I saw this here geographical feature darn toot’n good!”

    Lots of teams try to sign free agents. Sometimes the negotiations are public, sometimes they’re not. Some succeed and some fail. So what? It happens everywhere. Only people in Edmonton turn that into a persecution complex.

  100. stevezie says:

    icecastles: Because winning, team morale and confidence are a switch you just throw when you decide it’s time.

    There are a lot of good arguments on both sides of the, “To win, or not to win” debate, but for me this is the best one.

    The good habits that lead to winning take time to build. The Oilers need to start building them as quickly as possible. Positive results provide the necessary reinforcement to cement good habits. I hope we draft in the top 4, but even more than that I hope we win a lot of hockey games .

    Caramel Obvious: The Oilers do not have an excess of skill forwards.

    Exactly. You could have argued we had one spare skill forward, but then Hemsky went to Ottawa. Now, any F who goes out and doesn’t return a winger will create a hole. If it is a clear upgrade we will still have to do it, but Gagner/Klef for Josi is much more appetizing.

  101. spoiler says:

    Bag of Pucks: Fortunately, I think MacT get this, and fully anticipate him moving out Gags on draft day or sooner.

    Since we don’t have to beat those teams up and down the line up until we HAVE to beat those teams up and down the line up, I think your anticipation faces a real possiblity of going unfulfilled. If by playing him one more year he goes from a 2nd rounder in offered value to a 1st rounder, would you rather hang on to him? (There’s always the chance he regresses further, but the odds are against it… usually there is a reversion to the mean w.r.t. boxcars and SH%).

  102. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money:

    I’m a born-and-raised Edmonite (anyone remember that reference?) so I have the pride of my hometown invested in all things Edmonton, and therefore also am condemned to suffer the fandom the Oilers and Esks.

    Chin up. Going to be a good season for the Green and Gold this year. Hervey found the team a real QB last year and a good HC this year. I expect massive improvement this season. The only problem is EVERY team in the west is solid at the moment. Winnipeg and probably Ottawa, are the only gimme games in the league.

  103. spoiler says:

    delooper: Only people in Edmonton turn that into a persecution complex.

    No one is turning this into a hometown persecution complex. There is only one person here today who is adding drama to what has largely been a moot point over the years.

  104. TheOtherJohn says:

    delooper: Could you be more precise?This sounds like an argument against Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota, Chicago and even the New York teams.Are you talking about weather, or more than that? Dallas Texas is geographically pretty ugly.And it’s an awful place that people do their best to flee in the summers.

    Rather than approach this from a gut-instinct perspective, one could actually look at how all teams do in free agent signings.The above sounds like it’s very confused with personal biases rather than making an attempt to really assess what’s going on.

    This isn’t a serious argument, right.Edmonton: Nice city, nice amenities very nice summers but relatively severe winters. Edmonton is the nrothernmost city in NA pro sport.It has worse winters than everyone in the league with the possible exception of Winnipeg. Our winters are slightly worse than Calgary and Minnesota.Detroit is a terrible city but signed a ton of FA because they had a superb team. If you think AZOIL’s comments about attractive cities equally applies to NY and Chicago your experience with those cities is not my experience

  105. Bag of Pucks says:

    spoiler: Since we don’t have to beat those teams up and down the line up until we HAVE to beat those teams up and down the line up, I think your anticipation faces a real possiblity of going unfulfilled.If by playing him one more year he goes from a 2nd rounder in offered value to a 1st rounder, would you rather hang on to him? (There’s always the chance he regresses further, but the odds are against it… usually there is a reversion to the mean w.r.t. boxcars and SH%).

    I truly believe getting rid of Gagner is ‘addition by substraction’ and while I agree you have to maximize his trade value, the price you pay there is lost development time for his replacement.

    Really if we’re going to call him ‘the magnificent bastard” it shouldn’t be too much to expect him to be able to find a 2C that can contribute immediately with the blue chip he’s going to be handed this year. The Avs found O’Reilly in the second round, he played as a rookie, and played well!

    Plus Gags’ cap hit is prohibitive. MacT needs to dump it to fill some of the roster needs elsewhere on the 3 Line and in the Top 4.

  106. delooper says:

    spoiler: No one is turning this into a hometown persecution complex.There is only one person here today who is adding drama to what has largely been a moot point over the years.

    I don’t think it’s ever been moot. Just people that disagree consider it a waste of time to bring discussion back to reality.

  107. Caramel Obvious says:

    As a fan I cannot embrace the psychology that losing is good. For a player, for a team, for a management group it is absolutely toxic.

    That said, I think everyone is exaggerating the importance of the issue. Whatever “momentum” is generated at the tail end of this year will last only as long as the start of next season. Still, winning is better than losing. What must be avoided at all cost though is a long losing streak. Players do not have an infinite reserve of belief.

    On the other side, we are talking about the difference in one or two spots in the draft. Considering the imprecision of the draft this is the definition of meaninglessness.

  108. delooper says:

    TheOtherJohn: This isn’t a serious argument, right.Edmonton:Nice city, nice amenities very nice summersbut relatively severe winters. Edmonton is the nrothernmost city in NA pro sport.It has worse winters than everyone in the league with the possible exception of Winnipeg. Our winters are slightlyworse than Calgary and Minnesota.Detroit is a terrible city but signed a ton of FA because they had a superb team. If you think AZOIL’s comments about attractive cities equally applies to NY and Chicago your experience with those cities is not my experience

    But that’s it, trying to split hairs between Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Minnesota winters, then comparing to places like Detroit… sigh. This is a discussion where people are trying to rationalize a half-baked, preconceived idea. That’s all it is.

  109. B S says:

    Lois Lowe:
    B S,

    Lander and Larsen both played 3 seasons as a pro in Sweden. Those games count too.

    Do they? Lander was16 and 17 his first two seasons in the SEL, either the talent pool is pretty thin if their playing kids regularly, or the GP is a bit misleading in terms of useage and ice-time. Plus even included it doesn’t put him over 300GP at a Pro level. Hell, Arcobello, easily the best Baron, had only 207 pro games.

    Nelson has taken a dog’s breakfast of lines rotating in and out throughout the season and still has the team sniffing at the playoffs, even without their best Dman (Marincin).

  110. Bag of Pucks says:

    Guys (and Gals), I think it’s safe to assume that MacT’s going to plug at least one of his glaring Top 4 D holes with a UFA. Veteran free agents represent 3 things GMs like: 1) known quantities 2) low hanging acquisition fruit; 3) immediate help (i.e no development curve).

    With this in mind, would Dan Boyle be a good fit for the Oil? Does he still have tread on the tire?

    Guy is a Cup and Gold medal winner. Might help the PP tremendously. Seems a good candidate for a rich 2 year golden parachute/retirement type contract. Not the Webber or Subban that everyone wants, but might be a real nice fit while the team’s waiting on the likes of Schultz and Nurse to blossom.

  111. Lowetide says:

    Detroit and Toronto, this could be fun

    http://www.puckrant.com/Slapshot/THE_RACE_ISNT_OVER

  112. G Money says:

    delooper: You sound pretty fatalist.The G-Money way sounds a lot like “lose until your 1st overall pics become free agents and leave”… then lose some more.

    IceCastles nailed it.

    It’s hardly fatalist to state that this teams recovery is not going to come from free agency; conversely, believing you can solve the gaping holes in this roster through free agency seems hopelessly naive and idealistic to me.

    My “way” is to figure out how to try to recover from the horrible position the team sits in post the Tambo years (and arguably at least partially from a rookie year from MacT who did some good things but also whiffed on a few things).

    That said, just as I did not believe this team would make the playoffs this year, I do not believe this team will be a contender for at least two years. Period end stop. Too many roster holes. We *may* fight for a playoff spot next year, but only if the goaltending holds up.

    There are two gaping holes on this roster – top pairing D and 2C. I do not believe the former can be solved through free agency at all. I doubt the latter will be either, not without a massive cap-breaking overpay to Stastny or ROR or Grabovski.

    There is also the matter of adequate skill, size, and depth on the 3rd and 4th lines. Those can be solved in the longer term through some of the youngsters in the pipeline (Pitlick, Chase, etc) along with a few selective free agents. The overpays required to get good third and fourth liners will not break the bank.

    Thankfully there is a way forward: given their credentials, drafting Ekblad or the current top 3 C would likely solve (in the medium-term) one of the two gaping roster holes. This is why it is so critical to NOT finish out of the bottom 3 (I say 3 not 4 because of the possibility of a lottery winner bumping the order by one). Finish in fifth and you now have two holes that are extremely difficult to fill, instead of just one.

    There is a chance that with some clever horse-trading, MacT may be able to fill the remaining roster hole without breaking the bank.

    But both? Nope.

    You think it’s fatalistic to believe this team has a remote chance of going anywhere without fixing the 2C and top pairing D issue?

  113. delooper says:

    G Money: IceCastles nailed it.
    It’s hardly fatalist to state that this teams recovery is not going to come from free agency; conversely, believing you can solve the gaping holes in this roster through free agency seems hopelessly naive and idealistic to me.

    The idea that any draft pick is going to come in and fill such an important role like 2C or 2D right away is a little extreme.

    Some of those roles will be plugged short-term with free agents. Maybe extreme overpays, who knows, but if that happens they’ll be short term contracts and the Oilers can afford a few of those now.

    I don’t think anyone is talking about this team being a contender for the Stanley Cup anytime soon. People are hoping they’ll be in the hunt for a playoff spot next year. As far as I can tell, that’s all.

  114. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: On the other side, we are talking about the difference in one or two spots in the draft. Considering the imprecision of the draft this is the definition of meaninglessness.

    I don’t agree – given this teams needs (D,C) and the positions and roster quality of the top 4 (all D or C) and the drop off after that, for this team, there will be a world of difference between drafting fourth and drafting fifth.

    Drafting fourth fills a gaping roster hole and cuts in half the work MacT has to do to bring the roster into balance.

    Drafting fifth is more of the same of the last n years of futility.

  115. G Money says:

    delooper: The idea that any draft pick is going to come in and fill such an important role like 2C or 2D right away is a little extreme.

    Did I say they would come in and play that role right away? No, I said the opposite – it’s a long haul situation.

    That’s the problem (and call it fatalistic if you will) but there are NO short-term solutions with this roster. Every path is a long path.

    The idea of short-term overpays is also something to be stated with caution. Salaries are capped, so you can’t offer someone $20m to play one year to fill a hole in your roster. Term matters.

  116. delooper says:

    G Money: Did I say they would come in and play that role right away?No, I said the opposite – it’s a long haul situation.

    That’s the problem (and call it fatalistic if you will) but there are NO short-term solutions with this roster.Every path is a long path.

    Pierre Elliot Trudeau would say “just watch me”. I’m hopeful you’re wrong.

  117. G Money says:

    Bag of Pucks: With this in mind, would Dan Boyle be a good fit for the Oil? Does he still have tread on the tire?

    I’ll take any veteran D who can play against real NHL players!

    Overpay a given, and overpay in term in this case would be especially harmful.

    He also doesn’t solve the “tiny D unable to break a cycle” problem.

  118. Ducey says:

    Lois Lowe:
    B S,

    Lander and Larsen both played 3 seasons as a pro in Sweden. Those games count too.

    There is an easy way to resolve this: the AHL Rules.

    You can must have 12 of the 18 skaters with less than 260 games in AHL, NHL, or European leagues as these players are considered developmental players.

    I think the vast majority of the Barons fell into this category.

    Anyway, they went with fewer AHL mercenary vets – guys who excel at the AHL who will never make it

    You know, guys like Arcobello

    *ducks*

    http://theahl.com/faq-p137653

  119. G Money says:

    delooper,

    Heh heh, I’m hopeful I’m wrong too.

    If the Oilers had Ryan Suter back there playing 27 minutes a night of calming hockey, the team would look miraculously better overnight.

    I would love for MacT to pull off another Brewer-for-Pronger type of trade.

    I hope one of the D prospects steps up and blows expectations out of the water to become an undisputed #1 D.

    But hope, as they say, is not a strategy…

  120. dangilitis says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Guys, does it really matter if Gagner’s started to recover some of his .ppg production?

    It was never the offensive production that was the issue. It’s the complete paucity of defensive awareness, backchecking tenacity and his utter hopelessness on the faceoff dot that makes this player expendable.

    You don’t WIN cups in the West with a player like Gagner as your 2C. Who’s he going to outplay on the Kings? Kopitar or Richards? How about the Blues? Backes or Sobotka? How about the Avs? Statsny, O’Reilly or MacKinnon?

    He’s a bandaid solution and always will be.

    The Oilers need to get their 2C in this upcoming draft and move Gags for help on the backend. This is the best course of action when the D FA crop is middling at best. Gagner doesn’t meet ANY need of significance. Move him to fill a D hole and draft his bigger, better replacement asap.

    Fortunately, I think MacT get this, and fully anticipate him moving out Gags on draft day or sooner.

    Have always been a Gagner fan so this season has been particularly hard to watch.

    But I get what he brings and what he doesn’t.

    I am even on board with trading him at the right time (when you have secured a #2 C with NHL experience), even if it isn’t for full value.

    However, while the latter part of your first 2 paragraphs is bang-on, I actually think that the PPG production is important, because it restores my faith that he can actually score and has not regressed (people forget he broke his fucking jaw and was rushed back too early for no reason, when Arco was doing just fine in his absence).

    As many here point out, the purpose of a good #2 Center on many teams is to wreak havoc when handed situations to succeed (e.g. easier competition). Above 0.7 PPG is ideal, but it’s irrelevant if the lines matched up against your 2nd line have players that are scoring 0.7 PPG against you. If #2 C is fed soft minutes, they cannot come out even, and certainly not to get outscored by the 3rd and 4th line opponents. A good #2 C should also be expected to help out on the PP.

    A great #2 Center (I will use Kesler circa cup run as an example) pushes the game in his team’s favor at all times, in all circumstances.

    Gagner is not a great #2 C, and chances are he never will be. Not zero, but slim and getting slimmer by the year.

    So any trade involving Gagner has to be part of a bigger plan to either:
    (a) replace him with another good #2C who is cheaper, to allow money to be thrown at some white whale top 2 defencemen,
    (b) upgrade to a great #2C, or
    (c) upgrading/acquiring legitimate top 2 D-man with a FA replacement center willing to come here

    Trading him for draft picks and then expecting Draisatl to be our # 2 next year is really dumb.
    So is trading him for another 2nd pair defenceman incapable of top 2 minutes, without an obvious replacement that you have in your organization, signed.
    So is trading him for a pair of meatheads from LA without an obvious replacement.

    Man I hate Dreger, he is worse than Matheson and Spector put together, and clearly wishes to destroy the reputation of every Oiler player.

  121. AZOIL says:

    TheOtherJohn: This isn’t a serious argument, right.Edmonton:Nice city, nice amenities very nice summers but relatively severe winters. Edmonton is the northernmost city in NA pro sport.It has worse winters than everyone in the league with the possible exception of Winnipeg. Our winters are slightly worse than Calgary and Minnesota.Detroit is a terrible city but signed a ton of FA because they had a superb team. If you think AZOIL’s comments about attractive cities equally applies to NY and Chicago your experience with those cities is not my experience

    Agree here. Delooper I am just saying think about it? Yes Calgary, Minn, Detroit, Winnipeg all have bad winters but of all of them one is way further north, one is a Canadian city and to to many FA’s this is a negative. I am talking first hand here too, I own a business and my wife is american and I could have picked numerous places to start it. My wife wanted nothing to do with Canada partially so she can be closer to her parents and I get that. Next was the cold weather of course, she hates the cold and would not pick Edmonton or Winnipeg for that matter. Next on her list was shopping, entertainment and amenities that she is used to etc. Canada doesn’t have the Nordstrom’s, the sporting events and the list goes on. NYC, even Minnesota and many other cities have all of these amenities that their families and wives might have a say in where they go as well (Scrivens wife case in point). Also, hockey players travel a lot as it is but if you live in Europe in the offseason why would you choose a team in the west or way up north at all? Might want to be on an easy flight to Sweden or Denmark. Or why travel more than needed for those who reside in Edmonton year round, why be on the road more than necessary. These all add up and weigh our chances down, maybe slight, but still they add up.

    I think all of what I am saying has weight to their decision but not as much weight as going to a good team that can win. This is why Detroit can get decent FA because look at there recent body of work, their coach, their cullture, its a winner! Detroit as a city sucks and is going bankrupt, crime is high, schools are bad, but if my wife knew I wanted to be on a winner and win the coveted Stanley she might plug her nose and deal with it for a while. Or she might not deal with it at all and would stay in AZ and would only be a cheap 2hr flight away on Southwest (if I played hockey I guess she could afford more than Southwest), not 500 to 1000 for her to fly to Edm and have two layovers to boot.

  122. delooper says:

    G Money:
    delooper,
    Heh heh, I’m hopeful I’m wrong too.

    But hope, as they say, is not a strategy…

    For some people it is! You should look at some of those business executive strategy books. There’s a good amount of people who think you should fake your way into everything.

    I’m encouraged by everything that’s happened this season. I know its in conflict with a lot of the dominant narrative of what’s happened but I think the Oilers are in a much better situation now than they were at the same time last year. They still have a long way to go but IMO the trajectory is more or less okay now.

  123. dangilitis says:

    I will also point out that just as Gagner has not met expectations of a #2C, so too has RNH not met the loftier expectations of being a NHL #1C. Just as critical for the Oilers’ future success as acquiring a #2C, probably moreso, is RNH’s ability to get to another level. If Gagner is upgraded, but RNH can’t handle the #1C spot, the Oilers will still be on the outside looking in. A big part of this issue is the PP production that has faltered teamwide, but evens needs to be back to 2013 level as well.

  124. rickithebear says:

    G Money:
    delooper,

    Heh heh, I’m hopeful I’m wrong too.

    If the Oilers had Ryan Suter back there playing 27 minutes a night of calming hockey, the team would look miraculously better overnight.

    I would love for MacT to pull off another Brewer-for-Pronger type of trade.

    I hope one of the D prospects steps up and blows expectations out of the water to become an undisputed #1 D.

    But hope, as they say, is not a strategy…

    So you are hoping Marincin maintains his current play!

  125. delooper says:

    AZOIL: These all add up and weigh our chances down, maybe slight, but still they add up.

    They’re things that add up but for a person that, say, moves to another country to pursue their dream, that wakes up at 5am to get to hockey practices for years on end, that dedicates near endless hours to pursue a goal… IMO they don’t add up to a whole lot.

    A lot of hockey players come from small towns. They hunt, they’re proud of the culture they come from. They don’t all want to move to LA to rub shoulders with hollywood actresses. And when they start families maybe they don’t want to have to live the affluenza-infected life where you have to live in the “right” neighbourhood to get your children the “right” education and such.

    I think a lot of hockey players like to keep things pretty simple.

  126. AZOIL says:

    Tyler Pitlick was called up as another emergency basis. Who is hurt? Yak? Hendricks?

  127. bendelson says:

    SMac coming to Edmonton!
    How exciting.

    What?

  128. G Money says:

    rickithebear,

    I (and I believe the Oilers) are very much counting on it.

    If the Oilers are ever to be a contender again, Marty the Martian will not only have to keep it up, he’ll have to continue to develop.

    And if he does that, I believe he’ll be a dynamite second pairing guy.

    Long term, I believe the current D hopes of this team depend on Nurse developing into a capable first pairing D, Petry-Marincin on the second, and Klefbom-Schultz on the third.

    If things continue to develop as they have been, that’s a terrific 2-6, and vastly better than any other collection of D we’ve had here in years.

    It still leaves a glaring hole at 1D, but if Nurse fills out size-wise like his uncle and can be an intimidating all-situations defensive guy, you could potentially fill that with a good veteran offensive defenseman obtained through trade or (gulp) free agency and have a capable top pairing.

    And in that vein, if we were to draft Ekblad, in two years when Hall, RNH, and Eberle all have their man strength and they’re backed up by a 210 lb Nurse and a 230 lb Ekblad, those Blues and Kings will not look very intimidating anymore…

  129. delooper says:

    I think one thing people overlook is that once a team starts to turn a corner, the weaker players that don’t drive the play as much (like Sam Gagner) start to look and play a whole lot better. I think many Oilers may benefit from this effect, and quite soon.

  130. russ99 says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    Well, if you’re talking about this winter, none of the northern US cities were spared, so we’re splitting hairs.

    We had an especially brutal winter this year here in Chicago, maybe not as cold as Edmonton, but near-record snowfall. Plus, while we had the recurring polar vortex, it looked like you guys warmed up a little from the warmer Pacific air pouring into Alaska.

    Besides if a player is so shortminded to only want to play in Florida, Texas, Arizona or California, we probably don’t want him to sign him to take up a leadership/mentoring role anyway.

  131. AZOIL says:

    delooper: They’re things that add up but for a person that, say, moves to another country to pursue their dream, that wakes up at 5am to get to hockey practices for years on end, that dedicates near endless hours to pursue a goal… IMO they don’t add up to a whole lot.

    A lot of hockey players come from small towns.They hunt, they’re proud of the culture they come from.They don’t all want to move to LA to rub shoulders with hollywood actresses. And when they start families maybe they don’t want to have to live the affluenza-infected life where you have to live in the “right” neighbourhood to get your children the “right” education and such.

    I think a lot of hockey players like to keep things pretty simple.

    No argument here, but you can do that in Minn, or in Colorado, or in Pittsburgh and have your cake and eat it too. I am not saying hockey players and their wives are all LA hollywood types but if I had a choice between Winnipeg and Chicago and the teams were both equally the same as far as quality I might lean towards Chicago for the simple fact that my wife would be happier. Happy wife means happy life! Sure she is American but if I have to pick a city it would be Chicago, why not? She comes from a hunting family, has shot 4 elk, 3 over 370, she dirtbikes, camps etc. With all of that she would be happier in Chicago, more shopping for the millions of dollars we would have to spend, more restaurants, more nightlife if we didn’t have 3 little crazy kids, more everything really? Sure she is American so there is a bias, and I love Canada more than you know and I might live up there but she wouldn’t.

  132. russ99 says:

    Scrivens is a good example against the grain. He didn’t have to resign here, but he did. Mostly due to opportunity.

  133. delooper says:

    AZOIL: No argument here, but you can do that in Minn, or in Colorado, or in Pittsburgh and have your cake and eat it too. I am not saying hockey players and their wives are all LA hollywood types but if I had a choice between Winnipeg and Chicago and the teams were both equally the same as far as quality I might lean towards Chicago for the simple fact that my wife would be happier. Happy wife means happy life! Sure she is American but if I have to pick a city it would be Chicago, why not?She comes from a hunting family, has shot 4 elk, 3 over 370, she dirtbikes, camps etc. With all of that she would be happier in Chicago, more shopping for the millions of dollars we would have to spend, more restaurants, more nightlife if we didn’t have 3 little crazy kids, more everything really? Sure she is American so there is a bias, and I love Canada more than you know and I might live up there but she wouldn’t.

    That’s a fine anecdote. There are people in that situation, I don’t argue with that. But not all people are in that situation. People filter to where they want to go, and there are people that like all kinds of things.

    Given the salaries hockey-players make, most wives realize they can travel wherever they like, have 2nd or 3rd homes. The city your husband works in doesn’t have to be a big deal.

  134. RexLibris says:

    I wonder if Macintyre sticks around for the Saturday Flames game. He and McGrattan? Yeesh. Or is he just in as insurance against John Scott tomorrow?

    Looking forward to seeing Pitlick play, though.

  135. bendelson says:

    RexLibris,

    Fraser, Gadzic and SMac.
    How much John Scott insurance is necessary?

  136. Ducey says:

    bendelson:
    RexLibris,

    Fraser, Gadzic and SMac.
    How much John Scott insurance is necessary?

    I thought you were joking about SMac.

    Wow. Come up, play two games, beat up two people, and head back out of town again.

    Tough way to make a living.

  137. AZOIL says:

    delooper: That’s a fine anecdote.There are people in that situation, I don’t argue with that.But not all people are in that situation.People filter to where they want to go, and there are people that like all kinds of things.

    Given the salaries hockey-players make, most wives realize they can travel wherever they like, have 2nd or 3rd homes.The city your husband works in doesn’t have to be a big deal.

    It doesn’t have to be, but when they actually live there with them with kids involved it is a bigger deal. Or when your wife is famous like these: http://globalnews.ca/news/552158/top-10-famous-women-who-fell-for-nhl-players/

    I just want us to start winning so we have an awesome opportunity to join. Jerome Iginla went to Pittsburgh and to Boston to win, not because his wife wanted a change in scenery or because the weather was so much more attractive.

  138. OilClog says:

    Lois Lowe: Here are their professional resumes:

    Lander – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=107124
    Horak – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=112706
    Larsen – http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=101280

    Tell me how those are not veteran professional players?

    They’re not.

    Well they’re not resumes anyone would look at and think.. There’s a veteran.

    Lander playing men’s league hockey at 18 in Sweden means sweet shit all.

    If it meant anything those 56 games playing under Renney wouldn’t of been such a crime!

    Larsen played on a depleted Dallas team with no business being in the league then.

    Horak should of never played a game for the flames, but they’re brutal aswell.

    So no, none of these players professional resumes mean jack shit yet . They’re all relative rookies in the NHL.

  139. denny33 says:

    G Money,

    LT sez: Screw the draft slotting. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! It’s time to purge the ghost of the Cam Barker signing and breathe the clean air, take in the clear blue sky, and finally live with hope in our hearts again.
    Man, I have to completely disagree with this.
    A winning streak now that takes us out of the bottom 3 would set the already-set-back rebuild back another year.
    Drafting in the top 3 means that, even if someone outside the bottom 3 wins the lottery, you pick no worse than fourth. Picking in the top 4 means getting a guy who (should theoretically) solve either the top pairing D (Ekblad) or the 2C (Reinhart, Bennett, or Draisaitl).
    Get outside of the top 4, and once again you’re drafting BPA, then hoping for that player to develop in the context of a hopelessly unbalanced team, then trying get value for trading a (likely underperforming) player to fill other holes in the roster.
    That’s a huge difference. And considering that any run that the team goes on now is almost certainly meaningless in affecting next season (it’s never made a difference before – why should it now?), you’re getting zero benefit at high cost.
    ***********************************************************************
    You have just restored my faith in this forum…

    A **meaningless** run at the end of a brutal season getting people excited….

  140. OilClog says:

    G Money:
    delooper,

    Yeesh man, if you seriously believe that the Oilers are remotely on a level playing field when it comes to signing free agents, nothing I say is going to convince you.

    OilClog,

    In fairness, he was traded here but he *did* sign a five-year extension (or something along those lines).He just reneged on it after a year.As did Peca.As did Spacek.

    Sigh.

    It was known fact Peca wasn’t resigning here before the playoffs began.

    Not signing Spacek was truly bizarre

  141. FastOil says:

    ” For me, it’s more important to win some games down the stretch than to tank for Ekblad. This organization has been losing too long, and has been bleeding for too long, to do anything but push hard to the end.”

    I see it completely the opposite. Winning now will have no bearing on the team, players or anything. It will be forgotten soon enough. Missing out on top level talent lasts as long as their careers last. What position would MacT be in now with Jones or Mackinnon or Barkov in the system?

    Sure no pick is guaranteed in position or the kid making it, but top 3-5 is a much better shot than 5 down.

    To go through this much pain and miss out at the draft is double suck to me.

  142. denny33 says:

    Ducey,

    Since Jan 2, Gagner is pretty much on the same pace as he put up last year.
    Last year he had 38 pts in 48 games for .791 ppg. He was -6.
    Since Jan 2 he has 20 points in 27 games for .741 ppg. ( He has been -3 over that stretch).
    Translated over 82 games, thats 60 points (and somewhere around 55th in NHL points).
    Thats a nice offensive player.

    *******************************************************

    As Rom pointed out – watch a replay of Carolina’s goal the other day. ( J. Staal goal )

    Sam Gagner is standing beside Jordan – looking into space – no reaction. Clueless.

    It is strange. It is Bizzare. It is Sam Gagner.

    He is the most popular centre in the NHL.

  143. bendelson says:

    If I was joking Ducey… it would be funny.
    SMac in Oiler silks is not funny – it’s sad.

    In reality, I believe he won’t dress and is a ‘just in case’ player.
    It would be a shame to have Arco or Horak sit in the press box doing nothing but helping the OKC Barons miss the playoffs.

  144. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    bendelson:
    RexLibris,

    Fraser, Gadzic and SMac.
    How much John Scott insurance is necessary?

    It’s lottery insurance. They’ll play goal if needed.

  145. G Money says:

    OilClog: Not signing Spacek was truly bizarre

    I don’t think it was bizarre, I’m pretty sure Lowe wanted to resign Spacek, it’s just that ol’ Jaroslav wanted to go back to the cushy travel schedule out east. At least that’s how I remember it. “Come for the bitter winters, stay for the brutal travel schedule.” Or something like that.

  146. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    G Money: “Come for the bitter winters, stay for the brutal travel schedule.”

    It’s Not You. It’s Me.

  147. denny33 says:

    delooper,

    It sounds like you’re in denial. Pronger, Gordon, Schultz are three pretty solid, worth-while free agent signings. You’re trying to “yabbut” all these observations somehow but I’m not tracking you
    ***************************************************************************************************
    Love for yo to point out the vaunted UFA list that will propel this 29th place club to new heights…

    Feel free to throw out names the Oilers should sign.

  148. Ducey says:

    denny33:
    Ducey,

    Since Jan 2, Gagner is pretty much on the same pace as he put up last year.
    Last year he had 38 pts in 48 games for .791 ppg. He was -6.
    Since Jan 2 he has 20 points in 27 games for .741 ppg. ( He has been -3 over that stretch).
    Translated over 82 games, thats 60 points (and somewhere around 55th in NHL points).
    Thats a nice offensive player.

    *******************************************************

    As Rom pointed out – watch a replay of Carolina’s goal the other day. ( J. Staal goal )

    Sam Gagner is standing beside Jordan – looking into space – no reaction. Clueless.

    It is strange. It is Bizzare. It is Sam Gagner.

    He is the most popular centre in the NHL.

    You will notice that I pointed out he is doing well offensively.

    Defensively he is a mess. It is hard to figure out why. He continues to focus on the puck to the exclusion of his man.

    Put him on the wing, take advantage of his offense and let someone else worry about the defense.

  149. Yeti says:

    Lowetide: Pitlick gets the call

    Yes, and SMac’s coming just to help carry his luggage.

  150. FastOil says:

    Yeti: Yes, and SMac’s coming just to help carry his luggage.

    He will carry the team’s luggage. Strong like dumptruck.

  151. RexLibris says:

    FastOil: He will carry the team’s luggage. Strong like dumptruck.

    I believe the line is “strong like bull, beautiful like tractor”. Or at least that’s what my Ukrainian friend told me her grandmother used to say.

  152. SaskFan says:

    The more and more I think about it, I wouldn’t be against keeping gagner IF and only IF gagner proves that he can keep his head above water with Hall against the toughs and the Nuge line proves they can produce with out Hall. If we go into next year with something like

    Gagner-Hall-Perron
    Nuge-Dubinsky-Yakupov
    Gordon-Lander-Kulemin
    Hendricks-Smyth-Pitlick

    Markov-Petry
    Fayne-Shultz/Marincin
    Marincin/Shultz-Ference

    Scrivens
    Fasth

    That might not be a playoff team but a lot better than now.

  153. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    RexLibris: strong like bull, beautiful like tractor”

    RexLibris: I believe the line is “strong like bull, beautiful like tractor”. Or at least that’s what my Ukrainian friend told me her grandmother used to say.

    Lots of google hits for WW2 variant “Strong, like bull. Smart, like tractor. Beautiful, like KV-2″.

  154. Marc says:

    This is awesome

    Boring Sean Monahan ‏@boringmonahan 8m

    I’ve tried to draw the Calgary Flames logo again. This is by far my best attempt. http://tinyurl.com/nvftwag

  155. hunter1909 says:

    delooper: Given the salaries hockey-players make, most wives realize they can travel wherever they like, have 2nd or 3rd homes. The city your husband works in doesn’t have to be a big deal.

    You try to talk like an expert, but in reality you just make up what you want to happen, then hammer the facts to suit your narrative.

  156. bendelson says:

    Kudos to Ryan Ellis – that rat bastard!

    Not for the hit from behind of course but for his reaction to the Oilers coming after him directly after the hit. It seemed clear to me that his instincts had him briefly protecting Eberle from what was coming before taking part in the skirmish (as was his obligation after the hit).

    It was a moment of true sportsmanship and I think it’s worth mentioning.

    Let’s hope the Eberle is just very sore today and no real damage was done.

  157. FastOil says:

    RexLibris: I believe the line is “strong like bull, beautiful like tractor”. Or at least that’s what my Ukrainian friend told me her grandmother used to say.

    An acquaintance used to say ‘strong like bull, smart like dumptruck’ which I thought was funny.

  158. Bag of Pucks says:

    dangilitis:
    I will also point out that just as Gagner has not met expectations of a #2C, so too has RNH not met the loftier expectations of being a NHL #1C. Just as critical for the Oilers’ future success as acquiring a #2C, probably moreso, is RNH’s ability to get to another level. If Gagner is upgraded, but RNH can’t handle the #1C spot, the Oilers will still be on the outside looking in. A big part of this issue is the PP production that has faltered teamwide, but evens needs to be back to 2013 level as well.

    I agree with the Nuge development question. For me, this is all the more reason why the Oil HAVE to land an elite C in the draft.

    1) No team is going to trade or let go to free agency an outscoring 1C or 2C. They’re too valuable. If by chance, the Avs do let Stastny go to FA thinking they have O’Reilly and MacKinnon in hand, the Oil will be competing against 20 other teams wanting the same thing.

    2) Both Gagner and Nuge are lacking in size. Granted, Gagner is not small but he doesn’t play a physical enough game to match up well against the Keslers, Richards and Handzus’ of this league.

    3) Take the bpa C in this draft and a) you should be able to replace Gagner with a bigger better two way player at the least & b) you have an outside chance at landing a legitimate 1C that can push Nuge down the depth chart to become a soft mins 2C with great defensive chops.

    This year’s pick is huge, and I for one, am not particularly interested in the team winning some meaningless games down the stretch if it moves them out of a slot whereby they can address a massive need. That said, they’re not going to lose on purpose at this point (there’s no Dubnyk we can throw in to guarantee some Ls) so the record will be what it is. They’re playing for bonus incentives now.

    Btw, on Nuge who’s often compared to Dastyuk, I think Pavel was at his best as as 2C compliment to Yzerman’s 1C. Whether it was Fedorov or Datsyuk, Stevie Wonder was great at taking on the toughs to free up his Russian comrades for some soft mins. I struggle to see RNH outplaying a big C with size and skill like a Backes or Getzlaf.

  159. Hammers says:

    So Yak & Ebs are both out for a few games plus Hendricks . Who does RNH get ??? . Eakins keeps the Gags line but who plays on the other lines . Guessing game . Gordon , Jones , Smyth ; RNH , Lander & Pitlick ; Gazdic , Smack & Larsen are the 4th

  160. DeadmanWaking says:

    delooper: Lots of teams try to sign free agents. Sometimes the negotiations are public, sometimes they’re not. Some succeed and some fail. So what? It happens everywhere. Only people in Edmonton turn that into a persecution complex.

    Exhibit A is how much we paid Souray to come here to sit on a bench to recuperate while the team played itself out of contention by mid-November. At least, that was how he viewed it.

    There are a cluster of small factors that haven’t made Edmonton a free-agent travel destination. The winters are darker and colder. We have one of the worst travel schedules. There are certain careers that don’t translate well to being two weeks from everywhere, e.g. runway fashion model. We have super-knowledgeable fans who talk about hardly anything else, of which a sizeable constituency are the boorish, smash-mouth types who consistently run our finesse defensemen out of town. We’re not exactly poised for a quick getaway to Hawaii (7 hours), Paris (13 hours), or Cancun (6 hours). A quick hop to Anchorage is, however, a mere three hours. Only 1h45m to the Knife!

    None of this matters much when the team is winning. It matters a lot when we’re tanking for taking. Fish tanking. And finally–the icing on the cake–we tried to pretend we didn’t have to work a little bit harder to help our players settle in. Peca was livid that he got advice to settle his family in a quaint village on the fringe (forget where this was) which only served to make his wife feel twice as isolated.

    We depend far more on our procurement system than a team like the Rangers to pull ourselves out of the ditch. However, due to our past community ownership structure, we didn’t invest well in winter tires. Tambi actually did some good work shoring up our winter survival kit. Unfortunately, he somehow forgot during the process that these are emergency measures, not a permanent lifestyle choice. Most drivers tend to rack up more miles on the motor than on the winch. Not Tambi. Apparently, we were going to winch our way back to town one damn tree after another. Tarzan meets galoshes. Spider van.

    When the Rangers slide into the ditch, they have a Platinum AAA card that Edmonton certainly lacks.

    These disadvantages are not large, but the chicken and egg effect acts as a potent multiplier. To have a team that depends on its farm system as much as any other team in the league, and then to have a farm system a full team short of a complete ladder does not inspire player-agent confidence.

    We keep calling it “the” rebuild to help forget just how deep a hole we had dug for ourselves. Then the new owner spends a year flashing his True North Platinum AAA card and fails to bag so much as a dwarf sperm whale.

    Let’s hope that Marincin is the first convincing indicator of many that our basement rebuild is finally alive and kicking and yelling for air.

    Meanwhile, the duration of the dark cloud has become a talent repellent in its own right.

    The way I see it, our roads are as good as any other team’s, but our ditches are twice as deep.

    Japanese Story has a nice sequence about trying to use a winch in the Australian desert to pull a vehicle out of a sand bog. It’s called a “dead man anchor” and it involves a lot of digging. And sweating. And urinating. Of precious fluids. Fortunately for our heroes–in this movie–they’re able to dig a deep enough hole without running into a permafrost layer. A nice geographical bonus.

    For this reason I’m leery about viewing our rebuild as a narrow window of glory. Taylor Hall! All used up! Well, abrupt success is often followed by abrupt failure, and abrupt failure mires us in a deep ditch for twice as long as the next team.

    Better that our pups on the blueline become a force forever.

    But no. We’ve still got a twitchy finger on the nitrous oxide. Because cloud.

    It’s interesting that so many Edmontonians subscribe to the belief system that how hard you apply the gas to escape a patch of black ice is rightfully proportional to how long you’ve been trying.

    While it’s not a full-on persecution complex, there’s certainly a frustration complex under the fur hood.

  161. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Why do I get the feeling these injuries wouldn’t be a factor if we were 9th or 10th?

  162. gcw_rocks says:

    Ducey,

    Jonathan Willis over at oilers nation and Ryan batty at copper n blue both recently did articles showing the underlying stats are not improving. Some are actually getting worse.

  163. gcw_rocks says:

    SaskFan,

    Interesting. Here is what I would try to do.

    CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER Oilers 2014/15

    FORWARDS
    Taylor Hall ($6.000m) / Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6.000m) / Jordan Eberle ($6.000m) 
    David Perron ($3.813m) / Mikhail Grabovski ($5.000m) / Nail Yakupov ($0.925m) 
    Matt Hendricks ($1.850m) / Boyd Gordon ($3.000m) / Nikolai Kulemin ($2.800m) 
    Roman Horak ($0.605m) / Anton Lander ($0.851m) / Mark Arcobello ($1.060m) 
    Jesse Joensuu ($0.950m) / 

    DEFENSEMEN
    Andrei Markov ($8.000m) / Jeff Petry ($3.800m) 
    Ron Hainsey ($4.000m) / Justin Schultz ($2.874m) 
    Martin Marincin ($0.730m) / Andrew Ference ($3.250m) 
    Oscar Klefbom ($0.894m) / 

    GOALTENDERS
    Viktor Fasth ($2.900m) 
    Ben Scrivens ($2.300m) 

    —— CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter) (estimations for 2014-15)
    SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; 
    CAP PAYROLL: $67,601,292; BONUSES: $3,340,000
    CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $3,498,708

    Gagner trade return could replace Grabovski or Kulimen. I haven’t accounted for that. Wild ass guesses about what the rfas would get.

  164. RexLibris says:

    Hammers:
    So Yak & Ebs are both out for a few games plus Hendricks . Who does RNH get ???. Eakins keeps the Gags line but who plays on the other lines . Guessing game . Gordon , Jones , Smyth ; RNH , Lander & Pitlick ;Gazdic , Smack & Larsen are the 4th

    I’d guess he’ll rotate Pitlick and Lander with Nugent-Hopkins and maybe give him Smyth and Jones for some occasional veteran coverage depending on which of the first two are playing with him.

    Either way, it’ll likely be a very fluid lineup in-game.

    I just hope the team can get a bit healthier for the Calgary game. It’d be nice to have all the guns blazing for that one night.

  165. icecastles says:

    RexLibris: I believe the line is “strong like bull, beautiful like tractor”. Or at least that’s what my Ukrainian friend told me her grandmother used to say.

    Yeah but we spell it “Traktor”, not “tractor”. Then we spit and curse the name of comrade Horcov.

  166. Captain Smarmy says:

    So the Blades win the WHL bantam lottery. Of course, they traded that pick away for crap that didn’t help them win anything. Next year they’ll be terrible and they still don’t have their first round pick. They’re gonna fire the GM that brought this on them and the owner is gonna hire his son to be the GM.

    Somehow, they’ll still be more competent than the Oilers.

  167. art vandelay says:

    ” Edmonton is a lovely place and there’s plenty of industrious, energetic people there. It makes “trendy” places like Vancouver and Victoria look lethargic and disabled in comparison.”

    Um, no, it’s not. It’s a dump. But the rest of your statement is accurate.

    You also seem unable to distinguish between desirable cities such as Chicago, NY, LA and even Dallas, and the city NHLers routinely name as the least-desirable FA destination.

    And anyone who thinks winter in Calgary is in any way comparable to winter in Edmonton needs to put down his Rod Phillips Rose-Colored Glasses, stop rubbing the big toe on the Gretzky statue, and spend a couple days in Cowtown. For the weather-challenged, they’re called “chinooks,” they happen regularly, and alleviate the severity of winter. There’s just no comparison, really. I assume the same people who think Edmonton and “Calgree” winters are comparable pronounce it “CAL-Gare-ee” and hail from Compere or Redwater or, um, northeast Edmonton.

    In a cap world, with the amount of $$ and length of term within a tight range, Edmonton will almost always lose even in a two-city choice for most NHLers.

    But I”m sure The New Arena Will Fix Everything ™.

  168. theres oil in virginia says:

    What a bunch of wusses! Hockey players are afraid of the cold!? I thought they were real men. They’re not even there all winter!

    I bet that new arena will help a good bit. Good crowd, good facilities, good team. It’s coming. I’ve been surprised this year, when watching the Oilers play in small hockey-markets in the US. Many times, the crowd is audibly chanting “Let’s go Oilers”, and that’s while they suck! This team will be the trendy team to be a fan of soon.

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