BETWEEN THE BUTTONS

At the postseason media conference, Craig MacTavish said a lot of things, but as time rolls along it seems to me the verbal future described doesn’t match the results. In the midst of hundreds of “relentless” and “consistent messaging” and “value system” references, MacT said the coaches were fine, but that coach Eakins would have final say. These weeks later? Craig Ramsay and Keith Acton will join Dallas Eakins behind the bench next season.

How do we apply that lesson to the current verbal?

  • MacT: “I’d like to add four or five players — one or two through trades and two or three unrestricted free agents.”
  • MacT: “We need help on defence. We’re looking for a puck-moving defenceman, a guy who can carry the puck north and continue into open ice.”
  • MacT: “We also need a defending defenceman. We’re not going to compromise our young prospects on defence.We’d rather they played in the American Hockey League or junior.”
  • MacT: “We’re trying to get bigger up front.”
  • MacT: “We’re trying to get bigger up front. We’ve got the toughest element to get (skill), but I think we can augment that with players who are bigger, stronger and more productive than what we’ve had.”

There doesn’t seem to be much we can misinterpret here. The puck-moving defenseman sounds more like Ehrhoff than Phaneuf or Coburn. Fair? And the stay-at-home guy could be Matt Greene or Derek Engelland or Mark Fraser—we have that guy surrounded. The bigger forward? I don’t know. Rene Bourque? Any ideas?  The names both Terry Jones and Mark Spector gave us were for the most part the low-end of each player type. It feels like the Oilers are about to acquire Coburn and Greene and Bourque and Handzus.

What if MacTavish is, once again, framing the issue—under-promising to over-deliver? Wishful thinking? Probably. Still, it is interesting that we spent some time grumbling about the coaching staff and changes were made. Is it such a reach to suggest that Michal Handzus is a worst-case scenario? Seems to me Craig MacTavish learned some lessons well from his first summer at the helm. We wait.

never

There are things you say you’ll never do, and then life gets in the way.

As some of you may know, I left my advertising job at the end of December and embarked on a writing career to go with my broadcasting work at TSN 1260. I write for Oilers Nation, Bleacher Report, Puck Rant and this blog, and have good relationships with all (save Lowetide—what a jerk!). For two of my writing gigs, there will be less work after the draft and free agency, and that’s cool—hopefully we can hook up (that doesn’t mean something bad, does it?) again in the fall.

Many of you over the years have requested a PayPay contribute button, so I’m going to try it for a time. It will be up on this blog sometime soon. Nothing changes, you’re not going to get insider info (I could tell on the dog when she does something bad, if that helps) and there is no wall of greatness or any of those things. This is simply as stated above, an effort to keep writing and maintaining this road as opposed to finding some other work (which I can do, so don’t feel like you have to contribute to keep this blog going).

This is not a hold up, it is a request. If you want to contribute, please do! And thanks.

gregor eakins

 

Once again, the Oilers seem to be going to opposite directions with their plans. As was the case last season, the club added quality building blocks (Perron, Gordon, Scrivens, Fasth, I would include Ference) to poor-possession physical players (Gazdic, Fraser) and ended up with porridge. As we can see with the names above, there is once again good and bad. I suspect Craig MacTavish is going to acquire as many things Dallas Eakins wants as possible, in order to give him the best chance to succeed (I don’t think Eakins gets a third season if 2014-15 is another disaster).

I think we might be headed for a summer where Shawn Thornton and Douglas Murray are targets, while also seeing Christian Ehrhoff and a useful center added to help the progress of Edmonton’s Oilers. As a fan, it is wildly frustrating, but here we are.

The additions of Steve Pinizotto and Iiro Pakarinen get the offseason underway with smaller, less vital moves. The next group of transactions, at least one of which should be on this side of free agency, will tell the tale.

This Oiler fan is hoping for a spring/summer of Ehrhoff, Stralman, Grabovski and Kulemin, and fears a summer of Coburn, Engelland, Handzus and Thornton.

History tells us to expect something in the middle. I always hated history.

LOWDOWN

TSN 1260, 10am. Guests include Scott Burnside (ESPN), Steve Dangle (Leafs Nation), Ryan Batty (Copper and Blue) and Scott Cullen (TSN). Offseason across the NHL, plus Oilers and their summer. And Cullen and I will probably talk baseball, football and World Cup.

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91 Responses to "BETWEEN THE BUTTONS"

  1. TheGreatMutato says:

    Have loved the blog for years and will be happy to finally have the opportunity to buy you a beer ;-)

  2. thejonrmcleod says:

    Was “PayPay” meant as a joke? If not, it’s PayPal. :)

  3. Jesse says:

    This blog and the radio show have been such high quality for such a long time — they’ve been real gifts to this fan and something that I would have definitely paid money to get before they were around. I’m looking forward to contributing. Thanks as always for the terrific work LT.

    Also, if Luke Gazdic, Shawn Thornton, and Matt Greene are all on the team next year I will shit.

  4. Hammers says:

    What’s wrong with Coburn as he would become our best experienced “D” . Next thing I don’t want to here is forget Markov . Wishing for Kulimen & Grabovski doesn’t make it happen . Stempniak & Ott would be an upgrade and so would Moss & Winnick . Wishing for Fayne & Niskanen won’t make it happen . The trades will tell us more than the UFA hires .

  5. nycoil says:

    Can’t thank you enough for your efforts over the years. You’ve really helped keep my Oiler fandom alive over the years from Tokyo to NYC. I remember you as a moderator over on that circus known as HF Oil and then this, and onto ON, and then those “crazy slideshow” guys that I hate so much ;).

    I’m also in a transitional phase so wouldn’t be able to contribute as much as if I had stability, but I would love to chip in a little. Will keep an eye out for the button.

    As for your hopes, they align with mine. Posted in the prior thread, but I really think the following is achievable:

    RNH-Hall-Eberle
    Grabovksi (3x$5M)-Kulemin (3x$3.6M)-Gagner
    Gordon-Perron-Yakupov
    Arcobello-Lander-Hendricks

    Markov ($5.3M-give him the 3rd year)-Petry (5x$4M)
    Marincin-Stralman (5x$4.5M, trade for his UFA rights to jump the queue and offer the man stability)
    Ference-Schultz (2x$3.5M)

    Scrivens-Fasth

    Draft Leon with the #3 pick

    Alternate plan: If instead of trading for Markov we can do something like #3 to Buffalo for Ehrhoff, #31 and #39…do you do it?

  6. slopitch says:

    I’m fine with PayPal. I’d gladly pitch in. You should be able to do better then google ads with your connections through advertising no? Someone like a famoso or a great canadian brewhouse might be willing to become a title sponsor.

    One of these days the Oilers are gonna have a successful pro scouting hire. I liked Petrel then Joesnsu and now Pakarinen. Who knows… they are due. One of these years this rebuild is gonna come together.

    I’m hoping for Stralman, Boychuk and a 2C.

    If the Oilers could get 2 legit defenders, it might be time to see what calibre of forward Nurse + 2015 2nd could get us. Wish for ROR, settle for ?

  7. Cobbler says:

    LT, I look forward to the blog each day. An excellent lunchtime read here in Newfoundland. Keep up the great writing!

    The PayPal button works perfect.

  8. serum114 says:

    After the reports of the Bruins having $3-5 mil in bonus carryover from last year to next, I’m wondering if they suddenly become an ideal target for teams like Edmonton with cheap young assets and cap space?

  9. flyfish1168 says:

    LT you are worth the it and you can count me in.

    I have been thinking about our last compliance buyout. If we would be using it and if we were too who would it be.

    As much as Ference has been good or the community I believe on any other team he would be targeted as a buyout candidate. JMHO

  10. nycoil says:

    serum114:
    After the reports of the Bruins having $3-5 mil in bonus carryover from last year to next, I’m wondering if they suddenly become an ideal target for teams like Edmonton with cheap young assets and cap space?

    This is the great danger this summer. Oiler fans have suffered through 8 years of wandering in the desert, and the future reward is already visible in the jacks and kings on the roster and in Nurse and the AHL D. A team nearing the end of its current contention window and near the cap, like Boston, sees a chance to re-tool with some young talent. Next thing you know the Oilers have given up their future jacks and kings to appease the masses and get back in the playoffs, only to be a middling team while the likes of Yakupov and Schultz go on to light up the league for a decade or more on other teams while the Oilers get to enjoy their Boychuks and Umbergers and Upshalls.

    If that happens, I don’t know what i would do…praying that I won’t have to cross that bridge.

  11. Lloyd B. says:

    It sounds like a sail on Lowetide blog coming ?

  12. PaperDesigner says:

    Does Coburn really belong in the “B” list?

    Honestly, any two of Coburn, Stralman and Erhoff would be a fine summer by my measure. Though it concerns me what you might be giving up if you add two defenceman by trade.

    The more I think about it, the more I am willing to settle for a couple of players that move the defence closer to respectable. I’m not expecting miracles overnight. But two actual top four defencemen, even if they’re not quite bona fide.

  13. HiddenDarts says:

    Glad you put up the Donate box, LT. Although I honestly think the Edmonton Oilers should be paying you. This season had me on the ledge as a fan so many times and this blog is always there to talk me down.

    Not to mention the radio show. It and the Stauffer show are must listens in my life. Thank God for the Lowetide and the interwebs!

  14. nycoil says:

    Felt great to click that button!

  15. soup says:

    My gut feeling is that you’ll see Meyers and Stewart coming over from Buffalo. Meyers is the puck mover with upside laden with a tough contract that only a mother could love. A mother and the Oilers with lots of cap space. Stewart provides some size up front and a familiarity with Perron. I suspect the cost is Yak plus, and that wouldn’t bother me at all.

    I’m betting both Petry and Schultz stay. For the new classic defender, who knows – could be any number of guys. It needs to be someone with some beef to play in this division.

    I also bet that Gagner is staying put with the hopes that better wingers will make up for his lapses. Gags with Perron and Stewart might just be a real second line.

    Fixing the D has to be the priority. The forwards from the end of last year and Gags healthy to start things off, capable goaltending supported by a proper defense is a world of difference. Defense that can move the puck is great – absolutely necessary. However, start first with defense that can box out the slot, break a cycle and disrupt a zone entry. The basics, really. That will help the forwards more than anything.

  16. rooster_monkey says:

    This blog has helped me in many ways extending past hockey. Thanks.

    Might I also suggest http://www.patreon.com/ as a way to get more consistent tips for your hard work when you are ready for it? It seems to be working for a number of great content creators these days.

  17. czar says:

    I appreciate the work you do LT, here, there and everywhere!! Happy to donate to the cause, more to follow my good man.

  18. soup says:

    And…

    More than happy to donate. I just recently returned from 5 years living overseas. 3 years in the UAE and a couple in the south of France – neither really hockey hot beds. This blog kept me connected to my favorite team, and helped me to learn a lot from you and your cast of regulars. Not quite to the point of wanting to raise Corgi’s, but have come to appreciate what the Queen sees in them.

    For me though? Something with longer legs, stouter body and a bit more bite than yap. But corgis are cool too!

  19. Wolfie says:

    If the Oilers could swindle Marchand out of Boston and sign Benoit Pouliot I’d be thrilled. No idea what it would take to get Marchand. Boston can’t take salary with the big penalty and if they hope to re-sign Iginla. Probably a package similar to what it took to get Perron from St. Louis.

    As for the defence, I like Coburn but if he’s the best the Oilers can get back in trade or UFA… Markov would be ideal. He seems to be of the Lidstrom, Bourque, Chelios mould. Effective and able to contribute even at an older age.

  20. book¡je says:

    Awesome! Congratulations on making the jump LT. As a long time follower who appreciates both your writing and the community you have facilitated here on the Al Gore, I think its simply fantastic that you have decided to make the jump to writing. It’s not only good for you, but also for the rest of us!

    I look forward to the book.

  21. Wolfie says:

    Bohologo:
    I’ve been lobbying for a a donation link for years, so LT, why do you hate Google Wallet?

    Seriously though.I pay for the NY Times, the Economist, and other publications. None of them give me the same joy, comfort, insights, and sense of community as this site.

    I have been reading LT’s work since at least 2002, so let’s say 350 posts per year (undercounting, I think), or 4,200 posts in this duration. Which means the $100 I just dropped into the tip jar is pretty meager compensation on my part. But it’s a start.

    If you have the means, friends, I hope you follow suit.

    The best thing about being an Oilers fan is this site.

    I’ll second that

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “This Oiler fan is hoping for a spring/summer of Ehrhoff, Stralman, Grabovski and Kulemin, and fears a summer of Coburn, Engelland, Handzus and Thornton.
    History tells us to expect something in the middle. I always hated history.”

    You know what would make the “middle road” so much easier to swallow for last year, this and next?

    If the sad end of the acquisitions were on short deals. I don’t care that much about how much we pay Ference, Gazdic, Hendricks, Fraser etc and whomever else joins the list.

    If there is some balance whereby the Perrons of the group are here for 3-5 years and the Hendrickses 1-2 years then over time the team will improve and reach balance and learn a few lessons.

    What kills it is if you give Thornton or Greene or Gazdic more than a year, Or Ference more than two.

  23. Bar_Qu says:

    How much of this verbal is ‘counter-trey’ though? It seems like MacT gives a strong endorsement to the coaches and then BLAMMO, new coaches.

    I am hopeful the whispers of Greene and Engelland are actually muted by the reality of Ramsay saying to Eakins, “we really don’t need any more like that guy.”

    Hope springs eternal, though you are right, reality has often sadly disappointed.

  24. frjohnk says:

    With all due respect to oilers nation, this is the best oilers site for info and debate. I’ll gladly donate to keep it going. Can it be setup so that a monthly withdrawal is put in place?

  25. jake70 says:

    Ryan O’Reilly 23 yo
    LH shot, center
    6′ 200 pound
    2013-14 80g 28-36-64
    RFA, 2013-14 salary 6.5M

    His agent, Pat Morris just on HC@noon. Says the Avalanche could have qualified him at 1-year 6.5M but didn’t so team filed Arb where an 85% of previous salary is possible outcome of arbitration in this CBA. So they are trying to give him a 15% paycut. Agent says it’s business but pointed out the rocky history with the 2 sides. Will be interesting to see where this goes. Good fit for the Oil?

  26. regwald says:

    frjohnk:
    With all due respect to oilers nation, this is the best oilers site for info and debate. I’ll gladly donate to keep it going.Can it be setup so that a monthly withdrawal is put in place?

    I second the motion on the monthly subscription type set up. I did an initial paypal this morning and was happy to do so. Good luck on the gig. It’s great to see you extend your passion beyond this blog LT. Congrats !

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    jake70:
    Ryan O’Reilly23 yo
    LH shot, center
    6′200 pound
    2013-1480g28-36-64
    RFA, 2013-14 salary 6.5M

    His agent, Pat Morris just on HC@noon. Says the Avalanche could have qualified him at1-year 6.5M but didn’t so team filed Arb where an 85% of previous salary is possible outcome of arbitration in this CBA.So they are trying to give him a15% paycut.Agent says it’s business but pointed out the rocky history with the 2 sides.Will be interesting to see where this goes.Good fit for the Oil?

    beyond perfect fit.

    problem is everyone will want him, Avs will try hard to keep him, despite working him over on the money.

    Speeds… will know what the offer sheet possibilities are. without a 2nd, I don’t know if we could do it.

  28. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: beyond perfect fit.

    problem is everyone will want him, Avs will try hard to keep him, despite working him over on the money.

    Speeds… will know what the offer sheet possibilities are. without a 2nd, I don’t know if we could do it.

    I don’t think the offer sheet works here. The Avalanche would probably just keep him and try to trade him a year from now, even on an inflated contract.

    The best bet would be trade.

    E. Kane or Byfuglien and change for O’Reilly or some such deal might work out. O’Reilly for Couturier would be interesting. Giordano for O’Reilly would be a very savvy move for Burke.

    If the Oilers want O’Reilly the asking price is Yakupov to start, I would guess. They’ve been rumoured to want a puck-moving blueliner as well, so There might be something where the Avs try to get Yakupov and Petry for O’Reilly and something, but I’m not sure how well that all works.

  29. Melman says:

    To state the obvious: the key to the off-season will really be what trade(s) MacT can pull off prior to July 1. If he can keep the #3 pick and net 2 quality players more than the current # roster (eg 2 for prospects/picks, or 3 for 1 player and prospect/picks) then that will certainly improve his position when the UFA market opens. It will be miles easier to entice say Fayne/Stralman if Myers/Coburn & Marchand are already in the fold.

  30. russ99 says:

    I’m hoping for more like 5-6 players added, and that’s not including fixing the second line center hole.

    I’m wishful that MacT was a little close to the vest on this. He’s right on when it comes to defense, though, we need two NHL veterans in those roles, and I wouldn’t mind them adding a third defenseman to compete for the 6/7 spot inexpensively just before camp.

    Right now our bottom six forwards are:

    Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick
    Arcobello – Lander – Gazdic (if healthy)

    IMO we need to add three players minimum to have a defensively-solid 2-way forward group to compete in our division.

    Ideally, that would be a new third shutdown line moving Hendricks – Gordon and X player who earns the third spot in camp down to the fourth line.

  31. speeds says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: beyond perfect fit.

    problem is everyone will want him, Avs will try hard to keep him, despite working him over on the money.

    Speeds… will know what the offer sheet possibilities are. without a 2nd, I don’t know if we could do it.

    EDM is short a 3rd, not a 2nd, when it comes to offer sheets, as the picks needed for offer sheets are 2015, not 2014

  32. bendelson says:

    Congratulations on the career change LT. Bold.

    Although I don’t know you or your wife personally, I feel confident in assuming none of this happens without her support, encouragement and trust. So, congratulations to your better half as well.

    We are the thankful benefactors…

  33. Ontarioil says:

    Totally support the PayPal option, and like a few other I think a Patreon account would really suit what you do.

    Confused why Coburn is a B move though, I think he’s one of the few “defensive” defencemen that brings value worth paying for, also though the piece that Tulsky did mentioning him a lot was eye opening http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-people-pushing-the-nhl-into-the-advanced-stats-era/

  34. Jordan says:

    Thoughts:

    MacT: “We also need a defending defenceman. We’re not going to compromise our young prospects on defence.We’d rather they played in the American Hockey League or junior.”

    LT, you just had a long discussion with Scott Cullen about the transition many teams are making away from this kind of defenseman. Does this make it more likely the Oilers may be able to acquire one? A good one? At a reduced price? Or does it show that the Oilers are behind the curve when it comes to the current hockey Meta-game?

    David Perron – Why are they trading him? I think Perron is the ‘outer marker’ player Edmonton would trade for a legit top center. If they can get that player, and part of the ask is Perron, I suspect MacT would pull the trigger.

    David Perron is a scoring/agitating top 6 forward, making less than 4M for the next two years. HUGE VALUE CONTRACT. Can you trade him straight-up for Neal? There are certainly other teams who need these contracts more than the Oilers. How can the Oilers best utilize that value? Get a player you need who’s on a poorer contract. Love Perron – can he get you something you need more?

    Sam Gagner – Why Are they trading him? Sam Gagner hasn’t improved his play at center, and it’s been a long time. He won a big contract from the Oilers and was going to have a hard time delivering full value for it even before the injury. It feels like time, although he could re-invent himself as a winger.

    With Spezza crossing Nashville off the list of places he’s willing to go… why aren’t we sending Samwise out there? I really don’t care what we get back for him – I’d expect it’s a contract of some kind, or that and a prospect… but they’re the ones who need the scoring centre, so… maybe he’s not the player they want, but he could be the scoring player they get…

  35. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    speeds: EDM is short a 3rd, not a 2nd, when it comes to offer sheets, as the picks needed for offer sheets are 2015, not 2014

    ah!

    thanks!!

    any offer you can come up with that Col might not match?

  36. thejonrmcleod says:

    “I write for Oilers Nation, Bleacher Report, Puck Rant and this blog, and have good relationships with all (save Lowetide—what a jerk!).”

    So is this LT or his alter ego from the RE series?

  37. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT

    Strongly recommend a manner by which “regular” payments can be made. That, or you can explain to your wife that she only gets to buy groceries once a year.Bet that goes over real well

    Subscribe to a number of paid services and if I had to jettison subsciptions….. this would be one of the last sites I would quit paying to visit and to stir up the optimists

  38. speeds says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Not easy to come up with one that makes sense for EDM that COL wouldn’t match, even if EDM re-acquired their 3rd from ANA.

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    speeds:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Not easy to come up with one that makes sense for EDM that COL wouldn’t match, even if EDM re-acquired their 3rd from ANA.

    that’s what I suspected.

    Trade in-division for an unsigned RFA who can go to arbitration and then UFA really soon is a hard sell, despite how good the player is.

  40. Lois Lowe says:

    I am gainfully unemployed at the moment, but no site has given me more pleasure on the entirety of the Al Gore that your’s LT, so I am happy to give what I can to keep the content flowing. A subscriber type system would be better, and since I don’t pay for the Globe still, you ought to be the beneficiary.

  41. nycoil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: that’s what I suspected.

    Trade in-division for an unsigned RFA who can go to arbitration and then UFA really soon is a hard sell, despite how good the player is.

    No longer “in-division,” though still “in-conference.”

    I agree the Oilers need to look elsewhere because it is such a long shot, and they will ask for the moon.Colorado has Calgary to thank for its troubles, but I think they are within their rights to go the 85% route on a qualifying offer while working towards a longer term deal. Could ROR hold out again? Sure. Is another team going to come in and offer $7M+ to try to steal him? I think unlikely. ROR has less leverage than it seems.

  42. rickithebear says:

    On average a FO win in the Ozone generates a shot 50% of the time.
    A zone entry results in a shot 37% of the time.

    Our best FO% Forwards 4879 draws
    Gordon 56.5% 20% ZS 1492 draws 30.6%
    Hendricks 54% 27% ZS
    Arco 51% 47.7% ZS 404 draws
    Gagner 46.4% 963 Draws
    Other team gets 16% more pocession from these FO.
    RNH 42.4% 1280 draws
    Other team gets 36% more pocession from RNH FO.

    Many Malhotra 6’2″ 220lb
    Averagaed 73gm 7EVG and 11 EVA and a 1.31 EVP/60 with a 19.7% ZS
    19.7% ZS and 1.31 EVP/ Sedins sure miss hiim.
    He is a 59% FO center
    We know HALL-XXX-YAK are most effective with a Strong EVA defensive linear center.

    Marcel Goc 6’1″ 200lb
    11EVG scoring winger 1.50 EVP/60 in a 40.2% ZS
    He is a 52.2% FO forward

    D. Winnick 6’2″ 210 lb

    I would be quite content to see Our
    O zone and neutral zone draws shared between
    Hall-Malhotra-Yak/RNH -16% to +44% a 60% increase in pocession
    Perron-Gordon/Arco-Eberle from -25% to +16% 41% more pocession.
    Winnick/Gordon-RNH-Goc/Eberle -36% to +9% an pocession increase of 44%

    Our Dzone draws shared between.

    Hendricks-Gordon-Winnick expect 55.3% of pocession
    Goc-Malhotra-Arco around 55.6% of pocession.

    Rolling bench change lines

    Hall-#3-Yak
    Perron-RNH-Eberle
    Goc-Malhotra-Arco
    Hendricks-Gordon-Winnick

    Two 4 Fwd PP units.

    Pk units
    Winnick-Malhotra
    Hendricks-Gordon
    2.15 per night from these 4
    filled wit about .7min from hall and perron

  43. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    nycoil: No longer “in-division,” though still “in-conference.”

    crap. that’s right. Still getting used to that.

  44. Racki says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: beyond perfect fit.

    problem is everyone will want him, Avs will try hard to keep him, despite working him over on the money.

    Speeds… will know what the offer sheet possibilities are. without a 2nd, I don’t know if we could do it.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it yet, but I belief you can’t offer sheet a player going to arbitration anyways.. Or has that rule changed? (or, gasp, am I mistaken?)

    Edit: answered my own question. Changed under new CBA

  45. Younger Oil says:

    I know lots of names have been mentioned, but with Booth and Leino on unconditional waivers, would either of them be viable options for the bottom 6? I know they’ve fallen out of favor, mostly because of their contracts, but if we could get them for $2M or less a year, would it be worth it to offer them a contract, and have a decent chance to have them rebound and have it be a really good value contract?

  46. nycoil says:

    Younger Oil:
    I know lots of names have been mentioned, but with Booth and Leino on unconditional waivers, would either of them be viable options for the bottom 6? I know they’ve fallen out of favor, mostly because of their contracts, but if we could get them for $2M or less a year, would it be worth it to offer them a contract, and have a decent chance to have them rebound and have it be a really good value contract?

    Leino is flat out awful, and from all account around these parts, he has been a negative presence in the locker room as well. Booth I can’t speak for to the same degree. He doesn’t seem to be the same player after the injuries.

  47. Caramel Obvious says:

    What’s the harm in an offer sheet? Offer O’Reilly 7 years x 7 million. What does that cost in draft picks?

  48. Racki says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    What’s the harm in an offer sheet?Offer O’Reilly 7 years x 7 million.What does that cost in draft picks?

    That should be two firsts, a second and a third.

  49. Jordan says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Depending on the Cap, probably a 1st, 2nd & 3rd.

    Racki: That should be two firsts, a second and a third.

    I beleive that the compensation is based on a % of the cap. Last April, the numbers were:
    Over $5,046,585 to $6,728,781 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
    Over $6,728,781 To $8,410,976 Two 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

    As such, I expect the cost is going to be in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd range.

  50. nycoil says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    2015 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2016 1st

    Edit: RACKI beat me to it. He is right.

  51. Oil Fan 99 says:

    Where does everyone fit next year?

    New player – Schultz
    (Assume 5 year contract) (2 yr bridge)
    Marincin – Petry
    (1 yr left on ELC) (3-5 yr contract?)
    Ference – New player
    (3 yrs left) (Assume 3 year contract)

    Klefbom – can wait no longer than 1 year and then will get full time NHL shot with Edmonton or else where.
    Nurse – 1 year of junior and max 1 year in OKC before getting his NHL shot.
    Simpson – I believe he will get a legitimate NHL shot within the next 1-2 years.

  52. slopitch says:

    Id be all over getting ROR.

    And yes Lowetide, I like the subscription idea. I have stupid shit like sirius satellite, monthly bank fees coming off my accounts all the time. Id gladly sign up for monthly fees. Congrats on the career move. I saw this speech by Jim Carrey and thought of you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajMpfPYlHi4

    So MacT mentioned several times that he’d like to have a deal or 2 in place before the draft. That will really indicate where they go with free agency. The next 10 days could be telling.

  53. misfit says:

    That Leino contract was a disaster the moment it was signed. He wasn’t a terrific possession player for the Flyers despite getting a pretty easy ride. He really got a lot out of his 09/10 playoff scoring.

    But his underlying numbers this past year weren’t bad, but no goals and 15 points in 58 games isn’t going to get him big money on his next contract. He might not be a bad 3/4 LW if you can get him on a cheap contract (< $2M), but he doesn't kill penalties, so he wouldn't be my first choice.

  54. Jon K says:

    A one-time donation seems like a small price to pay for nearly a decade of reading and discussion. I support whatever steps you need to take to continue writing, LT. Keep up the great work.

    One suggestion I have is maybe linking directly to your other articles on puckrant and the like, from your frontpage here. I know you post the links in the comments threads, but as a consumer I would prefer more direct access/promotion. I also do tend to use your site as a gateway of sorts, using your links out to other blogs frequently.

  55. Backhand says:

    I read today that O’Reilly predominantly played LW to Duchene’s C while Stastny was the 2C at that party. Anyone have better info?

    I also agree he would be an amazing fit on this team, second only to Kesler. It’s too bad both play for rival teams and would be hard to trade for.

  56. admiralmark says:

    LT… I am just one of the magnitude of crazed Oil fans out there. But I can tell you over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your Blog. I sometimes wonder if the Oilers had been a more successful franchise over the years would there be as much to talk about? It seems like most of the greatest musical artists works have been born out of the angst and pain that occurred in their lives. So in that regard maybe thats how you find your inspiration to consistently put out such well articulated articles daily in what i like to call an “even keeled” perspective.

    Having said all that I think it’s also your ability to always treat the commenters on here with respect. Regardless of how aggravating or antagonizing some posted comments are you seem to have a way to respond with such class and dignity that is ultimately disarming to the person. Being able to do this in a manner that is not demeaning in any way day in day out is a talent. I think you are quite simply a man of character and class. Anyways from this fans point of view I am more then happy to make a contribution for all the entertainment you have brought me over the years. Seriously top notch.

  57. dessert1111 says:

    I don’t have the means right now LT (recent grad and all) but will/should soon. Once I have some cash flow you can add me to the fine list of monetary contributers.

  58. nycoil says:

    Backhand:
    I read today that O’Reilly predominantly played LW to Duchene’s C while Stastny was the 2C at that party.Anyone have better info?

    I also agree he would be an amazing fit on this team, second only to Kesler.It’s too bad both play for rival teams and would be hard to trade for.

    http://www.extraskater.com/player/808/ryan-oreilly
    Most common line mates were Duchene (by far), McGinn, Mackinnon. He was mostly a LW this year. His CF suffered a bit this year and dipped below 50%, but came with his best boxcars for scoring by far.

  59. slopitch says:

    Stauffer brought up Goc multiple times. Also mentioned he is German and that Draisatl was as well. Would make sense..

  60. Racki says:

    Backhand:
    I read today that O’Reilly predominantly played LW to Duchene’s C while Stastny was the 2C at that party.Anyone have better info?

    I also agree he would be an amazing fit on this team, second only to Kesler.It’s too bad both play for rival teams and would be hard to trade for.

    Makes sense. His face off numbers (amount) dropped significantly since a couple years ago.

  61. Yeti says:

    Just to be clear, the more we donate, the better quality insider information we receive?

  62. Big Dan says:

    slopitch,

    Goc would be perfect. Boyd Gordon could play RW with him and they’d be a dynamite penalty killing/ shutdown unit.

    MacT’s comments make me hope that he may be considering David Legwand (experience, toughness, defensively responsible …). The Detroit pundits say he won’t be re-signed. I think a 4-year $14M offer would do it considering he’s 33.

    The issue is that he would be perfect for two years playing smart 40-point two-way hockey. But then he’d either be an overpriced depth guy like Horcoff was or would be bought out. Oh well, it’s only Katz’s money. He was fine paying NHL salaries last year to Eager, Grebeshkov, Jones, and Dubnyk even if they weren’t in Edmonton most of the time.

    Could Legwand be convinced to come here? It’d be nice but maybe he’ll take a paycut to stay in his hometown (Detroit) . If he comes, then we can trade Gagner for Bailey and Bob’s your uncle forward wise.

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Perron-Legwand-Yakupov
    Bailey-Goc-Gordon
    Hendricks-Lander-Arcobello (Engelland + callups Pitlick/Pinizzoto)

    I’d actually get greedy and push for Winnik too, which would push Gordon to the 4C slot on paper… but Gordon’d still play a lot, kind of like Reasoner used to at the end of his Oiler days.

    That would make for some fine depth.

  63. bendelson says:

    slopitch:
    Stauffer brought up Goc multiple times. Also mentioned he is German and that Draisatl was as well.Would make sense..

    Nice to hear Stauffer is finally talking about Goc… It’s about time.

    I wonder if he has figured out that Ehrhoff is also German.

    This just in: Kulikov and Kulemin are Russian!

  64. spoiler says:

    admiralmark: Having said all that I think it’s also your ability to always treat the commenters on here with respect. Regardless of how aggravating or antagonizing some posted comments are you seem to have a way to respond with such class and dignity that is ultimately disarming to the person. Being able to do this in a manner that is not demeaning in any way day in day out is a talent. I think you are quite simply a man of character and class. Anyways from this fans point of view I am more then happy to make a contribution for all the entertainment you have brought me over the years. Seriously top notch.

    Very well said and absolutely dead on.

  65. Racki says:

    Yeti:
    Just to be clear, the more we donate, the better quality insider information we receive?

    The more we donate, the more LT can dig up more scarce and more scantily clad pictures of Scarlett Johansson

  66. Andy P says:

    “What if” Gags actually improved in every area so he was solid in the face off dot, scored goals at the same rate as he did in 2011/2012, and started playing NHL level quality 2 way hockey, what then?

    Is 5’11 still too short? Is 202 pounds still too light? Yak is the same height and weighs less and people say he is built like a brick. Many players who are not labelled as too small, due to being 6ft or more, are lighter than Gags.

    Or has the narrative as a result of his poor management, incompetent coaching and horrible injury doomed us to give him away at cents on the $$?

    Edit: How about .63ppg, +/-+5. Nuge best is .70, +3, Hall’s best is 1.11, +5.

  67. Big Dan says:

    Doug Weight just promoted to assistant coach AND assistant general manager.

    Boy, those Isles are great innovators of bad ideas. Weight better check his blood pressure behind the bench. Sure, he can freak out on the refs. But can you imagine someone floating on the ice, and Weight advocating a trade soon after?

    You CAN get worse than the Oilers.

  68. jb says:

    Your comfortable with a 1-2 Nuge/Gagner punch heading into the playoffs? Not me. After 7 years in the league your going to blame management, coaching and injuries on his performance? I’m pretty sure last season was Eakins seeing what he has in his veteran 2C, it’s doubtful he’s satisfied.

  69. Lois Lowe says:

    Booth was a disaster in Vancouver. Picking him up at any price is pretty Cam Barker-esque.

  70. Andy P says:

    jb:
    Your comfortable with a 1-2 Nuge/Gagner punch heading into the playoffs? Not me. After 7 years in the league your going to blame management, coaching and injuries on his performance? I’m pretty sure last season was Eakins seeing what he has in his veteran 2C, it’s doubtful he’s satisfied.

    No-one should be satisfied with last year’s performance. I’m asking, how tall, heavy and what point average/+- does a center need to have to take us to the playoffs, and how far from Sam’s numbers does that centre have to produce at?

    Once we have that base let’s stop talking about trading for, or drafting, anybody who is too short, too thin, doent put up enough points of has too low a +/-. If all of the above – poor coaching, horrible injury, non-existent goalkeeping, coming back too soon is no excuse, nor should any other centre be given any excuse if we are to be fair, don’t you think?

  71. RexLibris says:

    Sharks re-signed Mike Brown to a 2-year contract today.

    Because Oilers isn’t limited to the Oilers, apparently.

  72. Melman says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Booth was a disaster in Vancouver. Picking him up at any price is pretty Cam Barker-esque.

    Although I’m sure his love of hunting will go over better on the Prairies than it did on the left coast

  73. G Money says:

    Andy P: Is 5’11 still too short? Is 202 pounds still too light?

    FYI, in a previous thread, someone made the (what sounded to me like a) nonsensical claim that Draisaitl at 6’1″ and 210 lbs was “not big”. So I did what I always do, which is crunch some numbers.

    Here’s the distribution of size for the average NHL C (the dataset is filtered a bit by games played to try and capture actual NHL C’s rather than one-game callups):
    Height: http://i.imgur.com/Uy7v3ob.png
    Weight: http://i.imgur.com/jXT93ks.png

    The average NHL C is 6′ 1″ and weighs 199 lbs. So Gagner is shorter by 1.5″ and bigger by 3 lbs than the average NHL C.

    The problem for Gagner is not that he is too small, it is that he plays too small – that is to say, he gets checked off the puck easily and doesn’t win puck battles in the corner.

    Combine that with his defensive regression and it’s easy to understand why people have soured so badly on him, despite plenty of evidence that his head never recovered from Kassholeian’s jaw surgery.

  74. Melman says:

    G Money,

    100%. Gagner and Mike Richards are about the same size. Despite Richards’s drop off in offensive production no one questions his defensive play or scrappiness. It’s how Gags plays more than his size. Richards for peanuts and cap relief for LA would be a good add. His offense isn’t far off Gags and he can fill a top 6 C role until the #3 is ready and then slide him into a depth C spot in a few years.

    Contract’s not ideal, but not so horrible you can’t live with it. It’s less than Hall’s $6M, you get certainty of player, unlike hoping for a UFA to sign, and should be able to get him without giving up a prime prospect and to me there is big value in that as we don’t know which of the D coming will be the best of the crop.

  75. Racki says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Booth was a disaster in Vancouver. Picking him up at any price is pretty Cam Barker-esque.

    Maybe if you go one year with intent of being a 14th forward it isn’t so bad. The prob with barker (in addition to the numerous problems with barker) is he was expected to be a regular in the line up. If Booth impresses early, great! If not, maybe you plop him on Waivers. That said, I’m not really expecting much out of him and it wouldn’t be a crime if they didn’t give it a shot… But it could be OK. With a shot.. Just not a big shot.

  76. Lowetide says:

    We keep talking about Gagner’s size, and we need to be talking about his coverage. Larionov was 5 foot nothing but he was a killer.

  77. Factotum says:

    Here’s what I’d do with Samwise: Strap him to a dentist’s chair and force him to watch video of Patrice Bergeron backchecking. For at least 12 hours straight.

    Heck, if I saw him do a convincing Bergeron impression even *once* while wearing an Oilers sweater, I’d probably fall down on my knees and sing praise. For at least 12 hours straight.

  78. G Money says:

    Melman,

    It makes short-term sense getting Richards to play for a couple of years at 2C and then slot e.g. Draisaitl or whichever C gets drafted this year in at 2C for the long-term.

    The problem is that Richards is a cap hit of $5.75M signed until 2020. That’s six long years.

    So if Richards’ recent scoring dropoff is the start of a long-term trend as opposed to a temporary blip, then after those two years you now have a sub .50 ppg (and declining player) signed for another four expensive years a.k.a. an unplayable player signed to an untradeable contract.

    I think there’s too much risk to pursue that line.

    Worst case scenario: Meanwhile, after we trade Gagner to the Kings, his recovery from the head injury combined with better coaching combined with four beefy teammates that complement his playing style allow him to reach his potential as a defensively neutral offensively gifted 0.7ppg 2C. The Kings remain a perennial contender while we cross our fingers yet again over the lottery …

  79. G Money says:

    Lowetide:
    We keep talking about Gagner’s size, and we need to be talking about his coverage. Larionov was 5 foot nothing but he was a killer.

    I don’t think it’s either or, both are an issue with Gaoniaix.

    Size: not so much being small, but playing small, not winning battles, for space or the puck.
    Coverage: cheats in the offensive zone, doesn’t exist in the defensive zone.

    Issue A exacerbates Issue B in that if you can’t win battles, the other guys get the puck and now it exposes any coverage issues you have. On the other hand, win the battle and your defensive shortcomings matter a whole lot less.

  80. G Money says:

    There’s an old saying that was floating around Edmonite way back in the Oiler Glory Days (so perhaps it was Sather that said it, or maybe it’s much older than that).

    In any case, it went something like this: “Give me players who can score. I can teach a scorer to play defense, but I can’t teach someone who can’t score how to score.”

    Garnier is testing the veracity of the first part of the second sentence.

  81. Racki says:

    I know it’s just the Hockey News but they are saying Florida makes the most sense as destination for Gagner, with intent on moving him to wing… Should they lose out on the battles for the big name centres. Too bad the draft wasn’t after free agency. Less leverage here, but maybe they could still trade Gagner plus for the top pick. What would be the cost people would do in addition to Gagner (that would actually get this done)? I’m not sure how worth it Ekblad+Draisaitl (or Reinhart) would be next year, but it’d probably be quite good long term. I can’t imagine the cost required though here.

    G Money:
    There’s an old saying that was floating around Edmonite way back in the Oiler Glory Days (so perhaps it was Sather that said it, or maybe it’s much older than that).

    In any case, it went something like this: “Give me players who can score.I can teach a scorer to play defense, but I can’t teach someone who can’t score how to score.”

    Garnier is testing the veracity of the first part of the second sentence.

    In fairness, he never said any old coaching hack can teach defense. :P

  82. Jordan says:

    Racki:
    In fairness, he never said any old coaching hack can teach defense.

    In fairness, he didn’t coach Sam Gagner.

    Or Rob Schremp for that matter.

  83. Marc says:

    Lowetide: The puck-moving defenseman sounds more like Ehrhoff than Phaneuf or Coburn.

    You have to wonder if it’s Letang. The Oilers can offer a cheaper top 4 RD back in Petry, which would give them the cap space they need to resign Niskanen.

    It might also explain the conspicuous silence on Petry’s new contract.

  84. Melman says:

    Marc,

    why, why, why?!? I’ll keep Petry + $3M well spend on another need > Letang

  85. Ducey says:

    Racki: Maybe if you go one year with intent of being a 14th forward it isn’t so bad. The prob with barker (in addition to the numerous problems with barker) is he was expected to be a regular in the line up. If Booth impresses early, great! If not, maybe you plop him on Waivers. That said, I’m not really expecting much out of him and it wouldn’t be a crime if they didn’t give it a shot… But it could be OK. With a shot.. Just not a big shot.

    I would agree.

    Sportsnet had a few guys making the case he should not even be bought out, based in part on a few fancy stats: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/why-the-canucks-should-not-buy-out-booth/

    Booth has a decent chance to be a steal after a buyout and would be a good fit for the Oilers – if he is healthy.

  86. Melman says:

    Ducey,

    If you could grab him on a Mason Raymond 1yr/$1M for the bottom 6 that would be a risk worth taking

  87. Mr DeBakey says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Booth was a disaster in Vancouver. Picking him up at any price is pretty Cam Barker-esque.

    52% GF & 52% CF against soft competition
    He can skate
    He’s big.
    He’ll cost almost zero assets.
    What’s not to like?

    Plus he is one year further from those concussions.

  88. Deadman Waiting says:

    Lowetide is amazing. I don’t know how he does it. I could never write every day through rain or drizzle or sleet or snow or blizzard or hail or drought or dustbowl. Every damn day. (Fancy some sunshine, anyone?)

    If we all hung out at at some secretive lodge, I’m guessing we would be paying our dues (except those of us with 50+ years of unbroken Lowetide allegiance who are now free and clear and coasting on easy street—from what I’ve read, in some lodges the grizzled fixed-income freebooters amount to more than 30% of the membership ranks, which can’t be helping their recruiting efforts). They probably won’t let you join anyway if you show up wearing a smoking jacket over a kilt (hard to roll up the ol’ pant leg). I say: too many damn rules.

    This afternoon I went online looking for a humble, secular association in my home town that meets semi-regularly and found next to nothing—one or two groups that specialise in deep philosophical questions far too difficult for collective fat chewing. Where’s the community, man! On the national level, it appears that many of these organizations are little more than glorified mailing lists. I click “who we are” and find less personality or charm than any third post by ours truly.

    Why does community slide so far down in the material pecking order? My local coffee roaster brings in some of the world’s most exclusive coffee beans and charges $25 for a 200 g jar and it seems outrageous on the surface. Yet many times I’ve spent $25 on a trunk-aged bottle of wine that was briefly enjoyed yet completely undistinguished (though not so much any more). 200 g makes twenty small cups of coffee, and not a single one would pass unnoticed with beans of this exceptional quality level.

    A 1001 cups of coffee down the road, I’m thinking this Lowetide brew is pretty good. Still alive and kicking. It must be working.

    Actually, I’m on a bit of a community bent right now. After one is properly woken, one wants to do something with it. Time to pay for my privileged perspective through service to others. It was mainly for my own ends that I explored the shaggy side of language. Now I’m ready to pull a heavier wagon. Not that I’m abandoning silly completely (shoot me first), but less levity as an end to itself.

    I grew up with a brightly illustrated children’s book with a potent parent/child pick-me-up. I wasn’t able to pin it down on Google, which surprised me. I recall the main character as Maxine. She is older, she lives alone, and she follows an extremely rigid daily routine. One day she just doesn’t see the point of getting out of bed, so she doesn’t. Monday morning mayhem ensues. Her entire appartment building ends up late for work, who have all grown accustomed to her reliable routines of putting out the cat and boiling her kettle. She realizes of course, when everyone in her building shows up at her door with their pants on backwards, expressing self-interested concern for her well being, that she’s needed after all.

    I’m proposing a little side-collection to buy a copy of this book for a certain Mr Woodguy. Woodguy, it’s just not the same without you! Ramsay might tickle your fancy for a week or two, but then you’ll draw up our defensive depth chart, and then pull the curtains back over your head, and then who will whistle the corgis home? You of the master dog whistle? You know that, don’t you?

    Lowetide hand-grinds our daily kettle and socializes the odd varmint, but then it’s community after all, of quills and stripes and cottontails assembled in a virtual forest glade, whose comfortable toadstools are conjured into existence by an irreplaceable gift one won’t find on the shelves of one’s local liquor emporium.
    Cask strength, barrel-aged, and wood cured.

  89. PunjabiOil says:

    Didn’t give it a second thought on hitting that paypal icon.

    Hopefully, if time/desire permits, you write a book. I suspect it would be a bestseller.

  90. geowal says:

    Only occasional poster more during in-season, daily reader, catch-up after vacations etc., More than happy to throw in my proverbial (and literal, plus extra) 2 cents of support. Have only been here since the dark times, would be great to lurk here until the better times. Thanks and keep up the excellent work.

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