LOUD NOISES 1: THE ALBERTA ADVANTAGE

The Edmonton Oilers go to market in 2014 summer with some real walking around money and some solid leads. These are not the Glengarry leads, but there’s value for a keen eye and a good salesman. This is the job facing Craig MacTavish this summer.

Oilers free agent success is impossible to predict, because the club has only one of the three magic bullets required to attract the best UFA’s:

  • Money (they have it now)
  • Success (they haven’t had it in ages)
  • Quality of life in Edmonton (hard to compete with ocean view)

Last year we identified 2013 free agent signing Boyd Gordon and in 2012 Justin Schultz and Ryan Smyth made my list. How many can we identify this year?

  1. C Mikhail Grabovski—Outstanding potential value to the Oilers.
  2. C David Legwand—Old, fading—perfect!
  3. C Dave Bolland—The money pit.
  4. L Nikolai Kulemin—Another quality option for Edmonton.
  5. L Thomas Vanek—They signed him once…
  6. R Ryan Callahan—Expensive and overrated.
  7. R David Moss—Two-way winger would help that bottom 6F.
  8. R Daniel Winnik—Subpar season, some concern.
  9. D Andrei Markov—He’s too old and too slow and too expensive. Perfect.
  10. D Matt Niskanen—He’s a fine player, will get Fort Knox in free agency.
  11. D Brooks Orpik—I don’t think he has any interest in Edmonton. Good.
  12. D Matt Greene—Absolutely could be here in the fall.
  13. D Ron Hainsey—Effective defenseman.
  14. D Nikita Nikitin—We’ll know if Howson likes him this summer.
  15. D Anton Stralman—A modern day fancy stats overnight sensation.
  16. D Derek Engelland—Matty named him.
  17. D Mark Fayne—Veteran defender would be helpful.

 MACT ON JG SHOW

Jason Gregor had a dynamite interview with Craig MacTavish yesterday afternoon. It is here. Some highlights:

  • They’ve had Aaron Ekblad and Sam Bennett in so far, and they were very impressed with both players. Draisaitl and Reinhart are on their way for visits.
  • “The value is in the amalgamation of your analytics and scouting departments—that’s really the sweet spot in terms of evaluation of players.”
  • There’s still room for smaller guys, Oilers drafting mandate is to select the player who will have the greatest impact on his team. That includes players under 6.04 who can impact the game positively.
  • They fully anticipate signing Jeff Petry.
  • Darnell Nurse will have to compete strongly for a position in training camp, as will Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom. They’ll want to add a couple of defensemen to create competition.
  • He was coy about trading or signing a defenseman, indicating to me he may have something on the table re: defenseman.
  • MacT is hesitant to trade No. 3 overall.
  • He is receiving better offers for the pick this season than he did one year ago. He would look for an immediate/long term solution in a trade.
  •  “We have our own draft value chart based on historic records and evaluation of players drafted at that spot over time.”
  • “We are actively involved in the trade market and hope we can do something going into the draft.”
  •  “The value of draft choices is never greater than at the draft, and their value is never lower than at the trade deadline.”

I love the fact they’re using analytics in the draft, that’s a huge item. Now, we don’t know if they’re weighing them heavily but we do know Dan Haight does some work for them in this area. Michael Parkatti was my guest yesterday, and he is part of that project, badly wanted to ask him some questions about it but have to respect the process. One thing I believe we learned from last season: MacT is willing to listen, as he traded down twice in a deep draft to acquire extra selections.

HOW’S THAT CRAZY TRADE GOING?

  • First trade: Edmonton trades 37th overall (Valentin Zykov) to Los Angeles for 57th overall (William Carrier), 88th overall (Anton Slephyshev) and 96th overall (Kyle Platzer).
  • Second trade: Oilers trade 57th overall (William Carrier) to St. Louis for 83rd overall (Bogdan Yakimov), 94th overall (Jackson Houck) and 113th overall (Aidain Muir).

Let’s break this down via their boxcars:

  1. Valentin Zykov 53GP, 23-40-63 (1.19 points per game)  (QMJHL)
  2. William Carrier 66GP, 22-43-65 (.985 points per game) (QMJHL)
  3. Bogdan Yakimov 33GP, 7-5-12 (.364 points per game) (KHL)
  4. Anton Slepyshev 36GP, 3-5-8 (.222 points per game) (KHL)
  5. Jackson Houck 69, 34-27-61 (.884 points per game (WHL)
  6. Kyle Platzer 66GP, 22-14-36 (.545 points per game) (OHL)
  7. Aidan Muir 54GP, 14-27-41 (.759 points per game) (USHL)

Fascinating, isn’t it? Zykov and Carrier are the class of the group who played in the CHL, but a strong finish by Jackson Houck has me intrigued. The two Russians will probably be the key to this deal for Edmonton, with Yakimov looking like the gem in the group. Let’s run the NHLE (I’ll use Desjardins this time).

NHLE (per 82gp)

  1. Valentin Zykov 10-17-27
  2. Bogdan Yakimov 14-11-25
  3. William Carrier 8-15-23
  4. Jackson Houck 12-10-22
  5. Aidan Muir 6-11-17
  6. Anton Slepyshev 6-9-15
  7. Kyle Platzer 8-5-13

One quick item here. Slepyshev played 10:18 a night this season in the KHL, so his numbers have a denver boot. I expect he’d be around Houck’s NHLE if he was getting more icetime. Yakimov played only 9:55, and he may actually be the star in this group. If we assume an average of 15 minutes a night, he would be over 35 points NHLE. That would make this trade exceptional. We’ll get a nice look at Yakimov in North America this season, should be fun.

The final tally is Zykov for Yakimov, Houck, Slepyshev, Muir and Platzer. A year later, I really like the odds of Edmonton getting good value from the trade. Yakimov looks good, and Houck plus Slepyshev also look legit. Muir and Platzer are lagging, and of course we have 20% of the race in the books.

We wait.

LOWETIDE

10 this morning, TSN 1260. Radio star Dennis King gets things rolling, then it’s Dustin Nielson to talk draft about 10:25 (he’s going to the draft this year). At 11, Bruce McCurdy will drop by and we’ll talk draft then (2004) and now, and we’ll finish off the guest list today with Paul Almeida from Saturday Sports Extra. We’ll talk World Cup and then tee up Saturday’s show where we’ll look at the draft in a big way.

Next week is a strange one, I’m off for World Cup much of the week. I will have a Friday Lowdown and that will be packed with draft. Next weekend I’ll also be on SSE so we’ll be live during the later stages of the draft when Edmonton is selecting fourth round plus.

See you on the radio!

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91 Responses to "LOUD NOISES 1: THE ALBERTA ADVANTAGE"

  1. wintoon says:

    I am very encouraged to hear MacT say he is hesitant to trade the #3 overall pick. Quite simply, there is no substitute for having strength at centre and there will likely be a high quality centre (Draisaitl) available in the 3 slot. Expecting to be able to acquire a premier centre via trade or UFA is a very expensive dreamland scenario.

    As for potential UFA signings, many have suggested that the Oilers need or want to sign between 3-5 players. If by some miracle they were able to acquire Grabovski, Kulemin, Nikitin and Greene, I would be over the moon ecstatic.

    That would allow the Oilers to ease Draisaitl, for example, into the NHL by playing him as a winger with size in year 1, similar to what the Habs have done with Galchenyuk. This would also push a number of the D prospects down the depth chart and allow them to develop in the AHL or junior, as the case may be.

  2. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Platzer’s OS numbers are much better than his LDN numbers. But, he’s still a long way from scoring.

    Looks like another Lander from here. He’s got the glove, has to get the at-bats to learn the offensive side… maybe he’s a late bloomer due to being buried.

    I don’t think we hear from Muir for 2 years. He’s going to be buried in College most likely. Might not know what to make of him for a while.

    I really like Houck. range of skills. goal scorer. On a piss-poor team. Might be an Andrew Shaw type if he ever makes it.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger 9m

    At least 8 teams have shown interest in acquiring the 1st pick overall from the Panthers. Van, Cgy, Edmtn and Tor among them.

  4. su_dhillon says:

    The MacT tour has been interesting, I’m torn because when he speaks I like the verbal, the process makes sense but then they also do some weird things that do not fit the things we hear and I’m left shaking my head in disbelief.

    I see no reason to trade up to 1 can’t see any value in it but with no 2nd or 3rd rd picks Im not to worried about it.

    If MacT has a deal in the bag for a D or deal close and the 3rd pick isn’t involved are we looking at a #4 #5 type guy or someone higher in the order?

  5. Jon K says:

    Lowetide:
    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger 9m

    At least 8 teams have shown interest in acquiring the 1st pick overall from the Panthers. Van, Cgy, Edmtn and Tor among them.

    This worries me. I don’t think there’s a compelling reason to move from #3 to #1, unless you are concerned Calgary will move to #1 and draft Ekblad.

    I’m more concerned, however, that Edmonton is trying to straight up acquire the 1st and also keep the 3rd. It would allow the Oilers to draft a C and D. However, the reason I’m concerned is that Florida would surely want Yakupov and Marincin for the first overall, given Tallon’s stated desire for a young NHL defender in a trade with Vancouver or a dynamic offensive winger from the draft pick.

    I guess my concerns then are that moving from 3 to 1 is unnecessary and acquiring 1 would be too costly.

  6. nycoil says:

    “The value of draft choices is never greater than at the draft, and their value is never lower than at the trade deadline.”

    Music! Tambellini never understood this.

    Lowetide,

    All the media smoke this year really does point to more trades at the draft. Now I guess if that Rogers thing comes to pass, that may throw a spanner in the works, but otherwise, it should be very interesting.

    There’s lots of smoke around Florida asking Vancouver for Tanev + #6 and Vancouver saying no–any defenseman but Tanev. I’m just trying to think of what kind of offer from Edmonton with #3 equals the Tanev + #6 value and I’m afraid it’s likely Marincin or Klefbom + #3. So would you give up Klefbom + Bennett for Ekblad? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….I dunno. I really don’t know. Leaning towards no, personally.

  7. LMHF#1 says:

    I know there will be a ton of moaning and groaning if they sign Vanek, but I’d be pretty happy as it would allow them to make a subsequent move without downgrading in the scoring department. Vanek will tear it up with a playmaker on his line.

  8. TheGreatMutato says:

    This is unrelated but the Oilers are fated to draft McDavid who, unaided becomes jaded, and the management persuaded will see that he is traded once his value is fully degraded.

    Sorry, but I’m a post behind and still trying to rhyme McDavid.

  9. Woodguy says:

    Another thing that MacT said that I liked was: (paraphrased from memory)

    “That’s the value of analytics. It can lead you to ask the right questions…..hopefully you can find someone who is undervalued before the other guys do, but that’s really tough in today’s NHL”

    Gregor had pressed MacT on Stralman who has unreal fancystats and pedestrian box cars.

    MacT’s answer was almost perfect.

    That’s exactly how teams should be using fancystats.

    Identify players who drive possession and then have the hockey eyes examine hours of game tape to see if their opinion jibes with the numbers.

    Goddam Oilers giving me hope every bloody off-season.

  10. thejonrmcleod says:

    The Oilers could have also stopped after the first trade and had Carrier, Yakimov, and (edit: possibly) Houck for Zykov.

    Are you including tax advantages in “quality of life”? When I read the title, I thought you’d mention it in the post since I think MacTavish talked about it in the Gregor interview.

  11. su_dhillon says:

    Here’s one thing that bothered me from the Gregor interview and maybe it was simply the question wasn’t clear. Gregor asked Mactavish if he would do anything different in terms of chasing Clarkson and Mactavish said no he would do it all the same but they couldn’t compete with the hometown factor.
    Now if he is really using analytics in a meaningful way would he do it all the same again? Would he make the same offer? If the answer is yes then we got problems.
    In fairness to Mactavish maybe he assumed the question was asked in terms of would you recruit him the same way which is fine to say yes, but if he didn’t learn anything from dodging that bullet then well I don’t know what to say.

  12. Racki says:

    nycoil:
    “The value of draft choices is never greater than at the draft, and their value is never lower than at the trade deadline.”

    Music! Tambellini never understood this.

    Lowetide,

    All the media smoke this year really does point to more trades at the draft. Now I guess if that Rogers thing comes to pass, that may throw a spannerin the works, but otherwise, it should be very interesting.

    There’s lots of smoke around Florida asking Vancouver for Tanev + #6 and Vancouver saying no–any defenseman but Tanev.I’m just trying to think of what kind of offer from Edmonton with #3 equals the Tanev + #6 value and I’m afraid it’s likely Marincin or Klefbom + #3. So would you give up Klefbom + Bennett for Ekblad? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….I dunno. I really don’t know. Leaning towards no, personally.

    I have to ask… Why would we really want to trade up from 3 to 1? I personally don’t. The Oilers have two big needs and both are extremely important.. Need a two way D, and need a good center. One of those will be addressed at 3 (or should be). We have all heard that the top 4 names are a fairly even level of talent. Just stay the course and draft 3. I

    ‘d be perfectly fine with the Oilers trying to trade for #1 without giving up 3, but I see zero point I a pick swap. It will likely be too costly to make the swap for what may be a fairly margin all difference.

    I am pretty interested in Ekblad.. He will likely be gone at 3, but I’m quite happy if they get Reinhart or Draisaitl too. (even Bennett too, but I’m a little stuck on this size issue here).

  13. G Money says:

    TheGreatMutato: This is unrelated but the Oilers are fated to draft McDavid who, unaided becomes jaded, and the management persuaded will see that he is traded once his value is fully degraded.

    Late yes, but nicely done.

  14. thejonrmcleod says:

    su_dhillon,

    I’m sure MacTavish is thankful that Clarkson didn’t sign with the Oilers, but I think he’d be hesitant to publicly say that.

  15. Hammers says:

    I notice you see both Markov & Legwand as old and expensive and obviously they are but front loaded 3 year contracts could give you 2 , good or very good players . Pay Markov his 18 mill but at 8 ,7 then 3 with trade rights for the 3rd year and there should be a low cap team prepared to take a $3 mill with a 6 mill cap hit . We get NHL players for 2 years to bridge the gap until the kids are fully ready . Those older players still want to win and ages 33 & 35 for a “D” isn’t that old anyway .

  16. G Money says:

    wintoon: That would allow the Oilers to ease Draisaitl, for example, into the NHL by playing him as a winger with size in year 1, similar to what the Habs have done with Galchenyuk.

    With Grabo at 2C, why does Draisaitl need to play in the NHL at all?

    nycoil: So would you give up Klefbom + Bennett for Ekblad? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….I dunno. I really don’t know.

    Depends on how the UFA market shapes up.

    Assuming:
    - that we have long-term gaps at 1D and 2C
    - that Klef is slated to become an effective 4D in the long-term
    - by standing pat, whichever C gets drafted at #3 will be our long-term 2C (no pressure young man)

    Then:
    - getting Ekblad fills the 1D gap long-term (no pressure young man)
    - it still leaves a gaping hole at 2C
    - and creates a new one at 4D

    BUT:
    - if we sign e.g. Fayne as 4D and e.g. Grabo (unlikely I know, but a solid possession 2C), then the trade makes sense

    LMHF#1: I know there will be a ton of moaning and groaning if they sign Vanek

    I think that’s predicated on what they pay. Vanek’s a great player, but he doesn’t really fill a gap in the Top 6, and chewing up $8M in cap space for another winger instead of a C or a D doesn’t seem like good portfolio management.

  17. nycoil says:

    Racki,

    I don’t really want to. I’m asking the question because of the prior post that said the Oilers are among the teams asking about #1.

    I said personally I would rather Klefbom and Bennett/Draisaitl over just Ekblad, so I wouldn’t make that trade.

  18. Doomoil says:

    People keep saying they would be happy with signing Greene and I can’t figure out why. Not only are his fancy stats terrible, but he’s terrible by eye. When the SC champion scratches a veteran player for most of the playoffs, take that as a clue.

  19. RexLibris says:

    “The value of draft choices is never greater than at the draft, and their value is never lower than at the trade deadline.”

    What a remarkably astute observation. Wish I’d thought of that.

    If Tallon wants to trade the 1st overall to the Oilers, I would begrudgingly consider Yakupov and Klefbom to draft 1st and 3rd overall. Ekblad could be as strong a prospect as Klefbom with perhaps an equal timeline to make the NHL debut. And Yakupov would be flipped for Draisaitl as the center they need. It sets the whole roster back a year, so I don’t see it happening, but those are the names I could see Tallon and MacTavish discussing in early negotiations.

    If Calgary moved up to #1, I would have two hopes – a) that they pay through the nose and it costs them Brodie +, and b) that they take Ekblad.

  20. LMHF#1 says:

    G Money:

    I think that’s predicated on what they pay.Vanek’s a great player, but he doesn’t really fill a gap in the Top 6, and chewing up $8M in cap space for another winger instead of a C or a D doesn’t seem like good portfolio management.

    Don’t we have “the Hall cap” in place? I’m assuming unless your name is P.K. Subban, the contract would have to come in lower than that.

  21. admiralmark says:

    As long as MacT doesn’t trade Kale Kessey i’ll be ok with whatever.

  22. gd says:

    My belief is MacT’s reasonable goal is to get to about 21st place with the offseason moves and give Yak the best chance to succeed. That is why I think the Grabo/Kulemin should be the number one UFA targets over the top Dmen. The combo means there are only a few teams they will be competing with them and I don’t think any true contender would see them as the affordable final pieces to Cup contention.

    While I would love Stralman or Markov, I think if they get Grabo/Kulemin I would be okay with them going a little lower on the D acquisition like Hainsey/Nikitin/Weaver/Bellemore.

    I think once the season gets started there will be at least 3 teams that will have a bad enough start that they will start being “Sedated for McDavid” and that is where they might be able to get a guy like Sekera or Campbell from one of those teams with the tradeable assets we have.

  23. Caramel Obvious says:

    Trading someone like Klefbom to move up to #1 is absurd. The difference in value between #1 and #3 is nothing, not even a 7th round pick, let alone someone like Klefbom.

    There is a reason the Panthers want to trade down. Trading up from 2-4 is pure folly. Trading up from 5 and later is a little more reasonable but only if the price is a draft pick. Trading a real NHL player to move up is crazy talk for anybody.

  24. RexLibris says:

    Watching Columbia v Ivory Coast on CBC right now. Columbia in bright yellow and Cote D’Ivoire in bright green and their goalie in Cyan blue.

    It’s like watching a pack of Nerds candy play soccer.

  25. Caramel Obvious says:

    LMHF#1: Don’t we have “the Hall cap” in place? I’m assuming unless your name is P.K. Subban, the contract would have to come in lower than that.

    That’s ridiculous. Hall signed an RFA contract. Even if one buys the notion of an internal salary structure (which is irrational) there is no justification to thinking it applies to UFA’s.

    On another note signing Vanek would be worth it just to watch Rishaug’s brain explode.

  26. wintoon says:

    G Money,

    The point is not that Draisaitl would have to play in the NHL but rather that it would give the Oilers the option of having him play in the NHL. At the same time that he is gaining experience at the NHL level, he may well be able to fill a hole on the roster as a winger with size.

  27. russ99 says:

    I’d rather keep Yak, pass on Vanek and use what Vanek’s going to get in FA to sign two good 2-way players for the bottom six.

    Also, the whole Edmonton weather factor is overblown when it comes to FAs. There’s only 4-6 NHL cities where there’s not a strong winter, and all the teams travel to the northern cities and Canada.

    Plus this past winter it was more Edmonton-like in places for weeks at a time in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, and even New York had frequent snowstorms and a brutal cold snap. Besides, all the players can go to warmer and nicer places in summertime.

    IMO, extra money and competing can override all that, and making the moves to compete sooner is the one thing MacT can do to make Edmonton more attractive to FAs

  28. LMHF#1 says:

    Caramel Obvious: That’s ridiculous.Hall signed an RFA contract.Even if one buys the notion of an internal salary structure (which is irrational) there is no justification to thinking it applies to UFA’s.

    On another note signing Vanek would be worth it just to watchRishaug’s brain explode.

    What an odd reaction…The org has given this impression. I’m not advocating it. Detroit did it for years. Why act like this is such a foreign concept?

  29. malinpaul says:

    Ekblad with Marincin, Nurse, Petry, Klefbom, Schultz makes for some really deep D. Kind of Vancouver-like during their run. (i love that they are over!!!)

    Nuge will be our #1 (see WJC 15pt in 6 games MVP against his peers). A #2C is still tough but easier to acquire than a #1D.

    If Ekblad is gone, I would like to see a trade DOWN. to acquire Hayden Fleury (the second best D in the draft) – he is “an elite shutdown guy playing big leadership min in RD”… IF we can get value (maybe some additional picks in the draft or a bottom 6 piece) along with trading #3 for say around #10.

    It would be tough to cheer for a Fleury, but the second best D on the planet in his draft year feels like a pretty good addition.

  30. nycoil says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Question for you: do you think Tanev and #6 have more value in the current NHL than Klefbom and #3? I think they probably have about equal value because Tanev is the more proven commodity.

    That is the reported asking price from Tallon in trading with Vancouver. I agree with you that I’d rather keep Klefbom and draft whoever is there at 3 than give him up and one of the Cs in order to get Ekblad.

    But seems to be that’s what it would take in the scenario reported by Dreger that the Oilers are asking about the cost to trade up.

  31. hoser313 says:

    malinpaul:
    Ekblad with Marincin, Nurse, Petry, Klefbom, Schultz makes for some really deep D. Kind of Vancouver-like during their run. (i love that they are over!!!)

    Nuge will be our #1 (see WJC 15pt in 6 games MVP against his peers). A #2C is still tough but easier to acquire than a #1D.

    If Ekblad is gone, I would like to see a trade DOWN. to acquire Hayden Fleury (the second best D in the draft) – he is “an elite shutdown guy playing big leadership min in RD”… IF we can get value (maybe some additional picks in the draft or a bottom 6 piece) along with trading #3 for say around #10.

    Interesting idea. Problem is the Oilers’ cupboard of legitimate prospects for 2C is shockingly bare. The 2C FA market depends on the year also. One year it might be Paul Statsny, one year it might be Matt Stajan.

  32. Lloyd B. says:

    malinpaul,

    Plus Fluery is being trained by Brent Sutter. Defensive weaknesses should be wrung out of him by the time he gets to pro.

  33. slopitch says:

    I’m a big fan of having Ekblad, Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, Simpson on D waiting. I’m also a big fan of adding a future 2C with size in Draisatl. Ekblad’s lack of offense scares me a bit. I think he is more Chris Phillips then Chris Pronger but I’d still be happy if they got him. In previous years, I was strongly Hall, Nuge and Yak. This year I don’t seem to care as I think they are all close (although I have a slight preference to Ekblad and Draisatl over Reinhart and Bennett).

    I’m more worried about 2C and our D for next year. Its time for the current cluster to pull us from the ashes.

  34. Racki says:

    nycoil:
    Racki,

    I don’t really want to. I’m asking the question because of the prior post that said the Oilers are among the teams asking about #1.

    I said personally I would rather Klefbom and Bennett/Draisaitl over just Ekblad, so I wouldn’t make that trade.

    Ahh I see. Yah I think that is going to be the smarter choice. If Ekblad ends up being a magnificent D man, that will be tough to justify not doing everything to take him but the less risky side of me says go the safe approach, and still likely tick off a pretty important box and pick at 3. Hell, Ekblad may even be there at 3 too, then you have possibly a big choice to make.

    Anywho seems we are on a similar page here. I hope the Oilers feel that way too

  35. Ducey says:

    I think I would trade Yak for the #1 pick this year.

    Wingers are easier to get and Yak has some ways to go to be a well rounded sniper. He could still be a bust for that matter.

    Giving up Yak allows you to solidify the D with Ekblad. At 3 you then take Bennett/ Draisaitl to solidify the 2C. Yak can be replaced by a free agent or even Gagner.

  36. Racki says:

    Ducey:
    I think I would trade Yak for the #1 pick this year.

    Wingers are easier to get and Yak has some ways to go to be a well rounded sniper.He could still be a bust for that matter.

    Giving up Yak allows you to solidify the D with Ekblad.At 3 you then take Bennett/ Draisaitl to solidify the 2C.Yak can be replaced by a free agent or even Gagner.

    Even if I’m pretty sure Yak will be a good player, I’d do it I think (and I do think he will be good). It’s tough to make that kind of choice, but yeah, a good c and a good D are very hard to come by. Would Florida do that though, I wonder. Well they are looking for a scoring winger.

  37. thejonrmcleod says:

    I just listened to Stauffer’s interview of MacTavish from Tuesday’s show. This probably has already been discussed, but here are a few notes of interest.

    MacT liked Stauffer’s suggestion of having Gordon and Hendricks on the fourth line and added that ideally he’d like to have three lines “capable of having success offensively.”

    MacT stated, “I’ve never defined the core.” He also said that his core would have more names than the names Stauffer mentioned (Hall, Eberle, RNH, Schultz).

    MacT said the Oilers would be chasing “some of the higher-end [free agents].”

  38. oilersfan says:

    for all the people making the following argument “it doesn’t matter if the Oilers pick 1 or 3, they have two equal needs, center and defence”, I would make the following counterargument..

    - Ekblad is projected to be a bonafide top pairing dman, who can likely play second pairing next year
    - RNH is or will soon be a legit #1 C
    - therefore the Oilers’ main need at C is a 2C
    - what is harder to get? A 2c or a 1d? I think we would all agree, it is a 1d
    - what takes longer to develop? a d or a C? I think we can all agree a d
    - will the Oilers be better than a bottom 22 team next year? I think we can all agree no
    - therefore offer your 2015 third rounder and #3 to Florida for #1 and if you get the pick take Ekblad
    - do your best to improve this year but realistically the Oilers will probably pick 4-8 next year
    - take the 2C there…a guy like Scheifele, Couturier, Monahan generally is available at that draft position and who knows, maybe the Oilers get Jack Eichel with Ekblad with one NHl season under his belt
    - based on the above fantastic arguments, I would be willing to trade the 2015 2 round pick although of course would prefer the third.
    - main fault with argument listed above is Ekblad may fall to 3 ala Seth Jones, and Ekblad may not be legit top pairing d in 3 years when he is developed
    - I am willing to take that risk on the first point and trade up, as I doubt it, and on the second point as well.
    - thoughts and arguments welcome

  39. mumbai max says:

    Without those Glengarry leads we will end up with the steak knives instead of the Cadillac!

  40. kb says:

    Why are we running gagner our of town for nothing…Is gagner really a worse option at 3C than Arco…. I dont know the numbers but arco coudl take draws if that suits you…

    Pretty bold assuming 3 UFAs sign in Edmonton , but….

    Hall RNH Ebs
    Kulemin Grabovski Yak
    Winnik/Moss Gagner Perron
    Hendricks Gordon Pitlick(insert whoever here)

    Toss Arco wherever you can’t sign someone if not…

  41. Melman says:

    Racki: I have to ask… Why would we really want to trade up from 3 to 1? I personally don’t. The Oilers have two big needs and both are extremely important.. Need a two way D, and need a good center. One of those will be addressed at 3 (or should be). We have all heard that the top 4 names are a fairly even level of talent. Just stay the course and draft 3. I

    ‘d be perfectly fine with the Oilers trying to trade for #1 without giving up 3, but I see zero point Ia pick swap. It will likely be too costly to make the swap for what may be a fairly margin all difference.

    I am pretty interested in Ekblad.. He will likely be gone at 3, but I’m quite happy if they get Reinhart or Draisaitl too. (even Bennett too, but I’m a little stuck on this size issue here).

    Scuttlebutt in Van is that they are big time after Reinhart – his dad has the team connections and makes perfect sense if they are trading Kesler as the have Horvat and Gaunce coming up with Shawn Matthias (who btw very much looks like his offence will keep him at 3C). I could see them making a big push to take him at #1 with their 6th + something

  42. Bag of Pucks says:

    Ducey:
    I think I would trade Yak for the #1 pick this year.

    Wingers are easier to get and Yak has some ways to go to be a well rounded sniper.He could still be a bust for that matter.

    Giving up Yak allows you to solidify the D with Ekblad.At 3 you then take Bennett/ Draisaitl to solidify the 2C.Yak can be replaced by a free agent or even Gagner.

    Fully agree with this, but the solid logic behind the argument (i.e. 1D harder to acquire than scoring winger), is the very reason I think Tallon would be reluctant to do this. If you’re really sold on Gudbranson as FLA’s future No. 1, I could see this argument getting more traction.

    It might be different if Yak looked like Ovechkin his first two years in the league, but if he did, we wouldn’t be entertaining the prospect of trading him then right?

    I’m firmly in the camp that believes a legitimate 1D franchise dmen is harder to get than either 1C or 2C. And I think that’s especially true in the Oil’s case, as they don’t just want another C, they want one with size which restricts their options.

    The caveat to this is MacT may see either Nurse or Klef as his future #1 in which case the team has its sights firmly on the big German.

    If Ekblad is that franchise D, and MacT lands him, I’m happy with that outcome. We can always take a run at C in FA, trade, etc. Every year, this fanbase fantasizes about the team landing two top 5 picks but that doesn’t happen unless you’re Burke finagling the Sedins.

  43. kb says:

    Racki: Even if I’m pretty sure Yak will be a good player, I’d do it I think (and I do think he will be good). It’s tough to make that kind of choice, but yeah, a good c and a good D are very hard to come by. Would Florida do that though, I wonder. Well they are looking for a scoring winger.

    I agree Ekblad > Yak (especially for the Oil) but doesnt this just delay the rebuild further?
    but if i wtere Florida
    is Bennet/Reinhart > Yak … at this point I’d have to say they’d take Reinhart and throw him on the wing if they weren’t interested in Ekblad?

  44. Woodguy says:

    Gregor has an piece up at ON about Goneyay to the wing.

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/6/19/gagner-to-the-wing

    The other thing the Oilers should do is show Gagner film of the final 28 games of his rookie season. Gagner finished that year with 28 points in 28 games, and he played the majority of those games on the wing with Cogliano as his centre.

    That’s an interesting piece of info I had forgotten. (even though I watch the games….natch)

    As many of you are aware, I was proposing 89 to RW and trading 14 for Couturier + (my own pet pipe dream) and had made a case for the move using 89′s production with other players on the team.

    I think I came out with figuring he could produce at least 85% of Eberle’s production in the same spot.

    I was a huge fan and defender of 89 for years, but last year just got tired of waiting for him to figure out how to play center like a pro NHLer instead of like a London Knight. (ie. jailbreak if your team is within 5 feet of puck)

    I think he’d be an excellent RW, and probably worth his contract in that spot.

    Would go a long way to 3 scoring lines if Eberle, Yak and Goneyay are your 3 RW.

    This of course is the Oilers, so if 89 is playing RW then I bet 64 has been traded.

  45. malinpaul says:

    oilersfan,

    Despite my earlier post I also like this approach because D TAKE LONGER, and to me while Ekblad may not end up being #1D – adding D means we can fall back on the Vancouver style D by committee approach – (Ekblad), Nurse, Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, Petry, Simpson…

    If we get really lucky we can even trade out of this pool of D – Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter + style. Plus we have the 2015 pick to ensure we can get one more BIG PIECE.

    Nobody knows how picks pan out, but getting Ekblad feels like our best bet to stack the deck in our favour.

    I posted earlier about the option of trading down to Fleury if we miss Ekblad, but… for the right deal I’d just a soon lock in Ekblad.

    plus having all those #1s would help our story picking up 2015 free agents.

  46. Derek says:

    The first thing I thought of when I read the title was this forbes article on player earnings after tax:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/10/01/u-s-tax-changes-level-the-playing-field-for-canadian-nhl-teams/

    Calgary and Edmonton should be printing out that graphic at the bottom of the article and sending it out with their contract offers to UFAs.

    I guess its not always about the dollars considering you seem to make the most on the shittiest teams.

  47. jb says:

    I’m sorry but the top 5 in this Draft are not better prospects than Yak. None will put up better numbers in year 1, and all will likely have the same struggles breaking in during the first few years. Absolute insanity suggesting we deal Yak for a prospect 2 years behind.

  48. nycoil says:

    Woodguy,

    I agree! I have Gagner on RW in my 3 “reasonably attainable this summer” scoring lines scenario

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2014/06/2014-31-60.html/comment-page-1#comment-319734

  49. commonfan14 says:

    LMHF#1: Caramel Obvious: That’s ridiculous.Hall signed an RFA contract.Even if one buys the notion of an internal salary structure (which is irrational) there is no justification to thinking it applies to UFA’s.
    On another note signing Vanek would be worth it just to watchRishaug’s brain explode.
    What an odd reaction…The org has given this impression. I’m not advocating it. Detroit did it for years. Why act like this is such a foreign concept?

    I can’t recall anything at all out of the organization giving this impression. There’s been a ton of media and bloggers talking about it as though it were fact, but nothing even vaguely official I don’t think.

  50. G Money says:

    LMHF#1: Don’t we have “the Hall cap” in place? I’m assuming unless your name is P.K. Subban, the contract would have to come in lower than that.

    That conceptual cap may or may not be in place, but unless your name is Crosby, no player signing a long term contract should expect to remain the highest paid player on the team in perpetuity.

    A continually increasing cap dictates that such an internal cap, if adhered to, would take a team out of the running for any marquee free agents within just a couple of years. And that’s exactly what would happen this year if the offer maxes out at $6M. We won’t get Grabovski for that, let alone Stastny, and even Niskanen is iffy.

    As for Vanek – no way he comes to Edmonton for anywhere remotely close to $6M … and obviously, as with Stastny, I mean that “remotely close” as a floor, not a ceiling.

  51. FasthandFuhrious says:

    Long time lurker, first time commenter. Wanted to thank you and this community for the most interesting sports ‘talk’ anywhere on the Internet. I sent in a modest donation in honour of Andrew Ference’s King Clancy award. It’s been awhile since an Oiler received a major award, and for my money, the King Clancy counts as a major award.

  52. Racki says:

    Woodguy,

    I’ve been of the same mindset as you on Gagner for quite some time. He may not be what we hoped for when drafted but i do think there is a better player there by a fair bit than what we saw last year. I also know for a fact he played a lot better with Pancakes on his line. Not necessarily saying to bring him back (I actually would be for it but I have my doubts he would be), but if they may be grab Winnik or someone with that size, they can make a poor man’s Penner (who is a poor man’s power forward, so I guess that makes this an exceedingly poor man’s power forward!).

    Anywho.. Gagner to the wing? Works for me. I am pretty certain he will be more successful there. Also, Gagner is a habitual slow starter. Happens almost every year.. So not putting too much stock in the wing move being the difference maker, but I do believe it to be a big factor

  53. Ducey says:

    jb: I’m sorry but the top 5 in this Draft are not better prospects than Yak. None will put up better numbers in year 1, and all will likely have the same struggles breaking in during the first few years. Absolute insanity suggesting we deal Yak for a prospect 2 years behind.

    Yak in last yr of junior went 1.64 pts per game. Draisaitl had exactly the same in his last yr.

    I notice you didn’t mention Yak’s 2nd year, which was a regression.

    Yak had the great season as a 17 yr old, but certainly hasn’t set the world on fire since.

    If you trade Yak, it is much easier to find a winger who can score 40 pts (likely what Yak would do this year) than it is to find a 2C and therefore you eliminate the concerns short term.

    Long term Yak could explode but I am not sure he is any more likely to do that than Draisaitl, who would play the premium position. Plus you shore up the D with a potential top 2 (for sure top 4) defenseman.

    Call me crazy (wait you already did) but I think its a pretty reasonable suggestion.

  54. Rocknrolla says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, just took a stroll down memory lane and looked at some past No. 3 overall picks.

    Sedin

    Toews

    KEEP THE PICK MAC!

  55. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Rocknrolla:
    Ladies and Gentlemen, just took a stroll down memory lane and looked at some past No. 3 overall picks.

    Sedin

    Toews

    KEEP THE PICK MAC!

    The only #3 overall pick I can think of that played for the oilers is Cam Barker.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping the pick… but Jesus Cam Barker was horrible.

  56. Woodguy says:

    As per Marc Spector:

    Bob Murray says he won’t offer contract to Daniel Winnik. Some rebuilding team in need of size – EDM, CAL, TOR – surely will.

  57. Rocknrolla says:

    Ca$h-Money!,

    Yes….please no barker….

    I’m just saying if we do the due diligence this pick can be a mega player, and you have him for 9 years…only trade it for another mega player who is signed long term, ie Thornton, webber

  58. nycoil says:

    https://twitter.com/gregbeacham/status/479685883038552064

    Saku Koivu, Jonas Hiller and Dan Winnik won’t be offered new contracts by the Anaheim Ducks, GM Bob Murray says.

    There you go, Winnik will hit the market.

    Edit- Woodguy beat me to it!

  59. Woodguy says:

    Ducey,

    Yak in last yr of junior went 1.64 pts per game. Draisaitl had exactly the same in his last yr.

    In his Draft year Yak was putting up 2.04pts/gm before his knee injury.

    After the injury it was 0.94.

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/6/15/how-much-offense-did-yakupovs-knee-injury-cost-him

    Yak also broke Stamkos’ rookie goal scoring record in the OHL.

    Yak is probably a better forward than anyone in this draft long term, and its not close, just based on their junior careers.

    He led NHL rookies in scoring in his rookie year (albeit with a high SH%)

    You’re selling him waaaaaaay short

  60. nycoil says:

    If the Rogers cap bump thing doesn’t happen this year and the contenders are clearing cap room to go whale hunting, say Anaheim for Kesler, New York Rangers for Thornton, etc., there are going to be a few good players slipping through the cracks this summer.

    MacT needs to get in there and match wits with Tallon, Snow, Treliving, Benning, Nill, Maloney, Poile, etc., and win a few without breaking the bank too much.

  61. Woodguy says:

    Ducey,

    If you trade Yak, it is much easier to find a winger who can score 40 pts (likely what Yak would do this year) than it is to find a 2C and therefore you eliminate the concerns short term.

    I would like to wager on over/under Yak having 40pts this year.

    You down?

  62. RexLibris says:

    Watching England v Uruguay and Uruguay is using something not unlike a swarm defense on England, taking away time and space, overloading the player with the ball and cutting off all pass options but those backfield.

    To good effect.

  63. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I looked at Yak’s discipline splits the other day. He was a really strong ES scorer in junior too.

    I’m not worried about the player, I’m worried about his managed development.

    Now… he’s an older player though. So you have to consider that when looking at his junior scoring.

    ———–
    Speaking of Age… Virtanen is one of the younger players in the draft. mid august bd.

    that is almost as interesting as all those delicious ES goals.

  64. Woodguy says:

    Doomoil:
    People keep saying they would be happy with signing Greene and I can’t figure out why. Not only are his fancy stats terrible, but he’s terrible by eye. When the SC champion scratches a veteran player for most of the playoffs, take that as a clue.

    Actually Greene’s fancystats are good.

    How much of it is the team and how much is him is the debate.

  65. Racki says:

    I don’t think any serious debate about trading yak for a shot at another top pick is based on yak’s own ability to pot a good amount of goals/points. It’s more so about dealing from a position of pretty good strength to address a pretty big area of weakness. Of course though, the timeline involved with filling that hole could be long, the new pick (presumably Ekblad) may not work out.. Definite risks there. It would be nice of the Oilers could go a more cheaper solution route and try and swindle Ehrhoff or someone who is not a top end D but still quite good. Trouble is of course that the Oilers don’t really have all that much to deal outside of the kids and that #3. But maybe you could justify moving a solid young D man like Marincin or Klefbom to get a trade started to potentially speed up this rebuild

  66. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: Actually Greene’s fancystats are good.

    How much of it is the team and how much is him is the debate.

    Forward turns over puck and chases oponents past blue. in to own zone. Matt greene keeps opponent to perimeter and punches them in shoulder or chest. Seperates them from puck.
    Perimeter and poor shot affect! by Dman.

    Bet you he has a real good GA.

  67. spoiler says:

    George Richards of Miami Herald on HC Noon… Tallon plans to sign Kulikov.

    Lots of pressure from ownership on Tallon to be a playoff contender this year and get season ticket sales up.

  68. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    spoiler:
    George Richards of Miami Herald on HC Noon… Tallon plans to sign Kulikov.

    Lots of pressure from ownership on Tallon to be a playoff contender this year and get season ticket sales up.

    That’s the smart move.

    Trading him never made any damn sense.

  69. speeds says:

    Woodguy: Actually Greene’s fancystats are good.

    How much of it is the team and how much is him is the debate.

    They were relatively good last year, in a half season, at age 31, less impressive in his previous few seasons. If you had to bet going forward, not sure you’d necessarily assume last year is how it will go the next few seasons.

  70. Woodguy says:

    nycoil:
    If the Rogers cap bump thing doesn’t happen this year and the contenders are clearing cap room to go whale hunting, say Anaheim for Kesler, New York Rangers for Thornton, etc., there are going to be a few good players slipping through the cracks this summer.

    MacT needs to get in there and match wits with Tallon, Snow, Treliving, Benning, Nill, Maloney, Poile, etc., and win a few without breaking the bank too much.

    The best argument against pre-loading the Rogers money into this year’s cap is the inflationary effect it would have on salaries due to so many teams needing to add salary to get to the cap floor.

    The floor now is projected at ~51.5MM, with the Rgoers $ it would be at about 54MM

    It’s going to be a real stretch for BUF to get to a 51MM floor and next to impossible to hit 54

    FLA is expected to spend a ton and get past the floor, but CAL’s down there too.

    Don’t discount CAL signing Grabbo and Kule. He signed them before as Leafs GM.

    They need the players and they have a boatload of space. They have 14 guys signed and $32MM in cap space.

  71. Racki says:

    Woodguy: Actually Greene’s fancystats are good.

    How much of it is the team and how much is him is the debate.

    Fancy stats amateur here.. And not shooting down Greene, but looks like he got an unusually more heavy offensive zone bias. Looks more like Mitchell and Regehr doing the heavily lifting this year. Possibly because Greene is less effective in that area now? Or other reasons? Of course, LA is a Damn good team and doesn’t spend a lot of time in their own end, but it may be a bit telling that Greene got the second most offensive zone starts % for the D this year. Perhaps due to the back injury and age?

  72. Racki says:

    Bill Peters named HC of the Canes

  73. Lowetide says:

    malinpaul:
    Ekblad with Marincin, Nurse, Petry, Klefbom, Schultz makes for some really deep D. Kind of Vancouver-like during their run. (i love that they are over!!!)

    Nuge will be our #1 (see WJC 15pt in 6 games MVP against his peers). A #2C is still tough but easier to acquire than a #1D.

    If Ekblad is gone, I would like to see a trade DOWN. to acquire Hayden Fleury (the second best D in the draft) – he is “an elite shutdown guy playing big leadership min in RD”… IF we can get value (maybe some additional picks in the draft or a bottom 6 piece) along with trading #3 for say around #10.

    It would be tough to cheer for a Fleury, but the second best D on the planet in his draft year feels like a pretty good addition.

    You’re talking down the line, right? That top 6D would get killed.

  74. Woodguy says:

    Racki: Fancy stats amateur here.. And not shooting down Greene, but looks like he got an unusually more heavy offensive zone bias. Looks more like Mitchell and Regehr doing the heavily lifting this year. Possibly because Greene is less effective in that area now? Or other reasons? Of course, LA is a Damn good team and doesn’t spend a lot of time in their own end, but it may be a bit telling that Greene got the second most offensive zone starts % for the D this year. Perhaps due to the back injury and age?

    I haven’t looked recently, but what you are saying sounds very reasonable.

    Sutter coaches to his teams strengths and tries to hide weakness very well.

  75. Woodguy says:

    Here’s 4 players:

    A)

    Rookie year .634 pts/gm
    2nd year .472 pts/gm

    B)

    Rookie year .646 pts/gm
    2nd year .380 pts/gm

    C)

    Rookie year .646 pts/gm
    2nd year .405 pts/gm

    D)

    Rookie year .414 pts/gm
    2nd year .451 pts/gm

    Should you give up on these players?

    Players A,B,C had bad 2nd years and D was pretty slow his first 2 years…….

  76. G Money says:

    Lowetide: You’re talking down the line, right? That top 6D would get killed.

    I hate to say it, but the sad part is that the Top 6 D that you have rightly declared would in fact get killed is not all that much worse than what we have now – maybe even better.

    It’s basically our Top 6 right now, but with Nurse and Ekblad substituted for the FFFFS (Ference and Fraser FFS) pairing, and I’m not convinced the former two would be worse than the latter two …

  77. "Steve Smith" says:

    Woodguy,

    “…and today, he too is the President of General Motors.”

  78. Woodguy says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Woodguy,

    “…and today, he too is the President of General Motors.”

    QUIT STEALING MY THUNDER!!!!

    Also,

    Post more.

    I was sure that ricki posting random numbers with no explanation the other day would have drawn you out of your cave of litigation.

  79. Woodguy says:

    LT is right about the Alberta Advantage.

    One thing that wasn’t mentioned is the marginal tax rate.

    Low, flat provincial tax and no provincial sales tax makes your salary stretch much further here than in almost any other NHL market outside of Florida.

    You take home ~10% more than most places, up to ~15% of a few.

    When you are talking to someone about a 10MM contract, that an extra million in your pocket.

    Not chump change.

  80. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: QUIT STEALING MY THUNDER!!!!

    Also,

    Post more.

    I was sure that ricki posting random numbers with no explanation the other day would have drawn you out of your cave of litigation.

    seconded. ed. Seconded. There.

  81. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    Do you guys even read my shit? I mean, I wouldn’t blame you in the least if you didn’t. But seriously, you might want to check some of it out before urging me to post more of it – it’s terrible.

    Woodguy: I was sure that ricki posting random numbers with no explanation the other day would have drawn you out of your cave of litigation.

    I was waiting for him to get to numberwang.

  82. G Money says:

    Woodguy,
    Lowetide,

    Positive reinforcement has not worked, so I’m gonna go out on a reverse psychology limb here.

    “Steve Smith”,

    STOP POSTING DAMMIT! OR AT LEAST POST LESS.

  83. Woodguy says:

    A) Landeskog

    B) Yak

    C) Huberdeau

    D) Kessel

  84. G Money says:

    Woodguy,

    Huh. I’d actually given up on all four of those guys.

    Bums.

  85. Woodguy says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    Do you guys even read my shit?I mean, I wouldn’t blame you in the least if you didn’t.But seriously, you might want to check some of it out before urging me to post more of it – it’s terrible.

    I was waiting for him to get to numrwang.

    Sure, your drive-by’s can be weak-sauce but I’ve also read your Miagi-do Kung Fu when you’re in the mood to write it.

  86. wheatnoil says:

    Woodguy:
    A) Landeskog

    B) Yak

    C) Huberdeau

    D) Kessel

    Right, but only one of those is an enigmatic Russian who can’t be taught and thus should be traded.

  87. DBO says:

    Yes we will overpay for UFA’s.But dammit, rich dudes need to be good for something. Assuming our improvement at the top end of our D comes via trade, then there are 4 UFA forwards we could overpay who fit our needs, and make MacT’s dream of 3 scoring, and 1 tough minute D Zone line a reality. And they are not a surprise, but man it changes our team completely.

    - Grabovski – $4 mill per
    - Kulemin – $3 mill per
    - Winnick – $1.5/$2 mill per depending on term
    - Boyle – $1.5/$2 mill per depending on term

    Lots of money on a 3rd and 4th line, but we have cap space, our goalies are a bargain, and other then Hendricks, no one up front is a grey beard.

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Yak-Grabovski-Kulemin
    Perron-Gordon-Gagner
    Hendricks-Boyle-Winnick

    Size, skill, two way play and grit. And a solid 4th line you can feed to the dogs in your own zone, with the 3rd line being able to be used in own zone more then the others. Lander and face puncher in the press box to sub in for injuries and the like.

  88. nelson88 says:

    “The value of draft choices is never greater than at the draft, and their value is never lower than at the trade deadline.”

    Love this quote. I realize it is a risky (bold!) move but I hope he is gauging interest on the 2015 1st rounder. Very hyped draft and perhaps someone would pay dearly for a ticket to the dance on the back of a chronically under performing team.

  89. G Money says:

    wheatnoil,

    But but but but … EURO! FRENCHIE!

    - Signed, “Don Cherry”

  90. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    Do you guys even read my shit?I mean, I wouldn’t blame you in the least if you didn’t.But seriously, you might want to check some of it out before urging me to post more of it – it’s terrible.

    I was waiting for him to get to numberwang.

    Always! your passing and vision is exceptional. Now, coverage is an issue….

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