CRUEL SUMMER

I’ll do the ‘reasonable expectations’ series in late summer, but some of the work is available to be done now, and I do think it’s a good idea to ask some questions before the trades begin. If you live in Edmonton and know 12 people, I suspect you’ve heard one or both 89 and 64 are heading out of town at the draft. Is it true? Hell if I know, this town has Mike Babcock coming here every summer and I’ve heard Dustin Penner, Josh Bailey, Dion Phaneuf and Jason Spezza will all be here before I have to fill up the propane tank again.

GAGNER

We have more seasons of Gagner, and that makes things a little easier to assess/project. If we’re going to significantly nick Gagner for last season’s downward spiral, we have to come up with more than “struck by madman” as a reason. Sam Gagner is a solid offensive player in the world’s best league, and I don’t think many doubt he could kick out the jams playing RW alongside Sid Crosby (given the chance).

Ordinarily when projecting forward, I ask a few health and age questions, tweak based on experience, and call it a day. If we divide Sam’s last three seasons, we get this:

  • 75GP, 17-33-50

I should tell you that I adjusted the lockout season, and credited 89 with a full schedule. What does this tell us? Well, his 12-13 boxcars were so strong they made up for a pedestrian injury season. It also tells us Sam Gagner is a good offensive hockey player. It’s easy to go out of our minds about his defensive play, but a strong two-way club with smart, veteran forwards could make something very nice out of this player. I think he’ll be a winger, but could be wrong, Sam’s a really smart hockey player.

If I were looking to finish that number and post an RE, I’d have a boo at his possible linemates, look at guys who are similar in player type to see if their offense is fading yet (Sam’s still so young, but one day this will impact him) and then make up some number. In this specific case, I’d likely nick him another 5 games and a point or two. Sam Gagner has never scored 50 points in a year, incredibly.

YAKUPOV

There’s two seasons of Yakupov, but we do have his final NHLE season and there’s some specific things about his career track we can work with in projecting the future. Yakupov’s rookie shooting percentage was crazy, and this year likely too severe. Something in the middle, say 14%, would seem reasonable, although I might aim low because there are issues that can come into play with Yak City. So, if I use his NHLE, combined with his two seasons, and then filter it through the shooting percentage, it might look like this:

  • 69GP, 20-18-38

Now remember he was injured in his final junior season, so that’s factored in, too. I’ve used 14% and gave him a little push in shots because honestly even if they use the kid a little more on the power play he should flourish. Anyway, last season he had 122 shots in 63 games and his % was 9. In the fantasy season I’m projecting here, he plays 69 games, has 144 shots and scores 14% of the time. All completely reasonable, and I do think he’s the kind of player who can make projections look foolish. There’s so much talent and we simply don’t have enough to establish his level of ability (and last season didn’t help).

Anyway, I write this because there’s all kind of talk about these two players heading out of town, and the bottom line is this: There is NO way the Oilers are going to get 100 cents on the dollar when they deal either player. Ordinarily, in a situation of this kind, I’d say keep your powder dry and wait until the rising tide. That’s the play here, that’s the smart call.

I don’t know if Craig MacTavish can afford that kind of summer. We wait.

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52 Responses to "CRUEL SUMMER"

  1. knighttown says:

    Yeah, yeah I know this says “more about me then it does about him” but I just don’t think Nail is all that talented. I mean, he’s VERY talented but not elite talented.

    1. The shot. Yes it’s a bomb and yes it seems quite accurate but he’s average at best at getting the shot off. A lot of shanks and fans.

    2. The skating. Quite a quick starter and plenty explosive but his stride isn’t efficient at all. Not even remotely comparable to Hall and isn’t in Nuge’s class either.

    I don’t think he has the head and feet to create at an elite level on his own and I don’t think he shoots THAT well to be able to just sit there and wait for the puck and never miss ala, in his prime Heatley.

    Somewhere between prime Heatley and Prime Michael Ryder seems reasonable.

  2. Southern Oil says:

    Regarding Yak City, do you think this would be another good reason to bring in Grabovski & Kulemin? Give the guy some seasoned Russian NHL professionals to act as a mentor. I would have to believe that it was quite lonely for Yak last year. One would hope that MacT and Eakins would be able to speak his language (both literally and figuratively) but I don’t think that is or will be the case. Bringing in the pair could help him adjust to the NHL IMO. God I hope we don’t trade Yak.

    EDIT: realize now that Grabovski is not Russian but it’s still a lot closer to anything we had on the roster this year (in an offensive position)

  3. Lowetide says:

    Southern Oil: Absolutely. Grabovski is a brilliant center and I’d bet the two veterans would help Yakupov adjust to the NHL. That’s the kind of move that (imo) would make the transition easier for coach and player.

  4. Southern Oil says:

    Lowetide,

    If the rumors are true and the pair want to go to the same team – how many teams need and could afford both? Do we know?

  5. spoiler says:

    Just posted this in the prior thread, but it seems more relevant here:

    If we were to consider the scenario where Gagner is going to be traded for picks at the draft, and there’s some strong arguments for that happening, then the Oil must have a plan in place for 2C.

    That plan has limited options:
    1. Arcobello
    2. Have a trade in place for a 2C prior to moving Gagner

    If they are planning, actually planning… they couldn’t possibly be relying on signing a UFA, after already trading 89.

    Then they are risking the uncertainty of the market–whether or not they can actually sign someone who fits, over other competing teams. They can’t risk coming away from UFA Frenzy with no valid 2nd line centre, can they? They’re also risking their target’s agent using their weak bargaining position to bend them over. These things don’t seem like the kind of things one actually plans to do.

    Now if a UFA is the target and you have one in mind and believe you have a good chance of signing him, don’t you need to find out before trading Gagner and send a 7th out for their rights? Which would come under #2 above.

    That deal would have to happen pretty soon. If it doesn’t, I can’t see targeting an upcoming UFA player as their plan. If it doesn’t, then we have to believe that the 3rd overall pick is heavily in play.

    Or they’re not trading Gagner at the draft. The two deals, Gagner for picks and replacing him with a UFA signing, seem mutually exclusive to me.

    Trading the 3rd overall fits with trying to acquire more picks. It also makes sense that if you are ever going to give up a top 10 pick, you do it in a weak draft. But it’s still a 3rd overall.

    I found that Philly rumour the other day very believable (maybe the Oil have to add a prospect dman or something). Because it fits with trading 89 at the draft. Now that Hextall is GM though, maybe the alleged deal is off and if that’s the case, they will have to hang onto Gagner till a replacement is found. And maybe we get an actual NHL player in return.

  6. Rondo says:

    Lowetide,

    Sam Bennett need to see this, he couldn’t do 1 pull-up.

    http://www.tsn.ca/VideoHub/?collection=72&show=373754

    This is how it is done

    http://vimeo.com/62031855

  7. russ99 says:

    spoiler,

    The only problem with waiting on dealing Gagner until we have a UFA signed, is that his NTC kicks in the day before free agency starts.

    So if this is th e plan, maybe we’ll see one of those deals for negotiating rights prior to the FA window.

    I’d like to think that MacT has a contingency or two and it’s not Arcobello or bust if things don’t work out in a fluid marketplace.

  8. Younger Oil says:

    This is a tad off topic, but I was looking for all of the draft combine results, and couldn’t find this year’s, but stumbled upon last year’s, and Yakimov has some pretty great upper body strength it seems. Even more excited to see him next year now!

    http://www.topendsports.com/sport/icehockey/nhl-combine-results-2013.htm

    EDIT: Found this year’s results:

    https://link.nhl.com/centralscouting/public/

  9. spoiler says:

    I like the idea of obtaining Grabovski. Experienced, cheaper than other options, skilled, can play in his own end. But don’t they have to hang onto Gagner till that actually happens?

  10. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    I like the idea of obtaining Grabovski. Experienced, cheaper than other options, skilled, can play in his own end.But don’t they have to hang onto Gagner till that actually happens?

    I would think they would have to have a backup plan beyond Arco, yes.

  11. One-Timer says:

    Lowetide: I would think they would have to have a backup plan beyond Arco, yes.

    If Sam goes for picks, then no UFA catch would mean a greater chance that the new kid (Leon) goes right into the show. Sadly.
    But I’m still hoping Macteakins is smarter than that.

  12. anonymous says:

    I could go either way on Gagner. Makes too much for a depth scorer which is what his role will be, bound to be traded sooner or later. I’d hope Mact wouldn’t sell low on a 1st overall but I’ve never been sold on Mact as GM. These will likely be his defining moments.

  13. spoiler says:

    Is the rumour around Yak, to Buffalo for their 1st? Draft Ekblad and Reinhart/Draisaitl?
    To NYI? Draft Draisaitl and Dal Colle/Ritchie/Virtanen?

    I don’t know how comfortable I am with dealing Yakupov for a pick, even a #2 overall. The Isles’ pick would be even tougher to take. Not with the gaping hole at defense staring us straight in the face. Or at right wing.

  14. One-Timer says:

    Rondo:
    Lowetide,

    Sam Bennett need to see this, he couldn’t do 1 pull-up.

    http://www.tsn.ca/VideoHub/?collection=72&show=373754

    This is how it is done

    http://vimeo.com/62031855

    You have to admire the dude’s strength, endurance and technique, but that has to go down as one of the most boring 15-minute videos of all time.

    As for Bennett, he would’ve gotten a heads-up on this and practised a bit to avoid national embarrassment, so I’m thinking he must have been wiped out by some previous exercises. I’m saying this as a fan of picking Draisaitl at 3rd.

  15. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    Is the rumour around Yak, to Buffalo for their 1st?Draft Ekblad and Reinhart/Draisaitl?
    To NYI? Draft Draisaitl and Dal Colle/Ritchie/Virtanen?

    I don’t know how comfortable I am with dealing Yakupov for a pick, even a #2 overall.The Isles’ pick would be even tougher to take.Not with the gaping hole at defense staring us straight in the face. Or at right wing.

    You’re moving the cluster back again, that’s the problem. A few months after trading Hemsky and Smid.

  16. One-Timer says:

    spoiler:
    Is the rumour around Yak, to Buffalo for their 1st?Draft Ekblad and Reinhart/Draisaitl?
    To NYI? Draft Draisaitl and Dal Colle/Ritchie/Virtanen?

    I don’t know how comfortable I am with dealing Yakupov for a pick, even a #2 overall.The Isles’ pick would be even tougher to take.Not with the gaping hole at defense staring us straight in the face. Or at right wing.

    If the Panthers (or their trading partner) take Ekblad at #1, then that whole plan has backfired and we need a new winger.

  17. One-Timer says:

    Lowetide,

    Ah, I see you’ve already dealt with that issue.

  18. season not played says:

    I’m not sure I would characterize a player who 481 games in to his NHL career still can’t look over his shoulder and identify which player he should cover in the defensive zone as a “really smart hockey player”.

  19. Rondo says:

    One-Timer,

    Your right video is boring but David Goggins is quite an interesting person

    http://navyseals.com/4016/mental-toughness-navy-seal-david-goggins/

  20. Rondo says:

    spoiler,

    Terry Koshan @koshtorontosun · Asked six scouts at the #NHL combine today who they would take first overall if it was their choice. Every one said Aaron Ekblad

  21. spoiler says:

    One-Timer: If the Panthers (or their trading partner) take Ekblad at #1, then that whole plan has backfired and we need a new winger.

    Rondo: Terry Koshan @koshtorontosun · Asked six scouts at the #NHL combine today who they would take first overall if it was their choice. Every one said Aaron Ekblad

    Yeah, I know. I don’t like those rumours. And as LT points out, even if it works, it means more wandering the desert before finding the promised land.

    I have Ekblad at #1 too. It’s a little early for revealing this, but I only see two probable 1st line players in this draft… Ekblad and Reinhart… if Reinhart plays wing.

    Reinhart at C, Bennett and Draisaitl, I project to be excellent players, but excellent 2nd liners.

  22. PerryK says:

    Samwise has to go! Do what you need to. Partial salary back? Whatever!

    Forget this talk about more small centers. Just sign Spezza and Hemsky. Let them play together with Perron and move Nuge Hall Ebs to 2. Yak can play on the 3rd line with Arco and (Penner? or whoever). Get Moss to play with Gordon. There is a team that would start to challenge for the playoffs. Let the kids grow into their roles on D slowly.

    Not going to challenge for the cup anytime soon, but would be fun to watch the Oilers again!

  23. mumbai max says:

    If I am Grabovski, I probably want to see Gagner gone before signing with the Oil.

  24. One-Timer says:

    Rondo:
    One-Timer,

    Your right video is boring but David Gogginsis quite an interesting person

    http://navyseals.com/4016/mental-toughness-navy-seal-david-goggins/

    450 miles per week! That’s just insane. There’s a reason the divorce rate among SEALs is 95%… only the brotherhood matters.

  25. Lowetide says:

    season not played:
    I’m not sure I would characterize a player who 481 games in to his NHL career still can’t look over his shoulder and identify which player he should cover in the defensive zone as a “really smart hockey player”.

    Meh. He’s never learned that aspect of the game, never had to and now it’s an issue. I’d bet that Gagner improves at some point, this crossroads is probably good for him long term.

  26. spoiler says:

    mumbai max: If I am Grabovski, I probably want to see Gagner gone before signing with the Oil.

    So you can ask for whatever you want when it comes to talking turkey, lol?

    I think the fact a team is pressing hard to sign you, and for 2C money, and they’re saying that’s gonna be your role, that you can trust that their intent is to play you at 2C.

  27. sliderule says:

    I see that Lowetide has now joined the once what was a lonely group that I am in questioning oiler drafting.

    This group is starting to swell with David Staples,Hockey news and now the National Post coming out on the sorry state of oiler drafting.

    I posted statistics showing oilers lack of success compared to the top teams like Ducks ,Wild and Avs.Staples hasn’t compared to other teams but when you read his year by year look there isn’t a lot of success other than our top picks.

    I thought when the oilers moved Green into the scouting that they were setting it up to change
    the head scout.Other than Tambo firing KP and training staff oiler’s don’t like to fire people .They like to just shift them around so I am still hopefull this move was fortelling a change in our amateur scouting.

  28. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    I see that Lowetide has now joined the once what was a lonely group that I amin questioning oiler drafting.

    This group is starting to swell with David Staples,Hockey news and now the National Post coming out on the sorry state of oiler drafting.

    I posted statistics showing oilers lack of success compared to the top teams like Ducks ,Wild and Avs.Staples hasn’t compared to other teams but when you read his year by year look there isn’t a lot of success other than our top picks.

    I thought when the oilers moved Green into the scouting that they were setting it up to change
    the head scout.Other than Tambo firing KP and training staff oiler’s don’t like to fire people .They like to just shift them around so I am still hopefull this move was fortelling a change in our amateur scouting.

    Haven’t changed my mind about the Oilers, but there’s certainly picks to criticize. I think the 2008 draft is defensible, the 2009 draft has holes, and the 2010 draft had some tough times but appears to be heading in a good direction.

    After that, we wait.

  29. spoiler says:

    I blame the early Stu years on Tambo. He can determine the qualities they’re targeting. He can be the final decision-maker. We don’t know how hands-on Tambo ran his scouting crew and final picks, but I suspect it was too much.

  30. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    I blame the early Stu years on Tambo.He can determine the qualities they’re targeting. He can be the final decision-maker. We don’t know how hands-on Tambo ran his scouting crew and final picks, but I suspect it was too much.

    Agreed, but MacGregor should have quit over Yak. jmo.

  31. spoiler says:

    The next six weeks can make or break this team. It’s killing me not knowing what they’re going to do.

  32. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: Agreed, but MacGregor should have quit over Yak. jmo.

    He certainly would’ve been within his rights.

  33. spoiler says:

    I really wish Buffalo had a good reason to trade Erhoff. Or that he doesn’t want to hang around for the rebuild. But damn they’ve already paid him so much money on that crazy front-loaded contract I can’t see why they would let him go now. That’s the kind of contract the Floridas and the Nashvilles lust after. And he’s only 30.

    I would also like to sign Brendan Morrow to a 1 year if he struggles to find employment. No one produced more with less ice time than Brendan last year. 13-12-25 in 12 minutes a night. That’s great numbers for a 4th liner. I believe that was with Derek Roy as his center, which shows he can still put up some points when slotted with a good passer. I think he would be a nice fit with Arcobello and give our 4th some scoring punch.

  34. Lowetide says:

    The Oilers need a trade like Sather used to make in the olden days. Bonsignore and Kelly for Hamrlik. fuck fuck fuck.

  35. Deadman Waiting says:

    season not played: I’m not sure I would characterize a player who 481 games in to his NHL career still can’t look over his shoulder and identify which player he should cover in the defensive zone as a “really smart hockey player”.

    I also have a problem with this. He seems smart like Sarah Palin and not so smart like Tina Fey. Palin needs talking points drawn up on the chalkboard on every occasion where she opens her mouth. Fey improvises on the fly, figuring it all out for herself, spinning, elaborating, embellishing and generally cocking a snook. No one ever told Tina Fey to look over her shoulder and check the seam without instantly becoming the subject of her next skit.

    By this point, Sam must have at least overheard the coach tell some other player that this is a good idea. Surely. I mean, really, he must have? Right? He has heard of this crazy business called “game tape” hasn’t he? Surely. I mean, really, he must have? Right?

    Sam is like having a second basement who has been playing the game at the top professional level for seven years and still thinks there’s a shortstop on both sides. He does have a point there. If there’s a shortstop between second base and third base, it only makes sense, on pure reason (I’ve heard Sam reads Kant in between shifts—right side up more than half the time) that there would also be a shortstop between second base and first base—this invisible player who covers off this invisible place, so that he doesn’t have to.

    He must wonder why the left-stop (from his vantage point) who is soooooo much slower fetching the ball than the right-stop keeps getting re-upped.

    It’s a mystery, Sam, it’s a big fucking mystery how gift-wrapping the high slot keeps returning the face-off to center ice.

  36. Magnus says:

    As Buffalo seems to be in full rebuild mode, what are the chances of someone like Drew Stafford being available? While he’s not old, he’s not in the same age range as most of their upcoming young talent. Would something like Gagner + Pitlick for Stafford be doable?
    If so, then signing some competent players over the summer… let’s say Grabovski, Kulemin, Winnik, Nikitin and Fayne.

    That would give a line-up of:

    Hall RNH Eberle
    Perron Grabovski Yak
    Kulemin Gordon Stafford
    Hendricks Arco Winnik

    Nikitin Petry
    Marincin Fayne
    Ference Schultz

    Scrivens
    Fasth

    with Lander & Gazdic/Joensuu the extra forwards & Klefbom the extra defenseman.

    The defense is no screaming hell, but has more depth than last year, and Ference and Schultz are in the 3rd pairing where they should be. The forward lines look solid. You have secondary scoring, better 2-way players and size throughout the 3rd & 4th lines. I think that team makes the playoffs.

  37. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers need a trade like Sather used to make in the olden days. Bonsignore and Kelly for Hamrlik. fuck fuck fuck.

    Gagner and Pitlick for Kulikov is kinda close. Hamrlik had played 6 seasons with a Florida team, Kulikov 5. Both East Euros. Both debuted at 18. Very similar sizes. Both lefties. Both more known for their shot than their pass. We’d be giving up more than Sather did though and I’m not sure Kulikov is a bona fide first pairing. That said, if Gagner has to go, this is an actual NHL player, and I’d take him.

  38. spoiler says:

    Magnus: As Buffalo seems to be in full rebuild mode, what are the chances of someone like Drew Stafford being available? While he’s not old, he’s not in the same age range as most of their upcoming young talent. Would something like Gagner + Pitlick for Stafford be doable?

    Jim Matheson, is that you?

  39. speeds says:

    Lowetide: You’re moving the cluster back again, that’s the problem. A few months after trading Hemsky and Smid.

    I don’t know if I’d say that’s a non-issue, but I do think you’re making a little bit too big a deal about that.

    On the radio show today, I think you were talking about 1 and 32 for Yakupov and Gagner. I’m not sure FLA would do that, but let’s say they would.

    EDM would be giving up Yakupov and Gagner, sure, but they’d also be opening up a pretty good chunk of cap space. You move the cluster back a bit, get a chance to look at the UFA market, exchange 5 yrs of Yakupov for 7 yrs of ??? in, arguably, a more key position.

    If the argument is you wouldn’t move Yakupov because you still prefer him to anyone in this draft, that’s one thing. Moving the cluster back is less of a problem (well, maybe that would be more like creating a 2nd cluster, you could send Nurse back along with both players picked at 1 and 3, and have 3 guys to drop into the 15/16 thru 17/18 lineup on ELC’s), and arguably a good thing if EDM does a great job in the trade and UFA markets.

  40. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: Meh. He’s never learned that aspect of the game, never had to and now it’s an issue. I’d bet that Gagner improves at some point, this crossroads is probably good for him long term.

    That was my point a few days ago . Trade him for 2 thirds means nothing other than money saved . A 45-50 point player has value . My guess is the same as a week ago, Yak stays , Gags only goes if a real trade of some kind can be made or Gags also stays .McT then goes all out on UFA’s .

  41. OilClog says:

    Trading yak is what Milbury would do, maybe Tambi is better then Mac. Whoa.

    Whoa.

    Unless it’s Tavares coming back we’ve lost the trade.

  42. LostBoy says:

    speeds,

    When it comes to “moving the cluster back,” on present evidence is it really like we get to choose anyway? With any confidence?

    If FLA would do that (I don’t think they would and I realize it’s mostly a thought experiment) I’d cross my fingers and pull the trigger. Yakupov for a do-over first overall (Ekblad), Gagner for a top-second-round, and retaining third overall? If you’re going to move those guys in 2014, there’s no better semi-realistic scenario.

    I’d have to mildly disagree about the implications, though. If the Oilers did this, I think it would be even more difficult to attract any of what pass for the upper echelon UFAs this year. But those guys aren’t likely to sign in Edmonton in the first place. I just don’t think availability of cap space is the issue. The UFA market for the Oilers this year will be the same as it’s been the last four years. Comforting stories about package deals and whatnot aside, what will be available to us will be the privilege to pay a soon to be 33 year old David Moss very handsomely for the autumnal years of his career. Like always.

  43. haters says:

    Finally a post that is well written in defense of Sam. Btw you can use the injury as an excuse, I’d love to see how well anyone does coming back from an injury like that in any walk of life let alone hockey. As for Yak … Trading him would be end times and I would stop following this team..
    Great post LT
    Ty

  44. haters says:

    commonfan14,

    Well said

  45. flyfish1168 says:

    Yak and Gagner for a 1st and 32nd. Two actual NHL players for 2 prospects. Maybe I am valuing our players to much, but really when you think about hoping that these two draft picks can play and make the NHL. Odds of a 2nd rounder making it to the show is like 30-40 % (not sure of the exact number) and 1st overall that makes it as a 1st or 2nd tier level talent is maybe 40% (guessing here).

    I think I would want more than these 2 picks.

    What we need is a good development band support of our young players. Better pro and amateur scouting, less reliance on lottery picks.JMHO

  46. sumaclab says:

    Unless the Oiler have a handshake agreement going into the draft to sign Grabbo/Kulimen then I would not hold my breath about the Oilers retaining their 3rd overall pick.

    Its more likely in imo that they then trade that pick for certainty than for a player 2-3 years away like LD.

    The Grabbo/Kulimen combo would buy time for the Oilers tocontinue to develop players in the system.Barring that Gagner would be retained.Can’t see the scenario where the Oilers trade Gagner without having a solid proven #2in place.

  47. godot10 says:

    I like how in the clip on Oilers TV with Dallas Eakins at the combine how the panel and Eakins were pushing the meme about how even though Eakins had never seen the players play that he could provide meaningful input to Stu and MacT about who to draft.

    Eakins’ “in-a-blink” analysis on a 15-minute interviews is apparently important input.

    So the key question is? Which prospect seems the most like Ryan Hamilton, Eakin’s first choice for future son-in-law.

    Hey. I have no problems with the coach showing up and meeting the players. But it should be basically irrelevant to the selection process. It is not like an NFL coach who study all the game films of college guys, and often have private workouts with them, and whteboard sessions with the QB prospects.

    OK, it was probably just a silly PR idea from the Kingsway boys to make the fans notice that Eakins is one of the only coaches there.

    But arguably that may be more of a bad thing than a good thing, if the meme they are pushing is not just a PR pitch.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Godot: My favorite MacT line about prospects: “They look good in suits.”

  49. FastOil says:

    LT Gagner is the fellow in your employee analogy – ‘gained 1 year’s experience 7 times’. He could be useful in an easy minutes RW role, 2 PP. It would take a pretty good 2 way player (assuming he’s less skilled and lower offense) to not lose the trade unless they identify the next Bergeron lurking down a team’s roster. I’m not hopeful there.

  50. Andy P says:

    It’s all about balance, and then cutting through the outcomes to discover the core problem.

    LT, you talk about balance. One doesn’t need to know a lot about hockey, to see the balance that exists in Chicago and Los Angeles. the balance on the ice goes back to drafting, trading, the minors, and every level of coaching.

    There was a time, back in the Springfield days, that the Oilers sucked at pretty much everything. But so much has been fixed since then. We have the Magnificent Bastard replacing Prendergasp, we have the Oil Kings and OKC, one a playoff team the other a champion. We have really good coaching staff on both teams, and we have good GM’s all round. Lots of balance in most places.

    The Oilers are like one of those old V12 Jaguars with one of their carburettors out of tune. A well tuned Jag V12 was a magnificent beast, I drove a V12 e-type once and it was an experience never to forget. But if you didn’t have a good mechanic it ran like shit, and firing the foreman or the workshop manager didn’t make a tad of difference. Eventually the owner would either take the car elsewhere, or decide the car was a piece and get rid of it for pennies on the dollar.

    It’s only when the mechanic leaves or eventually gets fired for some other reason that people start realizing the horrible devastation that bastard mechanic did to the business as a whole.

    My point being that our roster is by no means balanced, but it is better than it’s performance indicates, because the whole team is, like the v-12 Jag I referred to, out of tune, and has been for years. We’ve lost good players to other teams at their request – Smid? Hemsky Horcoff. How many others who refused to come here, and how many others besides that?

    Not one of the players on our roster today have had the benefit of competent assistant coaches, and in some instances, head coaches at the NHL level. Renney should never have been let go, and his departure reflects poor decision making on the Oilers part. Quinn was past his prime.

    My point being that I’m wondering how much better the Oil would have been, had Renney or Krueger or Eakins been able to choose their own staff from the get go. If you count all of the formerly well coached players whose careers have plateaued or declined under the present regime, and add that to the appalling performance of otherwise competent talented players that have had the misfortune to be on this roster, then the whole scenario becomes quite appalling.

    I have no faith in Eakins personally, but I am encouraged that I am no longer the only man on the island suggesting that we’re not going to get very far until we clean out the assistant coaching team for some capable veterans. Finding capable assistants who are prepared to work under Eakins may be a different matter though, so we’ll just have to sit back and see what happens. It’ll be a long summer methinks.

  51. delooper says:

    spoiler:
    The next six weeks can make or break this team.It’s killing me not knowing what they’re going to do.

    I’ll be so bold as to predict neither will happen.

    It’s kind of difficult to imagine what it would mean to break this team. I guess destroying its prospect pool without gaining any NHL players.

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