A couple of days ago, NHL.com had some interesting quotes about the Edmonton Oilers and where they sit as we prepare for training camp. As always, Craig MacTavish is very forthcoming:
- MacTavish: “I think there is room for somebody outside of the organization if we can find the right complement. In my mind it’s a real significant piece that we’re looking for, and it would have to be a big incremental difference between who we feel would fill that position currently and the player that we would bring in. If we were able to get a star player that could win faceoffs, play big minutes and be productive at the net front and on the power play, we’d really enhance our ability to compete and to have a great degree of success. But they are tough to find.” Source
The description suggests to me Ryan Johansen, your mileage may vary. I would think you’re going to be paying a major price here, Leon plus plus, maybe including the 2015 first-round selection. Johansen signed for $6 million times six years? Is that worth it? Not sure. But it’s a conversation worth having. This definitely flies in the face of the ‘short term solution’ we were talking about all summer. I find myself liking Leon ‘Action Saxon’ Draisaitl more and more as summer rolls along, don’t know if the idea of trading him—even for an somewhat established player like Johansen—has the appeal it might have before the draft.
- MacTavish: “We’re committed to development, and we need good players and we want to keep the guys that we view are a big part of this solution going forward. We’re going to try to use some other pieces, draft choices and so forth if we can, to try and pry that centerman [via a trade]. But our sense is that we’re going to get to camp with a very similar group to what we have right now and then assess it through camp, much like many other teams will do.”
I think we’re at a point where second and third-round draft picks are currency Edmonton is willing to use in order to improve the 23. Many comments on this blog ridiculed me for suggesting Darryl Sutter was right to trade all those second round picks during the early part of the century, but that was and remains good business. If you can acquire a reasonable NHL player for pick No. 49? Music!
- Jim Matheson: Oilers defenceman Martin Marincin, always trying to bulk up, is close to 200 pounds now on his 6’4” frame. His buddy, OKCity farmhand Martin Gernat, is up to 207 pounds after a summer in the gym. Gernat played 64 games with the Barons in his rookie pro season, mostly with Fedun as a partner. Source
Marincin has a great future based on his progress and the 44 games with the Oilers a year ago. Gernat has no real draft pedigree but some nice things and he did adjust fairly well to the AHL. I quite like the urgency shown by Gernat and the organization, and the truth is the defensive pipeline is quite strong. Dillon Simpson will join Gernat, David Musil, Brandon Davidson and others this fall in OKC, and some of those men should end up in the NHL. Added to Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse, that’s quite the group.
It’s also worth mentioning the 2011 Oilers draft. I haven’t waxed poetic about 2011 because the 2010 fell to pieces in so many unpredictable ways, but the ’11 group boasts Nuge and Klefbom (who have already played in the NHL) and a trio of interesting blue. Musil, Simpson and Gernat all have good arrows, and Tobias Rieder also looks like a player. It’s going to be fun tracking that draft in the next two years.
- Taylor Fedun on Mark Arcobello: “It was painfully obvious he was too good for that league (AHL, 28 points in 15 games).” Source
Arcobello signed a sweet deal (for the team) over the summer and is guaranteed a feature role during 2014-15. Seems the Oilers agree with Fedun, and the college pipeline that turned up Justin Schultz may have another significant talent helping the big league team. That Matheson article also details the transaction that saw Fedun arrive in San Jose, and I think reflects well on the organization. If Fedun isn’t in your plans, then let him go.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey joins us at 10:05, then Justin Bourne from the Score kicks in at about 25 past. He’ll talk about the neutral zone and it’s importance, and what good zone entry teams do in today’s NHL. At 11, Rob Soria from Oil Drop kicks by to discuss the US Open, Labor Day weekend and we’ll talk hockey too. Dave Jamieson pops in about 11:40 with breaking news (hahahahahaha) and then we’re fin.
See you on the radio!