Monday, June 22, 2009

Madness


Its about to begin. The draft. July 1st. Trades.

Two weeks from now the Oilers' course for next season and beyond will be set.

And for a good part of it I'm going to be on the road.

Toronto to Sudbury. Sudbury to Goulais. And then, wait for it, Goulais to Charlottetown.

Road tripping. 3000 kilometres with a five year old, a three year old and the baby, a couple of weeks shy of her first birthday.

The horror.

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The draft is easy enough. Pick the best player available. Now I know little about who is out there. As usual there is a separation. Apparently there are three and then there are six and then there's the rest of the lot. And the Oilers are picking tenth.

I defer to others when it comes to rating players - check out what speeds and ykoil have to say and of course LT has had thoughts on the available kids for quite a while now.

Its been referred to many times in these here parts but if you're interested at all in the whole draft schmaft check out Gare Joyce's Future Greats and Heartbreaks. Besides the inside dope on the draft year when Joyce was embedded with the BJs the thing I found most interesting was his description of the process itself. We have all seen the lists and rankings out there - once again, check out YKOil for a nice snapshot of what's out there. A guy like Kadri in three top tens and then not even top fifteen on the other lists. Pa-Svensson anywhere from fourth to tenth. Ek-Larsson from fourth to thirteenth. And so it goes.

And each club has its own list. The Oilers will get one of the consensus nine, if there is such a thing, even if they stick at tenth. They might be able to move down and get their man. I'd say after the top three and Kane, who seems likely to go fourth, its going to be pretty fluid.

Based on how last year's draft looks so far (and yeah its early of course) I expect the Oilers to do well. For that matter its been a couple of pretty solid looking drafts in the last couple of years.

There might be fireworks but I don't expect much from the Oilers on draft day, to be honest.

Its revamping this three time loser club for next season that is Tambellini's first priority.

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Here's the latest, as per Jim Matheson.

Bad

Bouwmeester is not in play. I don't get this at all. The only argument I have heard against signing Bouwmeester is that the Oilers are stacked on D already.

Except he would be their best defenceman immediately and he is twenty five. With him, Gilbert and Grebeshkov you'd be set on D for years. Just as in the draft you take the BPA so you should now. Not sure if its because he's not as sexy as Heatley or Hossa but Bouwmeester is supposed to be interested in playing in Western Canada and we know Katz won't be outbid. I said it two weeks ago and I haven't changed my mind. They need to be after this guy. If they aren't interested, which seemed to be Matheson's gist, then they aren't too smart. And this whole idea that he may have already given signals that he is not interested in Edmonton? When's the last time an agent narrowed down the field when it came to creating a market for his client?

Good

It doesn't look like Cogliano is in play on the trade market. I hope that this is true. I'm thinking your little speedster scores upwards of twenty five this year. He certainly has more upside then O'Sullivan or Nilsson, I think.

Bad

Gilbert and O'Sullivan for Heatley, for starters. I'm not sure about Heatley still. I'd be a lot more interested if the Oilers didn't have eleven players (Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Moreau, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Souray, Visnovsky, Staios) under contract this season and next for a total cap hit of ~ 42 million dollars. That's a big problem, see?

And moving two young guys who actually might outperform their contracts leaves you a roster spot short and doesn't give you any cap relief.

The Holy Grail. Sigh. Katz wants to make an impression. And hell, we want a playoff club. Right? Its been too long. But a playoff round or two for what?

Moving kids is not good management. And the Oilers already have too many untradeable contracts.

And Matheson himself made the point about the Pronger return. If Tambellini gives up two honest to goodness quality young NHLers for a guy who hasn't the impact of a Pronger (who was on a far better contract) there's going to be some road rage happening, let me tell you. Somewhere around Riviere De Loup.

Good

Roloson is looking for a raise and is likely out the door. I love Roli, I do. If Ladd hadn't of crashed into him back in G1 then his name is probably on the Cup along with Ryan Smyth, Fernando Pisani and Rem Murray ;). But there's a glut of good goaltenders out there. Tambellini can probably get two quality veteran goalies for that four million bucks. And I think he will. Do you see him betting a playoff spot on Deslauriers being able to provide quality backup work? I don't.

So that's what we have for starters.

Its going to get crazy.

Tambellini has to shed some contracts and of course the problem is that so many of these contracts cannot be moved without taking equal money back. Which means that they have to move guys who make money who we don't want to move - guys like the top four defencemen or Hemsky or O'Sullivan.

And a guy like Ales Kotalik, who might be a nice option in your top nine, probably doesn't get much more then a cursory offer because you haven't the room for him.

Add what Lowe left for Tambellini in terms of the cap situation as another part of what is looking more and more like a legacy of failure.

If Tambellini can improve this team and escape this cap bind then you can colour me impressed.

Now excuse me while I go pack. Unfortunately there might not be much room left with my skepticism - it takes up most of the luggage it seems.

NOTE - long overdue, ykoil is now on the blogroll on the right - terrific stuff

34 comments:

Darren said...

I like the way you think. Makes my own thoughts feel sane, as they seem to be eerily similar to yours. Except loving Roloson, I only hoped he did well because he wore the Oil colours.

David S said...

The way I understand it, we need high power scoring way more than we need a better D, which is pretty decent as it stands. So I can see going after a Heatly or a Hossa instead. However, there's going after a guy and there's getting a guy. I wouldn't be surprised to see us come up dry at the well again this summer. I mean, if you were a player of decent repute, would you willingly come here right now?

Black Dog said...

As a player of ill repute I would not, so I can only imagine what my betters are saying.

So they have a new coach(es) and my guess is this will help the special teams.

They need to address goaltending, ideally they would pick up a quality youngster(s) who could run with the job(s) and solve this longterm.

You're right on the D David but they have to go after Bouwmeester, they just do. BPA and if he came then you're set on the back end as well.

Then you surround the young talent up front with some veterans who can take on the heavy lifting, PK, win draws etc.

And shed some salary.

I doubt Bouwmeester comes but they need to try.

As for the bigname forwards, I'd be happy to blow the wad if it doesn't involve certain youngsters and if the cap were going up.

But I'm not on side if it involves either and I'm afraid it will.

Travis Dakin said...

At the end of the day, Gagner and Coglino won't both be here in two years. If they are then we do not get a superstar. No money. After this long, we as Oiler fans deserve a true elite player. Gagner is a franchise player in three years. Why are you so hell bent on keeping a guy like Cogliano and not taking Heatley? He's only 28. That's 5 years of prime left. I love Cogs but he will never be the player Heatley is and he(Cogliano) is still going to require a HUGE cap hit in the near future. I'm all for it if it means getting one of the true elite players in the game. The thing about Heatley I believe, is that he is also exactly what Hemsky needs to jump up into that uper echelon.

As for Boumeester, I totally agree... He should be priority 1 for this team. Above EVERY other issue.

For the rest of the D, I would want to keep the young ones but those old guys (our two best) have those pesky NMC's.

David S said...

Brownlee (I think) figures we can realistically have only one. So the question becomes which of Heatley or Boumeester makes us a better team?

Dennis said...

Pat: I just went through a bunch of your posts to catch up and the thread is long dead but the Geddy Lee post was fucking awesome:)

Travis Dakin said...

Dennis- that was epic

David S- I say Boumeester. As we've seen with the Oilers in '06 and Detroit every year, having a stud on the blue line = magic. Those guys are rare and Boumeester is a once or twice a generation Stud. Having him means being able to trade one of ours and add that 3C and 1LW.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Dennis.

David S - I'd take Bouwmeester ten times out of ten

Travis - fair enough; I just don't love Heatley and it might just be my problem, to be honest

Hard to argue with the numbers he has put up consistently over the last number of years although he has played with a pretty special talent in Spezza and one of the best players in the league in Alfredsson.

I can't put my finger on it. I don't like his noshow in Torino in 2006 or in the SCF against the Ducks. I don't like the fact that he is asking for a trade from his second team.

And I don't like that cap hit.

But there are players you like and players you don't like and its hard to be objective in those cases.

I think though the Oilers could have their cake and eat it too and obtain him without giving up Cogliano or Gilbert. I certainly hope so anyways if it comes to that.

Travis Dakin said...

the way it's sounding... and I'm just paraphrasing some suggestions at Lowetide's but, It really does sound like it wouldn't take as much as I'd originally thought. All the UFA's available and that 4 million bonus... It might just come down to a Pronger trade type return. I want to have faith in Tambellini. It's so hard to start a new relationship after you've been burned.

Brad said...

so I don't know enough about either player but I like Bouwmeester for some reason, and Heatley doesn't do it for me.
As for the young guys we currently have, I thought Cogs had a better year than Gagner, but that's from the guy who would only spring the $50 for the run to 10th instead of the whole $250 for the entire Centre Ice package, so take that for what it's worth.

YKOil said...

Bouwmeester.

Not even a contest.

HBomb said...

You know, the Hossa news today (rumblings that him going back to Detroit isn't a likelihood) got me thinking.

I'm wondering if Lidstrom has quietly told Holland he's going to play out the last year of his deal and then ride off into the Michigan sunset. If that's the case, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the Wings let Hossa walk (they're deep enough at forward), maybe shed another salary somewhere, and make a pitch for Bouwmeester (seems like they have no fear with the long-term style deal it's going to take to land THE prize on this year's UFA market).

One year of Lidstrom tutoring the heir apparent, then when he goes, where does his money go? Well, if Roberto Luongo makes UFA territory next summer, I bet Detroit breaks their rules about giving a goalie big money.

Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Franzen-Bouwmeester-Kronwall-Luongo as the core long-term in the Motor City.

Sound crazy? Of course.

Infeasible? Anything but. It's Detroit. Until proven otherwise, they're smarter than everyone else, and such a turn of events is totally something the Wings could orchestrate.

So yeah - I'm calling it early: Detroit's the not-so-darkhorse in the J-Bo sweeps next Wednesday. Just a hunch.

Marc said...

BD - I posted this on Lowetide a couple days ago, but for what it's worth, I don't think the Oilers are definitely out of the Jay Bo race.

Keep in mind that Jay Bo is still under contract until July 1 so that limits the discussions that they can have with his agent. I think this is setting out the Oilers negotiating position for the agent, who is Edmonton based, so will definitely read the article and know how connected Matheson is. From this I would deduce that Oilers position is:

- they are willing to pay around 6M per for a very long term contract
- they are not going to give Florida a first round pick (and hand negotiating leverage to Jay Bo) by trading for his rights
- they may give up a top four dman for a first line forward, but they aren't going to give up another one to create space for a huge Jay Bo deal
- the 'shut down defenseman' comment suggests that Jay Bo won't get the first PP and top offensive line minutes that he got in Florida - and that they Oilers aren't paying extra for those stats because they think they have better offensive dmen on the team already
- he may be building a home in Edmonton but he'll have to sign at a discount if he wants to live in it
- the fact he's a local kid isn't necessarily an advantage from the Oilers perspective, so again, they won't pay extra
- their top priority is someone for Hemsky's line, not Jay Bo so he can't expect a full court press and lots of love in the weeks leading up to free agency

So Jay Bo and his agent now have an idea where the Oilers are starting from in terms of signing him. They can then decide if they can live with something like that and signal their interest, or decide that they can do better elsewhere and forget about signing with the Oil.

If what I've laid out is in fact the Oilers position, I think it's makes a lot of sense. They do need a topline forward a lot more than they need another dman, especially a very expensive dman. However a long term 6M per deal is something that they might be able to work with.

hunter1909 said...

I see Bouwmeester going to the wings also. Why wouldn't he? Oh yeah, he wants to play in Western Canada? In that case, it's the Canucks, Oilers, or Flames.

With MacTavish down the road, and real NHL coaching in it's place, methinks it's the end of the "no one wants to play for the Oilers" bullshit that the EIG old boys club encouraged.

I see him as an Oiler next year.

Then again, I've convinced myself Tambellini is also getting Hedman, and Heatley also.

And that Staios, Pisani, and Nilsson are all gone by training camp.

The meds must be working really well.

Black Dog said...

Hbomb - I could see it if the cap were going up a bit but Hossa was going to have to take a huge discount to stay and that would have been with them shedding guys like Hudler, Samuelsson and Stuart.

Anything is possible but I don't see it - Ericsson moves into their top four to replace Stuart and then they go from there.

Hunter - still in the afterglow of MacT's firing, I see?

Black Dog said...

Travis - yeah I think Tambellini can make a pretty good deal if he goes after Heatley. I'm interested also to see the market for UFAs - I think some guys are going to be surprised and not in a pleasant way.

Marc - interesting stuff; any offer to Florida would be conditional on his signing though so I don't know if that factors into anyone's thinking

There are a lot of teams in cap trouble and a lot of teams in financial trouble so there may be less of a market then we think

Olivier said...

Honestly guys, you think Bouwmeester can be had for 6 per? I tought Gainey would throw at least 7 a year his way...

Oh, and there was this big interview with Martin in La Presse last week. Lots of uninteresting stuff, but also one interesting thing: Martin doesn't see Gainey go for a veteran backup, and Martin himslef loves the fact that he has Price and Halak. Which makes sense, really: why replace a good, cheap young goaltender with upside with an old, hopefully cheap, somewhat crappy goaltender?

Black Dog said...

Olivier - I think he can be had for thereabouts (or even a little less) if he gets one of those ten year plus deals.

As for Halak I think he's a pipedream although I'd love to have him. Whereas Minnesota has Backstrom who is proven and signed longterm, I can't see the Habs putting all of their eggs in the Price basket after last season.

nice to dream though ;)

HBomb said...

The tea leaves here says that J-Bo gets "90 over 15" (i.e. a six million cap hit) from someone, with the last five years being of the cheap variety.

He's going to get paid, and paid well. And I'd love to see the Oilers as the ones signing his paycheques until 2025 or thereabouts.

hunter1909 said...

Black Dog: It's not just an afterglow. It's so much more.

It's my Oilers fan equivalent of waking up in a penthouse in Trump Tower, with Scarlet Johansson making breakfast.

Still, something tells me the new management is preparing some unforseen blockbuster, even though I personally don't give a fuck what they do. Quinn running the next training camp is already my Christmas and birthday presents combined.

Jon said...

I agree with your sentiment that we should take the best player available...no doubt.


However, there is another maxim/rule of thumb in hockey. The team that get's the best player wins the trade.

I have seen time and time again fans and GM's overvalue kids. Think K.Lowe not trading Rita to move up in 2003 draft.

I still remember the first time this really made sense to me was in 2001.

Keith Tkachuk was traded for three highly touted players and a 1st. At the time, fans and pundits thought this was highway robbery, including me. The players were Nagy, Taffe, and Handzus and a 1st rounder. This would be equivilant to trading eberle, cogs, and Nash and a 2010 1st.

Nagy went on to be an okay 2nd liner (already done his career)

Handzus is a good third liner

the 1st was Ben eager

Taffe was a bust.

There are many cases just like this and my point being...do not overvalue kids.

Here is my logic:

1. We are not getting Jay-bo, I'm guessing he does not want to come here and Tambo is acting like a junior high kid...I dumped her she didn't dump me.

2. We need to shake up the roster.

3. Penner was a cancer and so frustrating to watch him lolligag on the ice.

4. Heatley is a difference maker plain and simple.


I trade Penner, POS, 2010 1st for Heatley

or Penner Gilbert, 2010 1st, 2009 10th overall for

Heatley, 2009 9th overall

We can replace :
penner with Heatley
POS with Kotalik or Antropov

Gilbert with a Zanon or Foster

But you cannot replace an elite lw like Heatley.

I make the trade 10 times out of 10

Black Dog said...

Good points all Jon although I wonder if that old axiom might be replaced by "Whomever clears the most cap space wins the trade" ;)

If they can move Penner as part of the deal then I'm much happier about it, thats for sure.

Its going to be interesting as hell - there are so many big name offensive talents out there and so few clubs with the cap space or cash you'd have to figure the Oilers will come up with someone.

I mean they have to, right?

Travis Dakin said...

I remember where I was when I saw on the ticker that the Oilers had picked up Pronger. That was a good day. I really see a day like that happening again very soon. It HAS TO!

Black Dog said...

I remember where I was when I saw on the ticker that the Oilers had picked up Lupul for Pronger.

That was a bad day.

I hope you are right, Travis. I can't drink much more then I do right now to kill the pain. ;)

PDO said...

Don't shoot the messenger.

Tencer is talking about a source telling him of a huge deal that involves Horcoff going to Ottawa and Heatley AND Fisher coming back.

Horcoff would have more added to him (young and cheap, likely....).

That scares the shit out of me.

I don't see how we can get a better #1 C right now, all things, including cap hit, considered even. I think we can improve down the middle by bringing in a checking C like Malholtra.

... but if we get WORSE down the middle?

Lordy we're in trouble.

Travis Dakin said...

PDO: I am a huge supporter of Horcoff. He would definetly be too much to give up. The old "whack a mole" (I love that) theory would again be in play.

Where did Tencer say that?

Blackdog: A VERY bad day. Remember drinking because of joy? How I miss that.

Travis Dakin said...

Although Heatley-Gagner-Hemsky would be great... Horcoff just does ALL of the heavy lifting on this team. He would need to be replaced by Fisher and another player.

PDO said...

Travis:

Long time lurker, new name, or just stumbled upon this corner of the internets?

Tencer said it on his show today.

I'd loathe that trade. I'm huge on Horcoff as well... you just need him, and if you're parting with him, you need someone BETTER coming in. Henrik Sedin is arguably there, but if you're paying him $7,000,000 or Horcoff $5,500,000... meh. Outside of that?

I just don't see how this team can trade Horcoff and be better off.

And I don't think Gagner and Hemsky will ever be a good match on the same line. Their playing style is just too similar, and they can't both lug the puck through the neutral zone.

Black Dog said...

PDO - I don't but it - so Ottawa pays Spezza and Horcoff to play C - who do they fit in on the wings?

Can't see it. Of course when it comes to 10 I have blinders.

Maybe Cogs plays between Heatley and Hemsky?

Fisher to play the toughs?

Travis Dakin said...

PDO: Yeah long time lurker. One of my daily stops and I've made an occasional comment or two, I just usually have nothing worthwhile to say that isn't usually said. HA

PDO said...

BDHS:

I know Ottawa has liked 10 forever, but I don't see it either... seems like insanity, but we'll see, I suppose.

Running any combination of Fisher - Cogliano - Gagner down the middle is pure madness though. I can't think of a single one I like.

Travis:

Welcome aboard. More sanity is always welcome.

Black Dog said...

PDO - Don't let his mildmannered exterior fool you - Travis is a madman and he cannot be trusted.

I like all three of them but I like Gagner with Cogliano on his wing and I like Fisher making half of what he does now and then Horcoff as well.

I could live with that but that is fantasyland.

PDO said...

Manny Maholtra will probably sign for about half of what Fisher is making ;).

Madman eh?

Must be a whiskey drinker.

Travis Dakin said...

HAHA actually I do love me some Jack Daniels.