Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Third Way

With a month to go before the deadline and the Oilers treading water the question has become buy or sell. With Staios' return this is suddenly a far more competitive team and the guess here is the same as its been for a while - this team is going to hang around. There will be no freefall. In other words Lowe is going to have to make a tough decision. Does he tear it down? Or does he go for it?
Knowing Lowe he will not wave the white flag unless this team falls apart. Its possible but unlikely.
But what has been ignored amongst the questions of who would go if they sell (Smyth, Smith, Sykora, Markannen, Tjarnqvist etc) and who would come in if they buy (Stuart, Dvorak, Brewer, Tkachuk etc) is the third possibility.
That Lowe takes stock of his team and does what he does in 2003 - make some moves that may be unpopular but turn out to be alright. Remember the uproar when he moved Niinimaa and Carter? Well Carter has become Brent Ashton, new team every year, and Janne, well, poor Janne is pretty well done. Seems Lowe made the right move moving him while he could despite the unpopularity of it.
Coming the Oilers' way - two years plus of Dvorak and a year and a half of Cory Cross for Carter and Torres and Isbister for Janne.
Not a home run but I think the Carter deal was a win and if you look at how Janne has fallen to pieces you might say the second deal was as well. Isbister was a disaster, one of those guys like Cleary or Kilger who everyone waited on to blossom but he never even made it to that level. But Raffi is a useful player.
I'm thinking we may see more of the same this spring. I think Lowe has identified who he is keeping and who he is willing to move.
Staying for sure: Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Pisani, Moreau, Thoresen, Stortini, Staios, Smid, Roloson
Probably staying: Smyth, Torres, Reasoner, Hejda, Greene
Gone: Winchester, Markannen
Staying or going?: Sykora, Tjarnqvist, Bergeron, Smith
We're not going to see Bergeron and Smith going for a couple of UFAs, like that ridiculous rumour out of Boston but Smith is a definite possibility to move. The reasons - his contract. Whoever picks him up gets him for two years at a reasonable price. And the Janne factor. When Gator declines it could be fast and ugly. I love Smith but can you get on board with him getting four years at big money next summer? He's got a lot of miles on him. I could see him get moved to a team for either a Stuart (UFA who agrees to a contract before the trade) or a younger Dman ready to step into a bigger role. (less likely - would have to be a legitimate contender with a closing window - San Jose? Anaheim? Buffalo? Ottawa?)
We'll see - I can see Lowe making this type of a move, while selling Sykora for a prospect he likes while moving a prospect for a replacement for Sykora. Move another pick or prospect for a depth Dman. Lateral moves. Try and improve. Selling and buying at the same time.


SweatyO said...


Where does Joffrey Lupul fall?

If anyone wanted to, I'd bet a couple bucks the guy is dealt by the Oilers by draft day. Gut feeling, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Two ways to look at regarding moving Smith. On one hand, If you're trying to make that push for the playoffs, subtracting Smith to add someone like Stuart is not likely to be practical to that end. Adding a Stuart (or someone like him) makes more sense if you can add him to a D corps that retains Staois, Smith and Tjarnqvist. Losing Smith doesn't greatly improve the lack of experience on the 4th to 7th defensive spots. Bergeron has 180 games experience and Green, Hejda and Smid have less than a season of experienceeach. I will concede that Hejda's age and previous experience improve his situation somewhat. You would at least need another top 4 D. Something that I think may be tough to do leading up to the trade season.

To me, moving Smith makes more sense if you've given up on making the playoffs and rebuild the defensive corps over this trade season and the off season.


Black Dog said...

Oops - Lupul would be in the staying or going camp, likely going.

Dano - ideally I think they would keep Smith and your last point would be the way to go with Lupul getting moved for a Pitkanen type - then you would have Pitkanen/Smith, Smid/Staios, Hejda/Greene - a definite improvement.

I just have a feeling that Lowe may make this type of move as well as others to try and change this team. I would prefer to keep Smith but considering the contracts Lowe has been handing out I would presume Smith would expect 4 years and he is a guy I would prefer not to give that term.

I don't think they move Smith for a guy like Stuart unless they have Stuart inked to a deal.

namflashback said...

I think Smith stays if there is a shot at a run. If not, you need an experienced vet for the right side (Matvichuk?). Based on the cap situation after signing Smyth, they will need to break in more rookies at forward so will need a far more stable back-end to do so. Platooning Smid/Hejda (Syvret) and Greene/Roy (Gilbert) would certainly help.

Stuart-Smith(or Matvichuk)

Mr DeBakey said...

I’ve though about Smith and skills erosion too, He loses a step and he’s done.
However, trading him now means the Oilers have written off the season.
He’s still the Oil’s best defenceman.

Bergeron is the one who has to go, because
- His 5/6 spot is needed for Smid, Greene, Gilbert, Chorney over the next four years.
- He’s one major gaffe from moving into “Cory Cross” country with the fans

Black Dog said...

Bergeron is going as well I think.

Maybe not yet but by summer's end.

How about this scenario though - a pick, a prospect, whoever, for Matvichuk or that type.

Lupul plus Bergeron or something like that for a Pitkanen type (young Dman but with some experience)

Smith plus ?? Schremp for a Stuart type who then gets signed.

Then you have Pitkanen/Stuart, Hejda/Staios, Matvichuk/Greene as your top 6 or put Shaggy with Greene.

Don't get me wrong - I think Smith is great (I think the consensus is that he is a damn good Dman) and I do not want to see him go but if the Oilers can pick up a younger man for him and make another move or two like above then what's not to like? You're younger and more skilled on the backend but you still have some experience.

of course then the question is why not make all of those moves but keep Smith as well, I guess. And that's a valid argument as well.

Mr DeBakey said...

it may have started

1. Markkanen is getting his 2nd start in a row.
2. Today the Oil promoted Dubnyk & Spurgeon from Stockton to WBS

You could say that Spurgeon is a Mikhnov replacement.
But Dubnyk?
There's no word on the WBS site that Deslauriers or Penner is hurt.

Black Dog said...

No kidding, eh?

I think they're going to move Jussi for sure - UFA this summer and two kids on the way. It will leave them vulnerable in net but every team except a handful are, including everyone in their division.

I could see a few teams moving a mid round pick for him - Carolina being a big one. They saw him first hand last year and also used two goalies in the playoffs as we know. Other candidates - Tampa, Atlanta and how about Buffalo? Acquiring Markannen would allow them to move Biron.

Having said all of that if I had my druthers I'd try and convince Jussi to re-up for two more years. Roli is getting overplayed with a proven backup behind him. What happens when he has a raw rookie there?

She said...

Put away the conspiracy theories for now, I heard something about JDD being suspended for shoving a ref.

Hang on to Jussi for a least another year!

Mr DeBakey said...

What fun is that?

Big T said...

Smith signed for another year at $1.98MM or thereabouts should be close to enough for Pitkanen. Perhaps a 3rd round pick??? Short term, this is a sideways move with much impending salary on the way for Pitkanen.

Stuart should be had for Bergeron/Night Train at most and possibly a 2nd rounder. He's completely useless to the B's as they spiral downward since he is an impending UFA. That's my read on the market.

Matvichuk is an interesting 5/6/7 guy but nothing more. He's a good depth man in case of injuries though. A better pick-up might be Sopel as a rental.


Big T said...

I'm wrong on Smith for Pitkanen. Philly is gonna ask for at least a 2nd rounder to go with Smith for Joni.