Tag Archives: 2012 Oilers

Time for the Oil to move


No, not to Houston or Quebec City or Seattle….good one EH?….but rather to start molding their team.  I’ve said this a lot of late but teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago needed to catch breaks during there rebuilds. Pittsburgh’s of course was winning the Crosby lottery as Brian Burke has reminded us of. Chicago people forget had the worst odds in 07 of moving into the number 1 spot and it happened.  BIG difference between Pat Kane and Karl Alzner or Sam Gagner (both fine players, not Pat Kane).

The Oilers winning this year’s lottery wasn’t as long of a shot but it still was long odds.  The problem is that the kid who will go 1st does not in any way fit their needs.

Yakupov is going to be electric.  I’ll say it right now, he will have multiple 50 goal seasons in the NHL.  But he is a 5’10-5’11 winger.  The Oilers have plenty of those guys already (heck, another one of those kids is Tobias Reider, a 5th round pick last year who is leading the OHL playoffs in scoring).  While the defense isn’t anywhere near as bad as a lot of analysts will have you believe, it still has holes.  Another BIG hole the Oil have is down the middle…at least IMO.

Sam Gagner is in no way a fit on this team as I have said numerous times.  They are small down the middle and small in the top 6, Gagner affects both.  He isn’t as big of a talent as some people believe and he is progressing at a snails pace in the face off circle, defensively and strength on the puck.

To play behind RNH the Oilers need a guy that will play a 200 foot game and while he doesn’t have to be huge, he can’t be small.  The good news with Gagner for the Oil however is that he is still young and teams will have interest in him.

Steve Tambellini has options.  He could deal the 1st pick to fill one of those holes and I have said to friends of late I personally would be willing to deal that top pick to the Penguins for Jordan Staal.  Staal and the Penguins 1st for the Oilers 1st and Eric Belanger would be a deal that makes a ton of sense for both teams (as long as Staal agreed to sign a  long term extension on July 1st).

Staal is an elite center stuck behind perhaps the 2 best centers in the world.  As much as a lot of Oiler fans hate reading this right now, Jordan Staal would make the Oilers better in 2013 than Nail Yakupov, and he would make them better every year there after than Yakupov would.  I cannot stress enough how great you have to be down the middle in this league now days.

But there is a chance they wouldn’t have to move that pick to get Staal.  You could get creative.  Deal Gagner elsewhere (unless Pittsburgh would want him) for pieces (I would guess a 1st round pick or a good prospect) Pittsburgh would want, then flip those pieces along with Magnus Paajarvi, Eric Belanger and another prospect of Pittsburgh’s chosing.

That’s a pretty great package for Pittsburgh as well.  Some people maybe have given up on Paajarvi at 20 years old as ludicrous as that is, but I highly doubt that any GM or pro scout that watched him this season has given up on him.  The kid has the tools to be great.  Put him with Sid and he would get 30 goals next season.  Paajarvi in a lot of ways was in a “Jordan Staal” situation of his own this season.  No room for him in the top 6 or on the top PP unit.  Skilled players offensive numbers get crushed in those scenarios.

Then again, the Pens might be stubborn and hang on to Staal for 1 more season and refuse to deal him.  But a Paajarvi and Gagner package could fetch you someone that fits the bill.  You won’t find a guy like Staal, but a guy that has some of the same qualities like a Travis Zajac (just an example, don’t know if Jersey would deal him and if so what he would cost).

Another option that I believe is out there is the one I said in the latest mock draft.  1, Gagner, and 32 to Columbus for 2, Johanson and L.A.’s 1st.  Edmonton moves back to get a D man, gets there big 2nd line center, and moves up about 14 spots with there 2nd pick. Columbus gets their superstar to help them fill the building again, gets a center who is further along than Johanson, and doesn’t lose on the asset end of the deal (being that it’s 3 for 3).

Now I haven’t touched on the blueline that much yet.  The biggest key to the Oilers offseason isn’t picking 1st, and it isn’t trading for a superstar.  The biggest key is signing Justin Schultz (assuming he becomes a UFA on July 1st).  This kid has nice size (6’2, 195), great wheels, great offensive ability, and has improved his defensive game a lot this season.

The one comparison I heard is Jake Gardiner with more offense.  Gardiner wasn’t supposed to have the offensive game he showcased this season.  If the Oilers land Schultz it would be huge to there rebuild.  Then all of a sudden moving forward they would have Klefbom and Schultz to go with Smid and Petry as a future top 4 that could be great.  Also Ryan Whitney being healthy and able to train this offseason is going to be huge.  If he can play 70 games next season, watch for a 40-50 point season.

As for Schultz, there is a rumor that he chose not to sign with Anaheim because it’s his desire to play in a Canadian market. Edmonton is close to his hometown (Kelowna), he would step right into there lineup, and they have the best young group of forwards in the league.  I admit I’m an Oilers fan but putting all biases aside I really can’t understand why if all that was the case he wouldn’t sign with the Oilers.

The rebuild should be done come October 1st.  I said pretty much since day 1 of the rebuild that they needed to have the cupboard loaded by the 2012 offseason.  There could be other opportunities out there as well.  I would guess a UFA like Ryan Suter could have interest in the so called worst market in hockey with all the talent they could have up front and a hole where a guy like him could step in and be an integral piece.  But from all that you hear, he will be going to one of Detroit, Chicago or Minnesota.  Also we will see what happens with Shea Weber.  If Suter leaves it will be interesting to see if Weber signs long term.  If he doesn’t there is a chance Poile would look to deal him.  Maybe Dan Boyle is dealt in San Jose.  Plenty of possibilites.

But no matter who is out there to be had, Tambellini needs to move now.  The Oiler fans have been patient, and it will be well worth it.  Time to turn this group of talent into a group of winners.  If he doesn’t, he could be out of a job soon.


Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the site @Soups_on_Sports

Oiler fans…I don’t wanna hear it


They’re ready to jump off a bridge.  It’s all ending.  Added to the misery of Canada losing at the World Jr’s in Edmonton is the fact that once again there beloved Oilers are near the bottom of the NHL standings.  “Fire Renney!  Fire Tambellini!”  That’s all you are hearing these days.  Whether it’s on message boards or call in shows, all the fans are losing there minds.  They have no right to, not yet anyway.

You see 2 years ago at this time this fan base was PLEADING for a proper rebuild.  Kevin Lowe in particular (as it was still pretty much the team he built at that time) kept trying to build through free agency and trades.  They had a garbage farm team in Springfield after years of not even having their own.  So every fan was on board for a rebuild and to not just rebuild but do it the right way.  Pick a lot at the top of the drat much the way the Penguins, Capitals, Blackhawks and Kings had done.  Get an actual AHL farm team and develop players properly, don’t rush them like they had done with Cogliano, Smid, and Gagner.

Now here we are 2 years later.  The 2nd year of the rebuild.  You read that right, the 2nd year.  And fans are losing it.  Why?  Did all of you not understand what you were asking for?  Clearly, you didn’t.  The Oilers are amassing an incredible group through the draft.  Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle are going to do very special things in Oiler silks.  Some fans are giving up on Magnus Paajarvi…he’s 20 years old.  Also have Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, they will likely deal Sam Gagner at some point but if they don’t he is finally taking a step forward.

They also have some very nice defensemen who are still a few years away but they’re coming.  Oscar Klefbom was awesome for Sweden at the WJC, David Musil, Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Colten Teubert, all these kids look like they could play in the league.  None of them look like they will be number 1 defensemen, but a lot of number 1 defensemen don’t look that way when they’re young.

They will likely get a 1st round pick once they deal Ales Hemsky.  A top 5 pick in this draft at this point looks like it will get them one of Ryan Murray or Matthew Dumba.  Both potential number 1 defensemen.  With that late 1st they could get for Hemsky they might be able to land there goaltender of the future in Malcom Subban.  And that’s assuming they don’t already got it.  They’ve picked 3 tendy’s in the last 2 years.  2 of them (Bunz and Tohimma) are having great seasons, and the book on Perhonen was that he would need a lot of seasoning but had the highest upside of any goaltender in last year’s draft.  A freak athletically.

So Oiler fans….stop freaking out.  I get it, the team started off amazing and you all thought that the rebuild was done.  Next time don’t be so stupid.  It was a hot streak.  You all asked for this, you were all on board for this, and you are in prime position to be an elite team in the next few years and stay there for a long time so shut up already.  If at this time next season the team is still hanging out near the bottom of the standings, then you have the right to start questioning the coach and the GM.  By next season they should start being a top 8 team, but not now.  I know it’s been terrible in Edmonton for 6 years now, but it’s only the 2nd year of the rebuild.  You’re time is coming soon I promise.

What Exactly was That?!

After coming back down to earth having lost 4 in a row and 5 of 6, the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL’s latest emerging talented darling completely dominated the team that used to own that moniker.  The West leading, 2010 Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.  An amazing night for both the Oilers and there fans.  But let’s get honest about it.

I’m not intentionally raining on Oilers fans parade (although I know I am), but you have to be honest.  The Hawks had been rolling till arriving in Western Canada this past week.  I didn’t see the game inVancouver but from what Kelly Hrudy was saying Saturday night, despite the Hawks apparent 5-1 Pauly D win (get it?  Pauly D win?  Blowout?  See what I did there?  But I digress…) they didn’t play that tight of a game.  Then in Calgary they didn’t seem into it.  Then in Edmonton they were without a doubt not into it!

What were the Hawks doing after the game?  Oh that’s right, Vegas for a little in season va-cay.  See where I’m going with this?  What happens on the last night of games before the All-Star break every year?  More often then not teams play terrible because most of the players are focused on getting away for a few days.  It is to the players as what Friday’s are to most of us.  “F the workout it’s Friday baby!!!”  Don’t tell me you haven’t said something along those lines before.  Or “I’m taking off early, it’s Friday bit**es!!!”  Right.  It’s human nature.

This is the biggest factor in what happened on Saturday night.  Don’t get me wrong, perfect storm happened to make it 9-2.  What made it 9-2 was a pissed off Oiler team who had just lost 5 of 6 looking to get back on track against a team that pretty much toyed with them 6 days earlier.  And they needed it.  It was Saturday night and a LOT of the crew was looking to slump bust!  Lucky for the Oil and there fans, a lot of them did, specifically of course a man named Taylor.  Yes, Chorney played terrific…

Aren’t I just FULL OF IT TONIGHT?!  But bad jokes aside, all I’m asking is to look at this domination rationally.  Oiler fans it was terrific and I’m glad you enjoyed every minute of it, these days have been a long time coming.  But as for going forward just keep it in perspective.  Stars and Preds back to back, this could be 7 of 9 by Wednesday morning.  And Hawks fans, they weren’t worried about the games in Calgary and especially Edmonton.

Kevin Weekes on the HNIC broadcast couldn’t understand why no push back from the Hawks?  Well it’s embarrassing, nobody wants to get hurt before going to VEGAS!