THE HORSES

NHL: NHL Draft

“Part of getting to the Stanley Cup final has to do with ‘bonne fortune’ and recruitment is the key. At the end of the day, I used to tell people that winning is 100 per cent coaching, but coaching is 90 per cent recruitment, so you’ve got to have the horses. You’ve got to have the horses.” -Pat Quinn

The Kansas City Royals, from the time they began as a franchise, were always looking for long term solutions. Always. They found Amos Otis in New York City and got him for nothing. Otis played centerfield admirably for a decade and then a little, and that transaction was the template for KCR. If I had to choose an expansion team as “ideal” it would be the Royals (although the Flyers were also amazing and the Sabres not far behind).

pouliot capture

Most of Craig MacTavish’s transactions have been attempts to improve the team now and well into the future. A lot of attention was drawn to the Benoit Pouliot contract, but if you look at how long the problem has been plaguing the team it makes sense. High risk? You bet. But if it works, the Oilers have solved a problem for several years via free agency. The Pouliot contract could be the best since MacT arrived (Boyd Gordon was also quality) and I do think we’ll grow to believe the Mark Fayne deal was a winner, too. Younger players, less Ference and more late-20’s, that appears to be the template.

FREE AGENTS 2015 (20’s)

If we can agree the Oilers may be in the market for a center, a goalie and (possibly) a defensemen next summer, is there anyone worth extending a Pouliot (or greater) contract?

  1. Jeff Petry, Edmonton: A nice range of skills and young enough to sign long term without extreme worry.
  2. Michal Neuvirth, Buffalo: A solid 26-year old goalie playing for an awful team. I’m saying there’s a chance.
  3. Jason Spezza, Dallas: Terribly unlikely, but the best C option for miles via free agency.

marincin4

TRADING SOME OF THE YOUNG BLUE

The Oilers have a stunning number of interesting young defensemen in Edmonton and on the farm. Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom are in Edmonton, there are  a half dozen interesting AHL prospects, there’s Darnell Nurse in junior and Joey Laleggia in college and that Lagesson kid in Dubuque. MacT’s shopping list (now and in summer) is going to target C, D and G, and some of these kids are going away.

SCHLEMKO

David Schlemko is on waivers this morning. He’s 27, mobile and can move the puck well, plus he’s played in 194 career games. Now, I have no idea if his skills have eroded or what’s going on, but if you’re about to trade a defenseman in a deal for a center, Schlemko may be able to help. No big deal, but a curio I wanted to mention before we start the day.

I’ll be hosting Saturday Sports Extra at noon today, lots of Oilers and Eskimos talk as we prepare for a massive sports Sunday in Edmonton.

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81 Responses to "THE HORSES"

  1. speeds says:

    It’s pretty early in the season, and I don’t really expect EDM to end up drafting in a position to draft Hanifin (or Kylington, although he’s closer to the expected range), but both of those are left shooting D, how do you think that would impact things if EDM were to draft either of those players?

  2. Lowetide says:

    I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year). There are a lot of very good ones in that range. As for drafting one of those LH’s, I think you take them if they’re available and figure it out later.

    MacT’s “future” LHers are almost certainly Nurse and Klefbom in the top two pairings, but things change.

  3. speeds says:

    I still wonder if Barzal might be a name to keep in mind, if EDM’s in that range.

  4. Pouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year). There are a lot of very good ones in that range. As for drafting one of those LH’s, I think you take them if they’re available and figure it out later.

    MacT’s “future” LHers are almost certainly Nurse and Klefbom in the top two pairings, but things change.

    We’ll have a better gauge of the Oilers drafting position after the next 10 games or so. It’s big boy time. Do we sink or swim?

    Man we need a trade.

  5. godot10 says:

    I think the best free agent out there next summer may be Babcock.

    And that would probably help with Petry, and signing or trading for a centre.

  6. Woodguy says:

    If the Oilers are shopping for a C, I want this guy:

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1880&withagainst=true&season=2014-15&sit=5v5

    NYI are running Tavares, Neilsen, Strome and Cizkas as their C’s.

    Two good C’s, Grabovski and Nelson are playing wing.

    I’d give up as much as Yak for Strome.

    If Snow is married to Strome then I try like hell for Nelson.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1816&withagainst=true&season=2014-15&sit=5v5

    Neither player is a “calm waters” vet, but both are very good young players who would fit on the roster for a very long time.

    Long term solutions.

  7. smellyglove says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year). There are a lot of very good ones in that range. As for drafting one of those LH’s, I think you take them if they’re available and figure it out later.

    MacT’s “future” LHers are almost certainly Nurse and Klefbom in the top two pairings, but things change.

    Oilers are 28th in points percentage and DFL in the West. While the point spreads are still thin into this young season, 8 games against the Western Conference and no wins. I’d say the Oilers are as likely top be drafting in the top 3 as they are to be drafting after 10. Likewise, they’re as likely to be in the lottery as drafting after 8.

  8. PaperKurtRussell says:

    It would be great to see Klef or MM get a game soon. On the other hand, since they have so many D in the pipeline, showcasing Aulie for a sell at the deadline isn’t the worst thing. Maybe for a 5th? If we can get enough games in for MM this year, it will be his 3rd NHL season next year, thus more appealing to bring in Nurse. I agree that trading one of these prospects to address the lack of depth up front is wise. Can’t picture Leon or Arco doing any river pushing next year either…

  9. gcw_rocks says:

    Interesting tidbit from Tend the Farm:

    “Defensively we have seen the pairing of Brandon Davidson and Brad Hunt emerge as fourth and fifth forwards on the ice at times since the latter returned to AHL play. This is a product of “whom” Hunt is as a player, but the same can’t really be said for Davidson who has had to cover more defensive indiscretions for Hunt than you would probably like. This points to Davidson’s betterment, and Hunt’s ongoing defensive issues.”

    The legend of Brad Hunt continues. Go Davidson!!!

  10. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy:
    If the Oilers are shopping for a C, I want this guy:

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1880&withagainst=true&season=2014-15&sit=5v5

    NYI are running Tavares, Neilsen, Strome and Cizkas as their C’s.

    Two good C’s, Grabovski and Nelson are playing wing.

    I’d give up as much as Yak for Strome.

    If Snow is married to Strome then I try like hell for Nelson.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1816&withagainst=true&season=2014-15&sit=5v5

    Neither player is a “calm waters” vet, but both are very good young players who would fit on the roster for a very long time.

    Long term solutions.

    Both are excellent trade targets. Therefore, the Oilers will trade Yakupov for Bailey.

  11. malinpaul says:

    Boyd isn’t going to live forever especially on the diet he getting fed nowadays…

    We can be bold for a C.

  12. McSorley33 says:

    speeds:
    It’s pretty early in the season, and I don’t really expect EDM to end up drafting in a position to draft Hanifin (or Kylington, although he’s closer to the expected range), but both of those are left shooting D, how do you think that would impact things if EDM were to draft either of those players?

    Yes, lots of movement already….Barzal, Zacha, and Crouse all now in the teens.

    Agree withe Pouzar, next 10 games will be a tell.

    We sit DFL in west….have a sinking feeling we could be in the 4-7 range barring a trade.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Strome is interesting, I would think MacTavish would be looking for a short term solution but if Strome comes available then things could change. No harm in having Leon move to the wing (as a for instance).

  14. McSorley33 says:

    Agree with Godot the other day, if Klefbom and MM are not going to play, send them down to get playing time.

  15. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy, I like those players as well. But

    If Islanders are trading something, they will do whatever they can to better themselves this year so they are farther away from the McDavid sweepstakes.

    I think Snow would rather trade a prospect in return for a veteran, than trade young players like Strome or Nelson who are helping his team right now.

  16. sliderule says:

    If the oiler goaltending doesn’t improve they will be drafting in top five.

    Strome , Zacha and Barzal will probably all be there for them.Strome probably will move up above the two defencemen so oilers could pick up a quality center or defenceman.

    Who knows they might even go full tank and try to get Eichel or Mcdavid.

    The oilers have the potential to do what they best.

    Tank.

  17. commonfan14 says:

    speeds: I don’t really expect EDM to end up drafting in a position to draft Hanifin

    Me neither. Though I suppose trading down is always an option…

  18. wordbird says:

    Today’s excellent post is brought to us by the letters C, D and G.

    I’d like to add two more letters:

    CB
    (as in CUT BAIT).

    As bold MacT moves go, moving on from Justin Schultz has got to be high on the list. Surely the stats and underlying numbers provide enough evidence. If #19 was Erik Karlsson in the opposing end, that’d be another story. But he’s not. He has value, but he’s not what this team needs. Move a decent prospect/pick + Schultz + whatever and bring in another center, and get Marincin/Klefbom back into the lineup.

    For me, the evolution of MacT as GM and architect of this team has to include the ability to not be too stubborn on player potential. So, in conclusion,

    “C D G C B”.

    Perhaps the more musical contributors to this blog might use “C D G C B” to form a basic melody in a magnum opus that will be played during our triumphant return to the playoffs!

    Or as the sad refrain in a mournful dirge lamenting our team’s continuing futility. 😛

  19. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy,

    I haven’t heard anything about Snow’s appetite for trading any of his plethora of Centers.
    But Ek had rumors of NYI coveting Yak.

    Have you seen Strome play? I haven’t.

  20. Pouzar says:

    Eric Rodgers ‏@ericrsports 53m53 minutes ago
    Kale Kessy had six points in 54 games last season. This season, he has five in only 10 games

  21. VanOil says:

    Woodguy,

    I have given up on trying to acquire Nelson. When I championed this cause he could easily have been acquired for Gagner with NYI trowing in a sweetener. Now you feel the cost would be Yakupov and are probably not far wrong. The Oilers ability to turn assets in to dirt is just painful to watch. Trading with Snow use to be a free bingo square but now that NYI are successful I imagine the crazy is on hold for a while.

    I think the ‘next’ Brock Nelson, a Center under valued by his organization and soon facing a log jam of young Centers is Mikhail Grigorenko. He has not enjoyed Nelson’s text book career development but is on pace to be a full time NHLer next season and a very good one for many seasons after that. Someone is going to get a steal acquiring him. Much like someone is going to get a steal, from another dysfunctional organization, acquiring Marincin from the Oilers.

  22. kooler says:

    Trade JSchultz for a decent centre and bring then MM and Klef up. Throw Drai to the wing, give him game time….is it wrong to start collecting centres and moving them out to the wings. Sounds like the Isles have 6 at anyone time and we struggle to get 4 productive C’s any one time.

    Petry, MM, Fayne, Ference, Klefbom, NN (the one we were excepting) seems reasonable with Nurse and the Gernat’s pushing up.

  23. VanOil says:

    Pouzar:
    Eric Rodgers ‏@ericrsports53m53 minutes ago
    Kale Kessy had six points in 54 games last season. This season, he has five in only 10 games

    That is way ahead of Reider’s 2 points in a slightly different league.

  24. Hammers says:

    frjohnk:
    Woodguy, I like those players as well. But

    If Islanders are trading something, they will do whatever they can to better themselves this year so they are farther away from the McDavid sweepstakes.

    I think Snow would rather trade a prospect in return for a veteran, than trade young players like Strome or Nelson who are helping his team right now.

    Its going to take Eberle for Strome or you may get Strome +2nd or a 3rd for Perron and Schultz. We have to be realistic in our evaluations . ( That’s only if we sign Petry.) We should target a defenceman if Petry is going . But again it will take a pair Petry + MM for a top 2 or 3 “D” . I do mean a top player as in better than Ference , Fayne or Nikitin . My guess is we draft no higher than 6th but probably 4th unless McT makes some trades by December .

  25. Gret99zky says:

    “I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year).”

    Who are the 7-10 teams that will finish behind the Oilers this season?

  26. Kmart99 says:

    I think Woodguy’s earlier assessment of Arco was pretty fair, and accurate. He’s been physical lately, and getting lots of chances with Yak and Perron. He should’ve scored off of Yak’s feed last game and he he also should’ve scored the GT goal against NSH. Those will come. He seems significantly better than Gagner to me, and I’m not against seeing what he can do with a consistant diet of 16+min/night or more should Eakins put Hall with him. As big a problem as C has been…ARCO has me feeling ok and G has been a bigger problem thus far IMO. So this is what I’m hoping Eakins does:

    Had a unicorn thought earlier…. Lots of people have been talking about splitting up Hall Nuge and Ebs and forming:

    Pou-Nuge-Ebs
    Hall-Arco-Yak/Perron but…
    What if Eakins tried this…(It involves giving Hall babysitting duty if he’s up to it)
    Pou-Nuge-Ebs
    Perron-Arco-Yak
    Hall-Drai-Purcell

    I currently like the Perron Arco Yak line, as well as Pou Nuge Ebs.
    So I wonder if Hall is up to the task of carrying Draisaitl and Purcell. Purcell has experience playing with high end skill and Draisaitl(should be in Jr) could use a boost right now that Hall could provide.
    Unicorns?

  27. VanOil says:

    The Sabres fans have come up with an amusing Tank Wars prediction game. http://goo.gl/QuJ49O It is complete with math and gallows humor.

    We should aided them in there cause by reliving them of Myers and donating Schultz. Picking up Grigorenko for a song would not fix this years gaping wound at Center but would likely do it for many years to come.

  28. Kmart99 says:

    Gret99zky:
    “I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year).”

    Who are the 7-10 teams that will finish behind the Oilers this season?

    Colorado, CBJ, CGY, Buf, Dallas, Carolina, Ottawa, Dallas, Arizona. Oil should finish higher than 7 of those teams. I’ve seen goalies ride a hot streak for 60+ games(Varlamov,Bernier) so CGY may get lucky enough to have that happen, but if that doesn’t happen, they will most certainly fade.

  29. Hammers says:

    I see Eklund says Pouliot is being offered by McT . I don’t see it as he has size & game something we don’t have plus McT is showing his preference with his own choices . Still feel the ones most likely to go are Petry , MM , Lander & even Yak either in a couple of packages or 1 huge deal .McT will give time to his guys including coach Eakins .

  30. Lowetide says:

    Kmart99:
    I think Woodguy’s earlier assessment of Arco was pretty fair, and accurate.He’s been physical lately, and getting lots of chances with Yak and Perron.He should’ve scored off of Yak’s feed last game and he he also should’ve scored the GT goal against NSH.Those will come.

    I really like Arco, but respectfully disagree and this is the disconnect (as you’ve described). For me, Arcobello is a guy who absolutely maxes his ability, but he doesn’t have that God-given touch around the net.

    And the Oilers need that player if they’re going to take Hall off the Nuge line. Leon’s not ready, Arco’s not that player.

    Strome? Interesting.

  31. Gret99zky says:

    Kmart99,

    The best player on the third line?

    You could interview for the next HC job but MacT/Lowe don’t do interviews.

    They will either gift it to you or call you crazy.

  32. Gret99zky says:

    Hammers,

    Heads up, MacT rarely does anything in secret.

    His play is to announce his intentions across the land through mainstream media and wait by the phone for BOLD to come a calling. (see Horcoff, Hemsky, Gagner)

    No, if Pou were on the block we would know and if Ek wants more hits he should run with the “Hall demands a trade” tag.

  33. Kmart99 says:

    Lowetide: I really like Arco, but respectfully disagree and this is the disconnect (as you’ve described). For me, Arcobello is a guy who absolutely maxes his ability, but he doesn’t have that God-given touch around the net.

    And the Oilers need that player if they’re going to take Hall off the Nuge line. Leon’s not ready, Arco’s not that player.

    Strome? Interesting.

    I’m hoping you’re wrong about the ‘god given touch around the net’ thing with Arco. Yes, he missed two glorious opportunities in back to back games which supports your point, but I think it’s a temporary lack of confidence thing, not a permanent lack of ability thing because his AHL record suggests that could be the case.
    Leon’s not ready, you’re right. Strome is interesting I agree. But if the Oilers are unable/unwilling to acquire another C(HIGHLY LIKELY) and also unwilling to send Drai down(also very likely)…. Is putting Hall next to Drai any worse than what they did with Nuge or Gags in their respective rookie years?

    I guess what I’m saying is… If the lineup stays as is, who’s best suited to babysit Drai? Hall, Pou, Perron, Purcell?

  34. VanOil says:

    Gret99zky:
    “I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year).”

    Who are the 7-10 teams that will finish behind the Oilers this season?

    While I could be convinced that the Oilers are not as bad as there record I agree with you. I can not find 7-10 teams that I see a likely to finish below the Oilers. My current prediction is for the Oilers to draft 4-6.

    I base this on the Oilers not only playing in the Western Conference but in the Pacific division. Long road trips down the Coast currently look like 4 teams that the Oilers have less that a 25% chance of beating this year. Arizona and Calgary are the only teams we have a chance against and we have already spotted them both wins.

    Buffalo, Colorado and Columbus are the only teams that the Oilers seems to have a lock on beating in the standings. Arizona, Carolina and Dallas are Edmonton’s direct rivals at the second tier of suckitude. Carolina has the horses returning to be much better, Dallas just needs a coaching change to improve.

    Florida and Calgary (perennial favorites in the tank wars) are excluded from this list because Florida has not played enough games yet and Calgary has banked enough points early to cushion there inevitable slide.

    Having a wining record against Calgary and Arizona is looking to be the bellwether on where the Oilers will end up in the standings.

  35. Clay says:

    The first time I heard about Ryan Strome was early in his draft year; a buddy at work showed me this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnxxCyxTG0g

    IIRC, Strome wasn’t really on anyone’s radar as far as being a high draft pick at the beginning of the season, but he sure climbed some lists that year. Talented kid.

  36. Kmart99 says:

    Gret99zky:
    Kmart99,

    The best player on the third line?

    You could interview for the next HC job but MacT/Lowe don’t do interviews.

    They will either gift it to you or call you crazy.

    I wouldnt have Hall getting any less time than 18mins. The crazy part of my suggestion is that it requires Leon to play those minutes as well. I realize the risk, but Drai’s possession numbers suggest he could be up to it.
    I’d continue running Nuge’s line 19+min with tough matchups, give Hall’s line 18+mins with easier matchups when possible, and give Yak’s line the 13-14 range. Leaving Gordon to pick up the remaining 8-10 mins. Also, this would be something that likely couldn’t happen on the road.

    Or maybe it’s one of those “Smartest ppl in the room” ideas that have worked so well for the Oil so far.

  37. Bad Seed says:

    commonfan14: Me neither.Though I suppose trading down is always an option…

    Hahaha! Awesome.

  38. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Kmart99:
    I think Woodguy’s earlier assessment of Arco was pretty fair, and accurate.He’s been physical lately, and getting lots of chances with Yak and Perron.He should’ve scored off of Yak’s feed last game and he he also should’ve scored the GT goal against NSH.Those will come.He seems significantly better than Gagner to me, and I’m not against seeing what he can do with a consistant diet of 16+min/night or more should Eakins put Hall with him.As big a problem as C has been…ARCO has me feeling ok and G has been a bigger problem thus far IMO.So this is what I’m hoping Eakins does:

    Had a unicorn thought earlier…. Lots of people have been talking about splitting up Hall Nuge and Ebs and forming:

    Pou-Nuge-Ebs
    Hall-Arco-Yak/Perron but…
    What if Eakins tried this…(It involves giving Hall babysitting duty if he’s up to it)
    Pou-Nuge-Ebs
    Perron-Arco-Yak
    Hall-Drai-Purcell

    I currently like the Perron Arco Yak line, as well as Pou Nuge Ebs.
    So I wonder if Hall is up to the task of carrying Draisaitl and Purcell.Purcell has experience playing with high end skill and Draisaitl(should be in Jr) could use a boost right now that Hall could provide.
    Unicorns?

    that’s actually a bloody good idea. Spread your #1 draft picks over your 3 scoring lines, every one a threat. Let the other team pick their poison.

    I think Hall’s line would start as #2 and Nuge as #1 but pretty soon Hall’s line would be #1, Nuge’s #1A and Arco’s #2B.

    Maybe not just yet, but hey, if it’s against scheduled loss teams (who isn’t these days) then why not.

  39. Adam Wu says:

    If Hall could carry Leon on a line, and thus accelerate Leon’s development, then that would, to me, be definitive evidence that Hall is ready to assume the mantle of Franchise Player.

    Because that is what Franchise Players do. They make all their teammates better, and accelerate their developments, in a way that makes the whole team more competitive.

    So I say go ahead and do it and see if Hall is ready for that kind of task. And if it works, make Hall C.

  40. leadfarmer says:

    That’s why I am against trading this years first round pick. They are likely picking between 3 and 8th and come draft time that picks value will be maximum right now the value is at a minimum. Columbus has been decimated by injuries but they will pick up points in the east quickly when they get healthy. Carolina will get better and play in an easier conference.

    As for Leon send him down and bring him up as a winger next year before switching him to center in year 3

  41. eidy says:

    It will be interesting when Hall gets back how the lines shake out. I really like Yak and Perron together. Those 2 with arco could really make hay against the softer competition. However, where do you put hall.

    29 is not ready to face the toughs and it would be a waste of 4. Man they need a veteran centre. Man I bet Mac T wishes he had July back

  42. eidy says:

    Shifting gears, any thoughts on Chase heading oversees. He is rotting on the vine right now in Calgary and they seem in no hurry to move him right now.

    I wonder if he would be better off playing men in Europe than sitting where he is. I would get that out there anyway so that puts a bit of pressure on the Hitmen to make a deal. they might take what they can get when the option is losing him for nothing.

  43. rickithebear says:

    eidy:
    Shifting gears, any thoughts on Chase heading oversees.He is rotting on the vine right now in Calgary and they seem in no hurry to move him right now.

    I wonder if he would be better off playing men in Europe than sitting where he is.I would get that out there anyway so that puts a bit of pressure on the Hitmen to make a deal.they might take what they can get when the option is losing him for nothing.

    ECHL?

  44. season not played says:

    Gret99zky:
    “I think the Oilers may well draft a center (I think they’ll draft No. 8-12 this year).”

    Who are the 7-10 teams that will finish behind the Oilers this season?

    Good question

  45. rickithebear says:

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-Arco-Perron
    Purcell-XXX-Yak
    Hendricks-Gordon-Jeonuu
    Pakarinen

    Marincin-Petry
    Aulie-Fayne
    Nikitin-Ference
    Klefbom

    Scrivens
    XXX

    with 6 40+ NHL games D in the game
    5-2-1
    with
    VCt 2-0 L 1 ENG
    Fasth Shite the bed in NSH 3-2L
    team SHite the bed in 1st vs OTT 4-3 OTL

    Just roll the experienced D for the rest of the season

  46. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Forgive me, but to get a high draft pick right now we need to stink the joint out AGAIN this season. Players worth having put NMC’s in their contracts, and refuse to sign or charge huge premiums to play for putrid teams. You have to stop being putrid before you can break the catch 22 of not being able to make the playoffs without quality NHL calibre roster depth, and you can’t attract those players unless you are seen as a contender.

    The first step in breaking the catch 22 is hiring a good GM. Good GM’s hire good scouting staff and good coaching staff.

    The good scouting staff are the ones that find players with the required tools and skill set, and the coaching staff, from Head Coach to Assistant Coaches, and beyond, for the WHL, EXHL, AHL and NHL clubs, get the best out of the players they are given at every level, and quickly shed the ones that do not represent the right fit for the overall master plan.

    A good (read competent) coaching staff, through building the solid choices they are given, will do well in each of their leagues, and will also get a reputation at every level of being places where skilled players flourish, and poorly coached players from other teams get to have their skills exposed and subsequently flourish. As the teams at every level flourish with the quality players they are given, so they become more attractive to the players they want, and to those they don’t want as well, but they also get the luxury both of picking and choosing, and of getting players at a discount off the rate the same players would charge to play elsewhere.

    As this develops, the players bubble up through the pipeline and the clubs at every level become perennial winners.

    I think we are doing pretty well with the Oil Kings and the Oil Barons. Not so sure yet about the ECHL club but time will tell. I believe our scouting had done reasonably well and we have an ok roster.

    Dallas Eakins has shown flashes of competence for sure, and earned a little more rope. But the missing piece isn’t Connor Mac. It’s a coaching staff that gets the best out of what they are being given, and Calgary says hello.

    I respect Dallas’ line matching, I love the thought of 3 Unicorn lines, each with it’s own 1st rounder 1st pick, and a solid replacement for the Wagon wheels line at some point. I like the way that this team has played itself back into contention in each of the last 2 games.

    I don’t like what Dallas did earlier this season, I don’t like the pathetic, listless, confused, appalling 1st periods we have had in the last 2 games, and I suspect that Chabot may be a better goalie scout than coach.

    I’m sure Dallas has input on who every one of his assistants should be and I think it’s time Chabot’s record came under the spotlight, especially with respect to DD’s shutout performance against Vancouver, and the deteriorating play of two goalies that started well and are now fading rapidly.

    So for right now let’s not do a panic trade under any circumstances. Get good players KEEP good players. Dallas has shown some chops in the 4 periods of solid play, and sound line matching over the last 2 games and flashes before that. It is on Dallas and his coaching team to figure out how to get 60 minutes of 100% effort out of these players going forward. Stop the whack-a-mole.

    If Dallas can do that, he’s our man. His rapport with the players seems to be improving and other pieces are falling into place. If he does that then we will become a team that gets a reputation as being a good team to play for and a team you don’t want to play against, and we will behave like a playoff team for the rest of the year even if we don’t make the playoffs.

    At which point in the offseason, MacT should have less problem signing players like Petry, and whichever other free agents he is after, and less players will have the Oilers on their NMC’s.

    I’m also looking to Eakins to work with MacT to fix our goalie coaching,. Not our goalies, but their coaching.

    But is Eakins is incapable of moving past whack-a-mole coaching, then the sooner he gets to find his happiness elsewhere, the better it will be for this team.

    If we are reduced to the level of the McDavid sweepstakes then only a few members of this coaching staff should have any place on this team, with Eakins leading the parade out the door.

  47. ashley says:

    Pouzar:

    Man we need a trade.

    Or are we just bored? With two nights off including the absent Sat night game. With the mid-November chill and 6 more months of winter. With the slow pace of this rebuild. Maybe all of these.

    Saturday night games are the very best. Chicago next week.

  48. Kmart99 says:

    eidy:
    It will be interesting when Hall gets back how the lines shake out.I really like Yak and Perron together.Those 2 with arco could really make hay against the softer competition.However, where do you put hall.

    29 is not ready to face the toughs and it would be a waste of 4.

    I’d still try it. At least at home where you can manage their qualcomp. Don’t underestimate Hall’s ability to elevate his linemates’ games to a new level.

    Pou’s looked great with Nuge and Ebs. Yak has looked good with Arco and Perron. Drai’s line… not so much. They’re the ones that need the help.

    Ideally, MacT trades for a C and sends Leon back to PA, but I think we can all agree neither of those are likely to happen.

  49. Woodguy says:

    Pouzar:
    Woodguy,

    I haven’t heard anything about Snow’s appetite for trading any of his plethora of Centers.
    But Ek had rumors of NYI coveting Yak.

    Have you seen Strome play? I haven’t.

    Yeah, he’s the goods. Still a little weak on face offs, but is very good with the puck and seems to know how to play without it.

    Good size, doesn’t get pushed off the puck easily. Decent shot, good passer.

  50. Yeti says:

    Pouzar: Eric Rodgers ‏@ericrsports 53m53 minutes ago
    Kale Kessy had six points in 54 games last season. This season, he has five in only 10 games

    It’s nice to win a trade for once.

  51. Woodguy says:

    Kmart99: I’d still try it.At least at home where you can manage their qualcomp.Don’t underestimate Hall’s ability to elevate his linemates’ games to a new level.

    Pou’s looked great with Nuge and Ebs.Yak has looked good with Arco and Perron.Drai’s line… not so much.They’re the ones that need the help.

    Ideally, MacT trades for a C and sends Leon back to PA, but I think we can all agree neither of those are likely to happen.

    With the types of players opposing coaches put out against Hall, Saddle would be run over.

    You can’t play a slowish 18 year old kid just learning the NHL with Hall, he can’t take those kind of minutes or opposition.

  52. Woodguy says:

    Yeti: It’s nice to win a trade for once.

    Until Kessey starts matching Reider’s NHL gp and pts I don’t think that one can be chaulked up as a win.

  53. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: I really like Arco, but respectfully disagree and this is the disconnect (as you’ve described). For me, Arcobello is a guy who absolutely maxes his ability, but he doesn’t have that God-given touch around the net.

    And the Oilers need that player if they’re going to take Hall off the Nuge line. Leon’s not ready, Arco’s not that player.

    Strome? Interesting.

    Ha!

    As soon as I read that line I *knew* you would post about Arco’s scoring ability.

    LT’s right in that Arco lacks in ability when it comes to shooting the puck (he’s a rebound/ tap in type of scorer)

    What’s kinda sad is that he’s still tied for 3rd on the team for goals.

    Man.

    I’d do Yak for Strome and I love me some Yak.

  54. Pouzar says:

    ashley: Or are we just bored?With two nights off including the absent Sat night game.With the mid-November chill and 6 more months of winter.With the slow pace of this rebuild.Maybe all of these.

    Saturday night games are the very best.Chicago next week.

    Oh it’s all about the boredom for me. 🙂

  55. Pouzar says:

    Kmart99: I’d still try it.At least at home where you can manage their qualcomp.Don’t underestimate Hall’s ability to elevate his linemates’ games to a new level.

    Pou’s looked great with Nuge and Ebs.Yak has looked good with Arco and Perron.Drai’s line… not so much.They’re the ones that need the help.

    Ideally, MacT trades for a C and sends Leon back to PA, but I think we can all agree neither of those are likely to happen.

    How do you get Hall the requisite minutes he needs at Even strength?

  56. Kmart99 says:

    Oilers are 16th in overall shot differential. Nice. Can’t keep losing the way they are. The pp to pk differential is great. Been staying out of the penalty box, which has helped a ton for the shot diff.

    With the problems at Center and in goal, this team will never push for the playoffs. But there’s just no reason this team can’t climb to 20th in the league. The goaltending has cost this team 4 games, and stolen 1, maybe 2. 18pts is a much more accurate measure of how this team has played so far, not 14 pts. Me thinks, if the goaltending plays .910+ for the rest of the year, 84 pts is a reasonable goal. And I don’t think .910 is really all that difficult for the current tandem of Scrivens/Fasth to accomplish.

  57. Gret99zky says:

    Kmart99,

    Does 84 points put us in the league top 20?

  58. Kmart99 says:

    Gret99zky:
    Kmart99,

    Does 84 points put us in the league top 20?

    22nd last year
    21st the year prior to the lockout. Just shy.

  59. Bank Shot says:

    With all the goaltending woes the Oilers are having again this season, if you had to revisit the trade of Corey Schneider for the 7th Overall and Marincin, would you do it?

    Assuming that the Oilers signed Schneider to the same contract as the Devils, that would have solved the Oilers goal tending woes for the remainder of the Hall contract.

    Lowetide talks about Mact’s moves thus far being about solving the Oilers problems now and into the future. Pouliot and Fayne are alright moves, but they are both tinkering around the edges types of moves. Landing an elite starter would have been a huge hole filled for the next half decade.

  60. OilClog says:

    Nausea, trading Yak for Strome.

    Does Strome take any pressure off of the Nuge worth Yakupov. No. He doesn’t win faceoffs enough, the western conference will eat him alive at first.

    How about a established C that is known to atleast hold his own against stiff competition so that when Saddle and Young Yak are ready to fully step up.. We haven’t lost Old Yak and create a new log jam at C with no winger that can play like YAKUPOV.. Leaving us in a position to now look for a player like Yakupov.. Why can’t we have nice things?

    Why is Strome the target? Why can’t we have someone that will actually help Nuge bridge the gap instead of trading a Thoroughbred for someone’s 3 legged pony that at this point we hope he can’t walk in and fill a need for us.. But yet isn’t able to beat out the competition on his own bloody team for the position.. Arg.

    If for the love of Gord Yakupov is jettisoned out of town, can it Atleast be for a player that will for the next two seasons be able to do what Gordon does and do what Nuge does., that the C we need, is Strome that C? Yikes.

    Id soon package Petry, Perron and a prospect or pick for Eller and that fine young back up of Prices, that too me seems a bit more of a better gamble that will likely pay off. Keep the best players and do whatever you can to max out their potential for your organization.. Not the bastards riding in on their golden stallions raping us for all our goods and leaving us with 3 pennies on a dime and a bunch of players with more unfulfilled dreams.

    Frustrating as a fan to be asked to tank out, get a first overall pick, build a connection and bond with the player, then ship his ass out for something that doesn’t seem like it will pan out.

    Newsflash, hasn’t Yakupov made a kazillion strides away from the puck this season? Isn’t he injecting himself in the game more? Isn’t he our best player some nights if it wasn’t for the rebirth of a healthy Nuge? Let’s trade him. Seems wise.

    I know I’m the only one on this side of the fence, but damn this grass is green in YakCity.

  61. McSorley33 says:

    Mr. Staples with a defence of Jultz in COH…..

    Near universal agreement in here on Schultz……and this group usually does not agree on very much.

    We know how Mac T feels and same with Eakins.

    Very interesting……possibly a case of way too much expectation based on AHL results?

  62. godot10 says:

    Draisaitl has a fall birthday. That means the Oilers can send him to the CHL this year, and he can go the the AHL next year to play centre for 40 games.

    Nugent-Hopkins, Gordon, Draisaitl, Grigorenko keeps the Oiler Kruegerish or worse this year and next. Not good enough. Though Petry is going to be gone. So sucking for two more years at a Kreugerish or worse level is almost a dead certainty.

    Pouliot has shown enough and is signed long term. Now is the time to monetize Perron for a centre. Especially if Petry is a goner. Perron plus Petry should be able to get you a nice thing.

  63. Kmart99 says:

    Woodguy: With the types of players opposing coaches put out against Hall, Saddle would be run over.

    You can’t play a slowish 18 year old kid just learning the NHL with Hall, he can’t take those kind of minutes or opposition.

    Well, he’s 19. And I said you couldn’t do it on the road. But at home you can control your matchups better. With Hall on his wing, Drai may be able to handle 17 minutes/night for home games with easier matchups.

    I’d still try it on this home stand.
    Nuge did it at 18, Gags did it at 18…. not saying those were smart decisions by the oilers, but who better to give Draisaitl some confidence than Hall?

    I don’t think Saddle would get run over in a situation with med qualcomp at home with Hall on his wing.

    For the team, right now perron arco and yak are starting to click, and nuge has really taken form with pou and ebs on his wing.

    For home games, it would be a nightmare for the opposition to matchup against 3 #1’s on each line.

  64. godot10 says:

    Montreal has moved out Moen, and want to play Galchenyuk on wing. So I think Eller is off the market.

  65. McSorley33 says:

    Bank Shot:
    With all the goaltending woes the Oilers are having again this season, if you had to revisit the trade of Corey Schneider for the 7th Overall and Marincin, would you do it?

    Assuming that the Oilers signed Schneider to the same contract as the Devils, that would have solved the Oilers goal tending woes for the remainder of the Hall contract.

    Lowetide talks about Mact’s moves thus far being about solving the Oilers problems now and into the future. Pouliot and Fayne are alright moves, but they are both tinkering around the edges types of moves. Landing an elite starter would have been a huge hole filled for the next half decade.

    Great question……I still don’t do it. I see Nurse as a legitimate 1st pairing monster some day…

  66. Kmart99 says:

    For this home stand (maybe hall plays tomorrow?)

    Pou-Nuge-Ebs – (Tough QualComp, medium/tough Zonestarts) 18 minutes
    Hall-Drai-Purcell – (easier Qualcomp, easier zonestarts) 18 minutes
    Perron-Arco-Yak – (medium Qualcamp, medium zonestarts) 13 minutes
    Joensuu-Gordon-Hendricks – (medium/tough qualcomp, tough zone starts) 11 minutes

    I’d give Hall a chance to elevate Draisaitl’s game and help boost him.

  67. Woodguy says:

    OilClog,

    a Thoroughbred for someone’s 3 legged pony

    Your post has no arguments in it.

    Why is Strome a “3 legged pony”?

    Strome is 6’1″ 200lb Center who scored 1.63pts/gm in his draft year and was taken 5th overall.

    Yak is is 5’11 200lb Winger who scored 1.64pt/gm in his draft year and was taken 1st.

    Strome was brought along slower than Yak and this is his first full time year in the NHL.

    So far in 53 NHL games he has 29pts for .55pts/gm and is trending up.

    Yak has 62pts in 128 NHL games for .484 and is trending up.

    You also said:

    But yet isn’t able to beat out the competition on his own bloody team for the position.. Arg.

    What does this mean?

    He beat out Grabovski and Nelson and is playing C.

    If you look at last night’s game, he played with Nelson and took 15 draws while Nelson took 3 draws.

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20142015/FC020246.HTM

    Nelson started the year at C and Strome has taken over.

  68. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy:
    OilClog,

    a Thoroughbred for someone’s 3 legged pony

    Your post has no arguments in it.

    Why is Strome a “3 legged pony”?

    Strome is 6’1″ 200lb Center who scored 1.63pts/gm in his draft year and was taken 5th overall.

    Yak is is 5’11 200lb Winger who scored 1.64pt/gm in his draft year and was taken 1st.

    Strome was brought along slower than Yak and this is his first full time year in theNHL.

    So far in 53 NHL games he has 29pts for .55pts/gm and is trending up.

    Yak has 62pts in 128 NHL games for .484 and is trending up.

    You also said:

    But yet isn’t able to beat out the competition on his own bloody team for the position.. Arg.

    What does this mean?

    He beat out Grabovski and Nelson and is playing C.

    If you look at last night’s game, he played with Nelson and took 15 draws while Nelson took 3 draws.

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20142015/FC020246.HTM

    Nelson started the year at C and Strome has taken over.

    He tilts the ice in the “shutdown” quadrant and is the 2nd highest P/60 among centers on his team(Grabovski….damn there’s that name again). The more I read about Strome the more I like and the more I doubt the Islanders would move him…even for Yak.

  69. Woodguy says:

    Kmart99,

    Nuge did it at 18, Gags did it at 18…. not saying those were smart decisions by the oilers, but who better to give Draisaitl some confidence than Hall?

    Nuge at 18 and Gagner at 18 didn’t draw the best Dpair and C from the other team.

    Hall draws those players as opponents and they would crush Saddle.

    He’s barely swimming in very sheltered minutes with heavy ozs% and easiest comp.

  70. Woodguy says:

    Pouzar: He tilts the ice in the “shutdown” quadrant and is the 2nd highest P/60 among centers on his team(Grabovski….damn there’s that name again). The more I read about Strome the more I like and the more I doubt the Islanders would move him…even for Yak.

    Yeah, a nice big blue bubble for “3-legged pony” Strome with tough zone starts.

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2014_s&f2=5v5&f3=&f5=NYI&f4=C%2BLW%2BRW&f7=5-&bubbleType=corsiRel&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

  71. Kmart99 says:

    Woodguy:
    Kmart99,

    Nuge did it at 18, Gags did it at 18…. not saying those were smart decisions by the oilers, but who better to give Draisaitl some confidence than Hall?

    Nuge at 18 and Gagner at 18 didn’t draw the best Dpair and C from the other team.

    Hall draws those players as opponents and they would crush Saddle.

    He’s barely swimming in very sheltered minutes with heavy ozs% and easiest comp.

    Hall does draw top opposing players, but that’s why I’d only try it at home. That way you’re in control.
    Don’t get me wrong, I see the risk. I’m also in the “Trade for a centre and send Drai to PA.” camp.

    But for a second, let’s assume the worst: Draisaitl stays the whole year and Mact doesn’t trade for a C.

    1. We know Pou-Nuge-Ebs can produce.
    2. Yak has 3 pts in his last 5 games with Perron and Arco. Could be 5 in 5 though… and I suspect he’s on the up and up.
    3. Draisaitl has been invisible playing less than 10 mins. But team is at 50.6% corsi with him on the ice ( I know.. easy zone starts and qualcomp)
    4. I’ve also always believed that p/60 goes up when ice time goes up. Cold muscles don’t help anyone.

    … If the opposition tries to match up against hall’s line, then that leaves the new and improved Nuge to go to town. It also opens up a better match up for Yak’s line.

    I think the pro’s outweigh the cons, even if only by a bit.

  72. Ryan says:

    Woodguy: Ha!

    As soon as I read that line I *knew* you would post about Arco’s scoring ability.

    LT’s right in that Arco lacks in ability when it comes to shooting the puck (he’s a rebound/ tap in type of scorer)

    What’s kinda sad is that he’s still tied for 3rd on the team for goals.

    Man.

    I’d do Yak for Strome and I love me some Yak.

    This is one of those situations where over half the people here probably disagree with you… Yet, I’m not sure that Snow would pull the trigger if that offer were on the table.

  73. Woodguy says:

    Ryan: This is one of those situations where over half the people here probably disagree with you…Yet, I’m not sure that Snow would pull the trigger if that offer were on the table.

    I’m not sure Snow does that either.

    He does want a shooter for Tavares’ left side though….

    I bet over 50% of the people here disagree with me on that one.

  74. VanOil says:

    Gret99zky: Does 84 points put us in the league top 20?

    Our blistering 68pt pace puts us no where near.

  75. 9,998,383,750,001 says:

    Kmart99:
    So I wonder if Hall is up to the task of carrying Draisaitl and Purcell. Purcell has experience playing with high end skill and Draisaitl(should be in Jr) could use a boost right now that Hall could provide.

    By the end of my long rant on linearity, it became crystal clear to me why this never happens (so at least I benefited). It becomes tremendously complex for the coach to get the right players playing the right minutes when you assign two guys to the same line where one deserves about twice as many minutes as the other.

    It might be possible to spot Hall into enough other places, and to accommodate all the other local factors the bench boss needs to consider—such as which of his troops has really got his legs that night—but I don’t think any coach could keep the entire problem inside his head under game pressure. He’d need Google Glass with a Bench Boss HUD applet—or an even deeper implant—to have any hope of achieving a good iterative maximization over the entire family of ice time ideals.

    The mental gymnastics are about 25% as difficult if the coach simply runs horses with horses.

    Does splitting Hall and Nuge on the top two lines also imply splitting Hall and Nuge across the 1st and 2nd unit PP? And what about Nuge on the PK? If it makes sense to split Hall and Nuge all the time (at least until end-game panic mode), it might actually make running the bench a little easier, rather than harder, supposing you don’t handcuff Hall to Dry Saddle. One or the other would always be at least half-way fresh.

    It would be great if by xmas Eakins could have Drai steady enough to spot in on some DZ starts when Gordon is chucking a lung. Would Hall and Purcell and our top defensive pair be enough support if Drai is out there on a short leash to mainly blot out the sun in the high slot and support some short outlet passes up the boards with a quick get and give back? If he could be pressed into this role, it would take some of the sting out of the soft minutes he’s playing in the OZ without the bump in production one would like to see.

    These could be sporadic extra shifts for Hall in line with extra shifts Nuge takes on the PK.

    It all flies completely in the face of passionate, mulligan city that Eakins was espousing for underage prodigies in a recent presser. Perhaps Drai is so-wired as to express passion as the hefty stove on the spare wagon.

    ———

    PRINCIPE: ‘Hendy Man’

    From day one Hendricks, without being brash, cocky or arrogant, has come onto the team and taken a leadership role. Not an easy thing to do when you’re ‘the new guy’. He does what he can when he can to help the team as only a ‘Hendy Man’ could do.

    “Could do?” That’s not how it goes. Oh, Gene! You blushed.

    Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but imagine myself with a cigar-chomping editor leaning on me to crank out drivel such as this.

    Agent ‘,001! Step into my office!

    What’s up, boss?

    Fresh figures. Over the last 72 hours, Hendricks is now the #1 selling jersey among the Ford-buying public. “Hendy Man!” That’s your ticket. You’ve got thirty minutes to whip up a quick encomium before the all hard hats take second lunch. Book it.

    Hanky Man?

    You heard me. Hendy Man.

    Henky Man?

    Hendy Man. Now get the fuck out of here and get to it.

    “Oh, oh,” I think to myself—I’ve barely got time to get changed and return to my desk, as I begin to rummage in a secret compartment of my bottom desk drawer for a hot, black number. Ah, these and—what was it again?—breathe through your eyelids; quick trip to the men’s room—Craig Ramsay shoulder check, left and right—slip into the porcelain superbooth—yes, the rose goes in the front, big guy—recite the rosary, rattle a few keys, and the agony will soon be over.

    Tap tap tap. Two words. “Keep typing, big guy. You can pull this off.” Tap tap ten. Ten words. “Keep typing, big guy. You can pull this off.” Tap tap tap. Fifty words. “Breathe through the eyelids.” Tap tap tap. A hundred and fifty words. “Keep typing, big guy. Soon you can pull these off.”

    Fifteen minutes later. “Excellent!” I say to myself, pressing my mental fingers together like Mr Burns. “Just a quick s/Henky/Hendy/g and I can fire this horrible drivel into the submission queue,” already rising expectantly out of my office chair.

    [Loud, obnoxious voice bellows out.] Hey, where do you think you’re going, rose hips? Since you’re already dressed, I’ve got another one for you. Hefty man–Dry Saddle. Thirty minutes. Book it.

    Uhhhh, can I rework that old Peckham piece that died on the spike? Or do I have to start fresh?

    Does a fish have legs?

    “The fishy aroma sure has legs,” I think to myself, grabbing a pair of cold, greasy fries, dunking them in some crustaceous ketchup from yesteryear and shovelling them up my nostrils.

    Tap tap tap. Two words. “Breathe through the eyelids, big guy.”

    Just breathe.

  76. Магия 10 says:

    9,998,383,750,001: Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but imagine myself with a cigar-chomping editor leaning on me to crank out drivel such as this.

    Nothing like editors and screwball.

    Put 9,998,383,750,001 back on the payroll and give him a $100 bonus.

  77. godot10 says:

    Kmart99:

    1. We know Pou-Nuge-Ebs can produce.

    Do we?

    In the first period of a game against a real team, Nashville, i.e. when there was a game, they were -9 with zero goals and zero points.

  78. Woodguy says:

    New post at Because Oilers: The Yandle Treatment:

    http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2014/11/the-yandle-treatment.html

    /spam

  79. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m not quite sure that technically you can state that Yak is trending up on his career average of 0.484.

    7/17 this season is 0.41, so I’m not sure he’s trending up on his career average ppg.

  80. Ryan says:

    Woodguy: I’m not sure Snow does that either.

    He does want a shooter for Tavares’ left side though….

    I bet over 50% of the people here disagree with me on that one.

    I do like this idea of yours and would pull the trigger on it if it were available.

    Our elite one-touch scorer is on pace for 14 goals and 34 points.

    It would be a bold move and fill an area of immediate need.

    IMHO, we’d fullfill our criteria of selling high and buying low.

    Welcome to the wiserhood!

  81. Woodguy says:

    Ryan:
    Woodguy,

    I’m not quite sure that technically you can state that Yak is trending up on his career average of 0.484.

    7/17 this season is 0.41, so I’m not sure he’s trending up on his career average ppg.

    Yak’s shots/60 is way up in the last 10 games or so, the points will come.

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