BRIDGING THE GAP, AND CONNOR MCDAVID

Craig MacTavish has a massive kit bag of things to do this summer, and Oilers Nation waits for actual NHL players in droves. I’m wondering if it’s going to happen. In order for the Oilers to make real inroads into the Western Conference, they need real, veteran solutions:

  • Center Mikhail Grabovski
  • Left Wing Nikolai Kulemin
  • Right Wing David Moss
  • Defenseman Dion Phaneuf

Given that level of help, I think we could reasonably argue that the Edmonton Oilers could be heading in a good direction. Men like Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones and Nick Schultz out, that gang of four in. Jonathan Willis has a brilliant article at Oilers Nation that frames the issue perfectly.

THE WILLIS SOLUTION

willis linesI like Jonathan’s solutions, save for keeping Draisaitl in the NHL. For me, strengthening center (Nuge, Grabovski, Gordon, Arcobello/Lander) and keeping teenagers out of the position are real positives. I’d also keep Boyd Gordon on the 3line, allowing the 4line to work in youngsters like Tyler Pitlick. If you take that group, and add a veteran defender like Phaneuf, then we’re talking about a team that can compete with Calgary, Vancouver and several other western teams. That team, as constructed by Jon, with Phaneuf on blue, might push all the way to 20th in the NHL, and maybe Oiler fans would have a deadline of addition.

It isn’t perfect, God knows, but it’s competitive.

I don’t believe it will happen. Why? It would mean a lot of ‘give’ from the development side. Phaneuf would cost you an asset plus a trip from #3 overall to #8, and adding Grabovski/Kulemin/Moss is a pretty penny, too. Remember, these guys come to Edmonton ONLY for mondo cash and an extra year or two tacked on to the back of the deal. That’s established.

button smokeCraig Button frames the issue in an interesting way, and I don’t agree that they are three or four years away from the playoffs, but the idea that the Oilers can make a couple of tweaks and bam! playoffs is not credible. A summer of adding (say) Dmitry Kulikov in the Phaneuf slot, Leon Draisaitl in the Grabovski position, and not addressing the two-way winger gap will mean another year of misery. I don’t think there’s much we can say in defense of a small summer, save for the fact that the rebuild won’t be compromised.

And maybe that’s enough. Maybe the Oilers are wise to trade Gagner for Kulikov, draft Leon Draisaitl, give Anton Lander and Mark Arcobello and Tyler Pitlick and Steve Pinizzotto a season to establish themselves. The fan base will develop more rage, we’ll bitch and moan about the arena, and I’ll write about Connor McDavid. McDavid’s NHLE is 82gp, 13-31-44—the point total is close to Hall’s (46) in his draft year. There is little doubt he’s a generational talent, and the Oilers must have a book on him. Is it worth one more year of suck?

If the Edmonton Oilers finish 28th again next season, and draft third overall, do they have the assets to move up from three to one? Maybe. It would depend on the team at number one, but at some point the current center of the cluster may give way to yet another. Incredible. Either way, the idea of hanging on for another season of suck is beyond noxious for you and me, but for the Edmonton Oilers it is a possibility. The Edmonton Oilers may be 12 months away from becoming Connor McDavid’s team. The actions of Craig MacTavish this summer will tell us how they feel about another winter of discontent.

There was a time when I would have balked at the idea of Craig MacTavish flushing a season. Acquisitions like Mark Fraser and his postseason presser give me pause. There is little to no evidence that this team turned north in the final 30 games, and the spin was clumsy—impossible from such a gifted orator, but it happened just the same. I entered last summer with hope and anticipation, but the postseason media conference and the late-season activity leave me ashen.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

hall21This morning at 10, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. The USHL is emerging as a real player in the entry draft, and the 2014 edition has some terrific prospects.
  • Graham Fleming, Vimy Ridge. We’ll talk about the importance of including all student athletes in advanced programs, and major progression in short time frames can change a career.
  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll have our weekly chat, this time about Oil Kings, changes over summer, and the draft.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Baseball as we enter Memorial Day weekend, and a league that forces its players to negotiate over player safety.

10-1260 via text, and @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!

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80 Responses to "BRIDGING THE GAP, AND CONNOR MCDAVID"

  1. OilClog says:

    Hall is going to be a monster when he’s playing for the Rangers ;(

  2. Clay says:

    I’m no Craig Button fan, but I believe he’s closer to the truth than most fans would like to believe. There’s just too much in free agency and trades that has to break near perfectly for the team to add all the pieces that should’ve been put in place during the Tambo era.

    I just don’t see how a rebuild can be successful when it’s done via playing catch-up.

    Regarding moving up to get Connor McDavid, I can’t imagine that conversation even begins without the name Taylor Hall. And my guess is that if the Oilers had #3 overall and added Hall, that might not be enough.

  3. RexLibris says:

    Wow, LT.

    Getting the fan base prepped for the 2015 draft already? And I thought you were an optimist!

    ;)

    Seriously though, if the GM of the team sees only two options – to sell out prospects for quick-fixes that would only barely move the needle but give the appearance of action, or to take what is available by way of draft and small-increment trades knowing that this will ultimately yield better results – then I’d hope they have the courage of their convictions to choose the wiser path.

    This, of course, assumes only two options. There are obviously more on the table, and like most things available actions can be placed more on a spectrum than a simple either/or dilemma.

    Gagner for Kulikov? I thought maybe I was just dreaming with that suggestion.

    As for Moss, he played many seasons in Calgary. I’m not sure he’d require a massive overpay to lure here. Gordon seems to like it here, and unlike some, I’m not of the opinion that his contract is out of order with his value.

  4. Rondo says:

    Connor McDavid is another small forward.

  5. Racki says:

    Very much on the Phaneuf wagon. Could Toronto move him if Klefbom or Marincin go the other way (plus, but not including a big name or the #3)? If so, I would do it. I know a lot of people wouldn’t, but my reasoning is a fairly complete D man would help this team starting now and for the term of the deal, possibly (even if there is drop off). Also is the top end for Marincin above Phaneuf, or do we just want it to be? How long will it take for them to reach their potential? How long will it take them to reach that while playing with other guys who are young and still developing? Would having a Phaneuf type here not go a long way in progressing the remaining D prospects? I think so.

    That #3 is gold tho as it’s the ticket to the other major need this team has. Toronto would want more than Marincin or Klefbom of course but maybe it gets them talking.

  6. D says:

    LT,

    Got to agree with Rex and no selling of prospects for the appearances of quick fixes. I would be curious to know opinions if adding McDavid next year would move the needle that much in terms of getting this team closer to the playoffs.

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think JW is, in part, assuming the Oilers keep the pick in the NHL regardless. He mouths nice about “if he’s ready to make the jump” but then resigns to fate and pencils him in.

  8. Woodguy says:

    Rondo:
    Connor McDavid is another small forward.

    Oilers Fans Deserve The Oilers

  9. Henry says:

    A bold, confident (and desperate) move would be to trade next year’s first for a top pairing defenseman.

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    dark visions LT, dark visions.

    I think you may be “pessimism pete” reading into your two factors here (late season acquisitions and end of season presser).

    the season was long over when Fraser came to town. If they sign him (and they might), I’ll freak out. I was sad to see Harti go, but to be honest I was much more concerned about Eakins playing Fraser as much as he did than I was about MacT getting him.

    with the presser, I recently went over a couple of reasons why I’m not ready to take it as stated. to review.

    1. we tend to see optimistically, esp. coming off periods we label as horrifyingly bad.
    2. we heard all year basically that things were getting better
    3. Eakins said toward the end of the season he was basically lying to keep the spirits up when saying things were getting better in the dark times; to this we can add pitching goodness to decision makers.
    4. they have to summer to realize things were horrible

    it boils down to “lying to self” and “lying to others”

  11. Hall Awaits says:

    http://capgeek.com/armchair-gm/rosters/?team_id=-1&order_by=BEST_SCORE

    This top one has had me chuckling all morning…

  12. Caramel Obvious says:

    Unless something drastic happens Button is clearly right. Worse, any attempt to speed up the rebuild could destroy it completely. In which case you are talking another decade or so. That’s a fact that must be faced.

    That said, I like Willis’ plan. The best part of it is that he has dispensed with the irrational numbering system of lines. But if you want to number those lines, the Gordon line is the third line and the Draisaitl line is the fourth one. But using numbers puts you in a conceptual cage and limits your options. Willis’ way is better.

    The only unreasonable part of the plan is the idea you could get Wilson for Gagner or that there is a chance in hell the Oilers sign Penner or Kulemin. But that’s the whole plan. So we are returned to the danger because a similar plan with different players could end up a lot worse.

    Willis lists seven potential fits in the Penner/Kulemin spot but they are the only two that strike me as legitimately good. In any case I’d be quite surprised if they added two wingers. They need to, but they won’t.

    In the end, outside help isn’t enough. This team needs Hopkins, Yakupov, and a Dman (maybe two) to go supernova. If they don’t the playoffs are a pipe dream.

  13. russ99 says:

    IMO we’re 6-8 veteran additions away from a playoff spot.

    I think we can do that in one offseason if MacT is creative enough in FA and with trades.

    Connor McDavid shoudn’t be an option. If he is, there will be a major housecleaning involved.

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    russ99: Connor McDavid shoudn’t be an option. If he is, there will be a major housecleaning involved.

    you’d have to think that if McDavid is the plan… Katz has given the green light and the whatever the group (ie. mgt and coaches) is that starts the season, is the group that starts the next, with McDavid.

  15. VanOil says:

    If you are worried about too many trips going to the Candy store ruining your teeth. Stop going to the Candy store.

    Trade this years 1st + Gagner for Tyler Myers and Mikhail Grigorenko

    Trade 2105 1st + Fedun for Kulikov and a 2014 2nd.

    You get two competent NHL defenders that could become elite in short order. Add a UFA center of your choice to help out Gordon and stop build through the draft for a few years.

    I would trade the excitement of the draft for the excitement of winning a few more hockey games. I agree a do nothing summer is unacceptable. I am sure what ever happens won’t be enough to get the Oilers into the playoffs next year, I am scared it will be enough to doom them to many more years of suck.

    Wow the lost/last 8 years have been bad. 3 more years of suck is a heart breaking thought but not a unimaginable one.

  16. oliveoilers says:

    The fact that we’re even talking about the Oilers tanking again, even for a phenom, is a sad indictment of the indoctrination of failure this organisation propegates. I would honestly take 20th place next year over drafting McDavid. Why? Because even if we got him, we wouldn’t know what to do with him. There are no, absolutely no, guaruntees that if we drafted him, we’d be on the upswing, anymore than we were after drafting Hall. We’d have another 80pt + scorer on a shitty team with the analytics guys dissecting his game and questioning the drafting/scouting process when the truth is quite simply: We have grown too accomstomed to losing. So accostomed that it is ingrained into the very psyche of everybody from management to fans. We’ve gone from ‘There’s always next year’ to ‘There’s always the draft after this one’.

    I pine for the day we are merely ‘mediocre’. That would be progress. But say we did draft McDavid? Do you trust the current management to make a trade for peices to put around him?

  17. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    My goal posts – there is no way we select McDavid and there is no way we are in the 2015 playoffs. Those are the boundaries happily referred to as purgatory. We are simply trying to assemble pieces for now.

    If Lowe and McTavish are half the competitive spirits many suggest on here (I certainly believe they are), there is absolutely no way they are pointing the needle south to try and snag McDavid. The personal shame they carry for this season alone must cause countless sleepness nights. High drafting is a true reflection of organizational ineptitude and competitive irrelevance. Time to exit this position on the NHL ladder for a decade and a half or so and I think the line to join that brigade starts behind McTavish.The only question is will he succeed, not what direction he wants to go.

  18. Caramel Obvious says:

    russ99:
    IMO we’re 6-8 veteran additions away from a playoff spot.

    I think we can do that in one offseason if MacT is creative enough in FA and with trades.

    Connor McDavid shoudn’t be an option. If he is, there will be a major housecleaning involved.

    Adding 6-8 veterans in one offseason would be the greatest offseason in NHL history. That’s a completely unrealistic expectation.

  19. boopronger says:

    I think the oilers are one top pairing d man away from playoffs.

  20. Racki says:

    oliveoilers,

    Ya I agree. I’m sorry, but how many teams in the NHL have spent more than half a decade acquiring top 3 picks? Do Oilers fans actually want to keep seeing this happen? No thank you to McDavid. I’m sure he will be a phenomenal player and I bet he’d be great here but I see another bottom 3 finish as yet another black mark on the organization.

    This team is already an embarrassment and you WILL lose guys like Hall if you keep showing you dont want to go into win mode yet.

    The Oilers already have a great set of young building blocks. We’re not assembling the all Star team.. We are assembling a viable hockey team (or attempting to, anyways). Time to pull the plug (well, it’s past that time) on the high picks. A 20th overall finish would be good for the team. Progress. Finishing last again? I think that would officially end me cheering for the team after doing so since they came into the NHL.

  21. Ribs says:

    Sounds like many are pushing Gagner out the door these days. I’d still like to see him on the wing before a trade. I think people are forgetting that he is a pretty capable offensive NHL player. Surely he must see his buddy Cogliano in Anaheim and wonder if a move to wing would be of benefit to him as well.

  22. leadfarmer says:

    VanOil,

    I dont think Florida wants our first round pick in 91 years even if it is likely to still be in the lottery.

  23. VanOil says:

    leadfarmer:
    VanOil,

    I dont think Florida wants our first round pick in 91 years even if it is likely to still be in the lottery.

    Florida do have a vested interest in keeping the Oilers from obtaining the modern day record for suckitude.

  24. j says:

    Ribs,

    Cogs is a much better skater, has some physical gumption and has better defensive awareness. He wasn’t great on f/o and didn’t distribute the puck very well. He was an obvious choice for working the boards. Gagner is a more creative thinker of the game, more offensively minded, and a wonderful passer. Much better in the middle of the ice (and really quite a terrible option for the wall). Unfortunately, Gagner hasn’t learned the two way requirements of the centre position hence the suggestion that he be moved to a team that can overcome his deficits. The Oilers just aren’t currently in a position to succeed with Gagner and need to start moving some of the chess pieces around or we’ll be having this same discussion in 4 years.

  25. Dicky94 says:

    russ99,

    I agree with you. We should be using this years first as well as next years to bring in some really good veterans . If they blow another season away in hopes for McDavid, not only will the fans give up on the Oilers but so will the youg core of players. Enough is enough already! All we have talked about for eight years is draft lottery and prospects. Lets start talking about playoffs next year and I believe it can be done.

  26. Jordan says:

    Here’s the deal LT,

    You make sure that Dennis King get his full time slot tomorrow morning even though you’re only on for an hour, and I will personally guarantee that your son Marc Pouliot will find employment with an NHL team next season.

    Are you in?

  27. Bag of Pucks says:

    For the following reasons, I don’t think there’s any way the Oil land McDavid.

    1) GMs strongly subscribe to the maxim that the team getting the best player wins the transaction. No one is trading out of 1ov to give the Oilers a generational player.McDavid would have to pull a ‘Lindros’ to force that type of trade. Would a player forcing a trade, choose Edmonton as their preferred destination?

    In short, the Oilers would have to finish in the basement and then win the lottery to get him.

    2) We got rid of Dubnyk and actually may have decent goaltending now. Dubie – the gift that keeps on giving ; )

    3) Buff, NYI, Carolina and FLA are all REALLY bad teams still. WSH & NJ (their leading scorers this season were Elias and Jagr!) may be joining them next year. There will be plenty of competition in the McDavid derby.

  28. godot10 says:

    It is NOT a one player draft next year. There are two or three other franchise type players at the top of the draft besides McDavid.

    The Oilers can improve 15 points, halfway to the playoffs, and still be picking in the top five.

    I think JW is a little optimistic about what can be done. I don’t think Kulemin will be available to the Oilers. Try, but I doubt that it happens.

    I’d maybe target Rene Bourque and Penner. Bourque has two years left on his contract. He will begin playing for his next one.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    “Kulemin” or “Penner”, “Gagner” or “Bailey”, Yakupov (protected line, OZ starts)
    Bourque, Gordon, Perron (more balanced zone starts, a cycle line)
    Hendricks, Lander, Arcobello (the Marcus Kruger line. D-zone starts against weaker lines of the opposition).
    Gadzic, Pitlick

  29. Kosmo Kraemer says:

    Just can’t see the Oilers making the playoffs in 2014-15. I’m hoping for a 1st pairing d-man, a couple of big wingers for the second and third lines. In total four new faces that have talent and toughness in adequate doses to move up the standings to 19th or so overall and about tenth or so in the western conference. Then MacT can make another move at the trade deadline, after he sees how things have worked out and then maybe the needed list will be manageable for the 2015-16 season.

    Just can’t see things working out that good though. And, hey, I’m an optimist.

  30. Racki says:

    godot10,

    I like your additions. I think the Oil need a big blue name still though. Since trade resources are thin, may have to throw money at Markov. Not the most popular choice, but I don’t see much improvement if the blueline doesn’t improve in a hurry. Maybe they could pry Ehrhoff out of Buffalo somehow instead. Less talent, but would still improve the D here. Probably want someone with a shorter deal though

  31. hags9k says:

    If I’m Katz, the tank is on.

    Sorry guys, the arena is just getting started and the moves to get us to playoff competition similar to Willis’ suggestions will cost assets which will be needed to become a perennial cup contender. Such as this year’s 1st, Marincin, Eberle, etc.

    So another year gets flushed and we see if we get lucky with McDavid. The only thing worse that I can imagine to come from all these years of hell, is that we become a perennial wild card team, who loses to Dallas or Colorado in round 1. We have to build a cup team from these ashes, not a playoff team.

    I’m sorry, this hurts to say, and last summer I would have said hell no, we are making the loffs. This season was such a nadir, I no longer have any illusions about how far away this team is. 2013-14 was such a crushing failure. Bomb’er for Conner.

    GOILERS!!

  32. Lowetide says:

    Jordan:
    Here’s the deal LT,

    You make sure that Dennis King get his full time slot tomorrow morning even though you’re only on for an hour, and I will personally guarantee that your son Marc Pouliot will find employment with an NHL team next season.

    Are you in?

    Done! Anything you want me to ask Dennis?

  33. John Chambers says:

    Short of another veteran 2-way Centre, the forwards IMO are not the issue.

    The big additions have to happen on Defense. Phaneuf, Letang, Markov, Niskanen, Boyle, Coburn, Ehrhoff, etc. We need two of the above.

    As has been posted above, a purposeful fall for McDavid posits less than a 20% chance of succeeding. This offseason has to be all about veteran D (2x) and a C to push the others down the depth chart.

    After that any Winniks, Kulemins, Penners, or Moss’ are a bonus.

  34. hags9k says:

    John Chambers,

    I’d say if they stand pat on D, it’s closer to 50%.

  35. commonfan14 says:

    “McDavid’s NHLE is 82gp, 13-31-44—the point total is close to Hall’s (46) in his draft year.”

    Anyone know what Hall’s Draft Year-1 season of 63 38-52-90 works out to for NHLE? (I’m guessing 39 or so?)

    It’s also interesting to compare their Draft Year-2 seasons where they each turned 16 (Hall in November, McDavid in January). Hall went 63 45-39-84 compared to McDavid’s 63 25-41-66.

    I’d love to think of McDavid as the kind of player who could single-handedly fix everything wrong with a team (and it’s certainly possible he makes a huge jump next season that puts him head and shoulders above Hall into the “generational” category), but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a sure thing.

  36. hags9k says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: you’d have to think that if McDavid is the plan… Katz has given the green light and the whatever the group (ie. mgt and coaches) is that starts the season, is the group that starts the next, with McDavid.

    Or, he has identified a coaching staff that greatly increases his CM chances and so stays with them one more year?

    I admit this is far fetched. What a great day of being an Oiler fan. Throw away another season, conspiracy theories, outright hopelessness.

    Somebody please tell me it’s going to be ok. Tell me we will have nice things and I’ll get to see LT’s balance picture…

    BROOKS WAS HERE.

  37. Lowetide says:

    commonfan14:
    “McDavid’s NHLE is 82gp, 13-31-44—the point total is close to Hall’s (46) in his draft year.”

    Anyone know what Hall’s Draft Year-1 season of 63 38-52-90 works out to for NHLE?(I’m guessing 39 or so?)

    It’s also interesting to compare their Draft Year-2 seasons where they each turned 16 (Hall in November, McDavid in January).Hall went 63 45-39-84 compared to McDavid’s 63 25-41-66.

    I’d love to think of McDavid as the kind of player who could single-handedly fix everything wrong with a team (and it’s certainly possible he makes a huge jump next season that puts him head and shoulders above Hall into the “generational” category), but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a sure thing.

    15-20-35.

  38. Bar_Qu says:

    godot10:
    It is NOT a one player draft next year.There are two or three other franchise type players at the top of the draft besides McDavid.

    The Oilers can improve 15 points, halfway to the playoffs, and still be picking in the top five.

    I think JW is a little optimistic about what can be done.I don’t think Kulemin will be available to the Oilers.Try, but I doubt that it happens.

    I’d maybe target Rene Bourque and Penner.Bourquehas two years left on his contract. He will begin playing for his next one.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    “Kulemin” or “Penner”, “Gagner” or “Bailey”, Yakupov(protected line, OZ starts)
    Bourque, Gordon, Perron (more balanced zone starts, a cycle line)
    Hendricks, Lander, Arcobello (the Marcus Kruger line.D-zone starts against weaker lines of the opposition).
    Gadzic, Pitlick

    Rene Bourque would drive Eakins mad with his ability to disappear from offense for weeks at a time and continue less than appealing defensive play all the time. Think a better Ryan Jones, but not by much. If Bourque is the target, then the target is set far too low.

  39. Bag of Pucks says:

    Realistically, I think the Oilers would have to sign Stastny for this team to have any sort of realistic shot at making the playoffs next season.

    Phaneuf alone isn’t enough to turn around the Oil, but you if you’re able to add a legitimate 1C in free agency and can then run Nuge as your soft mins 2C, the forward lines look a lot more balanced and you could rationalize parting with an asset to get Dion. I hate the contract, but the Hawks found a way to get rid of Brian Campbell so anything’s possible I guess.

    Best case scenario (wishful thinking?): If the Oilers could add Ekblad, Stastny and a nice two W to compliment Gordon and Hendricks, I’d be a lot more bullish on their chances.

    I absolutely agree with the thought that this team HAS to show progress next season. If this team’s out of the playoff hunt by the end of November again, throwing water bottles could be the least of our worries with Hall.

    Hall/Stastny/Yak
    Perron/RNH/Eberle
    UFA/Gordon/Hendricks
    Lander/Arco/UFA
    Gazdic/Larsen

    Klefbom/Petry
    Ekblad/Ference
    J Schultz/Marincin
    Musil

  40. Ribs says:

    j:
    Ribs,

    Cogs is a much better skater, has some physical gumption and has better defensive awareness.He wasn’t great on f/o and didn’t distribute the puck very well. He was an obvious choice for working the boards.Gagner is a more creative thinker of the game, more offensively minded, and a wonderful passer.Much better in the middle of the ice (and really quite a terrible option for the wall).Unfortunately, Gagner hasn’t learned the two way requirements of the centre position hence the suggestion that he be moved to a team that can overcome his deficits.The Oilers just aren’t currently in a position to succeed with Gagner and need to start moving some of the chess pieces around or we’ll be having this same discussion in 4 years.

    I’m not sure how much of that I can buy. There’s plenty of wingers in this league that skate at about the same speed as Gagner. If anything, I’d say that’s a reason to move him from center, where he needs to cover more of the ice. I also can’t believe that he would be unable to transfer his creativity and puck distributing skills to the wing. Most plays start from the perimeter anyway, why not give him a head start and put him there to begin with?

    I understand the need to move some chess pieces around, but by trading Gagner away for a lesser player you’re not moving pieces, you’re taking them off the board. With the already giant gaping holes of the depth chart I’d sure like to see what a guy like Gagner could do in a position that might play to his strengths.

  41. bendelson says:

    All this negativity!

    Is it so hard to imagine the Oilers in the playoffs next year?

    240 pts from the first line.
    The top PP in the league.
    Top level goatending for 82 games.
    30 goals from Yakupov.
    Schultz going supernova (at both end of the ice).
    Rookie of the year (pick one).
    Eakins – Coach of the year.

    Add that up and playoffs here we come!
    No problem!

    Actually question about going ‘supernova’?
    Is there any historical evidence that NHL players go ‘supernova’ in groups of three or four? Five?

  42. Right Now: Pressure to Get Better Very Quickly - The Oilers Rig - The Oilers Rig says:

    […] Lowetide woke up in a mood today. Not a good one. He has the Oilers seriously considering pissing away the Summer in the hopes of landing a shot at Connor McDavid at next year’s draft. […]

  43. Bag of Pucks says:

    Which contract looks to be worse going forward, Phaneuf’s or the inevitable overpay for Stastny?

    Given Dion’s hitting the back 9, I’m much more onboard with the Oil making a huge play for Peter’s lad. This team needs a tough mins 1C that can push the river in the worst way.

    With Nurse and Klefbom in the pipeline and the team still having an outside shot at Ekblad, Stastny seems to make a lot more sense as the great white whale target. Makes no sense to me that he’d take a hometown discount either. Players live for this UFA cash-in.

    If Ekblad fell to #3, would MacT have the brass balls to take him, not knowing for sure if he can address C in free agency? If I’m him, I have a deal in place at the draft to trade Klef, Nurse or Schultz for a legitimate C in case Ekblad slides. It’s not hard to envision a scenario where Reinhart and Bennett go in the top 2 slots. The franchise D has to carry more upside than the big german C, does he not?

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I responded, in part, to LT’s pessimism here

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/05/right-now/

    On MacT’s talk last night

  45. sliderule says:

    Let’s see.

    We have defense that has only prospects and no real top two.

    We are short one scorer in top six .

    We are short four players in bottom six.

    We lack team size

    We have an AHL coach with assistants that could not get a job in any other nhl city.

    We have a president that is still micromanaging and rewards incompetence and friendships equally.

    Playoffs! Button is being conservative as most of us won’t be alive to see it on their current path.

  46. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I responded, in part, to LT’s pessimism here

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/05/right-now/

    On MacT’s talk last night

    Couldn’t seem to reply there (at least on mobile) so I will here. I feel the same way. There’s no way the Oilers can actually feel like a tank of the 2014-15 season is a good idea. A lot of damage has already been done to this team’s psyche. The best course of action is to try and check off as many check boxes as he can this year. Last year I think, believe it or not, was a good step forward in improving the team.. Based on the names mentioned by you that are on the “keep list”. That’s several names added for a team that had been dismantled like it had been. MacT just has to keep plugging away and adding good pieces. The goaltending alone will go a long way. Add a couple major parts this year and they could fluke their way up 6 to ten standings positions

  47. Woodguy says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    For the following reasons, I don’t think there’s any way the Oil land McDavid.

    1) GMs strongly subscribe to the maxim that the team getting the best player wins the transaction. No one is trading out of 1ov to give the Oilers a generational player.McDavid would have to pull a ‘Lindros’ to force that type of trade. Would a player forcing a trade, choose Edmonton as their preferred destination?

    In short, the Oilers would have to finish in the basement and then win the lottery to get him.

    2) We got rid of Dubnyk and actually may have decent goaltending now. Dubie – the gift that keeps on giving ; )

    3) Buff, NYI, Carolina and FLA are all REALLY bad teams still. WSH & NJ (their leading scorers this season were Elias and Jagr!) may be joining them next year. There will be plenty of competition in the McDavid derby.

    FLA and NYI have good possession numbers and just awful goaltending last year.

    FLA finished 30th in 5v5 SV% but now they have Lou.

    NYI finished 27th in 5v5 SV%. No solution yet, but there are more goalie’s than jobs so they should get a decent one.

    CAR is bad, TOR is bad, EDM is bad and BUF is bad.

    Assuming no major changes those are the bottom 4 teams next year.

    I think there will be a pile of player movement this summer so this list might change.

    WAS and NJD are in a level above.

    I think NJD are a playoff team next year. WAS maybe not, but they aren’t awful.

  48. rickithebear says:

    Romulus;
    6″+ U20 30G 130 Pim forwards in CHL with career high in EVG;
    2013:
    Moroz 35G 156 PIM
    N. Ritchie 39G 136 PIM
    E. Porier 43G 130 PIM
    2008:
    K. Beach 52G 180PIM
    M. Martin 35G 142PIM 8 EVG
    2006:
    M. Lucic 30G 147PIM 25 EVG
    Clutterbuck 35G 153PIM 15 EVG
    N. Foligno 31G 135PIM 15 EVG
    2005:
    B. Pouliot 35G 141PIM 15 EVG
    2003:
    E. Fehr 50G 130PIM 18 EVG
    Dubinsky 30G 137PIM 20 EVG
    Carcillo 30G 140PIM 11 EVG
    2002:
    McCormick 36G 166PIM 8 EVG
    2001:
    Gaustad 36G 202PIM 11 EVG
    Upshall 32G 139PIM 16 EVG
    S. Ott 43G 178PIM 14 EVG

    I do believe MacT said the Org was Excited about Moroz.
    the average EVG frow the best teams groups of 3 forwards.

    Forwards 1-3 63 EVG 21 EVG/Player
    Forwards 3-6 45 EVG 15 EVG/player
    Forwards 7-9 29 EVG 9-10 EVG/player.

    if we get the average of this group 13 EVG from Moroz. A bottom 2nd line EVG production is exciting for the org.

    EVG from our forwards this year.
    hall 20
    Eberle 20
    Perron 19
    RNH 13
    Gagner 9
    Hemsky 7
    Yakupov 7
    Gordon 6
    Smyth 5
    Hendricks 4
    Arcobello 3
    Acton 3

    Why are you guys complaining about a potential 11-15 EVG scorer?
    That would rank him 4th or 5th.
    Klowe says, “We got a lot of terrible Even goal scorers.”

    Lets laugh and Mock everyone!

    Oh wait!

    I got to check their corsi first!

  49. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear:
    Romulus;
    6″+ U20 30G 130 Pim forwards in CHL with career high in EVG;
    2013:
    Moroz 35G 156 PIM
    N. Ritchie 39G 136 PIM
    E. Porier 43G130 PIM
    2008:
    K. Beach 52G 180PIM
    M. Martin 35G 142PIM 8 EVG
    2006:
    M. Lucic30G 147PIM
    Clutterbuck 35G 153PIM
    N. Foligno 31G 135PIM
    2005:B. Pouliot 35G 141PIM
    2003:
    E. Fehr 50G 130PIM
    Dubinsky 30G 137PIM
    Carcillo 30G 140PIM
    2002:
    McCormick 36G 166PIM
    2001:
    Gaustad 36G 202PIM
    Upshall 32G 139PIM
    S. Ott 43G 178PIM

    I do believe MacT said the Org was Excited about Moroz

    How many of those are in draft +2 years?

  50. hunter1909 says:

    OilClog:
    Hall is going to be a monster when he’s playing for the Rangers ;(

    You have Hall going to the Rangers, while I expect Yakupov is going to be starring for the Brooklyn Islanders. The fans should be thrilled for epic playoff match ups between two possibly contending franchises.

    Not sure what the Isles give, but Slats just needs to remind MacT/Lowe about his soon to be finalist calibre Rags who have all kinds of great trade ideas; like Oilers adding veteran presence with Rick Nash, plus a highly touted mid level defenseman, and a prospect. McIrath might even come up for grabs. Sather then adds that 3rd round pick – because as everyone knows, Mact/Lowe love to boast about picks, before they attend the draft meetings.

  51. Jordan says:

    Lowetide: Done! Anything you want me to ask Dennis?

    Sure – ask him “When the Oilers sign Rene Bourque, what will you be feeding the two of us as a last meal before we wander off into the bush to study the physiological effects of consuming local mycological specimens?”

    Alternatively, you could just ask him about how he would describe the “model” that the Oilers drafting & developing their prospects. I can’t imagine that producing boring radio…

  52. hunter1909 says:

    World Cup starting. Excited as always; then England are sent home early and the real tournament starts. As hosts, Brazil might the bookie’s pick for another ho hum(for them) trophy.

  53. hunter1909 says:

    I want Eakins fired. Another lost season means nothing. Last season’s Trail of Tears needs to be repeated for say… 25 games and we see his removal by the Mact/Lowe/Katz/Bucky/Steve Smith/Horcoff(return committee) committee.

    Otherwise it’s say goodbye to Yakupov and possibly others, in the final show of force by the big shots who really run the Oilers.

  54. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    rickithebear,

    WG beat me to it.

    There’s a big difference in numbers put up at 17, 18, 19, 20, etc.

    But, by and large, those guys look like what Moroz might be (if everything goes right), a 4th line NHL regular, in a couple of years (which is exactly what I said in the piece)

  55. Woodguy says:

    You are realize that because we are all so pessimistic that the Oilers will ride the percentages like a rented mule and finish 10th in the WC right?

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Only Oilers could be standing behind the worst coach in the NHL, while Barry freaking Trotz attends job interviews.

  57. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Racki,

    thanks for reading. not sure why you couldn’t comment.

    I think the only question this off-season is whether MacT repeats last off-season. Improvement, slow and steady, but nothing “bold” (to use that overused term). Or, does he do something dramatic like target Phaneuf, sign Stasny, etc?

    If the former, I suspect MacT will enter the season with high hopes and around Nov. reach for the sealed envelop with the nuclear codes.

  58. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy:
    You are realize that because we are all so pessimistic that the Oilers will ride the percentages like a rented mule and finish 10th in the WC right?

    This is what is so uplifting about NHL hockey. That the fan of a team 8 years out of the playoffs, can still dream of tenth place in the conference.

  59. Deadman Waiting says:

    impossible from such a gifted orator

    But it is possible. This is why Staples has started to believe in his own press and returns today to management by kneeling under a street lamp. The blame must reside.

    For several reasons, MacT can’t eviscerate the performances of players on his roster while standing in a public spotlight. Because asset management. Because horse-trader. Because Comrie. Because Hershey Bears. Because soufflé confidence between the pipes.

    So he stands there zipping it rather than ripping it about what he truly believes about the root cause of the team’s poor performance, while knowing full well that the blame must reside. And reside it will–like seagull shit, on any prominent element of the prevailing regime.

    For my money, the earliest opportunity to become derisive about MacT’s end of season presser is 1 December 2015. And even then, the bulk of the early returns on this nearly invisible shoot of real progress he and Eakins profess to see on the Ex-Lax home stretch (rising like the mist through the silhouette moon carved into the outhouse ceiling) will mainly be evident against certain types of shifty opponents, and not the juggernauts.

    MacT will make two certain changes over the summer: more size and bang down the middle, and another Crash Davis rookie-sheltering veteran on the blue line. This player might be another Ference, however, well past his prime years of carrying the play on his own back.

    For MacT and Eakins, putting a player in a place to succeed means creating a situation where there’s no possibility and no excuse for resorting to bad habits.

    Like the military they pretend to resemble, these young men are adversity professionals.

    OMG! My advanced stats!

    But no, a wise GM fears to undermine his faltering daisies.

    I know my perspective is not popular. But what the hell, juniper berries are highly nutritious, it’s been so long since I last bathed not even the snakes dare to enter my damp burrow, and even the lice in my loincloth long ago succumbed to the heat.

  60. Bag of Pucks says:

    If you’ve been betting on NYI or FLA to be brutal, you’ve been right more often than wrong in the last decade (or two).

  61. Bag of Pucks says:

    hunter1909:
    Only Oilers could be standing behind the worst coach in the NHL, while Barry freaking Trotz attends job interviews.

    What’s Trotz ever won again? Oh that’s right, nothing.

  62. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Racki,

    thanks for reading. not sure why you couldn’t comment.

    I think the only question this off-season is whether MacT repeats last off-season. Improvement, slow and steady, but nothing “bold” (to use that overused term). Or, does he do something dramatic like target Phaneuf, sign Stasny, etc?

    If the former, I suspect MacT will enter the season with high hopes and around Nov. reach for the sealed envelop with the nuclear codes.

    Yes I’d say so too. I feel fairly confident that the current mind behind the decisions will try to do the right thing. It’s just a matter of how much he can really accomplish. There is much work needed, but I figure they can at least fake it if they bring in a reliable NHL LHD and just anyone with size at center. Stastny would be the high, Grabo would be good, Bailey or Wilson would suffice. Spezza’ s name is out there too, but he’d come at a cost, like Phaneuf. There are possibilities at least. Get busy, MacT! Now is the time for bold (but not stupid)

  63. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: How many of those are in draft +2 years?

    Oh no! woodguy!

    LT: and you guys say age has nothing to do with NHLE!

    Quit being playground equipment;

  64. rickithebear says:

    Bag of Pucks: What’s Trotz ever won again? Oh that’s right, nothing.

    Western conference Champion Coach Craig McTavish is now the GM of the Edmonton oilers.
    do we have any recent example of cup final coaches becoming teams GM?

  65. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    rickithebear:

    LT: and you guys say age has nothing to do with NHLE!

    who says this?

  66. Bad Seed says:

    Best line ever uttered in a hockey blog

    rickithebear: Oh no! woodguy!

    LT: and you guys say age has nothing to do with NHLE!

    Quit being playground equipment;

  67. Deadman Waiting says:

    I think the situation calls for some wake humour.

    The first time through alternates between hilarious and kill me now. The real gold is the second performance, unglued.

    She’s come undone
    She didn’t know what she was headed for
    And when I found what she was headed for
    It was too late

    She’s come undone
    She found a mountain that was far too high
    And when she found out she couldn’t fly
    It was too late

    It’s too late
    She’s gone too far
    She’s lost the sun
    She’s come undone

  68. Woodguy says:

    hunter1909: This is what is so uplifting about NHL hockey. That the fan of a team 8 years out of the playoffs, can still dream of tenth place in the conference.

    Dare to dream!

  69. Woodguy says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    If you’ve been betting on NYI or FLA to be brutal, you’ve been right more often than wrong in the last decade (or two).

    Correct.

    The last time the Oilers made it to the SCF was spring of 2006.

    The bottom 5 teams in the league were:

    26. Boston
    27. Washington
    28. Chicago
    29. Pittsburgh
    30. St. Louis

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=20052006&type=lea#&navid=nav-stn-league

    Things change.

  70. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear,

    LT: and you guys say age has nothing to do with NHLE!
    Quit being playground equipment;

    That’s pretty much the opposite of the truth.

    I do like being a merry-go-round though.

  71. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear: Western conference Champion Coach Craig McTavish is now theGM of the Edmonton oilers.
    do we have any recent example of cup final coaches becoming teams GM?

    I’m pretty sure DMW can come up with an example of a Hamster becoming a CEO.

  72. Woodguy says:

    Bag of Pucks: What’s Trotz ever won again? Oh that’s right, nothing.

    Marcel Dionne never won anything either.

    The bum.

  73. Woodguy says:

    Bad Seed:
    Best line ever uttered in a hockey blog

    You obviously don’t read DMW to the end.

  74. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: I’m pretty sure DMW can come up with an example of a Hamster becoming a CEO.

    http://gawker.com/hamster-ass-is-japans-newest-craze-1579797962

  75. mumbai max says:

    Regardless of what the math guys say (covers his head from barrage) the reality is that the RECORD and the POINTS improved in the last 60 games (compared to the first 22). So far you do not make the playoffs for Corgi results, so we will focus on actual points.

    So, if we conclude that the Oilers based on the last 60 games of performance are very close to a .500 team, then we can conclude that they might get 80 points with the team they closed the season with (reminder about goaltending).

    If that were true, that means that we need another 15 points to make the playoffs.

    I believe the following brings us 8 more wins:

    1. One top pairing defence man (Phaneuf (gag), Erhnhoff (sp), Colborne, Subban!!)
    2. One second pairing defence man (Myers, Kulikov, etc.)
    3. One established2C (Stastny, Legwand, Grabovski)
    4. One established 3W (Moss, Winnick, Clifford(?))

    This seems difficult but not impossible to accomplish through trade and UFA signings. I would trade the 2014 pick to accomplish the 1st pairing D or the 2C. I would not trade Nurse, Marincin or Klefbom under any circumstance (except Subban), it is too shortsighted.

    That is 4 upgrades at key positions above
    Growth from Marincin and/or Klefbom
    Growth from experience of core forwards
    Subtraction of Gagner
    Year round average + goaltending

    16th place, et voila!

  76. In Search of Support: Daniel Winnik and David Moss | Oil! the blog says:

    […] season—Jonathan Willis has been tackling the topic in a series of posts at Oilers Nation and Lowetide threw his hat in too. I thought I would join the party in a series of posts of my own, beginning with the one […]

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