Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This should be fun

It was a great run!

Go ahead. Try to paste a sticker on me saying "doesn't live and die with the Oilers" and I think it quickly slides off and flutters away.

Sure, the loss hurts. A G7 loss should hurt exactly as badly as a G7 win feels great. No shame in that, it's a symmetry thing, one of the beautiful conservation laws of nature. Call it "conservation of emotion": with pain always being generated in exactly equal proportion to joy. The first law of hockeydynamics; the empathy law. Didn't everyone know this immutable equation coming into the preseason?

Plus the destination isn't everything. In the preseason which "lives and dies with the Oilers" fan says to him/herself: "oh, if they win the cup I'm happy, but if they don't, it's a wasted season and after 82 regular season games plus possibly several rounds of the playoffs, I'll be retroactively pissed off with the entire season if they don't win their last game"? The run counts. The season was frustrating and good and worth watching as an Oilers fan. The playoff run was fun, fun, nailbiting fun. Rem Murray started G7 of a finals series as a bona fide NHL player with a good shot at winning it all. Any reasonable fan watching him and the Oilers down the regular season stretch would have been astonished that he should find himself in such a situation, but during the run he managed to rediscover his legs. It's only a guess, but I'd say if he is given an option to undo his decision to come out of retirement he takes the G7 loss every time.

And the point about the incredible string of events needed to get there is important, but only because it puts into sharp focus how special the events are. Not random and not inevitable, but something inbetween. No dynasties anymore? Huzzah! So let the Oilers go again to the cup finals next season: if there are no true powerhoses what stops them now, should they keep a decent team, except for a modicum of luck?

That non-analytic junk out of the way, I can say I'm now very much looking forward to the draft and the signing season, and I'm glad that speeds pushes the pace and gets things going. I think I'm as excited about the off season as I was last year, which I find a little shocking. Sucks that Minnesota isn't picking 30th, but oh well.

Currently, the Oilers have 14 players and no starting goalie. I look at every UFA as just a guy the Oilers or anyone else could sign, so I end up being astonished at how many people pick UFAs to return.

These are the concerns I can think of at the moment:
  • Goaltending is an issue. I hope Roloson isn't back unless it's for fairly cheap, and I can't see it. Lowe went with a good gamble last season and then fixed it at the deadline. Unless he gets someone really good on a trade, I'm hoping he'll be smart enough to do the same thing next season.

  • I hope they can attract some UFAs at a good price, including Pisani and Dvorak. A potentially annoying scenario is Sutter proffering a couple more pesos for Pisani, as Pisani seems like a player Sutter might want to boss around. Hell, Dvorak seems like a Sutter player also (can't score).

  • Regarding the D, I suspect they'll keep Bergeron and hope they ditch Spacek and resign Tarnstrom. Both Spacek and Staios seem considerably less shiny after the playoffs, but they're quality players. But I think the price of Spacek will be such that I'd rather see them spend money elsewhere. I like how Tarnstrom makes decisions and passes at the point and agree with speeds that 2 D manning the PP will still be common. If their goaltending is half as shittacular as the last season, they better still maintain a top end D.

  • The Oilers probably can afford to attract a higher-end forward star next season. I'm as yet undecided as to whether I'd like to see it. Their PP numbers this season were pretty good even without a real "total package" top-end forward, but their ES game dropped a lot and MacT was running with three lines a lot of the time. The point is that sprinkling the salary across the lines to add some good outscorers might improve the team substantially while reducing injury risk (in terms of both standings and cost). Help keep the PP specialists (and you know we'll have a couple) properly babysat. Concentrating that salary on a top player might improve the team the same (maybe more), but adds injury risk and (most likely) salary risk going forward if the player wants a long contract.

51 Comments:

Anonymous Bling said...

Concerning the Oilers at EV next season, I think it is reasonable for us to expect Hemsky to be much, much better for us next season at even strength. With Smyth and Horcoff already solid players in that respect, I believe we can look forward to having a true #1 line ("power vs. power") for the first time in over a decade.

6/21/2006 12:00 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Wow, I hope you didn't even read my post because we're pretty much on the same page for next year. It's either bloody obvious or we're working on a united front here at IOF. Probably the former more than the latter. ;)

6/21/2006 2:37 am  
Anonymous Yanner39 said...

Re: Pisani. The scenario of him signing with the Flames is very unlikely IMO. He's an Edmonton boy, who's only played for Edmonton, who grew up cheering for Edmonton.

I get that $$ is important, but will the diffrence being offered outweigh Pisani going to play for a bitter rival and a team who, like anu other Oiler fan, grew up hating?

6/21/2006 5:24 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Bling said...

Concerning the Oilers at EV next season, I think it is reasonable for us to expect Hemsky to be much, much better for us next season at even strength. With Smyth and Horcoff already solid players in that respect, I believe we can look forward to having a true #1 line ("power vs. power") for the first time in over a decade.


How about Smyth/Horcoff/Pisani for the last 2/3rds of 03/04? Or Smyth/Horcoff/Dvorak for the start of 05/06 until Smyth went down? Then Pisani on the offwing in Smyth's slot until Horcoff went down? Damn impressive results going toe to toe with the other team's best. Or Smyth/Horcoff/(+ one of several reliable players on the starboard side) in the first three rounds of this year's playoffs.

I think that Hemsky will continue to be a sinkhole for 10/94 as long as he plays with them. Fun to watch ... and the scoring chances against adding up faster than the scoring chances for. Getting murdered when they end up out there against players that can finish. Just like in the regular season, just like in the Carolina series.

But I think the Oilers coaching staff agrees with you on this. And I really hope that you're both right.

6/21/2006 6:29 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Personally, I'm of the same thinking on almost all of that oilswell. Though I think that if the Oilers can get a true high-end forward, a guy who scores and outscores, someone of the calibre of Sakic or Demitra ... then Lowe has to make the deal if the contract length isn't too crazy.

I take your point about the vulnerability to injury. We certainly saw that when Forsberg got hurt (as usual) and Demitra got injured (as usual). But those types of guys just make such a difference. I mean a guy like Thornton joins San Jose and it helps the whole lineup, suddenly Marleau's line looks a world better because they aren't facing Demitra and Norstrom in the next game vs L.A., for example.

If the right guy isn't available then the right guy isn't available. But if he is ... then this may be one of the few summers where there is an appeal to UFAs in signing with the Edmonton Oilers. Lowe has to take a shot at these guys if they are on the market and express an interest.

Having said all of that, I haven't even checked to see who is available as UFAs this summer.

6/21/2006 6:36 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Like Yanner39 says about Pisani ... he's a guy whose extended family is here, whose house and wife and child are here. A player who really does owe some gratitude to the current organization for giving him the opportunity to succeed. And the team owes him some gratitude for the results and attitude that he has brought. Dollars talk of course, but if it's reasonably close I think Fernando stays.

Would Selanne have gotten more than a one year deal for $3.75M on the open market ... hell YES!

I also think that the idea of team culture is very important to Lowe. It is a carryover from the Sather years. And it is a good thing IMHO. I think that it is important to the Oilers that the core players on the team to want to play for the Oilers more than for anyone else. Just a feeling mind.

The flip side: I read or heard somewhere (The Journal I think) that Samsonov and Joe Thornton are close friends. Wive's are friends. Best men at each other's weddings and so on. So, for the same money, does Sergei pick Edmonton or San Jose as his new team?

I like Spacek, even though I struggle to see how he is the best choice for the 1st unit powerplay. And if he wants to play for Edmonton I'm sure they can get something done. And there is no way in hell that he could ask for more than Gator is being paid, and he knows that. He's in the Staios range, and if he wants to play for the Oilers then he knows that's the deal dollar-wise. He's a guy who has played for some poor organizations that lost a shitload of hockey games. I don't care who you are, that starts to wear on a guy. My guess is that he probably re-ups with the Oilers, and if not then he goes to a good team that's offering less than some of CHI, FLA, STL or PIT etc. may be willing to pay. Again just my sense of it, and if someone offers just stupid money then he'll probably take it (none of us are whores ... until the price is right, then we rationalize :) human nature)

I remember one year Dean Lombardi had a boatload of RFAs. The Sharks season had been good, and all of the guys were holding out for as much as they could get (as is their right). So he brought them all together for a meeting in late summer. He laid out his player payroll budget, how much he had left, and how much each guy was demanding, and in a lot of cases probably deserved in terms of market value at the time. His point was that he literally could not hold the team together and satisfy the contract demands of these RFAs. The players agreed to all shave a bit off of their demands so that Lomabardi could keep them all on the team. I'd imagine that Bob Goodenow was wildly UNimpressed. But it does show that a lot of players aren't quite the mercenaries we sometimes think they are. And with the salary linkage now ... signing for a few dollars less to play where you want to play ... doesn't affect your union brothers adversely at all, in fact the opposite.

6/21/2006 7:02 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Methinks Lowe targets that big forward in a trade, probably similar to the Peca deal, that is someone with one or two years left on their deal.

Who, I have no idea. But I am sure there are teams out there who want to move contracts, even of top players, in order to move in another direction.

There is not much on the UFA front and there is less daily. A lot of guys are resigning with their present clubs. So there are fewer guys available which means longer term deals for more money. To me that makes no sense.

6/21/2006 7:09 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

This is my last separate, consecutive reply to this thread. I promise. :-) But one more thought.

I agree 100% with the title of the thread. I can't buy into the heartbreak and melodrama either. It was a fun ride, sucked the way Game 7 turned out ... but shit happens.

During the Detroit series, when they were looking bad for a stretch in Game 3, when it was starting to look like the whole thing was going to shake out like a rerun of the EDM-DAL series of years past ... a friend of mine who is a die hard Oiler fan and long term season ticket holder sadi a strange thing, roughly: "Jesus, they need to win. Have at least some success, win a series or two or somethin'. And not for me, for Ryan Smyth. I'm just sick of watching the guy give it everything he has and lose in the playoffs all the time"

Sounded strange at the time. But once he said it, I kinda felt the same way. Same goes for quite a few other guys too, but mostly Smyth.

And if anybody thinks it was harder on Ryan Smyth in lose in Game 7 of the finals than it would have been to miss the playoffs altogether ... for Chrisakes, give your head a shake.

6/21/2006 7:19 am  
Blogger Alana said...

Sun Media has an article today about next year's team:

The no-brainers at the top of Lowe's list to sign is short: Roloson, Pisani, who'll command a big raise and Spacek.

The guys Lowe will try to keep if the price is right are Peca, at a significant cut on the $3.99 million salary he made this season, Samsonov, who will get interest from the Detroit Red Wings, among other teams and Laraque.

The handshakes? With a salary cap projected at $44 million, that would be Tarnstrom, Dvorak, Ulanov and Murray.


I can't tell if these are the author's opinions, or if this is what Lowe said. If these came from Lowe, I'm surprised at seeing Spacek as a "no-brainer."

6/21/2006 8:36 am  
Anonymous oilswell said...

riversq: yeah, my post seems a little repetitive and less lustrous after reading yours, but I had it mostly written beforehand and I'm not a good enough writer to just go around deleting vowels I've already paid for. Too bad we're on the same page again, I'll try harder to make things interesting next time.

alana: I'm hopeful that it's the author's opinion, so I guess I mostly disagree with the Sun other than Pisani. Thanks, good to know the world is still spinning correctly. I really hope Lowe isn't going to pursue Samsonov or Peca unless the price really is right, and I have my doubts, particularly with their personal histories and location preferences.

vic: I agree Hemsky won't be an ES powerhouse but it's still an interesting mystery to solve why MacT was happy putting him in a place where his ES counting numbers would suck. I'm genuinely curious about this and have plenty of wacky theories. I'd like to understand how Lowe should be improving the team and a plausible answer to the 94-10-83 question seems like an important piece to the puzzle. If Hemsky's back on there next year, did Lowe fail at something?

6/21/2006 9:58 am  
Anonymous Big T said...

Could keeping Hemsky out in difficult ES situations be a growth as a player issue ie: throw him to the fire and see if he swims?? (man, am I a metaphor machine or what?)

What about a way to keep his counting numbers out of the stratosphere??? If sending Nash out for only butter soft minutes is completely the wrong thing to do, is doing the exact opposite of that the right thing to do???

Thoughts???


T

6/21/2006 10:54 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

big t: I think that's exactly what Vic has been alluding to and judging by the results, it's hard to see it any other way. This was another chapter in Hemsky's development. Your guess is as good as mine if he even bothers to read it.

Funny enough, if I think back to the Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky line and its downfall, it had little to do with Hemsky's lack of backchecking (he doesn't really have a lack of that - basically, he's just not really a floater) it was turnovers at the blueline and on occasion, just getting caught with three forwards behind the goalline. Although Hemsky was the major contributor to the blueline turnovers and the odd-man rushes that often result, I don't think it was just Hemsky that caused that line to play such reckless hockey. Of course maybe there was something else more subtle that I've missed about Hemsky's play that really killed them as well.

6/21/2006 11:28 am  
Anonymous Big T said...

Blue line turnovers were the biggest reason for the 94-10-83 line's downfall in G7. Hemmer could carry the puck over the blueline at will for the first 5 games. After that, the 'Canes adapted... my question is, what took them so freakin' long? Really have to question the smarts of Laviolette there.

Will Hemsky be a better ES player next year??? I sure hope so. To my eye, the key to him doing so is reducing those turnovers. I have no problem with Hemsky making aggressive plays and causing turnovers, he just needs to make sure that those turnovers occur at better places on the ice (ie: down low in the opposing zone).

If Hemsky can adapt and mkae the simple dump-in at the blue line rather than forcing something, he will be a significantly improved ES player going forward.

I admire the guys abilities and aggressivness, he just needs to pick his spots better.



T

6/21/2006 12:23 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

I don't care where 12 goes, I really don't. The Oilers had 11 home playoff games this second season and he saw soft minutes in every one of them. And yes he only played some of them with Hemsky and he played a lot of them with a guy in Stoll who truly did fuckall after the Det series...what was I saying again;) but 12 did very very little with those soft min.

So I'll let him go and not think twice. I'd like to have Peca back and by the end of the run I don't know if he was caught up in it all but he seemed sincere in his love for MacT and the community. I'd like to have him back for one more season to coddle Stoll and MAP so my BCS would be one year plus an option but I'm sure he can get a better offer than that somewhere else. I'll miss him all the same though.

And yes Spacek has to know what the pecking order is so if he's coming back he's making less than Gator. Spacek has a good buddy here in RD and I'd say chances are Dvorak's back. He's not gonna get many big offers elsewhere and Lowe was talking about him the other day in true Oiler tones so that means he's getting an offer for sure.

On the D I'd bring back Tarnstrom and I'd deal or try and deal Bergeron for Raycroft. I'd like to bring back Roli because this is his first major injury and his reg season PCT has always been great. I'd like two years plus an option on him. Maybe 2.5 a year.

I'd like to have that big ticket guy to push our PP over the top and go along with 94-83 but I think Horc might do a helluva job there if they let him. And as much as I'd like to see Schremp spend a year in the A Lowe was doing some talking about him today in looking ahead to next year's squad. On my team there's already Hemsky-Dvorak-Pisani for the RW so my 4th line RW is gonna be Winchester and isn't gonna see a tonne of time. For me that means RS goes to the A for a year.

6/21/2006 12:30 pm  
Anonymous momentai said...

riversq:

I don't think it was just you. I don't think Smyth or Horcoff played nearly as well as they did earlier in the season. For a strong even strength duo, they got hemmed in their own zone more times than I'd like to admit by the Adams line. That shouldn't ever happen... and I'd be unwilling to place the blame all on Hemsky's feet at that one.

Igor:

Did Dean Lombardi really do that? If so, that is just beyond great. In my mind, I've always thought that would be an interesting way to deal with contract negotiations especially with a tight knit group of players. If they ask for too much and stand firm... they are basically asking one of their buddies to go elsewhere for employment. That's a tough proposition.

And if anyone is wondering... yes, I do feel hollow still. I don't really think that feeling is going to completely fade for a while.

6/21/2006 12:32 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Having been bagged on by virtually every Oilers fan who I like to read online, I may have to reconsider that. I don't think that I did a particularly great job of explaining it.

You bastards also basically stole exactly what I was going to say in a post in the next day or two, which makes it even worse.

Roloson: He's looking to get paid and get paid for a while, I think. Based on his interview after G6, the fact that he's got no special connection to Edmonton and the fact that he hasn't had a big payday yet, I don't blame him. I hope that he gets a nice round of applause prior to his first game in Edmonton next year and that the Oilers promptly blow five past him. That said, I have a hard time thinking of the last time that the Oilers could afford to keep one of their stars and chose not to. It hasn't been the Oilers way in the past. I figure it's 50-50 with Roli.

Gerber and Legace are guys I'm interested in, although we'll see where the price is. LT's Luongo suggestion is always a fun dream as well but I can't see Mike Keenan trading him because I think that one year of Luongo and then losing him as an FA is worth more than whatever Keenan can get for him due to Florida's position-with him, they're a playoff contender, without him they're a lottery team.

Six teams are looking for a starting goalie, I think-Columbus, Toronto, Ottawa, Detroit, Tampa and Edmonton. If a couple of those options dry up, maybe Lowe gets lucky on a one year deal with someone decent-I can see Legace being the odd man out.

I want Dvorak back as well. I can't help but think that he'll be good if he's healthy and I think that good ES, bad PP players are probably undervalued as a commodity. I'd just as soon buy the best ones that I can get.

Vic's point on Spacek is good-contrast his interview as they were getting off the plane yesterday with Peca's. It wouldn't surprise me if Spacek wants to come back-whether he wants to do so for Jason Smith dollars or less is the question. Interesting point about his PP time. Rivers would tell you that he put up 4.2 PPP/60 on the PP this year, which is true but he's never been a great PP guy before this year and he wasn't exactly driving the bus on the PP-he was in on about 53% of the goals, which is low. Not news to anyone I'm sure, but I wonder if there might be something to that, as a way of asking whether or not big jumps in production on the PP are driven by the player or the surroundings.

Fernando-the comparison to Selanne doesn't quite work, I don't think. Selanne's made $52MM in his career; Pisani has made $1MM or so. I'm sure that his mom's pasta and sauce are great but if a guy like that has a chance to cash in (Can't you see Doug MacLean talking about how he's just the kind of clutch scorer the Jackets need?) I don't know how you don't take it. I'm curious to see guesses on what it takes to sign him-I think that someone offers him at least $7.5MM over three. I don't think that Edmonton can pay him that.

6/21/2006 1:10 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Another point that I agree with oilswell on: It's a lot more fun when you've got a 5 day hiatus between the end of the season and the draft than two months.

6/21/2006 1:25 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

mudcrutch79 said... You bastards also basically stole exactly what I was going to say in a post in the next day or two, which makes it even worse.

Yeah and I said it yesterday. ;)

Rivers would tell you that he put up 4.2 PPP/60 on the PP this year, which is true but he's never been a great PP guy before this year

Rivers would tell you both of those things. That big pre-FA year is also the reason why I think he'll get paid by another team. The guys with career years before they turn UFA usually get paid like they're expected to do that all the time. Spacek's RS numbers were pretty darn good across the board and stellar if you consider how much time he wasted on that laughingstock in Chicago.

Pisani? NHL GMs are crazy but I don't think they're that crazy. It's a funny thing, the playoffs. A single one-hit wonder regular season and there are stars in everyone's eyes, but a big playoff run will get you analogies to John Druce and Chris Kontos. I don't think that's fair to Pisani, but my point is that eventually even the layman latches onto sample size.

I made a prediction in that other post that Pisani would make $1.8MM next year as an Oiler and I'll stick to it. Maybe that would end up being $6MM over three years, if I had to guess the whole contract. Of course the case is helped if Lowe signs him before July 1st.

6/21/2006 1:31 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

big t and momentai: I wasn't referring to the playoffs at all regarding the top line. I was thinking of the entire season.

Hemsky blunders at the offensive blueline and way too much firewagon hockey from Smyth and Horcoff had more to do with November's results than it did with June's.

6/21/2006 1:34 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

We'll see on Pisani. I hope you're right but you've got more faith in Doug MacLean, Mike Barnett (Cujo for $2MM???) et al than I do. Funny thing-John Druce actually went on to have a decent career. Kontos not so much, but then not many guys get to play with Gretz for a playoff run, which he did IIRC.

6/21/2006 1:36 pm  
Anonymous momentai said...

riversq:

Fair enough. This was far from our best even strength performance this season.

I don't mind signing Tarnstrom but I can't see it being anything longterm there. Anyone else think Bergeron is a candidate to be trade bait in the offseason? LT mentioned a possible Bergeron trade to Boston to Raycroft... I would wonder if we coud make deal to a cap-strapped team like Tampa for - say, Modin?

In regards to Pisani, Lowe et al have been pimping him up pretty good in the media. I don't think it's likely that Fernando is going to walk away from the organization. The big concern is whether Lowe decides to overpay in terms of contract. Apparently, they've always thought of him as a top 6er... does that scream at least 2 million to you?

6/21/2006 2:27 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

Riv;

I agree with you that in November and much of the entire season the whole line was an ES nightmare compared to what many would have expected they would be going in to last season. My point is still the same regarding Hemsky. He's not going to win a Selke (but looking at recent history, what does winning a Selke have to do with being a good defensive forward anyways? vic???), but he will be a much improved ES player - hell, player in general - once he learns to pick better spots to be aggressive.

It's a learning curve thing. I think of it like many would a young defenseman... only through trial and error do they learn when to pinch and when to stay back. Hemsky needs to do the same. Once he figures out when (or WHERE really!) to be aggressive and when/where to make the high percentage play (dump-in) his EV+/- numbers are going to be much improved as are his line mates.

One other thing to add regarding 94-10-83; What kind of ES numbers does this trio put up with league average goaltending behind them. No doubt, some of their lackluster play last year was do to their penchant for firewagon hockey, but you have to give some of the blame to Conkannen too.


T

6/21/2006 2:39 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

That point on goaltending is one that I make as well T. There's no global number out there unfortunately that factors in the things like goaltending and quality of ice time; kind of an adjusted EV+ EV- number. If the save percentage behind Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky (something Vic probably knows) was like it was for the rest of the guys, you'd have to think that they'd be in the black with someone decent. Whether they'd be enough in the black is a different question.

For all this talk about Smyth cheating for offence, he kind of sucked offensively at ES this year-anyone know why?

6/21/2006 2:45 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

momentai;

I think Lowe & Co. would think of Pisani as a top sixer in the ice-time dept., not the classical 2nd line way. As in 14-37-34 was our second line because combined, they logged the second most amount of time on the ice. Horcoff and Peca centred the top two lines while Stoll and Murray centered the bottom two.

If that is the case, $2M/yr for Pisani is right in line, if not a slight discount to market with the tremendous playoff run he had personally.

We have to remember how effective the guy was with Smyth-Horcoff in '04 too. I'm trying to be realistic here too - the guys not gonna score more than 20 goals per year, but he is a tremendous ES outscorer who can still be effective when playing the most difficult of minutes. The guys a fuckin' stud.

(This next comment is gonna raise some eyebrows)

Maybe Milbury wasn't that far off with Peca in that the value he has is in outscoring against difficult opposition is tremendous. He helps you outscore the other team. Obviously market wise, the Isles were out to lunch, but value to his team wise, Peca helps you win.

I guess my point is that there is a huge value to what Peca and Pisani do on the ice. Even though they don't put up the big counting numbers of some other players, guys like this help you outscore the opposition.

Now with that, I'm gonna stop before you all think I love these guys simply because of the playoff run.



T

6/21/2006 2:59 pm  
Blogger Alana said...

Is Legace really a step up in goaltending? Granted, my only exposure to him was the first series, but he seemed to have a Conkkanen vibe about him.

6/21/2006 3:06 pm  
Blogger Alana said...

Legannen?

6/21/2006 3:06 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Five NHL seasons and counting where he was better than league average. If he's not snapped up by Toronto - Detroit doesn't want him, I'm sure that Ottawa wouldn't want him - Edmonton might be his best opportunity.

6/21/2006 3:11 pm  
Blogger hffpff said...

I don't care where 12 goes, I really don't. The Oilers had 11 home playoff games this second season and he saw soft minutes in every one of them. And yes he only played some of them with Hemsky and he played a lot of them with a guy in Stoll who truly did fuckall after the Det series...what was I saying again;) but 12 did very very little with those soft min.

Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing him go either. Not having really watched him closely prior to him coming here, the thing the surprised me the most is his lack of rink length speed. He's agile & has sublime stick skills but he just does not have another gear that, for instance, Hemsky has to create that extra bit time & space for himself. That, combined with his lack of size, really hampered him at times methinks. Besides, we need a goalscorer more than a playmaker and will probably need not just his cap space but the soft minutes that he's currently taking up.

6/21/2006 3:22 pm  
Anonymous momentai said...

big t:

I'm a big fan of Pisani. I really am but if I'm Lowe... why tip my hand? To sooth the media when they find out the contract term? I just don't see the need for this ego stroking here.

It's not likely Pisani is going up to the 1st line next season unless we see a significant upgrade somewhere else. Because then you're left with Hemsky being sheltered and given the easy minutes. I suppose it's possible... but MacT sure didn't implement that this season when he had the chance. It's sink or swim for Hemsky... though, I don't necessarily believe the matchups were as tough for the first line as 03/04.

2 million might be alright I suppose... but I can't justify anything much higher than that. The league is notorious for overpaying for production 5 on 5 , pp , or otherwise... Pisani, other than the playoffs, doesn't have the most gawdy of numbers for the point whores. I'm looking at the bottom line here.. and Lowe has never really been one to give me total faith in his abilities to negotiate contracts (he's either a hit or miss).

6/21/2006 3:29 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

Yeah, I'd agree he's hit or miss on contracts for sure. Maybe Lowe's pimping him to create a warm fuzzy feeling for the guy in hopes of a discount??? A stretch, I know.

My argument for Peca/Pisani was more from an absolute value either one adds to outscoring the opposition as opposed to true market value.

Of the two, Peca adds more value to my eye because he plays the tougher position and is above average on the dot.

Pisani could be replaced by Langenbrunner or Freisen or Hecht... tougher to replace Peca.


T

6/21/2006 3:56 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

The Peca that we saw in the playoffs, and even at the tail end of the season, I'm sure that was the guy that the Oilers thought they were getting for a full season. I haven't checked, but I'd guess that Peca's playoff goal and assist production in the playoffs is pretty similar to his career regular season clip.

But he came to camp not ready for the new season. And he wilted under the pressure of a hockey mad market and the downward spiral just continued. Mostly the way he handled it just pissed me off. I'll be disappointed if he's back as an Oiler. But I'm not too worried, someone will overpay for him, he's just too famous. And if Mike is smart he'll find a gig with a team that plays a passive style.

6/21/2006 4:59 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

It will be interesting to see what Lowe does with the goaltending situation. Markkanen is still under contract and history tells us that there is no way that the Oilers will eat that, so he'll be back. I'm of the opinion that Markkanen is a good goalie who had a bad year, so I'm cool with that anyway.

Conklin goes where? Taking the lockout year off hurt him, injuring his groin in camp compounded that, then he lost his confidence and fell into the abyss. I hope that the guy fights his way back into the NHL, I think the ability is there. But there is no way he gets an NHL gig anywhere next year IMO, not out of camp anyways. It's the AHL or Europe to re-prove himself methinks.

If I'm Roloson, I'd want Fernandez money, just on principle. He's older so he'll have to take a shorter term. Maybe even a one year deal. But if the money that Minny threw at Manny Fernandez really does average $4.2 M per year ... yowza! I just can't see Roloson getting that from anybody. Or at least I hope nothing even close to that from the Oilers.

Lowe is a curious case with goalies though. I think that first big contract of his, the Salo deal, left a permanent emotional scar on the dude. I don't think that he'll be in any hurry to sign Roloson to a multiyear deal unless the price is low. Picking Roloson up at the deadline was a curious move too ... he hadn't been playing much, and his W-L record was for shyte, his GAA was no hell. Save% was pretty good iirc, and personally I'm a save% believer, and Rolo's recent history at that was good, so I was good with it. Terry Jones was beside himself :D

Throw me in with the crowd that's nominating Gerber. Legace seems too crazy, even for a goalie. The fanbase wants a 'bonsfide number 1 goalie' though, and Lowe may just feel the same way, OR feel the need to appease the masses, I dunno.

Should be an interesting couple of weeks in any case.

6/21/2006 5:15 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

One more thought, as we're making modest wishlists here :-)

I hope they bring Reasoner back, assuming they think his knees are (or will be) back to 100%. Partly because he's cheap, partly because he was damn effective before he got hurt a couple of years ago, partly because he looked good in games where he got a regular shift, esp the stretch with Pisani and Moreau, and partly it's the "devil you know" syndrome as influenced by this season of Peca.

6/21/2006 5:19 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

vic - I'd like to see Reasoner back because I think Peca is gone (likely here (T.O.)) and Stoll is tradebait. Don't know if I want to start next year with Brodziak and MAP as my 3 and 4 centres (presuming that they get a # 1 in a trade - presuming a lot I know)

Problem with Gerber is there will be lots of bidders - I cannot see Lowe going the UFA route - you have to give up too much money and too many years - why do that when you can trade for a guy and have a shorter term and are not having to outbid other teams money wise.

Esp. when you have veteran players who have been through the war (Moreau, Staios, Smith) for Ottawa, young, relatively cheap guys (MAB, MAP, Stoll etc.) and prospects.

I think they resign Roloson and if not I think (and hate to say it) that Lowe rolls the dice on a keeper again - Raycroft, Cloutier (?), maybe Biron???

6/21/2006 6:27 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

One last, too Vic, Peca was disappointing in the RS for sure but man he was a major reason for the playoff success in my opinion. I wouldn't mind seeing him back if they could get him short term and cheap.

Which is as likely as me getting a contract with the Oil next year.

6/21/2006 6:29 pm  
Anonymous The Rage said...

What about Huet? Sure he might come down to earth a bit, but even if his save% takes a .15 hit he's still a solid goaltender. He may have appeared out of nowhere, but his numbers seem far too good to be pure luck (and there might also be valid reasons as to why he took so long to blossom as a hockey player). I say he's a risk worth taking if we can't sign one of Legacy, Gerber, or Roloson.

6/21/2006 9:06 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

mudcrutch79 said...

For all this talk about Smyth cheating for offence, he kind of sucked offensively at ES this year-anyone know why?


I'd say it's pretty simple. That line didn't have the puck enough and when they did, they didn't keep it down low very much. I think for some players with certain styles, if they're not outscoring they're not really scoring either. Smyth strikes me as that kind of player - he outscores by keeping possession in the other end and he scores by wearing out the opposition on their shifts.

Speaking of that... I'd love to see Smyth's shift lengths when he's on the ice for GF and GA. My guess is that he picks up goals late in shifts after a fair amount of possession and gives them up early on. (Faceoff zone will matter here too) Probably roughly 30sec for a GA and probably 45-50 for a GF. Just a hunch.

6/21/2006 9:18 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Vic: Peca was at 1.6 ESP/hr - a shade under the 1.8 - 2.1 one should expect from him in a normal RS. However, that's a huge step up from the Jason Smith offense he provided as an Oilers pivot this year.

6/21/2006 9:22 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

But if the money that Minny threw at Manny Fernandez really does average $4.2 M per year ... yowza!

Yeah, I'm writing something about the goalie market at the moment and that really does surprise me. Assuming that the GM's do what they've always done and qualify virtually anyone with a pulse, it looks like a buyer's market to me this year. I was wrong about Columbus-there are 5 teams with clear openings in net (4 if Toronto decides JS Aubin's 15 games at the end of year were for real). Gerber, Roloson, Huet, Legace, Grahame...I don't think that I'd want Grahame and I'm scared of Huet but I'd be happy to scoop either of the other three, who aren't going to have much in the way of leverage. You'd think that Burke would almost be stupid not to move Giguere as well.

6/21/2006 11:03 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

I'm fairly sure Pisani will be returning this season. I think the oilers will cough up between 2-2.5 million over three years to keep him in town. That said I thought the Smyth-Horcoff-Pisani line looked pretty good in the playoffs, although its yet to be seen whether or not Pisani had an awakening or simply had one good run.

As for Hemsky, the man loves to pass the puck. We just need to stick him and his European playmaking arse on a line with two shooters. Personally I thought that was the problem with our top line this year, Horcoff and Hemsky are both playmakers and Ryan Smyth camps out in front of the net. There needed to be someone there to actually direct the puck towards the net.

My personal inclination next year would be to give a Torres-Shremp-Hemsky line a shot at least in the preseason. It strikes me as an idea that would either be brilliant or disasterous. I think as long as they got soft minutes and second unit power play time they could be prolific. Hemsky keeps looking for someone else to shoot the puck, and if there is one thing Robbie Shremp likes to do its score goals and mock his opposition. Torres has a pretty good trigger too and would add some toughness to the line.

That would drop Stoll down to the third line. Stoll can grind and if he regains his regular season form he can score a few goals. I figure he'd line up with Moreau and likely Dvo to form a solid checking line. On the other hand if Mihknov comes over he may well get Dvo's spot on that line presuming he's adequate offensively to try and add some offensive spark.

On the fourth line I figure the return of Reasoner, and placing him on a line with Dvo or Winchester and perhaps JFJ on the left side for a 4th line that MacT actually lets onto the ice occasionally.

Tarmstrom probably comes back on D, Green hangs around and hopefully only takes a minor penalty every other game. While Spaceck returns or someone comparable is brought in in his place. I think Bergeron will probably be used as trade bait and will either hang on as the 7th defensemen or be traded and Syvret will garner that honour.

I figure we can make that happen and offer Roloson a fairly lucrative contract. Gerber or Legace. I'm not sure if Biron is free agent this season, but I'd assume he would also be someone the Oil take a look at obtaining.

That said I'm predicting we keep our young guys in Stoll, Hemsky and Torres and opt to try to grow from within by adding Shremp and the ever elusive Mikhnov to the roster. That said my prediction is prefaced upon the fact that if Shremp can destroy the opposition in the OHL, he should be able to play soft minutes and powerplay minutes and be productive in the NHL. Some of the people in the Oilogosphere have predicted he's down in the AHL but..others have proclaimed him "The Hockey Jesus" and "Robimus Prime". I don't think he's be effective in any role outside of a top six forward, and I'm going to simply surmise if he's that good in junior he can make the squad. If the hockey gods smile, he'll develop one of those semi-telepathic relationships that some linemates have with Hemsky and we'll hear "Hemsky to Shremp..he scores!" an aweful lot.

6/22/2006 4:01 am  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh yea, baring the disasterous goaltending of Conkanen we were at least the fifth seed in the West this year. Thus I don't think there is any need to really reinvent the wheel. I think we have some good young players and some solid vetrans. If we can keep Rolli for a couple years, or add Biron, Gerber or Legace we should be a playoff team.

6/22/2006 4:06 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

With just a little more consistent goaltending, a 5&6 D pair better than Ulanov and Cross -- the Oil don't lose a ton by the loss of Dvorak, Peca, Harvey, Samsonov. Virtually all their existing counting points remain (mind you Sammy scored some big ones - close to PPG down the stretch).

However they can always add pieces at the trade deadline as they did.

Lowe will need enough forward depth to insulate against one of the prospects not performing. I guess that only 1 of Schremp/Pouliot make the team. JFJ will probably be a lock on the left.

1 of Winchester/Mikhnov on the right.

Is that too many rookies?

6/22/2006 10:23 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

Pisani's played with the boys before and if you could find someone that Hemsky clicks with then a 94-10-34 could go toe to toe and outscore just about any line in the league, IMO.

And maybe that means a 14-16-83 line and if Hemsky can't make those guys go...well we'll just get some value out of him come the PP. This strategy would certainly keep us counting stats down. But I guess that's not such a big concern because he's gonna get paid this summer anyway.



Speaking of that...when looking at Stoll we know he isn't likely to get as many soft min in '07 as he did in '06. I'd like to bring back Peca for one more season just to babysit 16 for one more year but I doubt that's gonna happen. Hopefully Stoll's honest enough with himself to know that while his team had a great run personally he did fuckall after the Wings series.

6/22/2006 2:04 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

And honestly...I like watching rookies as much as anyone but what do you really expect from Mihknov? He isn't OV and he's not even Frolov for that matter. The best thing we could do for him is give him 3rd line min and not expect anything from him. And our RW depth looks strong enough that I'd leave him where he is unless you're damn skippy this kid's gonna score 25 some day.

6/22/2006 2:06 pm  
Anonymous The Rage said...

One the subject of Mikhnov, have any of you read this: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=8773&mode=threaded&order=0

It seems like he did very well at the WHC. That might be common knowledge, but I was impressed at how well he actually did. Four goals in seven games, second on the team behind only Ovenchkin, who had Malkin as a centreman. His size, speed, and skill should make him at the very least a good shout for the fourth line.

6/22/2006 2:48 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

Mihknov to me is a guy who will alternate between getting the 3rd and 4th most minutes on his prospective wing (not sure what side the guy would play).

He is 23-24???? If he can't perform there, then he can't perform at all in this league and we should send him back to Siberia.

Ideally, he gets a one year deal with a club option for more. We'll see if he even comes over.


T

6/22/2006 2:52 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Dennis,

One thing I've noticed is alot of people putting Shremp on the 4th line. That strikes me as being a wasted season, Shremp is the sort of player whom is only going to be effective as a top six forward. I think he's be fine as long as he's getting soft minutes. But if you don't give him that you might as well send him to the AHL for the year.

As for Mikhnov, he has been playing in the Russian Superleague for years. He's in his early twenties and he looked like a pro in the worlds. If he comes I think he could fit in on the third line as long as he can play adequate defense and he'd likely contribute 15-20 goals and 30-40 points. I'd rather have him on the right wing than Dvorak who can't seem to find the back of the net with a tour guide these days.

6/22/2006 3:50 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

That's a pretty glowing review. I'd still like to have 34-20 on the starboard side to go along with Hemsky and Mihknov though. Then I know we have at least two guys we can depend on to hold down a lead or keep it civil during a time game.

If Mihnov's this good though I'd expect Schremp to be dealt..most likely for a defenseman.

6/22/2006 8:01 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

I'm not sure if we'd want to trade a sniper for a defenseman. We have a few players in the system like Gilbert and Chorney who could possibly have the right stuff for the NHL. We also have Pronger signed to a long term contracts and most of our current defensemen under contract.

6/22/2006 9:15 pm  
Anonymous Dano said...

I think there is another goalie that should be on the list of possibles for Edmonton. Martin Biron from Buffalo. I'd take him well before Legace or Gerber. He's put up some decent numbers and is 28 right now.

6/27/2006 2:09 pm  
Anonymous dano said...

Oops...I guess there were a couple of mentions for Biron. Buffalo gave him a qualifying offer but apparently he wants out.

6/27/2006 2:36 pm  

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