Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wait 'Til Next Year!

As the Oilers and Caps battle it out in The Doughty Bowl tonight, trading goals while Oilers D fall one by one (just turned on CHED and the first thing I hear "Another bad giveaway by Grebeshkov"), my thoughts turn to next year.

What, we don't have our first round pick this year? Wha!?

Oh well.

Interesting listening to MacT's pregame podcast where he confirms a couple of things for us dummies - they're going to play the kids and Dick Tarnstrom is going to be traded. Oh yeah and they're going to play the kids.

Now the Oilers have been hanging around and considering what MacT has had to work with its been a reasonable year. What is also becoming clearer is where things are going, meaning more of the same I would say. Lets take a look shall we?

Goal - Mathieu Garon is going to be given a chance to run with the starting job. If he can prove by this time next year that he can handle it then they will extend him as a starter. And with the Caps just scoring from behind the goalline you can see why Roloson is likely going nowhere, as much as Oiler fans would like Lowe to shed that contract. If this was the last year of his contract then some team would pick him up for insurance, sure, but nobody has the room to suck up 4 million of cap space next year for a backup goalie. I don't think Lowe is going to make any big moves this summer anyways. He has to sign Pitkanen and Gilbert but other then that there are no big raises to hand out. In other words they can eat Roli's contract for one more year. Maybe they waive him and give JDD a chance but he's on the books next year somehow.

D - The last two years have seen the Oilers shake things out and I really think this summer nothing is going on unless they have made decisions on Smid and Grebeshkov. There are no kids coming up from Springfield next fall. It will be the following season where we might see guys like Chorney or Peckham begin to make a push. So out of the nine Dmen who started the season we know that Tarnstrom is gone and Roy, as well as Rourke, are the injury callups. Pitkanen and Gilbert are the top pairing and having two guys under 25 to play that role - that's damn good and Lowe should be commended (although nobody expected this from Gilbert, lets be honest, certainly not this soon). Souray and Staios are the second pair and that's fine now. Greene is being groomed to move up the chart and replace Staios. So, its between Smid and Grebeshkov for that sixth spot and a future with the Oilers between now and April of 2009. Loser is gone and the winner might be too unless one of these two shows some bit of sense sometime soon.

Forwards - Here is where we may see some interesting battles next season. The Oilers presently have a pretty good number one line in Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky with the latter two justthisclose to being PPG producers and Penner exceeding expectations and looking really good. Then you have your old pros in Moreau and Pisani flanking Cogliano. Torres is going nowhere, even if they want to move him, until he shows he is recovered from his injury, just as Stoll was going nowhere last summer. As for Stoll, I think he returns. He may be tradebait soon but they have to make sure that they can extend Horcoff and that Cogliano and Gagner can play before they move one of their two guys who can play centre in the NHL (no offence to Marty Reasoner).

So as mentioned in my last post the Oilers need someone else to play in the top nine and here is where it gets interesting. Will it be Nilsson? Will it be Gagner? Will it be Rob Schremp, who I think has earned his shot for next season? Or will they go with the Anaheim model from a couple of years back, having two lines to grind it out, one big line and then a line with a couple of kids (a la Getzlaf and Perry) and a vet who get soft minutes and learn the ropes. It looks like Pouliot and Jacques have played themselves out of the organization. My guess is that Nilsson is running out of time.

I'm also thinking its going to be another long year next.


Andy Grabia said...

He actually said they were going to trade Tarnstrom? What a terrible idea.

And we do have Anaheim's 1st round puck, just to clarify.

Black Dog said...

Pretty well. Listen to it, its interesting stuff. He says that Tarnstrom and Sanderson are here to fill in when they can while the kids play. Tarnstrom is nice to have but he basically says he's there to fill in when he can. Then he talks about Sanderson being accepting of that role while Tarnstrom is itching to play more. He compliments Dick - says he's a great guy etc. but makes it pretty clear that he doesn't want to be in the PB and they'll try to move him.

We have Anaheim's pick? REALLY? I never knew that.

Pat H said...

//We have Anaheim's pick? REALLY? I never knew that.//

I suspect that was sarcasm directed in AG's direction?

Anyhow, your take on Roloson is sobering. I think you're right, and Roloson stays. I mean, at this point, I'm honestly not convinced that he'd be of much more benefit than a Cujo, and look at how much Cujo got. And I don't hate Roloson, I just think Lowe overpaid him after what was possibly the best month and half of hockey of Rolly's career.

That said, his salary goes down to 3.0 next year, so maybe that's a little more palatable to some teams? I'd like to hope it is, at least.

Black Dog said...

Either way its a no go Pat - 3.0 for actual cash or 3.9 for the cap hit - I don't think there's a sucker out there for that unless someone is desperate to hit the cap floor and even then you can pay a guy 4 for a year who can probably help you win more games - like the Isles did last summer.

Its not even like the Avs taking a shot on Theodore - Roli had some good years but we're not talking a guy with a bright future here who might rebound.

The only good thing about it is that the contract isn't really hurting the Oilers - it expires just when they will need the money.

Pat H said...

Yes, realistically I believe you're right on the Roloson thing, I was just trying to retain the smallest sliver of optimism regarding the possibility of a trade.

While I also agree that the contract doesn't hurt in the long term, I am nonetheless concerned with the kind of financial shape we're in for the coming year (and even a bit further in the future). Lowetide's post from a few days ago really brings that issue to the forefront.

And for such an expensive team, we don't look like an expensive team, if that make sense.

Mr DeBakey said...

“Dick Tarnstrom is going to be traded”

The Journal story on this topic this morning gave the impression that Tarnstrom is very valuable as depth. So obviously you’re wrong.
[To be fair to the Journal, their story was written after Pitkanen hurt himself again]

I didn’t have a chance to comment on Lowetide’s “Woe is ’09” thread earlier this week.
Things don’t look too pretty on a
Going Forward Basis

Going nowhere more like

16 guys under contract for $37.4 mm
9 Forwards, 5 Deemen, 2 Keepers

The only things missing are a Second Line, a top Defense Pair and two forwards for the press box.

OK, the last two are easy – Reasoner at $750,000 and one other [Stortini] for a total of $1.25mm
Now we’re at 18 and $38.6mm

Sign Pitkanen & Gilbert for $ 6.5mm between them – is that doable?
Is doable a word?
The D – Pitkanen, Gilbert, Staios, Souray, Smid, Greene, Roy
Remember Roy is on a one-way next year.
Now we’re at 20 & 45.1mm.

That leaves $8.5mm-ish for the second line
That leaves Stoll, Deslauriers, Nilsson, Grebeshkov, Thoreson, Jacques, Pouliot unsigned.

Now, at least one of Gagner, Pisani, Torres, and Cogliano should be able to contribute on line two.
So we fill the bottom six with another $750,000 or so guy.

2 guys needed, just under $8mm burning a hole in our jeans

You were right – Easy Peasy

Black Dog said...

Doable is doable. ;)

hey if it were up to me Dick would be playing alongside Greene on the third pair but with the bug guy nearly back that puts Dick back to # 7 and then # 8 when Joni returns.

He's a goner - they'll get a midround pick for him I would say.

I'm not too worried about next year cap wise. Stoll isn't going to get that big a raise and I think your third man on the second line will be either Nilsson or Schremp. Cheap. I do think Gilbert and Pitkanen come in higher then what you are proposing Mr. D. I would think that is reasonable but every contract guess I have made since the lockout has been low - I'm betting 7 + for the two of them.
Unless they can package up some of these kids for an impact alternative for the second line (but we've been waiting for this for a while) I think this is where we will be.

I think next year they get that final handle on what they have. Then they clear out some kids and likely a few vets (Staios, Stoll, Torres?) and make a move or two to try and get back to contender status.