Monday, January 29, 2007

The Defence and The Deadline

If the price of help on D is high it might well be in the Oilers best interest to move a couple guys at the deadline should they fall out of the race, but which ones?

The defence is thin as is, but there are decisions that have to be made to upgrade for next year. It looks to me like a couple players have to go.

Smith
Staios
Smid
Greene
Gilbert
Roy
Bergeron
Hejda
Tjarnqvist


That is 9 right there, and in theory I'm sure EDM would like to add at least one new D to play in the top 4 next year, without losing either of Smith or Staios.

I could easily see them re-signing both Hejda and Tjarnqvist. Tjarnqvist hasn't had a great statistical year but I don't think he's played terribly, so if the coaching staff still likes him, and if Lowe can get him relatively cheap, why not bring him back even if it's as a 4-5-6 D? Pretty much the same story for Hejda. But the problem is between those 2, Greene, Smid, Bergeron, Smith and Staios, the D hasn't changed. Is it good enough next year either? Probably not, so who moves to make room? If, as rumoured, Lowe moves Bergeron and Smith to make room for Stuart the D for next season takes shape as:

Stuart
Staios
UFA
Tjarnqvist
Hejda
Smid
Greene

It's a pretty deep UFA year for D next season, but what does that mean? Sure there's lots available, but it also means everyone's looking. I'd imagine EDM can probably land one of them though. The real "problem" on the blueline might well be having both Smid and Greene at the same time (doesn't look like much relief for those that hate rookie D on the horizon either, with Roy, Gilbert, Syvret knocking on the door), it could be better for the Oilers to only have one of them, move the other for an older more reliable D or a younger F and then sign a more reliable UFA.

Dennis suggested in the comments of LT's post that Lowe go after a guy like Pitkanen, and if available maybe that's an option, but I don't think it would be a bad idea to throw Greene (or SMid, but I prefer keeping Smid of the two personally) into the mix in a trade for a D like Pitkanen, or even any kind of D who'd play in the top 4.

As for the deadline, it is still too early to pull the plug, but if EDM goes 3-7 in their next 10, it's hard to deny that EDM might be best served by landing some nice futures with a big sell-off at the deadline.

All of Markkanen, Tjarnqvist, Hejda, Sykora, and Smyth are pending UFA's*, and must have at least some sort of value. Of course, you'd probably keep the ones you plan on re-signing if you can sign them first, but if not, there isn't much harm in trading a guy for futures but explicitly letting him know that you'll be calling him as soon as the UFA season starts, so don't forget about EDM.

And that's just of the UFA's, I don't think EDM would necessarily want to deal Smith or Bergeron, but if the right offer came (and as valued as D seem to be league wide, it might) you'd at least have to listen.

* - Nedved and Peterson are also UFA's but I'm not sure you'd get much, if anything, for them.

If after picking up 6-8 points in the next 10 games, EDM decided to dump Markkanen, Sykora, Tjarnqvist, Bergeron, give Deslauriers some starts, and maybe even Smyth if they can't get him re-signed, it's certainly conceivable they could finish with a top 5 pick in addition to the proceeds via deadline trades. In the summer shop the UFA market to plug holes and hope for a solid rebound next season, which in this new CBA I think we'll see happen far more often than in the old one.

If you can sign the right UFA's, combined with the quality remaining players left, this should be a playoff team next season. Of course, I thought they would be this year as well.

4 Comments:

Blogger PDO said...

I'm of the mind that we have to trade one of Greene or Smid. I personally choose Smid, but that's just my preference ;).

That said, there's a lot of interesting prospects for the rest of this season. I know the Islanders are still in the race, but how good would a guy like Sean Hill look here? He's only getting paid $600K this year (and a UFA at years end) is a +10, is playing the toughest minutes on the Island by Behindthenet.ca, can kill penalties and play second unit PP (ie: get Staios off the PP).

I wonder what it'd take to pry him away from the Islanders outside of the Islanders taking a significant slide here? Add a guy like him, package Smid and a pick up to pick up someone signed for a few years and capable of putting up top 4 minutes and suddenly the D is looking a lot stronger for this year and next year as long as we can keep someone like Hill around to play on the top 4 while Greene gets one more year with Bergeron on the bottom pairing.

-

Calgary sent Lundmark, 2nd in 08 and a 4th in 07 for Conroy today. Conroy has all of 15 points this year and is a massive minus in the process. I can't see how this is anything but good news for the Oilers, it pushes the Flames to around $42,700,000 in cap commitments for the year and adds a big salary to their books next year as well.

Thanks Daryl!

1/29/2007 4:33 pm  
Blogger Mr DeBakey said...

Problem with plan
"If you can sign the right UFA's"

KL doesn't play Free-For-All very well
As a matter of fact
He's crappy at it.

Its not by accident that Peca & Pronger came by trade.

1/29/2007 7:03 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

Picking up pitkanen regardless is a no brainer. he addresses every concern Lowe has now and the future.

I'd go as far as to say unless Edmonton go 8-4-1 from now until deadline day, then we should honestly be sellers.

In order for us to get 92 points, we need to go 18-10-4 in our remaining games... so really we have 10 regulation losses max to play with the rest of the way. If we burn 5 or more of them before the deadline the only thing that could save us is an absolutely spectacular record versus the NW. Thats a gamble at best...

I would expect to be a seller if we lose 5 games by the deadline.

1/29/2007 8:20 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

I've got no problem with the Oilers going into sell mode and Minny might be hard to catch with Gabby on board because I think they've been pretty solid with him this year. But something just doesn't sit right with me about Lowe's whole '06 approach. It was gonna be hard to withstand losing two of your top 3 dmen and we all know that but we were thin before that and Lowe didn't move and neither did the back account of the EIG. If the Oilers do continue to tank and go into sell mode then it seems like a self-fufiling prophecy from what I stand

1/29/2007 9:04 pm  

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