Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wait Until Next Year!

I like this picture of Horcoff a lot.
Sitting here drinking some good beer, watching a little HNIC. Listening to Bob Cole saying Oduya over and over again. Sounds like he's saying "I'll do ya". Creepy shit.
And by the way, its snowing. SNOW in Toronto.
Mirtle has a good post looking at man games lost to injury. He doesn't include guys like Mathieu Roy, only players he calls "core guys". He also breaks it down further by weighing the contributions of those hurt - so for example the loss of Joe Sakic carries more weight then that of Raffi Torres.
Its a neat exercise. Interesting to note how some teams, Colorado, Boston and San Jose notably, are in playoff spots despite injury problems. Chicago and Washington likely could point to their injury issues as a legitimate beef if they fall short of the playoffs. Both teams have been hit hard. Meanwhile the Leafs, who popular wisdom says have fallen on hard times because of injury problems, actually did pretty well by either of James' metrics.
I really can barely fathom how much I am enjoying the embarassment the Leafs are experiencing. My hatred for them is becoming almost pathological. A few months ago Shoalts had a nice article on the Leafs and the Habs and how a few years back they were basically in the same position. The Habs hired Gainey while the Leafs hired Ferguson. Now the Habs are in first place in the East, loaded with young cheap talent while the Leafs are hobbled by huge longterm contracts to ridiculous veterans, looking at their third straight year out of the playoffs.
Whenever I am sad about the Oilers I just think about the Leafs and I feel much better. Not boner better but better.
On both of Mirtle's lists the Oilers are near the top and one wonders - is Lowe right when he blames injuries for this season's failure? I really have so little faith in the guy now I really can give him very little credit for anything. Story in the Journal today which finally clears up what happened with Hejda, who just happens to be the top Dman on the BJs, all for less then a fifth of what Souray makes. Apparently Hejda wanted to come back to Edmonton and the Oilers wanted him. And they could have had him for a year at just over a million bucks. The perfect contract. A veteran for one year at reasonable cost. Same type of contract Sykora and Tjarnqvist had. And Lowe dropped the ball. Asked him to wait a couple of weeks while he sorted shit out. And Howson swept in.
Fuck me. Lowe is a dummy.
Anyways, Lowe has said all along that he likes this team and that they have been done in by injuries. Nine points out right now. I wonder if his point is valid. No Pisani in the first half. No Torres for the second. Horcoff out for a month now. Pitkanen in and out of the lineup. Souray and Moreau basically out for the year. Are all of those games lost worth three more wins? That would put them three points out of the playoffs and in tenth. Four wins would mean a point out and a game in hand. Of course investing money in a guy like Souray who has a long history injury means Lowe has nobody but himself to blame in at least one case.
Anyhow, next year. Considering that Lowe "likes" this team, the fact that pretty well everyone is under contract or should be signed relatively easily and that it looks like there will be very little bubbling up from Springfield, what can we expect?
1/ With three fair size contracts - Souray, Penner and Hemsky, three guys who might garner big raises in 2009 - Horcoff, Garon and Pitkanen, and the core young guys all needing to get paid in a few years, I don't see the Oilers dipping into the UFA pool for a big name or making a move like the one Dallas did for Richards. Unless they can move Penner or Souray, as well as Stoll and Torres, there is only so much money to go around. So no big splash this summer.
2/ Extend Horcoff this summer. He is the Oilers' best player. Locking him up would send the proper message to the fans and his teammates. Plus did I mention he's their best player? Having him, Gagner and Cogliano up the middle for the next few years looks pretty good to me. If Nash proves to be a player and also makes a career as a centre Horc can move to the wing. If he drops on the depth chart he can play the role of a shutdown guy who can generate offence. It has become apparent that Stoll is not an option. Based on MacT's relationship with Horcoff I would say that this deal gets done before next season starts. It has to.
3/ Sign Gilbert longterm. He has struggled a little lately, sure, but a guy who has kept afloat playing top pair as a rookie and who has added offence, mostly at ES, is a guy you have to lock up.
4/ I'd love to see Souray moved but it won't happen. I think next year's D is the same as this year's D. The next two guys coming up are Peckham and Chorney and neither will be ready next season. We'll see the same seven with Roy the first option from Springfield. See how it goes and then move one of Greene, Smid or Grebeshkov if Chorney or Peckham can make the move the next year. Pitkanen is the question mark of course. The enigma. No longterm deal this year I would say, based on what the the organization seems to be saying. And he may be the guy to get moved this summer, as part of a package for someone like Mike C. from L.A.
I'd prefer to keep him but I don't know if we'll see it.
5/ Sign Glencross. A fourth line with him, Brodziak and Stortini I like with Reddox in the mix as well. Some energy and jam and both Glencross and Brodziak can chip in some goals plus Brodziak can play the PK.
6/ I'd prefer a soft minutes line of Gagner, Nilsson and Penner but that means finding someone to play with Horcoff and Hemsky. Not sure if that is Torres. I'm not sure if they can move Raffi this summer. I respect what he brings but I think either he or Moreau is gone unless they stand pat with Pitkanen and in the UFA market. If they do then Raffi gets one last shot on one of the top two lines. Part of me prefers him over Moreau, for the obvious reason that Moreau has basically missed two whole seasons. A healthy Moreau just brings it every night though and Raffi is a passenger on too many nights. When he is making an impact he's a beauty. Paying a guy two and a quarter for such an uneven performance is a waste of money though. Can't see how they move him though, not coming off a knee injury.
7/ Stoll, on the other hand, is a goner. Unless Cogliano or Gagner plays the wing. Its possible but I cannot see how they can keep the guy. I know, I know, I've been saying they cannot move him until they sort Horcoff out but the guy has 2 goals and 8 total points at ES this season. 8 points. That's the same as Zach Stortini. By my count sixteen players on the Oilers have more ES goals then Stoll. For over two million bucks that is nowhere good enough. Trade him for a pick. Package him for someone. Cut him.
I think the timeline for this team is as follows. Next season they want to compete for a playoff spot. With a year under the kids' belts, health and luck, its a possibility. Then the following three years, the last three years of Hemsky, Penner and Souray's contracts, are the years they figure to make their move.
I think this summer Lowe doesn't do much and that this team, yes, this team, is going to look a lot like the team that takes to the ice in September. I think if he gets a guy who can play on the top two lines that we might see Pitkanen moved but otherwise I think the D is as follows:
Pitkanen/Gilbert, Smid/Staios, Souray/Greene Grebeshkov
The way Grebeshkov has developed you might swap him out with Smid. If Pitkanen gets moved then Roy is your seventh or maybe they go out and get a cheap vet. You know, like Jan Hejda.
Up front I think its also going to look the same.
Penner/Horcoff/Hemsky, Torres/Gagner/Nilsson, Moreau/Cogliano/Pisani, Glencross/Brodziak/Stortini, Reasoner, Reddox
I like Marty, think he should be gone, but he's a MacT favourite and a guy who can do a little of everything, include sit in the pressbox without bitching, so my guess he is back. Ideally to me they would pick up someone to play on that second line and they would move Torres or drop him to play with Cogliano and Pisani. That would mean Moreau on the fourth line or gone. Unlikely. A third line of Torres, Cogliano and Pisani would be a beauty I would say.
One last thing, and I know I have gone on forever, but hats off to Fernando Pisani. The guy comes back from a disease that could have ended his life, never mind his career, and he's on pace for just under twenty goals and has done his usual terrific job.
He's something. Here's hoping that under Daryl Katz he will be the first prominent Oiler to play his whole career in Edmonton. Followed by Horcoff and Hemsky. :)
Oh, if you are into pubs, its alive.


Mr DeBakey said...

A gargantuan post

I can't believe more people didn't comment on that Hejda piece yesterday
I thought my head might explode whilst I was reading it.

You're probably right about the D, no big changes. Just 2 things
- KP said something about adding a Dman
- somebody [a commenter on HF Boards?] swears he heard KL say Chorney wouldn't play in the AHL for long.

There were more nice Coach's words re:Grebeshkov in the paper today. Chorney is the same guy. I don't see a line-up with two of them.

Sign Glemcross.
He, Stortini & maybe Pouliot - 3years $2,000,000 total, $666,666.67 per.

Reading the Hockey News this week
I saw the Phoenix RW prospect Enver Lisin was the fastest skater in the 04 draft.
Here's the plan - Trade for Lisin, put him on a line with Cogs & have Glencross babysit them.
Ta-Da, the fastest lne in the NHL.

Black Dog said...

Lots of nice young Dmen on this team.

I'm thinking more and more that Pitkanen is going to get moved. I don't like it but I think its going to happen.

Grebs has been doing the job on the third pair - .5PPG over the last 14 games and a pretty solid plus - he has really eliminated the chaos from his game.

This is another place where the Souray contract burns me. Pitkanen, Smid and Grabs on the left side next year - I would be perfectly happy with that.

If they move Pitkanen or someone else then they might bring in a cheap vet.

KP tends to talk guys up a little - I doubt Chorney is that ready. He's going to need a year I would think.

One other thought - I could see the Oilers making a lateral type move on the farm, moving a guy like Chorney for a winger (is this Lisin any good?) because heaven knows we need some - not much in the pipe.

MikeP said...

I don't like James' methodology for the same reason a lot of other commenters didn't. Saying Sakic will win his team more games than will Torres because he scores more points is (essentially) saying that the only thing that matters in the end is points.

I can accept not taking other attributes into account because it's hard, and this is intended to be rough. But that's not how it was presented, and that's not what was said. I respect Mirtle, but that's a flawed post, and dangerous to boot.

rickibear said...

MikeP: Using Lost Goals as a Marker in a post is so skued. Lord knows goals have nothing to do with winning.

BDHS: Funny when you look at team performance it leads to what you say. Yesterday afternoon I wrote down what I thought was a hold for next Year:


Would like to keep ufa's Glencross and Reasoner but only if they are in the 700K range.

Having read that Parrishes ice time in Minny is reduced a career 17% shooting % guy would be a nice fit for the first line and they need centermen and a PP point shot.

You are correct how do you change the D and look at there TOI.

TOT 24:11 EV 17:52 PP 4:15 SH 2:03
TOT 21:53 EV 17:46 PP 0:11 SH 3:55
TOT 24:20 EV 16:04 PP 4:15 SH 3:59
TOT 22:13 EV 17:28 PP 2:09 SH 2:34
TOT 19:06 EV 15:42 PP 0:22 SH 3:01

There is only 124:00 available D time in a Game including OT AVG.
First 5D total
TOT 112:35 EV 84:52 PP 12:12 SH 15:31

If we bring in a veteran Dman someone gets moved.

Black Dog said...

mikep - sure its flawed, no doubt about it, but its a starting point

You can take it or leave it. I take it but with a grain of salt.

rickibear - that's a reasonable lineup - I think you can slot Glencross on the fourth line and bump everyone up a spot

I read about Parrish - three years left on his contract and injury prone scares me a little - if they can package for someone more durable and younger I'd like it better - failing that a Sykora type on a one year deal is my preference

Andy Grabia said...

Oh, if you are into pubs, its alive.

You mean it's open for business? :)

That Hejda story is mind-blowing. Too many defencemen?

Mr DeBakey said...

is this Lisin any good?

He’s a prospect.
That’s the best I can come up with sitting in my basement, typing with my cheezie-stained fingers.

I’m thinking what the Oilers need in return when trading Stoll/Torres/Schremp/Chorney is next year’s Row-Bear.
A guy who’s basically ready to go - 90% plus.
And is good for the next 250 games:
Lisin from Phoenix
Moulson/Purcell from Los Angelas
Skille from Chicago
Fehr from Washington
And so forth

Mike C from LA is a UFA in a year - not so good.

I think its Hbomb who keeps pimping Jeff Carter from Philly.
That’s interesting because they have Briere & Richards too
It’s a little crowded at Center there.
Of course he’d cost a bit more

Black Dog said...

If they trade for a guy like Mike C. he would have to come with a new contract signed.

Carter is interesting - they have cap issues too.

Based on this past while it looks like the second line may be set and the issue may be a third line centre, if they decide to move Stoll. You have three cheap young guys putting up numbers on your second line - that's pretty good stuff. If they could get a big young centre who can handle his own end of the rink and play him between Pisani and Torres I think you'd have a nice looking lineup.

This is all based on Cogliano/Nilsson/Gagner continuing to trend upwards next season.

namflashback said...

Lisin is PHX's Alexei Mikhnov.

Stoll might be a draft day deal -- as might Pitkanen. That said, as much as it would be nice for the Oilers to get a better 1st round pick this draft -- it is clear they already decided they didn't need a good one.

No, those assets go for actual NHL players -- or near players as Debakey notes. However, assuming that they can ink Pitkanen (short-term), get Stoll for a min QA (short-term) then I'm comfortable that they roll into next season with minimal insertion of new bodies (please). Let Reasoner and Sanderson go.

30 GP -- and if Stoll isn't doing more to get GF at EV, and if Torres is still up to old tricks. Then, if Souray has managed not to get re-injured you could move 14/18-16 and 25 for something big. (plus get back the 10M in cap)

HBomb said...

Yes, Mr. D....I keep pimping Carter. Notched his 7th goal in the last eight games tonight. Big guy who has skill and can play C or RW.

Really, I see this team having a hole SOMEWHERE in the top six, that Horcoff-Hemsky need to play together, and that Torres-Cogliano-Pisani is the ideal 3rd line next year.

Any of Jeff Carter, Erik Cole or Alex Frolov would be wonderful. The thing is, the latter two would likely cost us Pitkanen, something I am loathe to do, and would Philly be interested in Stoll, Staios and Schremp for Carter? That's what I'd ballpark it at.

Moreau vs. Torres is a no-brainer for me. I keep Torres. The blueline is trickier....I'd move Souray first, if you could find a taker. But right now, if you could capitalize on the asset that is Steve Staios, and then turn around and sign a Mike Commodore or, better yet, Jan Hejda....that helps too.

uni said...

I would think a Hejda or Commodore might command 2.5-3 million per year considering how overpaid D tends to be on the FA market. I don't know why Lowe didn't lock Hedja up when he had the chance.

Jeff Carter is definitely a guy we'd want. Like you said, big, skilled, and seems to 'get it'. Philly is hard up against the cap and paying a guy like Carter with Briere and Richards locked up to money contracts already will be very hard.

That said I don't know if Stoll, Staios, and Shremp will do it. I can see Philly getting a better deal elsewhere and one would think many GMs are interested in a potential 1st line centre like Carter.

Also Staios is a guy I wouldn't want to move, simply because once he's gone, who's left at veteran D at his price to lead the younger D by example?

Black Dog said...

Yeah I think Staios is worth it at that contract.

Philly may have to move Carter because of cap reasons alone. Not sure why they signed Briere (I know why of course but still) when they had two young centres - of course neither of them looked great last year.

In any case Philly would be looking for young cheap players if they did move Carter I think.

Apparently Gator will be gone too - part cap space and part decline.

hbomb - if you had Carter in the top six and then Cogs on the third line it would be pretty sweet but I would guess they stand pat on the top six. Hell if they keep Stoll and Torres they'll be standing pat top 9.

The Pitkanen situation will be the big question of the summer.