Archive for the ‘Edmonton Oilers’ Category

State your case: An Oilers Refinery’s Edmonton Oilers

October 22, 2009

In fake alternate universe hockey, you don’t have to deal with messy divorces.
As they trickle in, we’ll post “state your case” arguments for the fake GMs in the League Re-Draft. I’ll also occasionally make awful pun names for the fake teams. You’re welcome.


Previous “State Your Case” Posts


(Make sure to check out An Oilers Refinery, which along with having great Oilers analysis, also has one of the coolest banners of any hockey blog. Ever.)

An Oilers Refinery’s Edmonton Phoilers

Parise-Zajac-Ruutu
Bertuzzi-Horcoff-Kotalik
Moreau-Brind’amour-Chipchura
Reddox-Nichol-Lisin
Gillies

Rivet-Souray
Gilbert-Witt
Eminger-McKee
Delmore
Peckham

DiPietro-Emery

It’s pretty hard if you’re trying to reinvent the wheel and perfecting something that’s already an art was quite a task. Trying to build a better NHL team than NHL GMs can is a lot easier in a video game that it is when you’re up against other inquiring minds and pseudo-GMs in my follow CLS quasi-bloggers. But, nonetheless, one cannot go into a draft without a strategy of their own.

In my draft strategy, it was simple: I would take the best player available with the first pick.

After that, I picked according to ranking of importance.

I tried to take centers who could win faceoffs and defenseman that had great dollar worth, foot speed, and either great passing or great hitting ability. By loading up on these commodities, it was easy to trade from a position of strength to acquire the other things I needed, such as goaltending and wingers.

Also, it was important (in my opinion) to push hard for the players I thought would define the kind of hockey I wanted to see played. This would ensure that a certain leadership core was represented on this team and that a certain team culture could emanate from the players on the team. Exciting but responsible hockey.

For me, it was important to build a team that was not just about scoring goals, or being tough.

I needed a team that was a hybrid, something that could roll four lines and hound the other team.

Faceoffs, hitting and speed are key to this strategy.

I may not score a lot of goals with a team like the one I built, but I will be annoying to play against.

And that, in itself, is a joy of its own.

The Edmonton Oilers scoop up:

July 24, 2009

8. Zach Parise goes to Edmonton. (Thoughts from Strange Deadfellows)

Cap Hit: $3,125,000

Strange Deadfellows double-team the Edmonton Oilers draft

June 26, 2009


My brain is made of mush now, so let’s keep this simple: big thanks to “thickoil” and “raventalon40” for their contributions. They collectively run one of the remaining great blogs in the “oilogosphere” in Strange Deadfellows so make sure to check them out.

First, “thickoil”:

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

After the main 7 go in the draft, the draft opens up more and the Oilers have a bunch of options. The Oilers could draft the best player possible (BPA), which could be someone like Ryan Ellis. Ellis, the 5’10” 170 pound offensive defensemen may not be the most ideal choice for the Oilers. The Oilers currently have an abundance of offensive D-Men in the system (Petry, Chorney, Wild, etc.). Also going against Ellis is his small frame. With Tambellini and Quinn preaching a more physical style of game, Ellis isn’t likely to play that style.

Personally from an Oilers perspective I would like either Scott Glennie or Zach Kassian. Though Kassian is predicted to go in the mid/late teens in most Fantasy Drafts, he is forged from the Milan Lucic mold of player and is easily one of the toughest players in the draft. (Ironically the Oilers gave Boston the draft pick that got them Lucic in the Samsonov-Reasoner deal in 2006). Glennie also is a player in the power forward mold, but isn’t as tough as Kassian but had a larger statistical output. However the concern with Glennie is that he was on a line with Brayden Schenn, and the Oilers are all too familiar picking players with inflated stats due to being linemates of highly dominant players (cough, Pouliot playing with Crosby, cough).

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I think the Oilers will make a move though I don’t think it will involve Heatley. I believe Heatley won’t be moved till July 1st because of his 4 million dollar bonus that the receiving team would have to pay. However I would like the Oilers to possibly make a stab at maybe Jbo’s rights and Florida’s 14th Overall. This would allow us to grab Kassian. Supposedly Florida is asking only for a 1st round pick. If I was Tambo I offer our 10th and a mid-range prospect for Jbo’s rights and the 14th.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Are there any other steals/bargains/etc that stand out?

The Oilers drafting was abysmal in the mid/late 90’s and early 00’s. The Oilers haven’t really had much steals or bargains in the draft. Horcoff was picked 99th overall, which I guess would be probably one of the better bargains in the draft.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

What if we picked Getzlaf, Parise, Richards instead of Pouliot…The 2003 draft was easily one of our worst moments drafting. Of the 30 guys picked in the 1st round, roughly 25 are highly successful.

Also would be the 1995 draft, which was held in Edmonton, we had the 6th overall pick and at the time everyone thought we would grab Shane Doan. Right before the pick was made, the crowd was chanting “Doan, Doan, Doan”. Instead the Oilers picked Steve Kelly who played an amazing 149 games for 21 points.

Some people like to point to the 2002 Draft where the Oilers got Jesse Niinimaki, but in my opinion that was a pretty terrible draft overall.

Soapbox Time:

Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

The future of the Oilers looks good with Tambellini running the show and Quinn and Renney behind the bench. Quinn specifically likes hard-nosed hockey and that should allow the Oilers to get back to that blue-collared style of hockey that I love.

***

Finally, “raventalon40”

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

I’ve been keeping my eyes on about 3 players who are most likely to be available at the 10th position, assuming Tambellini doesn’t move up in the draft. Those 3 players are Scott Glennie, Dmitry Kulikov, and John Moore. I’m a firm believer that you always take the best player available before you address organization need by position.

Though the Oilers have an abundance of offensive defenseman in the minors, my vote would go to Dmitry Kulikov and here’s why: the Russian defenseman has played the North American game, he has the widest range of skills, and is described by many scouts to be the most complete defenseman in the draft. Some even rank him above OHL phenom Ryan Ellis. The best part is, most GMs believe that Kulikov is NHL ready – but whether he’s ready in the way that Drew Doughty was or Oscar Möller is yet to be seen. It wouldn’t matter if Kulikov had to spend a couple years in the AHL to hone his skill.

As for Scott Glennie, he comes out of the WHL which is a familiar league for the Oilers scouts. Some raise concerns on whether his “sidekick” role with regards to Brayden Schenn will have hurt his personal development and I say bollocks to that.

In reverse, I wonder how much of Schenn’s performance is inflated by Glennie’s own contributions? Whatever the case, the Wheat Kings have a tradition of producing players with skill and desire, with the likes of Ryan Stone (a current Oiler), Eric Fehr, and Matt Calvert. Glennie is a true western boy with good hockey sense and an ability to find himself or his linemates in the right position. Schenn or not, Glennie has the smarts and that’s half the battle when it comes to making the NHL.

John Moore hails from the USHL, a league that has produced mixed results for the Oilers in recent drafts, with the likes of Petry and Vandevelde emerging from the league. Vandevelde is beginning to emerge from a development snag in the Oilers system that saw the team split farm teams with the Pittsburgh Penguins; Petry is one of the top prospects in the system. There is not much evidence left to fairly proclaim that the USHL is an inferior league and all indications are that John Moore may or may not outperform current Oilers big D prospect Alex Plante, though Plante’s own development has been delayed by injury. Moore is praised for his skating, composure, and slick passing ability. He could be a future powerplay quarterback.

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I wouldn’t move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley. Ottawa GM Murray has had his hand forced and all indications are that he will have no choice but to accept less than market value for his elite sniper. Landing Heatley will still take more than your average Joe top 6 forward, but I wouldn’t expect the deal to be of the blockbuster proportion that graced the pages of the Tkachuk to Atlanta or Joe Thornton to San Jose deals.

In order to move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley, I would imagine the Oilers would also be getting a significant roster ready player in return, to even out the roster vaccum created by acquiring Heatley.

Overall, it’s simpler to just look elsewhere if Ottawa wants a 1st round pick for Heatley.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Is there any other steals/bargains/etc that stands out?

I would have to say that my favourite Oiler draft memory was when they took Andrew Cogliano as I was hoping all along that the Oilers would take him and it actually happened. I still hold out hope that Cogliano becomes a franchise Oiler.

A close second would be the Sam Gagner draft year. I had him pegged along with Jakub Voracek and felt they were relatively equal and it turned out great that Columbus GM Howson took him first because the former WJC and Russian Super Series star Gagner turned out to be the more NHL ready pick.

A memorable steal that comes to mind is Linus Omark in the 4th round but as it stands right now, he may never suit up in an Oiler uniform, so we’ll wait and see about that.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

I wouldn’t call picking Jani Rita or Alexei Mikhnov blunders as much as I would consider them failures in development, but history has judged them to be almost as bad as Jason Bonsignore or Jesse Niinimaaki. Rita never stood a fair chance against other prospects in the system but he did score a goal in his first NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings.

The biggest question mark that comes to mind is former Oiler defenseman Chris Hajt. The Oilers spent many good seasons developing this player to absolutely no avail. I remember reading countless reports on how good Hajt was and finding out eventually that Hajt was really nothing to write home about.

5. Soapbox Time: Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

Living in Edmonton is great. The winter season is all excitement and hockey. The summer season is beautiful and the river valley is second to none in terms of civic parks. It is more than 10 times larger and more extensive than New York’s Central Park and that’s no small feat.

The franchise has always had a kind of undying loyalty aspect to it. There have been criticisms of the “Boys on the Bus” mentality of the Oilers, but it’s true what they say: an Oiler for life. Doug Weight, Boris Mironov, Jim Dowd, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Gretzky, Igor Ulanov: these and many more former Oilers have been quoted as remembering their Oiler years as their best in the NHL.

And that’s not insignificant, considering a few of these players have done pretty well for themselves elsewhere in the league.

The Oilers have had a rough few seasons with the departure of Pronger, Smyth, and Smith. When Oilers GM Tambellini talks about going back to what defined an Oiler as an Oiler, he talks about that undying loyalty. Oiler hockey is not necessarily what makes the rest of the NHL go around. We’re not about the Pat Lafontaines, or Brett Hulls, or the Pierre Turgeons. Certainly, the Oilers have had their own list of accomplished snipers in Craig Simpson, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson. But the Oilers have always mixed skill with desire, grit, and sacrifice.

Ask Mark Messier. Ask Ken Linseman. Ask Ryan Smyth. Ask Jason Smith.

Desire, grit, and sacrifice. It’s an exciting time to be an Oiler fan.

The Pipeline Show bring us a first with its Edmonton Oilers draft coverage

June 24, 2009

It’s been a long time coming. Despite the fact that we’ve managed to get multiple bloggers for many teams, we’ve never had an Edmonton Oilers contribution. This was shocking to me, as in its prime the Oilers blogosphere provided much of the inspiration for your humble author (and many others) to write silly things about hockey on the Internet.

Well, we finally got an Edmonton blogger in Dean from The Pipeline Show. For Edmonton people out there, they can be found on TEAM 1260 but for most of our readers, you can find their shows at their Web site and blog. They’ve been spotlighting different prospects each week and doing Mock Drafts of their own, so make sure to check their work out.

Thanks a bunch, Dean! Keep up the good hockey fight.

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

At number 10 I expect the following 5 players to be options for the Oilers. Nazem Kadri, John Moore, Scott Glennie, David Rundbland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. I think it’s between Moore, Glennie and Rundbland and in our mock draft at http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com I have them taking Glennie, while my co-host Guy Flaming has them grabbing Moore. Some have Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson falling to 10, if that happens the Oilers will be dancing in the streets, but I don’t see it. Same goes with Dmitry Kulikov.

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

If it was my decision I would deal the 10th overall selection in a package for Heatley. We talked on our show last week about this. Would you deal the pick or Jordan Eberle (last year’s first rounder) in a package for Heatley. I would rather deal the pick because you already know what you are getting from Eberle as far as skill, character and the ability to perform in big games. At #10 who knows it could be Steve Kelly.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Are there any other steals/bargains/etc that stand out?

Getting Andy Moog in the 7th round of the 1980 draft and then selecting Grant Fuhr the next year in the first round gave them maybe the best 1-1A goaltending tandem ever and set them up for the 80’s. Of course getting Messier, Anderson and Kurri in the 3rd or 4th rounds was incredible considering all 3 are in the HHOF. Fernando Pisani was a great bargain in the 8th round of 1996. The Oilers haven’t drafted in the top ten very often but got it right with Ryan Smyth 6th overall in 1994.

In 2006 the team didn’t have a first round pick after trading for Dwayne Roloson and reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. But they grabbed D-Man Jeff Petry who is currently at Michigan State. He was voted Hockey USA’s top player in 2007 while playing in the USHL.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

No contest. Edmonton hosting the draft in 1995. The entire crowd is chanting Shane Doan’s (from nearby Halkirk, Alberta) name. The Oilers instead draft Steve Kelly who went onto play 27 games for the Oilers and score one goal.

Honourable mention to Jesse Niinimaki in 2002, as he wasn’t on any first round list and didn’t suit up once in the regular season for Edmonton.

Soapbox Time: Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

The Oilers want to get bigger and need to make #10 count more than ever. They also need someone from the prospect system to take a giant step forward this year. A player doesn’t have to make the team out of camp but has to have a sky rocket type season. Rob Schremp needs to bounce back from a horrible season, and he and the rest of the AHL team should with Rob Daum behind the bench for a full season.

Twinsies: If the Edmonton Oilers were an NFL team, they would be:

April 2, 2009
=

The Edmonton Oilers are DEAD RINGERS for the San Francisco 49ers. Here’s why:

1. Four championship main dynasty + one championship without their most famous player

Could there by more similar players (in all the ways that matter) than Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky? Throw out Gretzky’s jaw-dropping stats and they are two peas in a pod. Both were such Aryan golden boys that their leagues couldn’t wait to plaster their mugs on the TV. They each have ludicrously hot wives. In general, their lives are so much better than ours. The assholes.

The two teams both dominated the Eighties (winning four titles in a short amount of time) and then won one more title after they reached their peaks.

By this analogy, Mark Messier would have to be Steve Young.

Under the shadow of Montana, Steve Young faced a ton of pressure. So when his 49ers beat the Cowboys and then absolutely pummeled the San Diego Chargers, Young and his teammates actually pantomimed “getting the monkey off his back.” Sure, it was pretty lame, but it said a lot.

Messier saw a similar glory year in which he won a Hart trophy and managed to win a Cup without Gretzky. Of course, Messier-Young isn’t a perfect analogy marriage.

  • For one thing, Young has an enviable bushy mane while Messier suffers from Wade Boggs syndrome.
  • From what we know, Messier is not a Mormon.
  • If you shine a light in Messier’s eyes, he probably won’t get a headache. (Boooo concussion humor)

(We guess that Jerry Rice would match up pretty well with Jari Kurri.)

2. Commerce over cartoons

It’s refreshing to see a sports team that isn’t named after some angry animal. Both the Edmonton Oilers and San Fran 49ers remind you of the cold commerce that allowed their areas to teem with life. When you study the two teams’ logos, it’s almost like taking a trip in a Dolarian back to each region’s past (and they don’t even have to resort to racial slurs!).

3. Innovative offense

Any shmuck with a stick could dream to hit the 100-point plateau in the goal crazed Gretzky era. How many fat, moustachioed NFL head coaches get their (expensive) meal tickets from Bill Walsh‘s West Coast offense? Each dynasty was loaded with absurd offensive talent and prompted runs to their league’s Hall of Fames.

4. Enormous falls from grace

There were some pre-lockout years in which the Edmonton Oilers were looking like they were going the way of the Nordiques. Tough times have hit the Niners recently; you know things are bad when you’ve got the No. 1 pick.

Even the two teams “meh-ish” playoff runs were pretty similar: the Oilers featured Ryan Smyth and (aside from the one Pronger-fueled Cup run) were usually lucky to make the post-season. The Terrell OwensJeff Garcia era for San Fran rarely saw those two jackholes sniffing the second round.

Afternoon Cycle: You are fooorrrrgiiiiiven

March 30, 2009

Note: If you haven’t read Chris Kontos’ Hockey in Japan piece, make sure you do that first. It is absolutely essential reading.

  • There might not be many of you out there with the privilege of seeing much of the NCAA hockey tournament, but it’s been pretty awesome.

Still, deep down, as ESPN U or whatever affiliate covers these games, there’s this other feeling: the strong urge to plead for the NHL’s return to the four-lettered network. Admit it, you thought that as ESPN’s beautiful HD washed over you and creative, interesting camera angles came about.

Now, don’t get us wrong. ESPN left hockey bruised and battered entering the lockout. What’s the best parallel? Should we go to that Rhianna getting roughed up by Chris Brown well again? Or maybe kick it old school with a Bobby Brown-Whitney Houston or really really old school with Ike and Tina Turner?

(It’s amazing how many abusive music industry relationships involve people who either go by only their first name or don’t share a last name. Is the modern era hyphenated last name trend a catalyst for violence? Of course not, but it’s always fun to establish arbitrary reasoning for such things. Violence = not funny; outlandishness = quite funny.)

Either way, it’s obvious that ESPN’s sending subtle little flowers to hockey at work. A hockey highlight prominently displayed in the Sportscenter Top 10? Ohhh you shouldn’t have! Mentioning a hockey player other than Sidney Crosby? Maybe you can change!

Mike Chen, the wily veteran that he is, beat us to the “ESPN should televise NHL games on Thursdays” soap box but it still deserves to be mentioned. Think about it: Thursday is not a designated day for any sport, really. The NHL has three days of the week where the games are bountiful: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Versus covers Tuesday, Hockey Night in Canada owns Saturday … so why not Thursday Night Hockey on ESPN?

They wouldn’t even have to leave Versus, a cable channel we’d compare to an overweight, slightly dopey wife with a heart of gold. Sure, you can’t really brag about her with your office buds at the water cooler. And her production values are pretty terrible. And she never seems to rent the right movies/pick the right games. But she loves you and needs you. That’s got to count for something.

(Ugh, OK, no more bad analogies … until the next bullet point. Ho ho gotcha suckers!)

  • NHL Network was showing Game 7 of the Carolina Hurricanes – Edmonton Oilers SCF, which seemed shockingly old since it was in the pre or early HD era.

Still, it’s stunning just how much energy permeated every cell of that game. Dirty hits were thrown about like 10-cent tacos. Scoring chances abounded. Naturally, there were some GREAT playoff beards.

It really got us pumped for the playoffs. The long grind is almost over, everyone. Are you as excited as we are?

  • Does every NHL season see so many random, out-of-left field surges as this one? At any given time, there seems to be at least one or two RED HOT teams. Right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hot but they have big name stars so that’s not too shocking.

The two biggest surprises are the St. Louis Blues and the Carolina Hurricanes. We might take a deeper look at those two teams if possible. Either way, it seems like an odd trend but maybe we’re just paying closer attention these days.

  • Despite only recording one assist between eight guys on Saturday, the Funkillers managed to pull the tights and put their legs on the ropes to advance on to the fantasy hockey finals. The hero of Sunday was Roberto Luongo whose shutout, literally, was the only way this fictional team could win.

We know you don’t care, but just look at how close this was:

Blogger GM vs. Real-life GM: Northwest division

March 12, 2009

To wrap up our Trade Deadline coverage, we’ll take a look at the big moves (and non-moves) in each division one-by-one. Did our contributors and their respective GMs see eye-to-eye? Would those guest posts provide a better reality than what really came about? Let’s take a look at the Northwest Division.

Real Life: Vancouver Canucks do nothing.

Zanstorm from Nucks Misconduct said:

“Something is going to go down by Wednesday. We officially have too many defencemen. I think Gillis may flog Shane O’Brien, Wellwood, or even Mason Raymond with a pick included to acquire either a top 6 forward or a 3rd line player.”

The ‘Nucks didn’t do anything. It looks like that could have been the right (non)move.

Real Life: Colorado Avalanche trade Jordan Leopold to Calgary Flames for two prospect D and a 2nd round pick in 2009.

Tapeleg from Jerseys and Hockey Love said:

“Ryan Smyth is going nowhere, let’s just get that out of the way. He has a no-trade, and doesn’t seem like he wants to leave. And frankly, I would have a long talk with him about how I felt he was performing and what his position would be if he didn’t have that clause, and try to get a better dollar to performance ratio going from him for next season.

After that, the list is extremely short. Maybe Ruslan Salei, or Jordan Leopold. For these guys, you need back what you are letting go, only a better incarnation, defensemen who can move the puck (the holy grail). Then you start getting into bag of pucks guys (I’m looking at you, Tyler Arnason) or guys no one really wants (Tucker, Hannan). And finally, the youth and picks, and I wouldn’t let those guys go. What are you going to do, dangle a Chris Stewart or a David Jones for a few picks? It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t.”

Tapeleg got Smyth and Leopold right, so that’s an emphatic Correct.

Real Life: Minnesota does nothing

Wild View from Section 216 said:

“The problem is Gaborik has no trade value right now. I’ve got to let him come back from his injury this season and hope that I can sign him to a one-year deal, then get something for him next year. The move I make is with Backstrom. I have an anemic offense and I’ve got to get some scoring.

I make a move on Backstrom because I have a good goalie in Josh Harding waiting for his chance and a defensive coach (understatement of the year). I also know there are teams looking to shore up their goaltending heading into the playoffs, and if I can get someone with slightly above-average scoring prowess, and if Gaborik comes back with some fire, suddenly I’ve got more offense to make this playoff push.

And that will make Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, and Owen Nolan better instead of relying on them for all my scoring. And instead of making the playoffs as the 8th seed and losing to Detroit in the 1st round, maybe there’s a bit of run in this team after all.

Unfortunately, I’m not real Wild GM, and none of this will happen.”

Some bold stuff from Wild View. Both right and wrong (with the qualifying last sentence).

Real Life: Calgary Flames become the biggest factor in the trade deadline, acquiring Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold for 1st and 2nd round draft picks with prospects plus Matthew Lombardi.
Kent from Five Hole Fanatics pleaded for the Flames to move Todd Bertuzzi, but also:

“In addition, I would make a play for Jordan Leopold. The former Flame was slowed by injuries in Colorado, but was probably the best ever partner for shut-down man Robyn Regehr here in Calgary.

The Avs are out of the running and Leopold is under the radar thanks to his poor luck during his time there. He could probably be had for a prospect/pick and would instantly step into the divide left by the down-for-the-count Mark Giordano. Then, you can try to re-sign Leopold to take over for the departing Adrian Aucoin, who is UFA in July.”

Well done, Kent.

Real Life: Edmonton acquires Ales Kotalik, Patrick O’Sullivan and a second round pick for Erik Cole, a second round pick and a fifth round pick.

Wasn’t able to get an Oilers blogger, but Edmonton did a great job during the deadline.

If you were the GM (Northwest division)

March 4, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Psh.)

Vancouver
Zanstorm from Nucks Misconduct
(March 1)

Given the failure of Kyle Wellwood to emerge as a top 6 forward and now a 3rd line center, I’m thinking he’s either going to get traded or waived. In that case, a 3rd line center needs to be acquired. I don’t know about a certain center that is available that we should go after to fill that role.

Has Mark Recchi ever played center? He is the one guy that I would love to see in the 3rd line role and maybe even on one of the 2 power play units. He’d fit in well with the Sedins there.

And speaking of the Sedins, I don’t know how long Alex Burrows will be given a shot on the top line with them.

Personally, I’d rather see Burrows back on the 3rd line. Maybe Recchi could fill in a permanent spot with the Twins 5-on-5 and on the power play. He has a great presence around the net. (And he is a BC boy after all!)

Something is going to go down by Wednesday. We officially have too many defencemen. I think Gillis may flog Shane O’Brien, Wellwood, or even Mason Raymond with a pick included to acquire either a top 6 forward or a 3rd line player.

Some people say we need a puck-moving defenceman. I disagree. I think Bieksa, Ohlund, Salo and Edler fill that role already.

Is Gillis going to go big on a name like Keith Tkachuk? I really don’t know. He has mentioned that Mats Sundin was his big catch and that he doesn’t want to disrupt the team’s chemistry at the deadline. So that’s why I’m thinking a Recchi-type will be acquired. He’s a leader, a winner, and he won’t cost us too much, as we don’t have too much to offer.

Just my 2 cents.

Yankee Canuck from Nucks Misconduct
(March 1)

It feels like each NHL deadline brings with it the media suggesting everyone in the damn league, playoff bound or not, needs a “puck moving defensemen”. I say screw that; even though Vancouver is tied to Bouwmeester in recent rumors, their defense is more or less fine as is
and they don’t need top tier talent who they’d most certainly have to cough up a first round pick (which, if you’ve seen their farm system lately, you’d know damn well they need). In anything, with Vaananen now on board it suggests a D-man like Salo or O’Brien could be on the
move (or Ohlund assuming he’d waive his NTC).

Also with Vigneault’s man-child Rypien appearing near a return, a bottom six winger could be on the move too. And honestly that’s where Vancouver needs the most help: reinforcements on the wings, preferably a known scorer, a veteran or someone that inspires a bit more offensive confidence than the likes of Pyatt, Bernier or wherever the hell Wellwood is these days. Right now the Canucks are playing well enough to promote Kesler and Burrows, but if those two slow down or need to return to the third line in more of a shutdown mode, what their top six becomes gets mighty depressing without some deadline help.

If Mike Gillis can swing for a winger or two in exchange for a mid round pick, some of the aforementioned dead weight or a prospect not named Hodgson, Schneider or Grabner I’d call the deadline a win.

Chris Kontos:Tkachuk and Wellwood on the same team would be an amazing pairing… those guys should totally room together on the road. The room service bill would totally cut into the salary cap. I don’t think Tkachuk is going anywhere, but picking up Recchi would be a perfect fit and help continue Recchi’s quest to play for every NHL team.

James O’Brien: Some teams have a grind-it-out fate. The Vancouver Canucks seem to be one of those teams. Their lineup seems pretty solid, if unspectacular. Cannot offer much more than a “shrug” on the Canucks.

***

Colorado Avalanche

Mile High Hockey
(March 1)

Mired in last place and playing awful, awful hockey, the Colorado Avalanche are going to be sellers at the deadline. However, most of their bigger assets – guys like Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk – have no-trade clauses and a serious case of…well, whatever the opposite of wanderlust
is. In other words, they ain’t moving. How active the Avs are at the deadline will depend on Francois Giguere’s ability to convince someone that our useless dreck – guys like Darcy Tucker and Tyler Arnason – are the perfect pieces for a Stanley Cup run.

The Avalanche really need a goalie – hey, that “Lalongo” guy Don Cherry keeps raving about isn’t available, is he? Yeah, didn’t thinks so. In light of that, I will use the GM power vested in me to swing the following trade with the Boston Bruins: Ian Laperriere and Jordan Leopold for Manny Fernandez. All three players are unrestricted free agents this summer and have been mentioned in trade talks. The Bruins would get a puck moving defensemen they reportedly are coveting as well as terrific do-whatever-it-takes-to-win forward to improve the team both on the ice and in the locker room. Both players would help any team in the playoffs, and the B’s seem to be as good a fit as any. The Avalanche get that number one goalie they so desperately need. At 33, he’s no spring chicken, but beggars can’t be choosers. Oh, and my GM magic wand will force Fernandez to agree to an extension before the trigger is pulled on the deal.

That’s my GM for a day trade. It kills me to trade “Lappy” and the fans are going to hate me for letting him go, but contract talks have broken down and I need to be able to get something for him. Plus, he’ll get a chance to do a reverse Bourque, moving from Colorado to Boston to win a
Cup. Leopold is walking this summer no matter what, so his inclusion in a deal is a no-brainer. And Manny? I know about the knee and the age. I don’t care – he’ll be the best goalie we’ve had since the retirement of St Patrick.
Tapeleg from Jerseys and Hockey Love
(2/28)

It’s a strange position for the Colorado Avalanche, since this is the first time as a franchise that they have been sellers. But the question is, do they have anything to sell anyone wants?

When the biggest name on the list is Ian Laperriere, you know you have a problem. Lappy has been the heart and soul of the franchise for the last year, ever since Joe Sakic got hurt (aka: Super Joe vs Super Snow). He becomes a UFA at the end of the season, but if you could resign him, maybe trade him away and convince him to come back so you pick up a draft pick, then I would consider it.

Ryan Smyth is going nowhere, let’s just get that out of the way. He has a no-trade, and doesn’t seem like he wants to leave. And frankly, I would have a long talk with him about how I felt he was performing and what his position would be if he didn’t have that clause, and try to get a better dollar to performance ratio going from him for next season.

After that, the list is extremely short. Maybe Ruslan Salei, or Jordan Leopold. For these guys, you need back what you are letting go, only a better incarnation, defensemen who can move the puck (the holy grail). Then you start getting into bag of pucks guys (I’m looking at you, Tyler Arnason) or guys no one really wants (Tucker, Hannan). And finally, the youth and picks, and I wouldn’t let those guys go. What are you going to do, dangle a Chris Stewart or a David Jones for a few picks? It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t.

If I were making a long story short, you have to have a dance partner for a trade, and looking at this list, there would be very few dance partners out there. Hell, there may be very few dancers at all. The phone in GM Francois Gigurere’s office must have squeeze marks embedded in it, or have been thrown against the wall. Even being sellers, I think the Avs team we see now will be the same team we see for the last game of the season.

Chris Kontos:As a Kings fan, never in my wildest imagination did I think I’d see the day when the hated AV’s would be in last place. It’s been a long time coming for this team and only Joe Sakic can remember what it felt like to be a Quebec Nordique. This team needs a goalie. And Manny would be a great fit, but if I’m Boston, I’m not letting him go. If the Av’s are selling, a goalie, especially a young one must be coming the other way.

James O’Brien: While I agree that the Avalanche are quite poor in net, at least they are employing poor men in net. Their goaltending spending is quite Detroit Red Wings like – which is about the only similarity any longer between those two diverging rivals.

To me, the Avalanche employ quite a few middle-of-the-road defensemen for $3 million a pop. Ugh, this team is built on a Jenga-like foundation. To extend the childhood toy analogy, this team just needs to shake that etch-a-sketch and start all over with Paul Stastny and … I’m sure there’s SOMEONE else worth keeping on that roster. Right? Maybe?

***

Minnesota Wild

Wild View from Section 216
(2/27)

If I’m Wild GM in a world where the fans are about to revolt if my team doesn’t make the playoffs, I’m a lot more bold than real Wild GM Doug Reisbrogh (who lives in some kind of fantasy world where he thinks he is untouchable). I have two big decisions to make…what to do with UFAs F Marian Gaborik and G Niklas Backstrom. Gaborik has been injured for long periods of time in each of his nine seasons except one, and he has shown me no desire to stay in Minnesota long term. Backstrom is a goalie that emerged out of nowhere to be one of the top goalies in the league.

The problem is Gaborik has no trade value right now. I’ve got to let him come back from his injury this season and hope that I can sign him to a one-year deal, then get something for him next year. The move I make is with Backstrom. I have an anemic offense and I’ve got to get some scoring. I make a move on Backstrom because I have a good goalie in Josh Harding waiting for his chance and a defensive coach (understatement of the year). I also know there are teams looking to shore up their goaltending heading into the playoffs, and if I can get someone with slightly above-average scoring prowess, and if Gaborik comes back with some fire, suddenly I’ve got more offense to make this playoff push. And that will make Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, and Owen Nolan better instead of relying on them for all my scoring. And instead of making the playoffs as the 8th seed and losing to Detroit in the 1st round, maybe there’s a bit of run in this team after all.

Unfortunately, I’m not real Wild GM, and none of this will happen.

Elise from18,568 Reasons Why (2/27)

Minnesota fans are used to not expecting much at the trade deadline – the biggest trades have included names like Dominic Moore, Adam Hall, and Chris Simon. But this year there are big decisions that have to be made about important players like Marian Gaborik and Niklas Backstrom and the team’s future as a whole.

There’s uncertainty about whether the team will even make the playoffs this season, leading to questions about whether the Wild should bother trying to get a rental player or should start rebuilding for next year. A lot of this will not even be determined by the trade deadline – the rest of Minnesota’s schedule is tough and 14 of 17 in March are on the road.

The best trade for the Wild would probably be to get rid of a member of the clogged defensive corps (most likely stay-at-home Kim Johnsson or powerplay expert Marc-Andre Bergeron) for some offense. Another option would be to trade Gaborik for anything they could. After the injuries and bad relations between the team and Gaby’s agent, there’s no chance the sniper will be staying with Minnesota long-term.

Backstrom also has the potential to be moved, but his chance of moving is much lower than the others. His contract goes through this season, but there have been talks between the team and Backy (whose agent gets along very well with the Wild.) Any trade the Wild makes, it will be for offense, there’s no doubt about that. This team has too much defense and will never win unless they can score more.

Chris Kontos: With Backstrom getting signed today, Gaborik remains the mystery. As a GM, can you really allow this guy to walk away for nothing. There is no way he is coming back to a Jacques Lemaire coached Wild team (can you believe Gaborik played all these years in that defensive system!) so they should get what they can for a damaged Gaborik. Maybe they could continue their short history of bonehead trades with the Kings (really, Patrick O’Sullivan and a 10th overall pick for Demitra) and give the Kings Gaborik for Kyle Calder.

James O’Brien: It seems like the Wild are going to have to tough it out with Marian Gaborik. I really wonder how Wild fans feel about the guy. He was their best player in their long ago run to the Western Conference Finals, then turned into an even less lucky version of Martin Havlat. Why not just dump him for next to nothing and move on? I know I’d want to get him out of site if I was in that spot.

***

Calgary Flames

March 2

Kent from Five Hole Fanatics

If I was Sutter at the deadline, I’d look for a way to flip ToddBertuzzi for whatever I could get. Bert’s stats look alright (3rd highest scorer on the Flames), but it has almost everything to do with lots of ice time with excellent players, rather than any inherent value he brings. In fact, Bert’s been something of lead weight in the Flames top 6 this year – partially because he makes terrible decisions in his own and neutral zones and partially because Keenan refuses to see Bertuzzi for what he is: a marginal player who’s good at the highlight reel stuff but lousy at everything else.

Bertuzzi has a thoroughly mediocre ESP/60 rate (1.94), that’s good for 7th on the team (behind such guys as David Moss and Curtis Glencross).He also has the second worst corsi rate of any regular skating forward(4.4) ahead of only Dustin Boyd (who is 22 and has spent most of the year on the 4th line). Oh, and Bertuzzi’s quality of teammates as ranked by behindthenet.ca? A 2nd best 0.17 (Conroy is first with 0.18). Bert doesn’t play against the toughest competition either (-0.01). In short, he’s getting mediocre results in very favorable circumstances.

So deal him at the deadline to a contender in the East who wants to upgrade their forward depth. Get some lesser roster player and a draft pick and you win the trade, hands down.

In addition, I would make a play for Jordan Leopold. The former Flame was slowed by injuries in Colorado, but was probably the best ever partner for shut-down man Robyn Regehr here in Calgary.

The Avs are out of the running and Leopold is under the radar thanks to his poor luck during his time there. He could probably be had for a prospect/pick and would instantly step into the divide left by the down-for-the-count Mark Giordano. Then, you can try to re-sign Leopold to take over for the departing Adrian Aucoin, who is UFA in July.

Chris Kontos: Wow! This is the most out there one yet. But trading Bertuzzi kinda makes sense. Too bad that Cammalleri is off to the races next season because he has seemed to be a nice fit in Calgary with Iginla.

James O’Brien: If there was an easy way to quantify hate (Kent would know it), I wonder who would win a Bertuzzi hate-off between Kent and I. We both seem to agree that getting rid of Bertuzzi is addition by subtraction. That’s good enough for me.

EDMONTON: (No guest post … maybe tomorrow)

What happened to …?

February 28, 2009

1. Our sense of shame? That’s right, Cycle like the Sedins is now a-twitter. Yucky.

2. The end of day post? Too busy e-mailing the whole damn hockey blogosphere about our Seriously Going to be Fucking Massive Trade Deadline special.

(By the way, if you write about the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning or any team, really, drop me a line. jamestobrien@hotmail.com)

3. The Oilogosphere depth chart? There’s still some great Edmonton blogs, but man, they’ve been dropping like flies.

4. Guy Ritchie? “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” is playing in the background as I e-mail said blogosphere. OK, so, Madonna’s gym bag coot happened to him. I admit I know the answer to that one.

(No. 5 would be Jason Statham, but every shitty sequel he makes is probably a payday that exceeds my lifetime salary expectation. So we know question who the winner is there.

Trade fakery: putting the Penner to paper

February 6, 2009

With the trade deadline about a month away, the crazies are coming out of the woodwork. Not to be out-crazied for one moment, Cycle like the Sedins will periodically try to dig up completely fictional (and sometimes farcical) trade rumors for giggles.

The sky might begin to fall if any of these come true.

Every now and again in sports, a player signs a contract that dwarfs their actual talent to the point of near-paralysis and franchise malaise. For example, in the NBA, the $100 million contract Juwan Howard signed years ago comes to mind. Howard seemed like a decent human being (and not a bad basketball player) but his albatross contract absolutely became a sad punchline. Allan Houston’s contract with the Knicks is another example: when the NBA allowed buyouts without salary cap penalties some people referred to it as The Allan Houston Rule.

For years, the NHL’s blunt answer to Howard and Houston was Alexei Yashin. His deal saddled the New York Islanders and was perhaps the worst move in an Stoogey Murder’s Row of transcations made by Mike “The Pansifier” Milbury. In fact, that buyout still negatively affects the cap for the floundering franchise in Long Island.

Still, Yashin is gone to bask in his ludicrous riches and supermodel wife. To take his place is power forward in the making turned sour forward Dustin Penner.

Penner took advantage of a Stanley Cup run with the Anaheim Ducks and was offered an excessive offer sheet from Kevin Lowe in Edmonton, a move that would live on in infamy. Signing Penner destroyed Lowe’s friendship with noted scholar and hothead Brian Burke, but worse yet: it’s been pretty much a disaster for the Oilers.

Outspoken Oilers coach Craig MacTavish bashed Penner in November and criticized his play this month as well. It’s been a pretty miserable stay in Edmonton for Penner (who makes $4.25 million per season on average), even though it seems a little unfair. His statistics actually have been pretty much the same as he was as a Duck.

Sometimes, you are what you are. Which pisses off the Oilers to no end.

So, it pretty much goes without saying that the Oilers would like to ship Penner out of town. But the problem has been: who would take him? Perhaps it would be fun to take a look at some deals that while admittedly Bruce Garrioch-like, could probably work in some bizarro world in which Mike Milbury still had a job:

Semi-ludicrous Penner deals that maybe aren’t that crazy after all
Stars trade Sean Avery for Penner (similar cap values … Penner makes about a half million more)

Trading a cancer for a floater; this trade would do what many have before it: reshuffling the chairs on the Titanic. Really, the main thing this would accomplish is to make both teams more interesting in NHL ’10. Plus it would give us something to laugh about.

Penguins trade Ryan Whitney for Penner (nearly identical cap values)
Another laugh riot. From one of the Puck Daddy chats, it sounds like the Penguins aren’t interested in moving Whitney which is marginally surprising. Still, this could work on some level: the Penguins need a big guy to play the Ryan Malone role and the Oilers could need an offensive D since Lubomir Visnovsky might be out for the season.

It scares me that this scenario almost makes sense, even though Penner lacks Malone’s testicular fortitude and Whitney might not have any toes on that injured foot for all we know …

Avalanche trade Ryan Smyth for Penner (Smyth makes about $2 million more per year)

The Avs need to get rid of Smyth’s ugly contract. There probably wouldn’t be too many takers, but the Oilers obviously have some pretty mushy feelings for a certain garbage goal specialist with that throwback mullet. The Avs would shed a few million, get younger and … worse. Quite a bit worse. The Oilers would reclaim their former heart and soul.

Panthers trade Jay Bouwmeester for Penner and draft picks (J-Bo gets about a half million more on this, the last year of his contract)

This is where these faux trade rumors go from highly unlikely/dumb to flat-out cruel. It shouldn’t be funny to imagine the downfall of a franchise, but that would be darkly comical. Going to stop now before the guy from The Litter Box murders me.

Thrashers trade Mathieu Schneider for Penner (Schneider’s expiring deal is $5.75 million, about $1.5 million more than Penner’s average cap hit)

A lot like the Whitney idiot-deal, but probably a) dumber and b) paradoxically, more realistic. Since just about no one wants to play in Atlanta, Penner could wallow in 40-50 point mediocrity with limited abuse. Schneider would fit that offensive D mold as the Oilers shoot for a playoff berth (and then he conveniently comes off the books).

Ugh, I could see that happening. No offense, hopefully, to HOTlanta fans (offense intended only for Don Waddell).

***

Again, keep in mind these trade rumors are willfully unfounded. I shudder to think how close this is to the process a beleaguered hockey beat writer goes through. Hopefully, my blind “throwing at pictures on a dartboard” method is just comic relief.

It’s odd how easy it is to talk yourself into some bad deals, though, isn’t it?