My wife is always asking me ‘what exactly did the guy say’ because she doesn’t trust my ability to relay subtle nuance in conversation. I suspect she’s right—my tendency to embellish is legendary behind these four walls and hyperbole makes daily visits. With that as the backdrop, let’s see if we can come up with exactly what the guy said from yesterday’s MacT media avail.
CRAIG MACTAVISH SPEAKS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS
- “My other mandate coming in here was to turn the team over to the core group of people who are going to lead us out of the malaise. Most of those players (core group) if not all of them have had career years.”
I’ll agree that Taylor Hall and David Perron had quality seasons, and Eberle delivered in his role. Is that MOST of the core? The possession numbers are a concern pretty much across the board, and Justin Schultz’ season was a train wreck defensively. MacT isn’t honor bound to tell the truth in the media conference format, but if he believes these things to be true then it’s a bad sign for the Oilers. I agree that the core group is outstanding, but beyond the boxcars talk of career years is best left for the future—perhaps next year.
- “In my mind I’d like to add a very high-end defenseman.”
That quote could come from any of the 30 NHL cities, the trick is adding one. MacTavish seems to have something in mind, so my guess is he’ll be mining areas where there’s disenchantment with top flight defensemen. A list might include Dustin Byfuglien, Dion Phaneuf, Christian Ehrhoff, Brian Campbell and Alex Edler, but one longs for the days when the club could find a Staios or Hejda lying in the ditch by the side of the road.
- On adding a high-end defenseman and the cost: “That’s a question I’ll be asking. There are lots of assets that we have, in developing defensemen.”
I wonder if the “three-for-one” I’ve been pushing since the turn of the century is finally near. MacT seems confident that he can get this done without touching the core—what would it look like? I suspect it would involve Marincin, who is young enough to play for a decade and established enough to project into the starting lineup next season.
- MacT spoke at length about Justin Schultz, saying he’d have no problem getting his name on a long-term deal.
They love Justin Schultz, but I’m not sure why. He’s playing way too many minutes, doesn’t possess a power-play bomb and is a chaos blue. Is that what they’re going to build around? I would suggest this is a genuine concern and the contract is likely to run wildly out of time with actual value.
- “Jeff Petry, for all the criticism he took, had a career year in a lot of statistical categories. He’s a developing player as well.”
Yep. Agree completely. It’s encouraging to me, because Petry might be the player other teams ask after in trade. It would be unwise to rob Peter to pay Paul in such a manner.
- “If we have to go young (on defense) we go young!”
Agree again. If the Oilers begin the season with Marincin-Petry, Klefbom-Schultz, Ference-Greene there are going to be more growing pains. However, I’d rather see that development than trading Marincin or a mid-level option who can help a little in the short term.
- “Don’t do anything stupid”
Many Oiler fans feel MacT has already done a few stupid things. Offering Clarkson crazy money, dealing Smid and signing Gagner to a $4.8 million dollar contract are often mentioned by detractors. I would argue the Gagner contract turned out badly due to Kassian, but the Clarkson contract could have been a disaster and the Smid trade left the team without a veteran hand on the blue. It was an uneven rookie season for the GM.
- In regard to first-round selection: “I’ll entertain all offers. We’re charged with defining value. I went in to last year’s draft with the same sense, but there was nothing that tempted me.”
I think they keep the pick until it’s time to take it, and if Ekblad is there Edmonton will draft him. Same goes for Draisaitl. If both are off the board (unlikely), they might trade down but I’m thinking the chances are less than 5%.
- “It’s more individual preference in the top 4 or 5 players (at this year’s draft).”
This statement is designed to be deliberately vague, but the problem is Jim Matheson tweeted out weeks ago that the team wants one of Ekblad or Draisaitl. MacT has to get his ducks in order in this regard, because it does hurt the franchise. If Calgary knows your list, they can probably plan accordingly. Burke may know (if we have the intel, he had it before we had it) that Edmonton is going to take Draisaitl, which gives him many weeks to shop Bennett for value.
- “Our philosophy is to draft the player who will have the greatest impact on his team over time.”
This is funny to me, because GMs believe it. The real answer is “the scouts are going to come to us with a list and we’ll do some due diligence. Last season I was taken with Darnell Nurse as a person, and that decided things.” I’m not saying it’s a bad way to scout—I like the Oilers draft record since 2008—but I think MacT’s scouting department may be more advisory than decisioning. A good thing? Maybe. I’d prefer to have the scouts pull the trigger.
Sail on, Mechel Chelyabinsk. I thought you were pretty cool, and felt there was a player there, but it didn’t work out well enough to continue. I hope he’s glad to have had the experience, it’s never a good idea to reach 50 and not experience everything you wanted to (I would have, but Valerie Bertinelli wouldn’t return my phone calls!).
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Draft lottery, MacT, three-for-one.
- Jay McKee, head coach/GM of the Champion Spruce Grove Saints. It’s a helluva program they’ve built, we’ll talk about it.
- Kent Simpson, Oil Kings color commentator. We’ll talk OK’s and their next series, and the Masters! Kent was there this year, we’ll get some flavor.
- Alex Thomas, Oilers Rig. Oilers moves this summer, do they trade the pick?
- Brian King, PDO. We’ll preview the Eskimos season and talk about the CFL draft.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. One Day at a Time!