A year ago, I felt adding McDavid guaranteed a major turn north. I didn’t write it, or say it, but I believed it. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how on earth can you screw that up? Well, losing your good young defensemen, overplaying your other young defenseman, a wobbly goalie start and various other maladies and that’s all she wrote.
So. We are all another year older. If I say ‘the Oilers are going to turn north in 2016-17 as along as they can add one substantial defenseman (the blue stays somewhat healthy) and McDavid plays 82’ can you get behind that? God. Or maybe we go opposite George. ‘Hi I’m George, I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.’
Among the most frustrating things about cheering for a losing team is that you simply can’t project success—because the team doesn’t follow established wisdom in team building. It’s incredible. Fix one area, another tire goes flat. Balance, baby. It looks easy when you have it.
Peter Chiarelli’s task is to get Edmonton back to do (do-re-mi) in terms of quality and depth. Here is the opening night lineup in 2005 fall (C-L-R):
- L1: Horcoff-Smyth-Dvorak
- L2: Peca-Torres-Hemsky
- L3: Stoll-Moreau-Pisani
- L4: Reasoner-Harvey-Laraque
- D1: Pronger-Staios
- D2: Ulanov-Smith
- D3: Cross-Bergeron
Music! Logic and reason, explainable decisions, players with two-way skills, veterans and brilliance and the simple play. Discipline, defensive acumen, deft passes and a mean streak. Decent top pairing. Lordy. And you know what the damnable thing is? The damnable thing is this team is close—the play here is subtle brush strokes on canvas. The rumble feels like there will be a spray gun applied to summer.
Pierre-Luc Dubois would be my choice at No. 4, but reading the tea leaves one suspects Matt Tkachuk is the answer. Trading down is an option mentioned as well by Peter Chiarelli so that is a possibility. One thing I do hope: The GM is at least partially running the counter trey through Oilers media. Coy hasn’t been in vogue for most of this century in Edmonton, but it does have its uses. What if he is implying Tkachuk while laying the groundwork for a trade to No. 8, drafting Sergachev or Brown, and adding another piece? I think that would be a fine idea.
- Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green: “We’re really excited because we have a lot of picks. The timing of that couldn’t be better. Every time we look at our lists and talk about players we see that. We get into the third round and beyond and we’re still going to be taking guys that have a great opportunity so it is exciting.” Source
That was last year, before the 2015 draft. One area Oilers fans should be happy is the draft last summer—although the team has not signed Ethan Bear after it sounded imminent. Still, if you look at the draft picks from 2015 all arrows are rock solid save the goalie taken in the 200s and who knows maybe he is good, too.
David Staples had an article quoting John Shannon in regard to Tyler Bozak as a possible acquisition. Idea being don’t trade for losers. I believe hockey people do in fact think that way, and that Shannon’s comments are a fair representation of prevailing wisdom. People are always talking about moneyball opportunities, that (to me) is one. Tyler Bozak is a perfectly good (overpaid) NHL center, if you could get him for nothing (salary retained?) then for me that is a move that might make your team better.
- Mark Scheig, The Hockey Writers: Erie Otters defenseman Jordan Sambrook had 12 interviews at the Combine. For someone projected as a fifth-round pick, that’s pretty good interest. One interview in particular went very well. The team? The Edmonton Oilers. They of course need defenseman. Sambrook has the tools to develop into a solid defenseman. Don’t be surprised if the Oilers consider taking him with one of their two fifth-round picks, if he’s still on the board. Source
I have Sambrook at No. 105, so using a fifth-round selection him would represent good value. A nice prospect. Righty. Erie Otters but this was his first OHL season.
Last summer, when Peter Chiarelli traded for Griffin Reinhart, he added another prospect to a crowded field. I think he will cull the herd this summer, but remain uncertain about who should be moved out. GR has less trade value than a year ago, Brandon Davidson more but why on earth would you trade that contract? That area of the roster will be very interesting to me this summer. Smart GMs fix issues like this quickly, Peter Chiarelli has about 12 LHD and two righties. Needs fixing.
WHITEY AND EARL
Lots of talk about Chiarelli possibly doing this or that, or roster construction going the wrong way. The NHL is a copycat league, not surprising fans believe chasing the latest trend is a good idea (Note: Three dangerous lines, as Pittsburgh has now, IS a good idea).
Whitey Herzog, who won with jackrabbits and junk pitchers, and Earl Weaver, who won with OBP and three-run blasts, taught me a lot about sports. One of the lessons: There is more than one way to win.
Take Milan Lucic. I think Peter Chiarelli is going to offer him a lot of money. I do not think that is a necessary move. That said, it is also not a move that cuts off all hope of success.
The danger is in trading Taylor Hall. Getting full value for him would be very difficult, partly because of what John Shannon talked about above. Hall’s resume is outstanding, but he has never played in an NHL playoff game. Despite the Memorial Cups and the other successes, NHL playoffs are a different level according to the large foreheads that represent NHL wisdom. It is a dangerous and fantastic month to come, I am reminded of my youth when the next great album release was on the way. Sometimes it would be Physical Graffiti (incredible!) and sometimes it would be Presence (NOT incredible!). Pray for Kashmir.
MCKENZIE HIT ON TSN 1260
Summary here, lots of interesting items including Tyson Barrie to the Oilers, and a Kevin Shattenkirk item, too. I might wheel back to this later today. Fascinating.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Tuesday, June 6th 1944.
Canadian forces storm Juno beach, and are the first to take their objectives on D-Day. pic.twitter.com/vESGB7OQkQ
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 6, 2016
Ingrid Berman💗 pic.twitter.com/KRd1SBiq1k
— CRYBABY WALKER⛄ (@Maria_Costello9) June 5, 2016
We are back! I will be on the roundtable this morning with Dusty and Wil, plus host the Dave Jamieson Show. The holiday was fun, but I am looking forward to getting back to it. TSN1260, Lowdown starts at 10, scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. SC Finals turn on G4, that is tonight!
- Andrew Bucholtz, 55-Yard Line. CFL pre-season only days away!
- Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue/The SuperFan. Expansion, trading Hall and the month to come.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!