Leaving Las Vegas
And if Lowe had known that the Oiler budget would be this high last summer, would he have signed on Smyth to a long term deal in the $5 million per annum range, as was reportedly being requested by Smyth's camp? Would Lowe have been more open to a no movement clause?
If Smyth had known, with certainty, that the Oilers would be a cap team. Would he have been willing to be more flexible in negotiations?
If the Oilers had run a more veteran team last season, and enjoyed more success, and shown a willingness to spend ... would they have been a more attractive option for UFAs this summer?
The most reasonable answer to all the questions above is Probably. But we are where we are, this is out of control now. Lowe is chasing losses, and it isn't pretty to watch. Though strangely enough, these are the exact types of moves that seem to appeal to the listeners of talk radio. Go figure, perhaps these moves work well in video games, I dunno.
On to the mistake du jour:
This Dustin Penner is an interesting player for sure. He's really late on the development curve no doubt, but I remember seeing him play in the AHL before he started scoring, and he was just dominant along the boards against that level of competition. Extraordinary really. Torres was the only player in the game who was clearly better than him, I thought.
Still, this is a wild overpay. Penner's gaudy counting numbers won't repeat. He bleeds scoring chances against, and we all know that this isn't beer league man-on-man hockey... wingers have a huge impact on the number of scoring chances their goalie faces, probably greater than any other position. So Penner is a bad fit for the Horcoff/Hemsky line. He simply isn't good enough to face that level of competition without being exposed.
Apparently Penner took over Lupul's old gig as Carlyle's whipping boy. There is a reason for that.
Dustin** played about half of the time with Marchant as his centre last season and posted good results. Bear in mind that they had the benefit of strong goaltending and defense behind them as well.
Problem is: Marchant did a lot better in terms of GF and GA (puck has to be somewhere!) when he WASN'T playing with Dustin.
The other line that Penner played a bunch on was the Getzlaf/Perry line. They did very, very well together. Granted these two players are pretty special talents, and for the most part they didn't play against good opponents. Still, results be results.
Problem is: Getzlaf/Perry did a lot better in terms of GF and GA (puck has to be somewhere!) when they WEREN'T playing with Dustin.
This is, of course, eerily similar to the circumstances that turned Lupul into a hypnotic shiny object last summer.
I look at this roster and I can't begin to imagine how they are going to match up competitively against anyone in the NW. I pity MacTavish here, it's kind of like being dealt a terrible poker hand ... but on the back of the cards are pictures of the hottest women in the deck. That's going to make it even tougher to lose with them. Hell, there are very few teams in the league that they will match up well against. This is a lottery pick team IMO. And my gut feeling is that Lowe's next move is to make a trade that will make them even worse. And Lowe has mortgaged some of the future, in terms of future budget salary cap and draft picks also. Most notably a first round draft pick that should be 5th overall, or thereabouts, in a draft that is meant ot be heavy in high end talent.
On the RFA "raiding" issue, I don't think any GM wants to lose a player this way, just because he might be seen as a soft target for RFA offer sheets by other GMs in the future. Better to be seen as a crazy-eyed bastard who will match any RFA offer sheet, no matter how insane it may be. But in this case, it's just far too much. Burke has to walk away I think.
On the upside, this offer to Dustin Penner is sparkling genius compared to the asinine attempt at signing Vanek. And it beats the holy hell out of Lowe's proposed contract that Nylander used to leverage other suitors. And I have to admit, it is all very interesting to watch. Lowe's self destruction is like an oddly compelling serial drama right now.
** This icetime information for Penner, the results with and without linemates ... it comes courtesy of David Johnson's absolutely terrific stats site. This really is addictive stuff, and it makes you appreciate guys like Iginla and Sakic even more. I'll put a link to it on the sidebar.