HAIL MARY

I think we’re at a time in the summer where we have to accept the possibility Craig MacTavish overplayed his hand at center. The idea, as I understand it, was to cast about the NHL with cap room and role players, helping other NHL teams rid themselves of bad contracts. A fine example would be the Sam Gagner deal—Steve Yzerman sent away something he didn’t want for Gagner, and then sent 89 with another useful part for cap room he used on something more palatable. The trick for MacT is to be the guy getting the good part of that transaction. And he did, but not at center.

The useful centers this summer are almost all gone:

free agent cThere are lots of useful names on that list, even at the bottom. Edmonton didn’t get one of them, the last chance Texaco coming on July 4 when David Legwand decided Ottawa was his best fit among the teams interested in him. If we list the available men:

  1. Andrei Loktionov, 24: The best available solution. He’s a good player. Seriously.
  2. Derek Roy, 31: Oilers might see him as a fit for one year while Leon adjusts and Arco gets a full season.
  3. Mike Ribeiro, 34: I can’t see him being a fit with Edmonton, despite the offense.

It’s a very short and not terribly satisfactory group. Which leads us to the current reality.

CURRENT OILERS DEPTH CHART

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
TAYLOR HALL (6M) RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS (6M) JORDAN EBERLE (6M)
BENOIT POULIOT (4M) LEON DRAISAITL (1M-est) DAVID PERRON (3.8125M)
NAIL YAKUPOV (925k)
MARK ARCOBELLO (600k)*** TEDDY PURCELL (4.5M)
JESSE JOENSUU (950K)*** BOYD GORDON (3M) MATT HENDRICKS (1.85M)
LUKE GAZDIC (600k)-IR
ANTON LANDER (600k)*** TYLER PITLICK (600k-est)***
LEFT DEFENSE RIGHT DEFENSE
MARTIN MARINCIN (730k) JEFF PETRY (3.075M)
NIKITA NIKITIN (4.5M) MARK FAYNE (3.625M)
ANDREW FERENCE (3.25M) JUSTIN SCHULTZ (4M-est)
KEITH AULIE (800k) OSCAR KLEFBOM ($894,167)***-callup
   
BEN SCRIVENS (2.3M) VIKTOR FASTH (2.9M)

MACT SUMMER 2014 LIST

  1. A veteran top pairing defenseman. (A real man, big time EV minutes and a history of successful sorties). Update:  Mark Fayne and Nikita Nikitin as a tandem represent a significant upgrade on the blue. Keeping Petry for most of the season was central to getting this piece of business done. Passing grade, you can check off balance in this area and I do believe the management group worked their bag off to make things better.
  2. A 2line C with experience and the ability to play a two-way game. (This is the other vital piece). Update: We’re at a point in summer where it’s safe to suggest the Oilers were unable to address this area. I don’t see anyone absolutely clear of Mark Arcobello, so any free-agent signing from this day forward would be more about cya than actual improvement. Credit MacT for not adding for the sake of it.
  3. A legit two-way winger who can score 12-15 goals. (The Pisani role. Mentor, calms the waters). Update: Teddy Purcell has some of the elements we’re talking about here, although he’s not a terrific two-way type. He does give the team offense on the wing, and he has experience. Benoit Pouliot is a clear upgrade on this player, he’s basically another Perron. Whatever the failings at center, man does this team have some ammo on the wing.
  4. Find a way to get value, or make use of, Sam Gagner. (This does not include time at center). Update: I like MacT’s aggressiveness in problem solving. He dealt 89 after the draft, and acquired an actual NHL player in Purcell. I’ve got miles of room to criticize the organization about handling Gagner, but the trade is fine from here.
  5. Improve the bottom 6F’s. The addition of Pouliot and Purcell gives the team enough wingers to slide a good player down to play with Yakupov. We’re not at three scoring lines, but this is a better group. The fourth line needed a Winnik/Moss, and perhaps there’s still hope, or Pitlick may win that role.
  6. Retain as much of the young cluster as possible, understanding that the player who represents #1 on this list might cost a young D who will one day fill that role.
  7. Get Petry signed long term. Awful. Just a bullet.
  8. Sign Schultz but DO NOT break the bank. No words beyond there’s a gap in number. There are those who suggest my estimate ($4M) is too high. That’s a very good thing.

I know we’re talking Ryan O’Reilly and Josh Bailey and Artem Anisimov. However, I think it’s completely reasonable to suggest—even at this early point in summer—Craig MacTavish is going to have to be extremely creative to find a better center than Mark Arcobello before fall.

And that is extremely disappointing, given the importance of that position and the obvious need there.

 

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91 Responses to "HAIL MARY"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    Of that list of UFA Centers, only 7 were in the Top-90 for face-offs taken last season:
    Paul Stastny
    Brad Richards
    David Legwand
    Marcel Goc
    Olli Jokinen
    Steve Ott
    Vernon Fiddler

    Of the rest a couple were hurt, a few played wing, and a few more played seldom.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    Of that list of UFA Centers, only 7 were in the Top-90 for face-offs taken last season:
    Paul Stastny
    Brad Richards
    David Legwand
    Marcel Goc
    Olli Jokinen
    Steve Ott
    Vernon Fiddler

    Of the rest a couple were hurt, a few played wing, and a few more played seldom.

    Grabovski isn’t on that list, he would have been a nice addition at C for this team. Perreault, too. Oilers may have tried, and maybe they didn’t. Bottom line: we are here.

  3. Woodguy says:

    I think 1 year of Ollie would have been good.

    MacT thinks one (or a combination) of this:

    1) He wants a more permanent solution and is willing to trade a good player off the roster to solve it.

    2) He thinks Arco is the goods, or at least worth a long look. He may not be wrong despite guys like Tyler not liking him. He outscored Zuccarello in the AHL and he’s a very useful NHLer.

    Even if he thinks DrySaddle is the goods (and he is), he won’t be ready for 2C for at least 2 years, and that’s very optimistic.

    Lost in all of this is that RNH at 21 is the 1C and is expect to beat Toews, Kopitar, Seguin, Sedin, Thorton, Getzlaf, Koivu, Duchesne, Backes, et. al every night.

    Man.

    21 against those guys and people will bitch about him.

    Crazy.

  4. Lowetide says:

    WG: If Nuge makes it to 24 alive, he’s going to be a monster.

  5. Frank The Dog says:

    Until you do your forecast for the coming year, I was just wondering how much better this team needs to be in 2014 to finish as “visibly improved”.

    One measure might be how we fared in close games. What if, through a combination of better offence, better defence, and better goal tending than 2013, we were able to squeeze out 1 more goal in each of those games? I.E either save, prevent, or score a total of 1 more goal per close game than last year.

    Last season we lost 10 x 1 goal games in regular time, and 18 games went to overtime, with a 50/50 win/loss rate.
    So the 10 single point regulation losses of 2013 become 10 OT/SO games in 2014 of which we win 5. That would be 15 extra points, right?
    Then the 18 games that went to OT would become 1 goal wins instead with that extra goal, right? Of which 9 were already wins, but the other 9 become wins instead of OT/SO losses, 9 extra points.

    67 points + 15 + 9 = 91 points.

    Dallas made the playoffs with 91 points.

    Based on this scenario, it seems to me that a 1 goal per game improvement in those “clutch” games will have us contending for the playoffs in 2014/5.

    Are we closer to the playoffs than we think, or is this team just going to fold again like a pack of cards when reality hits?

  6. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: If Nuge makes it to 24 alive, he’s going to be a monster.

    He’s ridiculous now.

    This year will be his “coming out” year for the Eastern based MSM and all the Western based MSM who haven’t paid attention.

    Oh boy, I think the Oilers might be good this year.

    Assuming Ramsay fixes the corsi leaks and PP of course…..

  7. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: He’s ridiculous now.

    This year will be his “coming out” year for the Eastern based MSM and all the Western based MSM who haven’t paid attention.

    Oh boy, I think the Oilers might be good this year.

    Assuming Ramsay fixes the corsi leaks and PP of course…..

    I’m a little excited but am trying to frown a lot. The goaltending isn’t measurably better than a year ago, but hang it all the goaltending didn’t look bad from here a year ago. If the defense can be better, and sweet Jesus it has to be, then these forwards are going to make teams look silly.

    Now, I need to drink some vinegar.

  8. B S says:

    Just carrying a small bit of my post over from the previous thread, as it relates to centers.

    “Serious (non-glib, and non-sarcastic, I try to point out when I am being sarcastic) questions. Was Parenteau RW for the Avs last season? And who were ROR’s top linemates last season?, because by most of the stats I’ve checked (ZS, Corsi Rel QoC (for whatever it’s worth), Corsi Rel) ROR comes in behind at least two of the Avalanche Centers, and Landeskog and Parenteau.”

  9. Dicky94 says:

    I still think Brooks Laich would be the guy to go after. He needs a change of scenery and would fill the number two centre position for a year then move down and let Leon take over. As far a Nuge… He will be in the top five in scoring in a couple of years.

  10. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    I know we’re talking Ryan O’Reilly and Josh Bailey and Artem Anisimov. However, I think it’s completely reasonable to suggest—even at this early point in summer—Craig MacTavish is going to have to be extremely creative to find a better center than Mark Arcobello before fall.

    Is this the point they start scouring those under-scouted Euro leagues to find the next Jiri Dopita?

  11. HiddenDarts says:

    I think it’s time to also face up to the fact that Arco is easily better than everything that’s left.

    Question: Didn’t Hendricks play C for a while on Wash? If so, could be be 4C without destroying the team’s chances?

  12. B S says:

    I think they will have to run arco at 2C next season. He was a pt/game in that role last season, and seemed to play a solid defensive game and possession game. Just can’t score. Put him between Hall and Ebs and he could go 82gp, 5G 60A, or some other absurd stat line. I just hope they start Drai on the wing, preferably beside Gordon on those rare occasions Gordon plays outside the Dzone.

    Has any team ever started 2 AHL players at Center to start and remained competitive to the end of the season?

  13. Woodguy says:

    B S:
    Just carrying a small bit of my post over from the previous thread, as it relates to centers.

    “Serious (non-glib, and non-sarcastic, I try to point out when I am being sarcastic) questions. Was Parenteau RW for the Avs last season? And who were ROR’s top linemates last season?, because by most of the stats I’ve checked (ZS, Corsi Rel QoC (for whatever it’s worth), Corsi Rel) ROR comes in behind at least two of the Avalanche Centers, and Landeskog and Parenteau.”

    Parenteau and ROR played mostly wing last year.

    So did Mackinnon.

    Duchesne and Statsny were 1/2C

    Mitchell/Cliche were 3/4

    Another reason ROR is available.

    They have two amazing C’s (Duchesne/McKinnon) and Roy/Joe don’t seem to know you need 3 scoring lines.

  14. B S says:

    B S,

    Sorry, I meant to start with, Assuming they don’t trade for an established 2C…

  15. Woodguy says:

    jp: Is this the point they start scouring those under-scouted Euro leagues to find the next Jiri Dopita?

    <3

  16. Lowetide says:

    HiddenDarts:
    I think it’s time to also face up to the fact that Arco is easily better than everything that’s left.

    Question: Didn’t Hendricks play C for a while on Wash? If so, could be be 4C without destroying the team’s chances?

    Hendricks took 200+ faceoffs once in Washington during one of his seasons there, but appears to have been a winger down the line.

  17. jp says:

    Woodguy:

    Oh boy, I think the Oilers might be good this year.

    Assuming Ramsay fixes the corsi leaks and PP of course…..

    Agreed they could be good (even decent would be a huge relief), but the impact a Nuge injury would have is terrifying.

    I don’t have a huge issue with a healthy RNH, Arcobello, Draisaitl, Gordon lineup. It’s basically a wash compared to last years C lineup, with the rest of the team being improved. But my God, a Nuge injury leaving a depth chart of Arcobello, Draisaitl, Gordon, Lander is not OK. It could all turn out fine, but scary stuff.

  18. Stanley 2018 says:

    Frank The Dog,

    A 24 point increase in one season would be earth-shattering in the NHL. Even with all the improvements EDM made, and without the disastrous goaltending that ended last season by November, a 10-point increase should be considered successful. The hole at C is just too big.

  19. speeds says:

    Woodguy,

    If you thought Arco was the goods, would you have looked to lock him up for longer than 1 year?

  20. PDO says:

    This thread is in serious lack of Peter Mueller.

    Serious lack.

    At worst, he’s your 4th line RW and competition for Pitlick.

    At best, he might be the 2C we’ve been looking for.

    6’2″ and 210.

    Before he ever had a concussion, his box cars:

    222GP 48 Goals 79 Assists 127 pts.

    In an 82 game format that’s:

    18 goals and 29 assists.

    That’s a second line C offensively.

    Concussions seriously derailed him, but the kids healthy now, and he’s a guy who is 26 years old. It’s last chance texaco for him in the NHL.

    Give him a shot, what’s the worst that could happen?

    As far as the current depth chart at C; it’s clearly weak. But with the strength of the wings it’s far from fatal. And this is much better than completely overpaying for someone. Marincin and a 2nd for Berglund would be a devastating trade… if that’s all that is available then you can’t overpay.

    If there’s a guy available who can help and is cheap (asset wise), great.

    If not, grab Mueller, and have an honest to goodness competition between him and Arco for the 2 C spot and see how it goes.

  21. theres oil in virginia says:

    Woodguy,
    Lowetide,

    Simmer down you two! Heehee. I guess if you’re going to be excited about the Oilers, July is the right time. I think they’ll be a lot more “watchable” than last year.

  22. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    Woodguy,
    Lowetide,

    Simmer down you two!Heehee.I guess if you’re going to be excited about the Oilers, July is the right time.I think they’ll be a lot more “watchable” than last year.

    There was a game last year that really tested me. It was a week or ten day period actually. They lost badly in their final ex game against Dallas in OKC, and then they started the season wobbly against WPG.

    I’m an older fellow, and I need to settle into a season. It’s like in baseball, where you don’t really worry if your bullpen is on fire in April because it’s a long season.

    But that period there, which climaxed in Toronto and that goddam Lupul goal where he was Stone Alone for five minutes or more, well, that was a bitter damn pill.

    I’ll thank the Oilers not to make me go through that again.

  23. Factotum Pochemuchka says:

    PDO,

    I’m with you on Mueller.

  24. B S says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks, It puts the ZS a little more into perspective, and yeah, fits him as roughly a 3C behind Duchesne and Stastny, though of course Stastny is gone. Based on Stastny’s contract I have to say that if Colorado wants more than 4 years, then yes he probably should be getting more than $6 mil. Though I’m still not up to the 7.5 mil. territory yet.

    On a side note the ZS for the Avs’ forwards are bad all around, not last season’s Oilers bad, but either solid defense, or more likely fantastic goaltending really saved their collective asses.

  25. Zangetsu says:

    I think the best plan involves Loktionov, a shoelace, and some bubblegum. Maybe there is a decent waiver pickup in the fall. I don’t think there is a move that doesn’t leave a huge hole on this team.

  26. book¡je says:

    Well LT, I think you can tuck that ol’ ‘Balance’ blog post back in the hope chest for a while longer.

  27. bendelson says:

    Status quo at C leaves me with several questions I can’t seem to find any definitive answers for:

    How much does a player like Anisimov (choose you favourite 2C here) help RNH turn into that ‘monster’?

    How much does a player like Anisimov help protect Leon and/or Acro and allow them an appropriate adjustment period in the big leagues.

    How much does a player like Anisimov help keep Gordon out of trouble?

    The obvious void at 2C (same void as last year) hurts a great deal more than simply affecting the measurable performance of the 2nd line. It throws all the forwards out of whack and leaves the coach without enough viable options to succeed. It’s a killer.

    And I didn’t even mention how much Anisimov could help Yakupov find his way…

  28. PDO says:

    #MuellerMovement

  29. Lowetide says:

    book¡je:
    Well LT, I think you can tuck that ol’ ‘Balance’ blog post back in the hope chest for a while longer.

    Yep.

  30. Factotum Pochemuchka says:

    The depth chart of NHL centers:

    1C RNH
    2C Nobody
    3C Nobody
    4C Gordon

    You might be ok with Arco or Draisaitl in the #3 slot, but IMO running one of them at 2C and the other at 3C is a roadmap to the bottom of the standings in the WC.

    Gordon should not play above 4.
    Lander has done anything but prove he’s an NHL player.

    Without an actual NHL player at 2C, this team is improved but no threat to make the playoffs, I’m afraid.
    From here it looks like Mueller or Loktionov or trade (Nielsen or Anisimov , maybe – but almost inevitably it would leave a hole somewhere else). Or stand pat for now and see what may shake free from the waiver tree (which is pretty unlikely to be a 2C).

    Based on MacT’s performance so far, I tend to think we’re *not* doomed to spend another summer waiting in vain for a roster hole to be filled, as was SOP during the Tambo years. That’s as much Kool Aid as I can drink right now, though.

    Waiting.

  31. bendelson says:

    book¡je,

    Curious…

    Are you still involved in the GJP?

  32. Wolfie says:

    I’m less concerned about the fact they haven’t added at C. They finally have a legitimate compliment of wingers. Actual NHL wingers that will help insulate either Arco or Dr. Drai.

    There isn’t a single team in the NHL that you could point to and say they don’t have question marks. Even the Cup Champs! Gaborik gives them something they’ve lacked but his history suggests he can’t be counted on. Even in net Quick has been pedestrian in the regular season, Jones is still largely unproven. Chicago has depth issues down the middle and their goaltending is no screaming hell. St Louis lacks scoring along with questions in net as well.

    The difference between those teams and the Oilers is a serious lack of difference makers. Hall has been an island unto himself. He finally has some help!

    I honestly don’t think balance is attainable in this league. Every year you have to make decisions. Next year a decision on Yak has to be made.

    The core will continue to mature and if the D lives up to it’s potential the Oilers will be sitting pretty in the next couple of years.

    None of the options in UFA made sense. Either big money long term pays for Stastny or Grabovski which then causes headaches down the road when Draisaitl takes the reigns. I don’t think any of the other options are guaranteed of bringing more to the table than Arco.

    I’m all for giving the guy in the system the chance to take the job and run with it.

  33. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide: There was a game last year that really tested me. It was a week or ten day period actually. They lost badly in their final ex game against Dallas in OKC, and then they started the season wobbly against WPG.

    I’m an older fellow, and I need to settle into a season. It’s like in baseball, where you don’t really worry if your bullpen is on fire in April because it’s a long season.

    But that period there, which climaxed in Toronto and that goddam Lupul goal where he was Stone Alone for five minutes or more, well, that was a bitter damn pill.

    I’ll thank the Oilers not to make me go through that again.

    Hear, hear. Hey, I’m happy to see some excitement around here after the funeral procession of last year. The Hall and Ebs year was bad, the Nuge year was bad, the Yak year never did look right. Last year beat them all by a mile.

  34. Pouzar says:

    Unless we trade for an Anisimov type I am squarely in the Arco 2C camp.

  35. Clay says:

    Factotum Pochemuchka:
    The depth chart of NHL centers:

    1C RNH
    2C Nobody
    3C Nobody
    4C Gordon

    You might be ok with Arco or Draisaitl in the #3 slot, but IMO running one of them at 2C and the other at 3C is a roadmap to the bottom of the standings in the WC.

    Quoted for truth. As good as Arco may or may not be, and as NHL ready as Dr. Drai may or may not be, breaking in two new centermen against the kind of center depth teams in the West have is asking for disappointment.

    I think the blueline has been improved, as well as goaltending, but not to the point of covering for such a lack of NHL experience at the C position.

    That said, I’m not as prepared as some here to say that MacT is finished for the summer. He’s made some very sound moves so far – ones that say he is well aware of the deficiencies of the club, and I think he’s probably working on a solution for 2C/3C as best he can.

  36. Hammers says:

    Add 1 more vote for Mueller . Give him 1 year at $ 1.5 and see if his learn’t his lesson . If he has and plays well resign him if not It’s Only Katz play money I wonder if McT or Lowe have asked Gretz what he thought may have happened . p.s. he can also play the wing . Give Arco #2 Mueller #3 with Leon on the wing .

  37. stevezie says:

    Arco may well be the goods, but that would still leave us one C short, right? How much “hope” is being placed on Drysaddle’s back?

    I’m more comfortable with Hendricks on the 4th and Gordon on the 3rd than I am with Leon in the top 9.

  38. Woodguy says:

    speeds:
    Woodguy,

    If you thought Arco was the goods, would you have looked to lock him up for longer than 1 year?

    Yes.

  39. Woodguy says:

    PDO,

    The Oiler’s don”t lack a 4C.

    They lack a 2C.

    Assuming unicorns its:

    RNH+ gifted kids
    Perron/Pouliot – X – Purcell/Yak
    Perron/Pouliot – DrySaddle – Purcell-Yak
    Hendricks-Gordon-Lander

    1/3/4 C are full.

    Mueller is not a 2C.

    Aim higher.

  40. Ducey says:

    David Moss resigned with ARIZ for $800K today.

    One of the GM’s said recently that most of the movement in the offseason occurs early and late with not much in the middle.

    This is the middle.

  41. WadeRed says:

    I’m not a smart stats guy, I just love hockey and the Oilers. I indeed like most, question our depth at center. But I have one question for all the negative Nellies and naysayers, if Colorado can go from first overall pick to the playoffs the next year, why in the hell can’t we? Sure it’s a long shot, but can we have some faith? So tired of the constant negative comments towards a team we all love. I believe in MacT, I believe in Yakupov, I god darn it believe in the Oil!! And it’s nice to see that some people truly are optimistic about next season. WadeR out

  42. jfry says:

    On a slow hockey day. Here’s one for LT

    15 things you might not have known about the Shawshank redemption
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/57589/15-things-you-may-not-have-known-about-shawshank-redemption

  43. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/BSKHRX4P7?:display_count=no

    Mueller 09-10 season (split; the Vollman shows with COL, because that’s how BTN does it).

    Nice numbers all round. 1.95 P/60; good zone starts though.

    10-11 DNP, near dead.

  44. thejonrmcleod says:

    Dicky94,

    Does Laich play much C? I know some Caps fans who are dying to get rid of Laich for nothing. But his contract is a bit pricey.

    I’m not sure if GMBM is looking to part with him. It’s kind of a big deal that the Caps now have two Brookses.

  45. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/JYCCYW8TW?:display_count=no

    11-12; partial season. P/60: 1.63; good corsi; advantageous zone start again

  46. o1l3rsf@n says:

    HiddenDarts,

    Hendricks can play center , and Arcobello is better than any ufas available now for sure

  47. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/HM63S7642?:display_count=no

    12-13; partial season; p/60: 1.23; good corsi; advantageous zone starts

    final season in NHL. Scoring dropped off year-over-year. But, factor in injury etc.

    Had a good season in Swiss League this year

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/league.php?leagueid=NLA&season=2013

    played full season and played for USA at the WC.

    Looks like a Perron type rebound from concussion. But you can get him at no asset risk. Most players coming over/back from Euro sign one year deals c. 1-1.5M. That’s Ryan Jones money.

    It’s a decent bet for a 3C to keep Leon away and he can play 3 or 4 RW.

  48. o1l3rsf@n says:

    WadeRed,

    Fricken rights they can make the playoffs . Nothing’s impossible

  49. JamesL says:

    David Moss at $800K is absurdly good value. I’d have him on my 4th line any day.

  50. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    My preference is to find a way to nab ROR (obviously). Or Anisimov, or Nielson.

    But, Loktionov and Mueller look like reasonable bargain gambles from here. Play up and down and across the lines.

  51. o1l3rsf@n says:

    Frank The Dog,

    U certaintly have a good point .. There was an awful lot of games that they could of and should won .
    The team will definately be better than it was last year so it’s not wrong to believe that being better will bring that 1 goal difference

  52. theres oil in virginia says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    My preference is to find a way to nab ROR (obviously). Or Anisimov, or Nielson.

    But, Loktionov and Mueller look like reasonable bargain gambles from here. Play up and down and across the lines.

    Yeah, there are two themes here. One is that the Oilers need a 2C. The other is that they need C depth in case someone goes down. I’m more into the second than the first. The drafting of Draisaitl should take care of 2C at some point in the not-too-distant future. 2C by-committee should be sufficient as a bridge. If Nuge goes down…gord help us all. Another season like last year is too much.

  53. FastOil says:

    Pegging Gordon at 4C has no relationship to reality. Please someone explain that? Lack of O? Maybe because of the worst usage in the league?

    RNH – Gordon – Arco – Lander

    Not great, but defensively responsible and with the wingers now fine for a development year, again. There are reasonable players available now, it’s only prejudice to not use them. Look at who the mighty Hawks used this post season.

    Wait till Leon deposes one in a year or two, or a good deal or signing comes up. Gordon now can be used as The Kaptain was. He’s good.

  54. oilswell says:

    Hendricks-Gordon-Lander

    Is it wrong that I think this is a recipe for disaster because I see it as two gins and a beer?

  55. Rebilled says:

    You gotta admit, trading away a 24 year old centre and ‘replacing’ him with an 18 year old centre is so Oilers it’s unbelievable.

    and terrifying.

    GO GOALIES!

  56. FastOil says:

    Lowetide:
    Comparing Arcobello to people

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/7/11/sailing-the-high-c-s

    Another tiny PP player is the answer? Really?

  57. Lowetide says:

    FastOil: Another tiny PP player is the answer? Really?

    Yeah, I don’t really care about size if the guy can play. Who are you referring to? Arco?

  58. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    FastOil: Another tiny PP player is the answer? Really?

    didn’t you watch the gif?

  59. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Okay, I’m in the “trade for O’Reilly camp” and I believe that the Oilers D is the most likely source of a roster asset moving the other way.

    So here are my thoughts on this.

    One of Schultz or Petry to Colorado along with a conditional 1st round pick lottery protected with the condition being that if it wins the 2015 lottery it rolls over to the following season. Maybe the Avalanche throw in either Corbett or Geertsen in the deal.

    My argument a few months back for the Flames to make a trade for O’Reilly was that the addition of the player ought to improve the team enough that the end-cost of the pick is thereby reduced. Not fair not to make the same argument for the Oilers, and the addition of the lottery protection is becoming more common in some of these trades.

    It removes a RD from the roster, but I think it would be easier to ask a blueliner to move to his off side than to elevate someone to 2C. Also, Schultz has “curb appeal” around the NHL, enough so that I think the Avalanche would feel they were essentially winning the deal.

    Oh, and having O’Reilly in an Oilers jersey when we play the Flames = priceless.

  60. Deadman Waiting says:

    If Nuge goes down in the first month of the season, MacT is going to make one of those desperate trades involving either a core player or a pair of solid prospects he’s fought so hard to avoid. He’ll have no trouble at all attracting a dance partner once he breaks out the VSOP. The waters will be boiling with fins. MacT could turn Yak into an aging, second-rate 1C in a heartbeat.

    There’s only so fast a GM can move. You’ve got to have your full attention on the deals you’re consummating. When the tail end of the market clears after the initial frenzy, it’s a huge game of musical chairs for every team involved. With our team situation, he didn’t have much allowance for offering gap-fillers extra term. Last thing we need right now is Bélanger++ 2.0 signed to a four-year pact.

    And, of course, with the new additions he needs to re-evaluate the mix. Lander and Arco might perform better with more experience, more coaching structure, and more team support. Or they might not. It’s a large uncertainty window. The lemon discount is pretty high for players who fall into this category (of the two, MacT is far more likely to offer up the player where he’s already reached a firm negative verdict, and this gets factored into the exchange even if both players are the real goods).

    Realistically, the playoffs do not hang in the balance—not this year. However, this year our Corgies had better respond to all the extra meat. One can only eat ground hog for so long.

    ———

    A Pilot Study:

    I’m hoping to do this kind of breakdown for all 82 Oilers games next year, and it would be great to know what other information would be considered valuable.

    I’m super enthused about this project. My very, very, very strong recommendation is to associate wall-clock time to game-clock time. I don’t know whether the existing shift charts divulge the durations of all the whistle stops. Physiological fatigue has a huge wall-clock component. Without the wall-clock correspondence one can never establishe that some asshole coach sent his best player out there totally gassed, shift after shift. Not that this Dallas Eakins would ever do this. I mean hypothetically.

    With any kind of real-time video available, it’s probably not hard to extract the time map. Someone in the stands could film the scoreboard for the entire game. Video OCR is probably already good enough to extract the game clock and the score and correlate this with the camera’s fixed frame rate. It doesn’t even need to be a very good camera, so long as it doesn’t bump around.

    Or perhaps head office is not going all World Cup on supplemental data streams.

    My first attempt was to play the Shack-virgin card. When I got to the front of the line at the Upper West Side location one Monday afternoon, I innocently asked the cashier, “So, what’s the Shack Sauce?”

    Her response: “It’s mayo-based. Sweet, sour, hot.”

    I went fishing: “How spicy is it? Like it’s got hot sauce in it or something?”

    But she didn’t take the bait: “A little spicy. But also sweet and sour.”

    One last try: “So, sweet like thousand Island? Like it’s got relish in it?”

    She’s an inscrutable blank wall: “No, no relish. Mayo-based, sweet, sour, hot.”

    I give in: “Okay, give me a Shack Burger, extra Shack Sauce on the side.”

    He then tries to accidentally strafe past the kitchen, only to find himself forcefully redirected to the men’s room.

    I sat on the bench outside contemplating a bit of dumpster diving when a thought struck me: Maybe I was going about this all wrong.

    I walked back into the restaurant, went straight up to the manager, and asked point blank: “Is the Shack Sauce a secret, or can you tell me what’s in it?”

    A little laugh, and then, “It’s mostly mayo, with some ketchup, mustard, a few spices, and pickles blended in.”

    “So, pickle relish, or pickles?”

    “Actual pickles—the sliced pickles we serve with the burgers. I couldn’t give you exact tablespoon measure or anything because I don’t know them off hand, but that’s the general idea.”

    Note to self: always ask nicely before moving on to breaking-and-entering.

    I’ve pasted probably a little to much of his text here, so let me say this: his site is awesome, everyone go and click through every damn page.

    Start with The Burger Lab: The Fake Shack and then read The Pizza Lab: Bringing New York Style Pizza Sauce Home.

    I had people raving about my rendition of this sauce when I fired up my Emile Henry pizza stone on the BBQ last weekend. Maybe I’ll do another pizza recipe dump when a foodie thread rolls around when everyone is totally sauced after Yakupov lights up Ryan Miller for three goals in the first 15 minutes of the first period of our first tilt.

    For some reason I’m a lot like Kenji. My mind goes through the same set of strategies in the same order. It’s in the hacker code to route around damage, of which censorship is just one particularly obnoxious flavour.

    Anyway, get the fickin’ wall-clock time by hook or by book.

    ———

    I picked up Jack Glass (2012) from the library today. There’s a one page preamble packed pregnantly expectant with meta-fictional genre promises. (Pickle measure: five dry pecks, plus one with spit.) Portions of this passage are quoted here: Mystery, Murdered: Jack Glass by Adam Roberts

    Your task is to read these accounts, and solve the mysteries and identify the murderer. Even though I have already told you the solution, the solution will surprise you. If the revelation in each case is anything less than a surprise, then I will have failed.

    There’s a larger excerpt at tor.com, but I’m already flirting with my href sequestration limit. No point spamming Lowetide’s moderation queue.

    Here’s the thing: I’m entering into that phase of life where repetition is woven into the daily fabric. I’m far too old to stick my finger into any more antiquated wringers. Nine stories it is, then; meat-lover’s special for the rest of natural days.

    All I can really fiddle with at this point is the sauce.

    I hope at least a few people noticed that it really is mama bear who’s most likely to eat you (those of us, anyway, who are wise enough to stay well away from emaciated males who show up for hibernation camp with too many long seasons etched into their drooping pelts) and that I started the whole ball rolling by commending Staples for his good beginnings in pointing out our long-standing roster deficit in mid-career mama bears.

    Probably a few readers failed to consciously register the pickle notes. The very best time to pick someone’s pocket is once you’ve got them thinking “Mmmm, donut!”

    Meta-fiction is one of the primary markers for the onset of old age. Twenty is the new sixty. Oh, WTF, here’s one more link to backstop my last jest: Lewis Black " Stark Raving Black"

    Caution: this stand-up routine contains more domain appropriate language than The Wolf of Wall Street. I already know that and I haven’t even seen the fucking film yet.

  61. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RNH-Hall-Eberle
    Arco-Pouliot-Perron
    Loktionov-Yakupov-Purcell
    Gordon-Winnik-Hendricks
    Lander-Joensuu-Pitlick
    Gazdic

  62. Snowman says:

    Its times like these that I really love RNH. The kid will play in Murderer’s Row for another 12 years. Its amazing. I always laugh when people complain about Nuge. When was the last time anyone in the league ate his lunch? Its a rare day that it happens and he hasn’t even learned to shave yet. He will be terrifying in 8 years. Just dominant.

    As far as Arco for 2C, he’s certainly earned a shot and, as has been said many times around here, its tough to bet against him. I love an underdog and he’s as under as they come. He just keeps going and proving people wrong. I don’t think this is the year he stops.

  63. RexLibris says:

    Watching the Eskimos game (Chris Jones has me believing, btw) and they showed Nurse and Draisaitl.

    Jeezus! Does Draisaitl always wear his pants around his nipples like a grandfather? Every time I see this kid I’m shocked at the height of his waistline. With that kind of stride and wide base, as well as his height he’s going to become Fort Knox for puck possession.

  64. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    Watching the Eskimos game (Chris Jones has me believing, btw) and they showed Nurse and Draisaitl.

    Jeezus! Does Draisaitl always wear his pants around his nipples like a grandfather? Every time I see this kid I’m shocked at the height of his waistline. With that kind of stride and wide base, as well as his height he’s going to become Fort Knox for puck possession.

    lol. Clark Gable had his pants around his Adam’s Apple. We should name LD Clark Gable.

  65. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think at this point the play is threefold and time-related.

    1. through to TC: poke around on a trade, targets: ROR, Anisimov, Nielson, Bailey

    2. through to TC: as 1 becomes less realistic, stock up on cheap, bargain free agents, targets two of: Loktionov, Winnik, Mueller

    3. TC through first 10 games: run with strong wings and added depth from 2. Check waiver wire, look for trade opportunities to emerge as other rosters shake out.

    If 1 fails, 2 seems like a pretty reasonable fall-back. The C spot is still weak, but you’ve padded the wings a lot at this point and if you can add all of Loktionov, Draisaitl, Arco, Lander and maybe one of Winnik/Mueller to RNH/Gordon you’ve protected the middle to a degree.

    That’s a much safer position to start looking around from than standing pat and you can probably get two of Lokionov/Mueller/Winnik for under 3M

  66. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: lol. Clark Gable had his pants around his Adam’s Apple. We should name LD Clark Gable.

    Let’s call him Charles Laughton!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnHRC9cSH9Q

  67. raventalon40 says:

    I’m okay with Loktionov based on the scouting reports. Corsi looks good but his zone start seems a bit sheltered. I’m okay with him either at 2C or 3C to start the year but since he plays C and W is a very versatile player to add, given the situation at hand.

    I’d actually run Arco on the 1st line like they did to start when RNH was injured. He had a great stat line in that role previously. Or run him on the 2nd line and give them some butter soft zone starts.

    Hall-Arco-Eberle
    Perron-RNH-Yakupov
    Pouliot-Loktionov-Purcell
    Hendricks-Gordon-Pitlick
    Draisaitl – 9 game audition

    The Hockey News:

    Assets: Has plenty of playmaking and offensive prowess, backed by soft hands. Can play both center or wing. Is shifty, extremely patient with the puck and plays a heady game.
    Flaws: Lacks ideal size for the NHL game and isn’t at all a physical player, so he’ll need to continue adding strength in order to thrive at the highest level.
    Career Potential: Creative offensive forward with some upside.

    HockeysFuture:

    Loktionov is a solid two-way player who can fulfill various roles on the team ranging from a defensive expert on shorthanded units to a playmaker on a power-play unit. He sees the ice well and effectively uses his linemates, creating a number of scoring chances. A couple of more significant improvement areas for Loktionov include his faceoff skills and his scoring ability. Specifically in regards to his scoring ability, while always a danger in the offensive zone, Loktionov prefers to pass rather than shoot and in a shot-filled North American style of hockey a more multi-dimensional game would make him more dangerous and hard to contain.

  68. Factotum Pochemuchka says:

    Forgive me if Rom posted these numbers for Peter Mueller already.
    (Colorado in 11-12, Florida in 12-13.)

    Height 6’2″
    Weight 204 lbs.

    5×5 Pts/60
    11-12 1.63
    12-13 1.23

    5×4 Pts/60
    11-12 6.13
    12-13 2.51

    Corsi For % 5×5
    11-12 50.4
    12-13 52.6

    Offensive Zone Start
    11-12 57.9
    12-13 61.2

    PDO
    11-12 991
    12-13 952

    ON Sh%
    11-12 5.74
    12-13 5.23

    That year in Florida is pretty interesting. Miserable ON Sh% and PDO.
    His most common linemates were the rookies Huberdeau and Shore.
    CF% WOWY was positive for Mueller in both cases.

    Pts/60 5×5 pre-concussion: 1.81, 1.70, 1.95.

    NHL regular season games played
    Mueller 207
    (Arcobello 42)

    Interesting player. I like him better than Loktionov.
    His value may depend on whether you regard the Florida season as an outlier or indicative of post-concussive decline.

  69. RexLibris says:

    I ran a collection of 1st line Cs through the Vollman Sledgehammer. Getzlaf, Thornton, Datsyuk, Crosby, Giroux, Backlund, Backstrom, Spezza, H. Sedin, Toews, Stamkos, Kopitar, Backes, Dubinsky and Seguin.

    Toews is in a world all his own, but that is partially a reflection of playing for a very strong team and gets 64% Ozone starts.

    Nugent-Hopkins is a large orange bubble in the same quadrant as Toews facing slightly lower competition (by the numbers) and tied with H. Sedin in most categories aside from points. 59% Zstarts.

    Players below him in terms of QualComp are Dubinsky, Spezza, Seguin and Backstrom. If you drew a line straight across Nugent-Hopkins’ spot on the QualComp axis you’d find virtually everyone save Stastny and Toews. The biggest difference is in ZS and points.

    Murderer’s Row indeed. Offense will arrive and at 21 years old is facing the toughest competition in the toughest, biggest division in the most difficult professional league on the planet. And he does it all with skill, determination and his brain.

    I love this kid.

  70. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: lol. Clark Gable had his pants around his Adam’s Apple. We should name LD Clark Gable.

    Let’s go with Clark.

    There are several angles to take. Gable (I don’t give a damn), Kent (mild-mannered to super-hero).

  71. book¡je says:

    bendelson:
    book¡je,

    Curious…

    Are you still involved in the GJP?

    Yes – round. 4 starts soon.

  72. commonfan14 says:

    The LeBron news today got me thinking about phenoms and how the Cavs pulled out all the stops to maximize their ping pong balls for him 11 years ago.

    Let’s say McDavid comes out like a house of fire and lays waste to the whole OHL at the start of next season. Things could start getting crazy as non-contenders start doing whatever it takes to pile up the Ls.

  73. maudite says:

    C is alright…includes LD which is unfortunate but it’s alright. Depth is to perfect but it might work.

    Unlike everyone else, I don’t think I bury Gordon in the d zone on a “4th line”

    Hall rnh ebs
    Perron drais yak
    Poliout Gordon Purcell
    Xxx Arco lander

    In a pinch Arco slides up to cover 1 or 2 C on injury and lander slides over.

    Shuffle wingers as chemistry dictates. Give the 2nd line softest ice.

    No it’s not up to sawing off the juggernauts but it should win the “winnable games” at a good ratio.

    With I believe a solidly improved defense in back this team is a good bet to take a good step forward. Unlucky – 12 th in conference
    Lucky – possibly squeaker into final playoff spot

    Much improved.

    Anywhere out of 20-30 th place, with underlying metrics supporting that jump, is a job well done IMO. This team has a shot at that.

  74. nycoil says:

    I’ll say it again. Last year I said “No way, Jose” to the Oilers making the playoffs in your optimistic season preview. The D sucked, the bottom 6 sucked, and LaBarbera was very suspect to me.

    This year I am much more optimistic about the team’s ability to contend for a playoff spot. I still think they fall short because of the C situation as it stands, but the kids are a year older, the bottom 6 looks better, the D looks better, the goaltending looks better. I think this is the year they fall just short. And that’s a good thing. That’s progress.

  75. Jon K says:

    commonfan14:
    The LeBron news today got me thinking about phenoms and how the Cavs pulled out all the stops to maximize their ping pong balls for him 11 years ago.

    Let’s say McDavid comes out like a house of fire and lays waste to the whole OHL at the start of next season.Things could start getting crazy as non-contenders start doing whatever it takes to pile up the Ls.

    The Flames are three steps ahead of you.

  76. Hammers says:

    I don’t see us getting out of the west this season but I do see an upward movement like 10-11th spot in the west & maybe 19th in the league . Add a 2nd line “C” moves you maybe 1 spot in the west so lets tell McT to take the summer off and relax . Ha Ha .My point is that it is what it is and don’t expect anything until it happens . Thanks LT for all your thought provoking articles .

  77. rickithebear says:

    WadeRed:
    I’m not a smart stats guy, I just love hockey and the Oilers. I indeed like most, question our depth at center. But I have one question for all the negative Nellies and naysayers, if Colorado can go from first overall pick to the playoffs the next year, why in the hell can’t we? Sure it’s a long shot, but can we have some faith? So tired of the constant negative comments towards a team we all love. I believe in MacT, I believe in Yakupov, I god darn it believe in the Oil!! And it’s nice to see that some people truly are optimistic about next season. WadeR out

    Colorado’s point progression:
    10-11 68 pt (landeskog) 2nd last

    11-12 88pt 18-20 range

    12-13 39 pt 2nd last
    but were 10W-10L-4OTL with a progression shown that reflected
    a 53-55 pt season in the 92-94pt season. range.
    that is a 7-8 in our conference.
    linear growth suggests a 98pt pace by season end.

    However hit by major injuries
    the record fell off the earth.
    6-15-3.
    If they get there guys back and have a full season
    they are not in the lottery.
    but they end up second last
    wins the lottery and get Mckinnon.

    13-14:
    So you have a team that should be 92-98pt
    You add Mckinnon
    Have Statsny return to form.
    Goalie has vezina year.
    112 pt a little higher but not unexpected.

    The lottery team to 1st
    Is BULL SHIT
    they were a lottery team
    cause of the short season perfect storm!

  78. DBO says:

    I’m late to this discussion (or early since I’m in Newfoundland). No one mentions Lander. We bemoan the Oilers for ruining developing players because they are rushed (Lander one of them). However he went back to the Ahl, got his game and especially his offence together, and was a ppg last year as a 1st line C in a tough league. Why do we not expect anything from him? Why not let him run at 2C, with solid wingers and with his D zone awareness I expect he’ll be fine. We won’t need him to score, he can be the Horcoff defensive 2C we need.

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Pouliot-Lander-Yak
    Perron-Dr. Dre-Purcell
    Hendricks-Gordon-Arco

    Size on each line, the Gordon line will be a D zone monster, the LandeR line has 2 defensively responsible players to help Yak, allowing them to be deployed everywhere and the Dr. Dre line is solid enough to out score, especially if they are our 3rd scoring line.

  79. Frank The Dog says:

    nycoil:
    I’ll say it again. Last year I said “No way, Jose” to the Oilers making the playoffs in your optimistic season preview. The D sucked, the bottom 6 sucked, and LaBarbera was very suspect to me.

    This year I am much more optimistic about the team’s ability to contend for a playoff spot. I still think they fall short because of the C situation as it stands, but the kids are a year older, the bottom 6 looks better, the D looks better, the goaltending looks better. I think this is the year they fall just short. And that’s a good thing. That’s progress.

    Don’t forget the coaching upgrade.
    Edit: Craig Ramsay might help a bit.

  80. Woodguy says:

    FastOil:
    Pegging Gordon at 4C has no relationship to reality. Please someone explain that? Lack of O? Maybe because of the worst usage in the league?

    RNH – Gordon– Arco – Lander

    Not great, but defensively responsible and with the wingers now fine for a development year, again. There are reasonable players available now, it’s only prejudice to not use them. Look at who the mighty Hawks used this post season.

    Wait till Leon deposes one in a year or two, or a good deal or signing comes up. Gordon now can be used as The Kaptain was. He’s good.

    MacT said he wants 3 scoring lines and a tough minute/mostly dzone start line.

    Vigneault and Quennville have been doing it for years.

    In this scenario your lines are:

    1- Power vs Power
    2 – 2nd best Offensive players that can handle some tougher comp
    3 – Offensive players who need to be sheltered
    4 – Heavy Dzone starts/tougher comp

    In this scenario Gordon is 4C

    Mact even mentioned him by name for the role.

    Gone is a 4th line made up of “energy” players.

    Gone is a 4th line full of GrittyHitty players who may or may not touch a puck every night.

    The Oilers finally figured this out.

  81. Woodguy says:

    I’m starting to dig into Arco’s numbers.

    Fun Fact.

    2nd game of the year the Oilers got corsi’d handily by the Dys.

    Arco put up 67.9%CF, which was good for a RelCF% of +43.5%

    Crazy.

  82. Dicky94 says:

    The fourth line of Gordon, Hendricks and Lander would be a very good shut down line. Just not sure where Pitlick will fit in this season. I have a feeling he could be sent out in a trade rather than lose him on waivers.

  83. Dicky94 says:

    Dicky94,

    Or does be have to clear waivers this year ?

  84. godot10 says:

    maudite:
    C is alright…includes LD which is unfortunate but it’s alright. Depth is to perfect but it might work.

    Unlike everyone else, I don’t think I bury Gordon in the d zone on a “4th line”

    Hall rnh ebs
    Perron drais yak
    Poliout Gordon Purcell
    Xxx Arco lander

    In a pinch Arco slides up to cover 1 or 2 C on injury and lander slides over.

    Shuffle wingers as chemistry dictates.Give the 2nd line softest ice.

    No it’s not up to sawing off the juggernauts but it should win the “winnable games” at a good ratio.

    With I believe a solidly improved defense in back this team is a good bet to take a good step forward.Unlucky – 12 th in conference
    Lucky – possibly squeaker into final playoff spot

    Much improved.

    Anywhere out of 20-30 th place, with underlying metrics supporting that jump, is a job well done IMO.This team has a shot at that.

    I’ve been arguing this for a long time soon. I would prefer more centre depth, but the Oilers are 3rd on waiver selection eligibility….the Flyers have to waive somebody till they can get Pronger on LTIR. Boston probably also to get Savard on LTIR. Heck even Tampa Bay might to get Ohlund on LTIR.

    The Islanders have to spit out a centre in a trade somewhere.

    My proposed lines are similar.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Perron, Gordon, Purcell
    Pouliot, Arcobello/Draisaitl, Yakupov
    Hendricks, Lander, Arcobello/Pitlick/Joenssu (if Gadzic, rotate double shifting forwards), waiver wire pickup

    If Draisaitl is kept, he takes Arcobello’s spot, and Arco slides to the 4th line with Lander and Hendricks.

    Lander and Hendricks form of the basis of a Kruger-like 4th line. Gordon’s and Nugent-Hopkins line would still be available to take D-zone draws against the top line of the opposition, but Lander and Hendricks should be able to handle everyone else.

    It is a waste to utilize Gordon’s faceoff ability only in the D-zone. With balanced usage he can be used to win draws in the O-zone and sustain O-zone time.

  85. Woodguy says:

    godot10,

    That 4th line has no role except “Don’t get scored on”

    Gordon doesn’t have a history of offence, so why put him with offensive players. Seems like you might be dragging down his wings.

    Having a 4th line with a defined role is what the good teams do.

    Having a 4th line where you put them out and hold your breath hoping they don’t get scored on is what bad teams do.

    Gordon is Maholtra.

    Treat him like Maholtra.

  86. Woodguy says:

    Fun Arco Fact #2

    Against OTT Arco had a 31.6%CF

    Putrid eh?

    Was still good for a +7.1% RelCF.

    Man.

    That game stunk on ice.

  87. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy,

    A lot of things have to break right for this to be close to a playoff team.

    1. Yakupov had to play well and win over his coach
    2. Scrivens and or Fasth had to prove he can be a competent starter for a full season. The back up can’t be horrible
    3. Nikitin needs to find a time machine back to 2011
    4. Purcell needs to prove he should not have been a buy out candidate
    5. Pouliot needs to handle the pressure of a $20m contract
    6. Petry needs to be there for the season or be traded for a better defender
    7. They have to use RNH smarter than last year. No more PK time so he has the energy to play the top centres while giving up 20-40 pounds
    8. No key players can get injured because outside of the wing, depth is still poor.
    9. They need to grab a centre like Anisimov from Columbus so they don’t have to throw Leon in the deep end
    10. Eakins needs to use Schultz wisely
    11. Gazdic needs to spend more games in the press box than on the ice otherwise everyone’s theory of Gordon and Hendricks being the tough zone start line falls apart.
    12. Perron needs to stay healthy

    These are all legit questions/concerns and most playoff teams don’t have that many legit questions, I don’t think.

  88. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy,

    That 4th line has no role except “Don’t get scored on”

    Gazdic. ‘Nuff said.

  89. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    godot10,

    That 4th line has no role except “Don’t get scored on”

    Gordon doesn’t have a history of offence, so why put him with offensive players.Seems like you might be dragging down his wings.

    Having a 4th line with a defined role is what the good teams do.

    Having a 4th line where youput them out and hold your breath hoping they don’t get scored on is what bad teams do.

    Gordon is Maholtra.

    Treat him like Maholtra.

    Malhotra is earning a million dollars a year. Gordon is earning three million. In two years, the Oilers won’t be able to afford a $3 million dollar 4th line centre.

    Might as well groom Lander to be ready for the role in two years. A $1 million dollar 4th line Malhotra.

    Gordon in a more balance role with better wingers get Perron and Purcell more O-zone time.

    To maximize the Oilers this year, one has to maximally protect Yakupov’s line, or Yakupov/Draisaitl’s line.

    So build a tough minutes line around Gordon with better wingers, because one still has Lander and Arco and Hendricks who can be Kruger-light.

    But, by no means don’t stop looking for another centre.

    You may have a model you are working towards, but you have to deploy your current roster to a model that best suits it, as one evolves to the endpoint.

    Without another centre, Gordon as a 4th line centre is not the best deployment of existing personel. Lander should be able to do that job.

  90. KozyMel says:

    jp,

    RNH could barely win a faceoff to save his life with the Rebels when I watched him and he brought that with him to the Oilers. Starting every PP behind your own net isn’t productive.

    MacT needs to bring in a specialist coach that can teach faceoffs – it’s the main reason Gagne’s not here now.

    MacT has proven to be great in bringing in bottom 6F/4D talent. He needs to bring in top 6F/4D talent.

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