THE LORD’S BURNING RAIN

by Lowetide

I am not sure how many will agree with me, but in this blog’s estimation signing Andrej Sekera in free agency was a quality addition. The only FA signing in recent years that was close? Benoit Pouliot. Peter Chiarelli will be active again this summer and his shopping list is once again substantial.

chiarelli ma

CHIARELLI’S SUMMER

  1. Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom (Jason Demers)
  2. Scoring winger from free agency (Lee Stempniak)
  3. Offload unwanted contracts (Lauri Korpikoski)
  4. Backup goalie (Jhonas Enroth, but may cost too much)
  5. Re-stock the system partly through college and CHL signings (Benik, but also Winquist, et al)
  6. Build up the system (especially forwards) via draft (Laine, Tyler Benson)

I thought it might be an idea to check what is out there on the free-agent market as we get closer to July 1. Edmonton could be active in the goalie market, on defense, and while we are at it let’s check the forwards too.

GOALIES

  1. Jhonas Enroth ($1.25 million) .943 even-strength SP
  2. James Reimer ($2.3 million), .935 even-strength SP
  3. Karri Ramo ($3.8 million), .917 even-strength SP
  4. Antti Raanta ($750,00), .916 even-strength SP

This is all via nhl.com and nhlnumbers. Chiarelli will no doubt kick tires on a backup—someone who could take over the starting job if necessary—and that seems like it should be Enroth or Reimer. Edmonton doesn’t need to hire a backup, but the small sample size that is Laurent Brossoit’s  NHL season suggests the GM should look for some cover.

RIGHT-HANDED DEFENSEMEN

  1. Jason Demers ($3.4 million) 61, 7-16-23 (21 minutes a night) EVShA/60: 26.98 (No. 37)

I don’t see another great fit among the righties, perhaps there is a lesser defender with potential but honestly it is not a strong group. Depending on the ask from Demers, he might be available and I do think he is a nice fit.

LEFT-HANDED DEFENSEMEN

  1. Brian Campbell ($7.1 million) 78, 6-25-31 (22 minutes a night) EVShA/60: 26.90 (No. 36)
  2. Keith Yandle ($5.25 million) 78, 5-40-45 (22 minutes a night) EVShA/60: 28.59 (No. 88)
  3. Alex Goligoski $4.6 million) 79, 5-31-36 (23:52 a night) EVShA/60: 29.68 (No. 124)
  4. David Schlemko ($625,000) 64, 6-13-19 (18:33 a night) EVShA/60: 26.24 (No. 23)

In looking at the options, perhaps Edmonton might be better off signing a lefty and then dealing from (further) strength—dealing a lefthander for a righty. Campbell is long in the tooth but remains effective, and he could serve as a terrific mentor. If the Oilers can acquire Travis Hamonic for a lefthander? Well, the option is there if Chiarelli signs someone on this list.

RIGHT-HANDED CENTERS

  1. Steven Stamkos ($7.5 million) 77, 36-28-64. 49.9FO% 51.5Corsi
  2. David Backes ($4.5 million) 78, 20-23-43. 51.9FO% 51.0Corsi

I include Stamkos only because he is going to be available and Peter Chiarelli should push as hard as possible to get him to Edmonton. Can you imagine winning the lottery and Stamkos? Heavens to Murgatroyd that would have heads exploding all over the league! Anyway, clearly fantasy but if there is a chance we can entertain the idea.

lucic

WINGERS

  1. Milan Lucic ($6 million) 77, 17-34-51. 58.9Corsi
  2. Teddy Purcell ($4.5 million) 72, 13-25-38. 51.3Corsi
  3. Kris Versteeg ($4.4 million) 73, 13-23-36. 57.0Corsi
  4. Loui Eriksson ($4.25 million) 78, 28-31-59. 51.6Corsi
  5. David Perron ($3.8 million) 71, 12-24-36. 52.6Corsi
  6. Troy Brouwer ($3.67 million) 78, 16-20-36. 48.8Corsi
  7. Lee Stempniak ($850,000) 79, 18-32-50. 47.2Corsi

I have mentioned this a few times, have had people push back so want to be clear again. I think the Oilers are set (and then some) with Hall, Pouliot and Maroon on the port side, and if those three men return no one should be complaining. That said, I wonder about Milan Lucic and his possibly being available. Peter Chiarelli’s stated template:

  • Chiarelli: “Even when I was in Boston it wasn’t about putting fighters in the lineup, it was about your team approach, your team toughness, your collective mentality. And that can apply to us, also. Having said that, there are teams in our conference and our division that play a certain style. You don’t have to fight fire with fire, but you have to be able to push back.”

Lucic and Brent Seabrook represent (to me) players that may both be available (Seabrook has a NM but has been linked to Edmonton) and carry significant risk. When have the conversation about this summer, I think we all talk about ideal situations, but there are some heavy contracts that could be on the run this summer. I think the Oilers will be at least somewhat vulnerable to the Lucic’s and the Seabrook’s—famous names with a lot of what makes them good now having been spent. Dangerous summer.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

So far this spring, we have talked about players who might be traded by the Oilers. In reality, we may be looking at a ‘switching out’ of a current Oiler and bringing in a free agent replacement. Say the Oilers acquire Travis Hamonic for Jordan Eberle, and then replace 14 with Loui Eriksson. Or, Taylor Hall is sent away for a grand return on defense, and Lucic replaces him. Or Nuge—Backes and on it goes. For the record, I would prefer seeing Hall, Nuge and Eberle return, Pouliot too. Anyone above appeal to you as a possible future Oiler? I like Demers, would prefer to keep the current forwards.

ALEX LYON

Saturday night, Elliotte Friedman mentioned Lyon’s decision was 48 hours (or so) away, so that puts the press release inside the Dave Jamieson Show. If the young man signs with Edmonton (he has posted SP’s in the .930s last two winters) he could land damn near anywhere on the pro depth chart this fall. He appears to be a good get, although that conference Yale plays in seems to feature some electric save totals. Button down conference, for sure.

mcdavid goal det 2

PROJECTED 50-MAN LIST (37)

  1. G Cam Talbot. No. 1 next season.
  2. G Laurent Brossoit. Projects as NHL backup/AHL starter, signed a two-year deal.
  3. G Eetu Laurikainen, AHL backup, he is signed for next year.
  4. D Oscar Klefbom, likely top pairing, needs to stay healthy.
  5. D Andrej Sekera, top 4D, important part of the team.
  6. D Brandon Davidson, top 6D, maybe even top 4D if he continues on current track.
  7. D Mark Fayne, I question Oilers ability to find three better RH this summer.
  8. D Darnell Nurse, probably top 6D next season, ideally in Bakersfield.
  9. D Eric Gryba, UFA. I believe he will sign with the Oilers.
  10. D Griffin Reinhart, may spend another year in the minors. Could be dealt.
  11. D Andrew Ference, they will buy him out (if able). LTIR is my guess.
  12. D Jordan Oesterle, AHL D, NHL time. RFA. Suspect he signs.
  13. D Joey Laleggia, AHL D matriculating.
  14. D Dillon Simpson, AHL D, matriculating.
  15. D Ben Betker, AHL D, matriculating.
  16. C Connor McDavid, Giant.
  17. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, quality NHL center.
  18. C Leon Draisaitl, emerging NHL talent.
  19. C Mark Letestu, checking NHL C.
  20. C Anton Lander, they may find a buyer.
  21. C Jujhar Khaira, he is a good bet to make the roster in the fall.
  22. C Bogdan Yakimov, a chance he comes back. Has NHL tools, speed concern.
  23. C Kyle Platzer, AHL C matriculating.
  24. L Taylor Hall, impact NHL player. Many fans want him gone.
  25. L Benoit Pouliot, underrated by many. Trade rumors.
  26. L Patrick Maroon, big winger has been exceptional since arrival.
  27. L Lauri Korpikoski, Oilers should try to offload him this summer.
  28. L Matt Hendricks, checking NHL W.
  29. L Jere Sallinen, you can never have too many Finns.
  30. L Mitch Moroz, AHL winger/enforcer, matriculating.
  31. L Braden Christoffer, rugged winger, matriculating.
  32. R Jordan Eberle, scoring winger could be in play.
  33. R Nail Yakupov, gone baby, gone.
  34. R Zack Kassian, probably part of the future in a top 9F role. RFA.
  35. R Iiro Pakarinen, suspect he will push for a spot next fall. RFA
  36. R Anton Slepyshev, talented winger should push for NHL time.
  37. R Greg Chase, minor league winger, matriculating.

https://twitter.com/HBomb1982/status/716980833303683073

I think the Oilers list of no-trades is fairly short at this point (I will guess McDavid, Hall, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nurse) but as I have mentioned a few times it will depend on the ask from the team trading their quality defender. Let’s imagine the Peter Chiarelli white board and what the ask might be:

  1. Erik Karlsson (Ottawa isn’t trading him)
  2. P.K. Subban (Montreal isn’t trading him)
  3. Alex Pietrangelo (Taylor Hall)
  4. Travis Hamonic (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins)
  5. David Savard (Jordan Eberle)

Now don’t go crazy, I am just using this as an example. All of the veteran forwards are in play, and so would be outside the no-trade list Chiarelli would have established internally. So when we talk about the players who are not going anywhere, they are basically the McDavid cluster—97, Leon, Nurse. Makes sense to me.

AND THE LORD RAINED DOWN BURNING SULFUR

The MSM took Todd McLellan’s Saturday postgame and ran with it, openly pushing for ‘Christmas in July’ headlines involving the breakup of Edmonton’s most famous boy band.

  • Robert Tychkowski: If Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were trying to make a case that they should stay together here, they lost it. This team just played itself into another major overhaul. Source

I understand the idea of torching the team again, but am hopeful Peter Chiarelli takes a more measured approach to the summer. All these losses give him another fabulous draft pick, and he could trade down—or out—for his badly needed defensive help. He could also trade one of the $6 million dollar men and sign Demers, effectively doing a tweak as opposed to blowing it up.

  • Bob McKenzie:  “What it suggests to me is that there’s a price to be paid for all the losing in Edmonton, and that the core group of players on this team may well be what I would say – use the word – damaged. By damaged I guess I mean having the wrong mindset, psyche, psychologically. Just the constant losing, revolving door of coaches and management regimes, and just seemingly a bunch of players individually and then almost collectively losing their way.” Source

It is a bad time to be heading to market, with your prime bullets being devalued by another losing season. The standings suggest there has been no improvement this season, but the goal differential and the 5×5 scoring suggest real progress. I would argue that the Oilers could have been better even with all of the injuries—but playing Lauri Korpikoski and Darnell Nurse so much impacted the season in a negative fashion.

This point in time reminds me of the summer Edmonton fired Tom Renney. He was making progress, and it has taken many years (four!) to get back to what Renney had idling in the driveway. Keep your powder dry, Peter Chiarelli, these are good hockey players and you do not want to be the man who trades Taylor Hall for 60 cents on the dollar. This town will never forgive, no matter what the scribes are writing today. And that’s for sure.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy show this morning, starts at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. Are my Bruins going to miss the playoffs? Stamkos injury.
  • Andrew Stoeten, JaysNation. A nice start from Stroman but what about his hair?
  • Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue and The SuperFan. Peter Chiarelli’s summer.
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings lose three at home, plus Alex Lyon.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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[…] Lowetide this morning on TSN 1260 to talk Oilers. Full audio […]

AsiaOil

square_wheels,

Out of the old core – Hall is the last guy you consider moving – no one aside from CMD moves the needle like he can when he wants to. Only issue with Hall is those last few words…..”when he wants to”. That’s why he’s only up for grabs if an elite #1 dman is coming back – and I hear you with regard to Pietrangelo’s numbers and the existence of a bit of doubt.

If DAL let’s Demers go via UFA then it’s a tell and paying him big, dollars, term and NMC may not be wise. I kind of feel like we have him already in Sekera – and we need a value contract (Hamonic) more than another paid in full UFA at this point. But it’s tricky. Sounds like everyone thinks Klef will be good to go in the fall + Sekera + Davidson + Nurse/GR. We are 5 deep on the left side – with three young guys who are bottom pair but could grow into top 4 roles. I don’t think we can tie up too much cap space or restrict flexibility with NMC too much – so another UFA like Demers makes less sense to me this summer.

My dream – a true #1 guy who fills a gaping hole at the top of the order – and then you allow internal growth (probably Davy) to fill out the 2nd pair. Klef and Sekera are already good enough for the top 4. STL is interesting – they have Pietrangelo/Shats/Parayko down the right side – but not much on the left side at all (JayBo/Gunnarson/Edmunston). Seems a match for a LHD/RHD swap but Shats is the guy they probably want to trade as he’s UFA in 14 months, does not appear to be having a stellar season (-14 compared to Parayko’s +26) and is unlikely to want to EDM as an address.

Will be an interesting summer.

square_wheels

G Money,

My heartburn this summer comes from a few things :
– Hamonic is hurt now, is property of Garth “I will fucking trade your ass wherever and whenever I damn well please” Snow. Regardless of who we premise going the other way, if it doesn’t happen, then what ?
– Chia has a healthy dose of Gritensity poisoning from your Hadron Collider and is now addicted to it. I hope he doesn’t think Lucic replaces Hall. Complements yes, replaces nope.
– other than the Cgy game I thought we had a decent stretch where we needed a healthy D and a better backup showing, but now that I’ve cooled down from another Charlie Brown Saturday I can honestly say with Klef and Davi were at least competent.
– 2 RHD is going to sting at best or hurt for years but can anything be worse than wasting McD’s talent ??

Some thoughts on summer UFA :
– Lucic is getting a huge pay day from anyone, including LA. I don’t see his “heavy” style wearing him down with age, other players bounce off him so how does that break him ? He’s not signing here anyway.
– Stamkos is going to a big eastern club, mega payday with huge market exposure. He will play with Connor at the next Olympics, that’s enough.
– I like Johnson as Talbot’s backup, but I also think LB will rebound
– bottom 6 tweaks will come but they should be at least one farm hand (cheap) and some late UFA bargains. I think Chia and Tmac have some guys in mind
– the fact Demers was traded for a bottom pairing by this same coaching staff could mean a distrust between player and staff. Was he their Petry ?? Only the manager makes trades but never without consulting the coaching staff.

square_wheels

AsiaOil,

Yes BUT.

You make damn sure Pet is in fact an elite D, because his fancies indicate he’s good but I’m no longer sold on his offence. Could be the Hitchcock factor as well.

Taylor Hall is a top 10 LW – full stop. Trade him and then we rely on offence from Nuge/Pou/Drai…….on the road that isn’t making any team pucker.

Back to G’s earlier post about how this summer plays out, it’s imperative we improve the D but until we are at least a competitive team let’s not worry about unattainable franchise D. Pronger trades where we 3 for 1 an elite D in his prime won’t happen.

The journey from shit to great takes a long pause at good. Ask most teams.

godot10

G Money: Except the whole sequence was set up by the inability of the Oiler D (Oesterle in this case) to make a zone entry at the Calgary blue line.

Wasn’t it McDavid, and not Osterle, who turned over the puck at the blue line on attempted o-zone entry?

AsiaOil

…..and I’m my own grandfather if I’m following where this is going 🙂

Woodguy

AsiaOil:
I agree with a lot of GMoney’s take on things – especially impact of the injuries – but I do disagree with a large chunk of this blog who thinks that the Steve Austins are fine and we just need a dman or two. Far far from it and that opinion is coming from the coach and respected guys like McKenzie. Lets look at the last game:

CGY goal #1 – the defense didn’t stop Eberle from completely mailing in any backchecking effort and abandoning his mark.

CGY goal 2 – the defense didn’t stop RNH from daydreaming an abandoning Colborne in front of the net

CGY goal #3 – OK defense and everyone else looking around instead of checking someone (anyone)

CGY goal 4 – the defense didn’t stop Hendricks from losing his man in front of the net

CGY goal #5 – the defense didn’t stop Maroon from making a suicide pass that created the breakaway

So let’s summarize – 4 out of the 5 goals had nothing to do with “the defense”, and our “elite offense” was shooting at the goalie’s crest all night and didn’t hit a fly (along with every other line aside from Landers). The PP was an abomination and they were out-worked by a tired team and flat out quit on an important night. Another dman is not going to fix the lack of effort and a lack of pride the was on display Saturday night. None of the Oiler teams before this cluster would have allowed that debacle to happen against the Flames – and is was categorically not “just the defense”.

With competent Dmen the Oilers are in the Flames zone instead of defending.

That’s the difference.

It alters space-time lines, not events.

G Money

AsiaOil: CGY goal #1 – the defense didn’t stop Eberle from completely mailing in any backchecking effort and abandoning his mark.

Except the whole sequence was set up by the inability of the Oiler D (Oesterle in this case) to make a zone entry at the Calgary blue line.

He turned it over to the lone defender standing him up, with all of his teammates already heading in (as they should on the powerplay), and because the nearest guy was also in red, immediately you had two Calgary forwards going the other way with Oesterle the only guy back.

Oesterle HAS to read that better, and either dump it or turn it back and try again. The one thing he can’t do – try a high risk entry with his entire team heading in and him outnumbered two to one – is the one thing he did.

If Eberle backchecks maybe he catches and stops the guy, and maybe he doesn’t.

But a capable zone entry from the D originally and not only is the question of Eberle’s backcheck moot, but quite likely the team would have been cycling and shooting the entire time rather than giving up a shortie.

A competent D corps changes everything.

AsiaOil

Sure there is plenty of blame – but RNH converges on Jokipakka as he crosses the blue line instead of staying with his man which is Colborne. He knows there is nobody between Colborne and the net because he’s standing right beside Nurse who was playing RHD at the time. RNH drifted over to Jokipakka for no good reason – Nurse had him – and he left Colborne a completely free path to the net. RNH even looks at Colborne before the pass and continues to drift around in the slot. Colborne was the clear danger and he was RNH’s man as Nurse had to stay with Jokipakka until he was not threat. As for Bowma – RNH never even looked at him (nor should he as he’s Drai’s mark).

Colborne was RNH’s mark – full stop. With Nurse marking Jokipakka there is no one else to cover Colborne. He simply let him go unimpeded to the net and stood around being useless in no-man’s land covering no one in particular. I’m sure coach gave him an eyeful of that at practice today.

erik

who,

I agree. There’s plenty of blame to go around on that goal. Nurse shouldn’t be following a man that doesn’t have the puck into the corner. If he stays in front of the net, then Nuge taking the slot is the right play.

Worse for me though, is Draisaitl (or whoever is on the left wing) slowing coasting into the zone. He needs to skate back and take away the passing lane to Bowma. If that happens then Nuge has an easy read of sticking with Coburn. As it was he was stuck trying to cover two guys in prime goal scoring locations and he picked the wrong one.

blackadder

Ducey,

Exactly. Messier 80-97, oozes character, best leader ever. Messier 97-2004, team cancer, contributor to a culture of failure.

who

AsiaOil: RNH was with Colborne at the blue line and let him go – mistake #1. He then drifted over to the center of the ice to help the dmen who already had their men – mistake #2. RNH then looks over at Colborne before the pass and had a second chance to see the danger (guy standing alone in front of the net should be obvious) and he again ignores Colborne – mistake #3. Instead RNH drifts around in no man’s land helping no one while Colborne scores an easy goal. The trailer was irrelevant and no danger compared to Colborne. RNH had 3 chances to prevent that goal and didn’t do it – watch for yourself:

https://www.nhl.com/video/colbornes-great-tip-in/t-279766452/c-43203103

Just watched it again thanks. Still see the same thing. One guy trying to cover two. If he stays with Coburne to the net Bowma is open at the hash marks, middle of the ice. Kind of a pick your poison moment and he guessed wrong.

Walter Sobchak

AsiaOil: If Pietrangelo is on the table (or any other elite top pair dman) and Hall is the ask – you do it – and I fully recognize Hall’s impact on the ice. You trade elite winger for elite dman every day of the week and twice on Sunday with the sole exception of Ovechkin/Benn.

IMO – The Only way you trade Hall is if Lucic is on the team, trading a river pusher would be death for the offence no matter who’s back on D. You can’t create a massive hole just to fix another massive hole.
It won’t work.

AsiaOil

Ducey:
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/jack-capuano-tears-several-islanders-players/

The Islanders’ coach calling out his guys.

I guess they all lack character too.

Simple:

You win, you have character
You lose, you don’t

I’d be content with veterans who make $6 million per year being able to consistently make defensive plays expected of midget level players.

Oilspill

Klefbom on the won’t trade list is quite humorous. There is not a team that would give you a three legged greyhound at this point.

Ducey

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/jack-capuano-tears-several-islanders-players/

The Islanders’ coach calling out his guys.

I guess they all lack character too.

Simple:

You win, you have character
You lose, you don’t

AsiaOil

who: Agree with you except on goal #2. Not Nuges fault. He was torn between covering the guy driving the net or the trailer (4th man)coming into the slot. Looked like the pass was going to the slot. He guessed wrong. If you want to blame someone, blame his linemates who where either late coming back or heading to the bench.

RNH was with Colborne at the blue line and let him go – mistake #1. He then drifted over to the center of the ice to help the dmen who already had their men – mistake #2. RNH then looks over at Colborne before the pass and had a second chance to see the danger (guy standing alone in front of the net should be obvious) and he again ignores Colborne – mistake #3. Instead RNH drifts around in no man’s land helping no one while Colborne scores an easy goal. The trailer was irrelevant and no danger compared to Colborne. RNH had 3 chances to prevent that goal and didn’t do it – watch for yourself:

https://www.nhl.com/video/colbornes-great-tip-in/t-279766452/c-43203103

Jethro Tull
who

AsiaOil:
I agree with a lot of GMoney’s take on things – especially impact of the injuries – but I do disagree with a large chunk of this blog who thinks that the Steve Austins are fine and we just need a dman or two. Far far from it and that opinion is coming from the coach and respected guys like McKenzie. Lets look at the last game:

CGY goal #1 – the defense didn’t stop Eberle from completely mailing in any backchecking effort and abandoning his mark.

CGY goal 2 – the defense didn’t stop RNH from daydreaming an abandoning Colborne in front of the net

CGY goal #3 – OK defense and everyone else looking around instead of checking someone (anyone)

CGY goal 4 – the defense didn’t stop Hendricks from losing his man in front of the net

CGY goal #5 – the defense didn’t stop Maroon from making a suicide pass that created the breakaway

So let’s summarize – 4 out of the 5 goals had nothing to do with “the defense”, and our “elite offense” was shooting at the goalie’s crest all night and didn’t hit a fly (along with every other line aside from Landers). The PP was an abomination and they were out-worked by a tired team and flat out quit on an important night. Another dman is not going to fix the lack of effort and a lack of pride the was on display Saturday night. None of the Oiler teams before this cluster would have allowed that debacle to happen against the Flames – and is was categorically not “just the defense”.

Agree with you except on goal #2. Not Nuges fault. He was torn between covering the guy driving the net or the trailer (4th man) coming into the slot. Looked like the pass was going to the slot. He guessed wrong. If you want to blame someone, blame his linemates who where either late coming back or heading to the bench.

Centre of attention
Alpine

I think you can reasonably give Nurse 2nd pairing TOI with a good partner as long they get the ozone push, like Klefbom and Jultz got last season. I expect him to be in even better shape next season and he’ll succeed with a proper puck moving RHD.

Sekera on his offhand and Nurse were not a great match and especially not against top lines. Sekera with Klefbom against top lines is probably the best shutdown pairing we could have since the last time we had a functioning D corps. (2009?)

Klefbom-Sekera (hard opp, balanced zone starts)
Nurse-Vatanen (middle opp with ozone push)
Davidson-Fayne (middle opp with dzone heavy starts)

Jethro Tull

GCW_69: Do you want to blow assets only to lose them next summer though?Let’s say the Oilers cash in Nurse and the 1st for two legit top four defenders.

That means they need to protect Sekera, Klefbom and the two new defenders.That means they can only protect four forwards – Hall, Nuge, Eberle, and Draisatl.

That in turn means Pouliot, Maroon, Yakupov (if he sticks around), Davidson, Reinhart (I think), and any other player brought in to fix the forward depth all have to be exposed.If any of the incoming forwards require a NMC, that would push one of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, or Leon onto the firing line.

It could be done, but I think it blows out any chance the Oilers have of getting and retaining any depth.

It’s all relative. Every other team would be in the same position. So you have to ask yourself: Would the players we protect be chosen anyway?

All comes down to player evaluation, contract and cap hit. The new teams would have to comply to the cap. Do we over-value our players? Could we potentially leave one up for grabs when he wouldn’t be picked anyway, thus being able to use it on someone else?

A lot of the talk on here is though the Oilers have the best players in the league and every one of them is a dead lock to be picked in the expansion. Nurse has a lot to grow and show before we consider protecting him beyond Nuge or even Eberle. Not even close. He’s a good prospect with potential. That’s all. Two years from now, if he’s had a 40 or even a 30pt season and has played well defensively, then yeah, his value increases and maybe you want to bet on him.

It’s a doozy of a problem, but hey, we’re not alone in this. Teams like CHG, LA, STL, NYR etc would be pretty hooped too.

EDIT: I’m happy with the players you listed as being expansion fodder. And one more thing….Don’t fall in love with prospects! They’re trade fodder and cheap support players until they develop!

godot10

This season foundered on a mismatch of coach with the existing skill set of the forwards. McLellan is a systems coach first with a preference for dump and chase and cycle, and the Oilers forwards are primarily rush forwards first (even McDavid). The coach wasn’t interested in coaching/evolving the team he had. That plus all the injuries and 30th place was in the bag.

So I disagree with Lowetide’s mostly stay the course recommendation with most of the forwards. The Oilers need fewer rush forwards and more dump and chase forwards for this particular coach. So trading one of the six million dollar men to improve the D is something that is likely to happen. Anyone could go depending on the needs of the team that is giving up the D.

Water Fire

I would bet that Nurse would be a highly desired player right now. He was fantastic in the World Juniors, and beats the living daylights out of grown men.

He’s probably going to be the initial ask in a lot of talks if D are involved and I bet the answer is no unless we’re talking Karlsson or Pietro or the like.

He is a gold brick, until he keeps playing like he has been to the point it’s on him – 2-3 years or so. Put Leon in that convo as well. We don’t talk like that about Connor.

AsiaOil

ashley: And Hall for Pietrangelo? I may be in a minority, but I would look long and hard at that if all my other defensive options didn’t come through.

If Pietrangelo is on the table (or any other elite top pair dman) and Hall is the ask – you do it – and I fully recognize Hall’s impact on the ice. You trade elite winger for elite dman every day of the week and twice on Sunday with the sole exception of Ovechkin/Benn.

AsiaOil

I agree with a lot of GMoney’s take on things – especially impact of the injuries – but I do disagree with a large chunk of this blog who thinks that the Steve Austins are fine and we just need a dman or two. Far far from it and that opinion is coming from the coach and respected guys like McKenzie. Lets look at the last game:

CGY goal #1 – the defense didn’t stop Eberle from completely mailing in any backchecking effort and abandoning his mark.

CGY goal 2 – the defense didn’t stop RNH from daydreaming an abandoning Colborne in front of the net

CGY goal #3 – OK defense and everyone else looking around instead of checking someone (anyone)

CGY goal 4 – the defense didn’t stop Hendricks from losing his man in front of the net

CGY goal #5 – the defense didn’t stop Maroon from making a suicide pass that created the breakaway

So let’s summarize – 4 out of the 5 goals had nothing to do with “the defense”, and our “elite offense” was shooting at the goalie’s crest all night and didn’t hit a fly (along with every other line aside from Landers). The PP was an abomination and they were out-worked by a tired team and flat out quit on an important night. Another dman is not going to fix the lack of effort and a lack of pride the was on display Saturday night. None of the Oiler teams before this cluster would have allowed that debacle to happen against the Flames – and is was categorically not “just the defense”.

ashley

I am not sure how many will agree with me, but in this blog’s estimation signing Andrej Sekera in free agency was a quality addition. The only FA signing in recent years that was close? Benoit Pouliot..

This a sad statement considering how many UFA’s have been signed here in the past 10 years. I honestly dread July 1. FA has been a nightmare for the Oilers, handcuffing us in so many ways over the year. Even the two good signings above, I would argue Sekera, a second pairing Dman is overpaid by 2Million. But beggars can’t be choosers. I shudder to consider this past season without him or worse with Cam Barker in his place.

How often do teams really hit a home run in FA that helps the team? Half the time? It seems there are just as many boondoggle contracts that come out of FA (especially July 1 signings) as ones that turn out ok for the teams. It’s already a pre-selected group. The really good players get sewn up before they ever reach UFA with few exceptions.

I’m hoping Chia is going to rely more on in house assets to balance this team through trade. The first round pick could bring back something of considerable value.

And Hall for Pietrangelo? I may be in a minority, but I would look long and hard at that if all my other defensive options didn’t come through.

godot10

I would rather offer Bryan Campbell a 2-year deal to play with Darnell Nurse and on the power play, than to trade Darnell for anybody. Heck, if the Oilers can get Vatanen, give him 3rd pairing minutes with Darnell.

Impatience with the OIlers should not make one be impatient with Darnell Nurse. Kinger in the first post listed the 4 primary means for fixing the D.

Trading Nurse is pretty much the (next to) last thing I would do to fix the defense.

GCW_69

Jethro Tull: I think the expansion draft is light-years from the problems that need to be addressed first.Keep one eye on it, sure, but boy, do we have bigger fish to fry before we start worrying about which one of our stellar defense corps to protect.

Do you want to blow assets only to lose them next summer though? Let’s say the Oilers cash in Nurse and the 1st for two legit top four defenders.

That means they need to protect Sekera, Klefbom and the two new defenders. That means they can only protect four forwards – Hall, Nuge, Eberle, and Draisatl.

That in turn means Pouliot, Maroon, Yakupov (if he sticks around), Davidson, Reinhart (I think), and any other player brought in to fix the forward depth all have to be exposed. If any of the incoming forwards require a NMC, that would push one of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, or Leon onto the firing line.

It could be done, but I think it blows out any chance the Oilers have of getting and retaining any depth.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

Lowetide:
Jason Gregor ‏@JasonGregor 41s41 seconds ago

McLellan with positive note re: Klefbom saying it (injury/infection) should not be an issue next year at training camp. #Oilers
0 retweets 1 like

This seems like a very good thing to me.

Bruce McCurdy

G Money: Interestingly, my ‘goal summary’ which takes the goals straight out of the NHL play by play has it recorded as a shortie.

Probably because your program is designed and based on logic, a virtue which is in short supply in the NHL’s corridors of power. The “stewards of the game” play fast & loose with fundamental assumptions to a degree that this aficionado of recreational math finds offensive. No respect for numbers, or principles for that matter. Especially the latter. >:o

Jethro Tull

GCW_69: I was a big “trade Nurse for Hamonic or equivalent” supporter until the damn expansion draft reared its ugly head.

Sans expansion draft, Nurse and the 2016 first round pick were the assets to trade to fix this team.With the expansion draft, those become two very important assets to hang on to and I think you sacrifice Eberle or Nuge to keep them.

I think the expansion draft is light-years from the problems that need to be addressed first. Keep one eye on it, sure, but boy, do we have bigger fish to fry before we start worrying about which one of our stellar defense corps to protect.

Jethro Tull

Jaxon:
Is anyone wondering if Peter Mueller might be worth looking at again? Especially if Kassian isn’t going to work out (I’m still hoping he does, though). Mueller hasn’t had concussion issues in a long time. From Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts:

“1. One other player Oates may work with is Peter Mueller, who is pursuing an NHL comeback for next season. Mueller, who played 297 games with Phoenix, Colorado and Florida, spent the last three years in Europe after concussions derailed his North American career. “He’s been haunted by that injury,” agent Darryl Wolski said Monday. “When we first mentioned his name, the response was, ‘Doesn’t he have concussion issues?’” Wolski says that’s no longer the case. How much interest is there? “The word I’d use is there’s a curiosity about him. It might take time, but we’ll be patient and see how it plays out.” Mueller will be 28 in two weeks, a prime age to give it a shot.”

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-adam-oates-responds-critics/

Mueller has solid scoring chops and is a shot machine. He’s big and, if I recall correctly, he has decent speed.

Jax, we need bona fide help. Established players playing at a high standard. Not “worth a chance” or “stats say he’s ready to go super-nova.”

There’s a reason these players aren’t in the NHL anymore *ahem, Dustin Penner, ahem*.

They have either been injured and are struggling to regain form, not good enough and never were or their attitudes stink and nobody will employ them.

If they can sign somewhere that can afford them the time and chance for reclamation, then more power to them. But the Edmonton Oilers cannot keep making poor bets on these types of players.

Bruce McCurdy

G Money: Yep, that was me.

My ‘key stat’ for the game was pretty simple:

Flames went 1 for 6 on the PP

Oilers went -2 for 2 on the PP

That was the game.

Yes that is exactly right, it was the game, & it was the key stat. Especially the Oilers PP part, the PK was about what one would expect on 6 chances. Even Calgary’s limp powerplay is gonna connect occasionally.

But Oilers’ PP was Beyond limp. Impotent, more like it.

GCW_69

John Chambers: This is a good trade in theory because it advances the timeline on our D, trading away Nurse’s potential for Hamonic’s abilities in the here-and-now, BUT ….

In the event of an expansion draft it’s a total asset management nightmare.

Nurse wouldn’t have to be protected in the event of expansion, where as Hamonic will. Along with Sekara, Klefbom, Davidson, and Reinhart we’d have 5 D who would need to be protected.

If we trade one of the aforementioned LHD for Hamonic it’s a 1-1 swap in terms of draft protection eligibility.

As a result Nurse should hold much greater value as a trade asset, or better yet should not be considered a trade asset at all.

I was a big “trade Nurse for Hamonic or equivalent” supporter until the damn expansion draft reared its ugly head.

Sans expansion draft, Nurse and the 2016 first round pick were the assets to trade to fix this team. With the expansion draft, those become two very important assets to hang on to and I think you sacrifice Eberle or Nuge to keep them.

GCW_69

LT – no left handed centres should be considered? Frans Neilsen at the right price and more importantly the right term would be a huge benefit to these Oilers, no?

GCW_69

Man, twitter is an interesting place these days. I don’t understand anyone saying “Trading Hall” will fix this team. At the same time, I don’t understand anyone digging in their heels and saying Hall can’t be traded.

Fixing the defense will fix this team. If the price of fixing the defense is Hall, so be it, but it had better be a damn elite defenseman coming back the other way because the cost in offence is significant.

Lindholm or Pietrangelo in and Hall out, for example, is a good deal imo.

Eller, Beaulieu, and whatever in and Hall out is not a good deal, imo.

This summer we will likely see “get good players, keep good players” and “achieve a balanced roster” collide. Navigated well, the Oilers should step out of the darkness. As long as MacT and Howson are in the room, and Lowe is hovering down the hall, the outcome of that collision could be very scary however. We wait.

Jaxon

Nurse for Hamonic makes me nervous. Just watching how that guy can move makes me think he is going to be a monster minute muncher in the not too distant future. Plus I think he’s a team and fan favourite already. He brings a lot to the table at only 21. He must be among the fastest players in the league. Or are my eyes deceiving me? Plus, I don’t think Hamonic is an upgrade on Demers, so why give up a potentially contender-type asset when you can get the same player for cash? Hamonic’s contract is good, but I don’t see Demers getting a huge contract that will be much more.

Jaxon

Is anyone wondering if Peter Mueller might be worth looking at again? Especially if Kassian isn’t going to work out (I’m still hoping he does, though). Mueller hasn’t had concussion issues in a long time. From Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts:

“1. One other player Oates may work with is Peter Mueller, who is pursuing an NHL comeback for next season. Mueller, who played 297 games with Phoenix, Colorado and Florida, spent the last three years in Europe after concussions derailed his North American career. “He’s been haunted by that injury,” agent Darryl Wolski said Monday. “When we first mentioned his name, the response was, ‘Doesn’t he have concussion issues?’” Wolski says that’s no longer the case. How much interest is there? “The word I’d use is there’s a curiosity about him. It might take time, but we’ll be patient and see how it plays out.” Mueller will be 28 in two weeks, a prime age to give it a shot.”

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-adam-oates-responds-critics/

Mueller has solid scoring chops and is a shot machine. He’s big and, if I recall correctly, he has decent speed.

Jaxon

Ca$h-McMoney!,

Good points again. I may come around to your way of thinking. Hopefully, he’ll come home for a discount and a good situation with a starter that isn’t all that proven in Talbot and they’ve had very similar careers. Johnson and Talbot have played together for 3 seasons already (not sure if that helps or hinders negotiations). Fingers crossed.

As far as overpayments, I hope they can unload Korpikoski this summer and as much as I love Hendricks and am okay with Letestu I hope they can unload them soon too. 6.15M for your 4th line is crazy. There is $3M in savings to be had there with Khaira/Slepyshev in for Hendricks, Yakimov/Lander in for Letestu, and Pakarinen/Platzer in for Korpikoski or some other version of that.

Ca$h-McMoney!

Jaxon:
Ca$h-McMoney!,

You’re may be right. I’m erring on the high side of caution (in both price and term) and hope they can sign their FAs cheaper. If Talbot is your number one I don’t see the harm in signing a quality backup for longer term, especially if the price is right. At what price would you sign Johnson for a longer term?

There are no guarantees that Broissot becomes anything more than a decent AHL goalie. If Brossoit doesn’t turn out, then you’re stuck searching for a quality backup that can push for more starts again. Johnson’s numbers are as good as almost any other available goalie out there. Hell, it might be wise to sign him for 4 or more years. If he is playing solid and challenging Talbot in Talbot’s final year, it bodes well for negotiations if the Oilers have some insurance for the next season in a veteran goalie. Johnson may not have the starting goalie position in Buffalo next season, but he has played 44 games with a .919 SV%. That is a pretty good stat line for a starting goalie. Only 10 less games and a higher save percentage than our anointed #1. Talbot 54GP, .917 SV% and we’re paying Talbot $4.16M.

I think half that, at $2.08M, for a backup that can challenge your starter and even take over in the event of an injury or talent implosion as we well know can happen (see Dubnyk, Scrivens, Fasth, Nilsson, etc) would be money well spent. A backup isn’t someone you can really shelter, especially if there is an injury or back to back games so spending money on a backup isn’t quite the same as spending money on 4th liners or 5th-7th D.

Short answer is I wouldn’t. I would sign Johnson to a 2 year deal at most, and then at the end of 2 years I would offer him another deal if Brossoit or some other prospect isn’t ready, or somebody else hasn’t come along.

The fact is that there are always capable backups available every year. In any given year there will be 5 or 6 guys like Johnson, Greiss, Khudobin, Enroth, Neuvirth, etc. that have a history of posting fairly respectable numbers. Heck of that list only Khudobin has had a down year. There are a limited number of elite goalies, but there are lots of decent goalies, and there are a limited number of jobs available. A GM needs to be ruthless in this regard. So if Johnson won’t accept $1.2 million, then Enroth or Greiss, or any other guy with numbers like Johnson probably will.

Look at it this way. No one is offering Johnson a starting job next year. No one. So he’s what many consider to be a career-backup guy, which is fine. But there are only 30 backup jobs available, and there are 3 player types to fill those spots:

1. Aging former starters like Anti Niemi.
2. Career “reliable backups” like Johnson, Enroth, Budaj.
3. Prospects who might become starters like Gibson.

So in order to even get an NHL job Johnson needs to price himself competitively with all the other “career backup” types, but he’s also only got a shot at a job with a team that doesn’t want to put a prospect or a veteran starter in that job, or that has a vacancy to fill. There will virtually always be more bodies than spots in that case, so the price is going to be pushed down, and probably pushed down hard.

In a cap world you need to find savings everywhere you can. Backup goalie is a good place to do that.

John Chambers

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: That’s why I was suggesting Nurse for Hamonic.

This is a good trade in theory because it advances the timeline on our D, trading away Nurse’s potential for Hamonic’s abilities in the here-and-now, BUT ….

In the event of an expansion draft it’s a total asset management nightmare.

Nurse wouldn’t have to be protected in the event of expansion, where as Hamonic will. Along with Sekara, Klefbom, Davidson, and Reinhart we’d have 5 D who would need to be protected.

If we trade one of the aforementioned LHD for Hamonic it’s a 1-1 swap in terms of draft protection eligibility.

As a result Nurse should hold much greater value as a trade asset, or better yet should not be considered a trade asset at all.

Cassandra

McSorley33:
Caramel Batman,

I assume you did not watch our head coaches press conference?

Or you did not understand what he was saying?

People who are inside situations often have difficulty understanding what is actually happening.

Or.

McClellen is a moron.

Now I lean towards option #1, but either way you shouldn’t take his opinion as fact. It is evidence of what he thinks, it is not evidence of what is.

PaperDesigner

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: That’s why I was suggesting Nurse for Hamonic.

That’s what I have been thinking. Nurse, best case scenario, turns into a left shot Hamonic. I would rather, for this team, have the immediate upgrade on the right side of their D.

blackadder

The Oilers without the injuries were not a playoff team, with the injuries they became an awful team. If you’re answer to another failed season is to trade half your most talented players (the “rotten core”) than you’ve got the wrong question. Because a good player is stuck on a bad team it doesn’t mean he’s broken. Mark Messier missed the playoffs his last seven years in the league, was he broken? Or to take it back even further, the Bruins with Johnny Bucyk, Ted Green, Ed Johnton, Don Awrey were last or tied for last 8 seasons in a row – were they broken players when they carried the cup around the ice in 1970 and 72? Was Allan Stanley a broken player after missing the playoffs year after year with the Rangers and Black Hawks when he won 4 cups with the Leafs late in his. career?

You can’t judge a player by the success of the teams they play on. If we did, Billy Carroll would be in the hall of fame.

I’m not opposed to trading anyone, save McDavid, if the trade makes the team better. But to engage in wholesale core gutting to change a nebulous concept like “team culture” will only result in elongating a rebuild that has gone on way too long already.

Alpine

Sekera + for Hamonic and a contract might work. Nikolai Kulemin maybe? Isles shed salary, get a replacement D, Oilers lessen their LHD and get out of a NMC, Sekera gets to ride out his prime on a Cup contender. Seems like a win-win for all involved.

If you can find a way to trade Kulemin or Pouliot + Yak for Vatanen and sign him then get a cheap or short term vet LH, then you’re almost protected against losing Klef and Hamonic if they go down at the same time next season. The latter is guaranteed to happen because Oilers.

Jaxon

John Chambers,

I like that, except it leaves the left side a bit short on experience (and durability) for the next couple seasons with a total of 239 total NHL games between Klefbom, Davidson and Nurse at the moment. Yikes. I think they have to hold onto Sekera until they have 3 proven top 4 LD. Maybe that arrives sooner in one of the former mentioned players or even Paigin, Reinhart or LaLeggia, but I don’t think you can let Sekera go until they prove themselves. Also, Sekera has a NMC that becomes a 15 team modified NMC on July 1st, 2019, so they may be stuck with him until then regardless. Unfortunately, that is a bit late to deal with their cap crunch (summer of 2018). At least Fayne will be off the books in the summer of 2018. That’s why I feel they need to be stocking up with RD prospects as well as Demers, simply for their contract values and a chance at a future stud RD.

blainer

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: That’s why I was suggesting Nurse for Hamonic.

I think that is a fair trade depending how NY views Nurse. They may want a sweetener.