Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 UFA's of Interest / Visnovsky reaction

Here are some players that I am guessing will be of varying degrees of interest for the club, categorized below

Players that would be of interest for the Oilers, but will probably cost too much/probably don’t want to come here:

F Selanne, F Sundin, F Forsberg, F Jagr, F Rolston, F Hossa, D Campbell, F Naslund, F Fedorov

Some forwards that could be good fits:

EDM could use another F, probably a C or LW, though after the Visnovsky trade (commentary at the end of this post) it appears as though the F may come via a trade involving Pitkanen. That said, Plan A for me would be to sign one of the following players to a short term deal (1 or 2 years if possible), and retain Pitkanen on a one year deal:

LW Nagy – He’s a really good fit, IMO, except that some may consider him too “soft” given Stoll having been traded away. A player who had a bad year last year, will probably come cheaper than he should. If the Oilers could get Nagy signed to a 2 year deal and keep Pitkanen, I’d be pretty happy.

RW Vrbata, Jason Williams, Satan and Demitra, LW Brunette, Stillman – could be nice fits as well, but will cost likely more than Nagy and could require more years.

F Fedotenko - I think he’d be a nice add, especially if they move Torres but even if they don’t he’s a player EDM can use. Questionable whether he’s a top 6, or more likely top 9 F, and EDM does have a bunch of money tied up in their 3rd/4th lines already.

LW Huselius– Might require too many years, and it will probably be for too much money, and he may be too “soft” for the liking of some anyways. I would take him at the right price and term (as I suppose is the case with almost everyone listed, lol).

F Avery – His on-ice play sounds like a good fit for EDM, who is supposedly looking for grit and scoring. You get both in Avery, but I’m not sure he’d want to play here, and even if he did I’m not sure the money would be there or that EDM wants to deal with his off ice persona, overblown or not.

C Morrison – if they end up moving, or planning to move Horcoff, I could see them going after Morrison, thinking he’s a reasonable replacement (BTW, I don’t think he is).

The following are, IMO, players that might be good depth signings:

F Reasoner – seems like he could be coming back, but he also seems like a pretty decent fit, price dependant.

F Gelinas – good veteran LW that might come at a reasaonable price.

F Glencross – who knows, if he checks out the market and the offers aren’t what he’s expecting EDM still seems like a pretty good fit to me.

F Rissmiller – I think he could just be a nice value buy, but we’ll see

F Ruutu, Laraque, Dupuis – either could be interesting as 4th line presences, but I haven’t got the impression that Laraque will be coming back, and I don’t know if the Oilers are particular fans of Ruutu. I think Dupuis would be a nice add, but like a lot of players on this list I think there are other teams that can and will pay him more than EDM should.

C Holik, Vasicek and Peca- all 3 could potentially be interesting fits given Stoll’s departure, Vasicek would probably come cheapest but injuries are a concern. I’m not sure Holik would come here, and I’ve seen the Peca show before the regular season, but there aren’t many of these types of C available this summer so they are listed.

On defence, EDM doesn’t have a lot of spending room, but I think they could use another veteran D if they move Pitkanen. If they don’t, they appear set on the back end. I like, and may have targeted, guys like Kalinen, Stuart, Rozsival, Mara, and Redden were it not for the Visnovsky deal. Remaining defenders to target:

D Smith, Sauer, Salvador, Malik, Commodore, Eaton, Orpik. Orpik and Commodore will probably cost too much, but the others would all be of interest at the right price. However, the “right price” for other teams for these players is likely to be higher than the “right price” for the Oilers, so I don’t necessarily expect EDM to land any of them.

Visnovsky trade:

I have been a fan of Visnovsky in the past, but I didn’t see much of him this year during what I hear was a terrible year for him.

I don’t like having so much money tied up in Visnovsky and Souray, on long term deals, but it’s not as bad as it appears IMO. Visnovsky’s NMC is apparently gone since he was traded before it took effect, and Souray’s is over in 2 years and one day. Both have declining contracts, so in 2 years time both will be making less actual money than their cap hit, which should make both more tradeable/valuable in trade than if they were paid an identical amount per season. Having said that, I’m not sure the acquisition quite “fits” the needs of the team. I’ll be glad to see Vvisnovsky as an Oiler, but a player of his type is not the first need I thought of when thinking about the Oilers this off-season.

With regard to the players leaving, I have never been a big fan of Greene and thus am not horribly concerned about losing him, but losing Stoll could hurt in the long term if he rebounds. I hope EDM hangs on to Pitkanen, but it appears the writing is on the wall.

If they keep Pitkanen, I’d be pretty happy with the following lineup:

Nagy Horcoff Hemsky
Penner Gagner Nilson
Torres Cogliano Pisani
Moreau Brodziak Pouliot

Visnovsky Gilbert
Souray Grebeshkov
PItkanen Staios
Smid, Roy


Alternatively, if they deal Pitkanen for a F (let’s say a LW), they may be able to sign a D (I’ll guess Salvador), and go with something like:

NEW LW Horcoff Hemsky
Penner Gagner Nilson
Torres Cogliano Pisani
Moreau Brodziak Pouliot

Visnovsky Gilbert
Souray Grebeshkov
Salvador Staios
Smid, Roy


I prefer the first lineup, but then again I like Nagy more than most. That Nagy lineup would be really close the cap (in fact, it might not be workable), but I think I like the looks of it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Salary Cap set at 56.7 mil for 2008/9 Season/RFA Compensation Schedule

According to TSN, the cap will be up ~ 6.4 mil this season.

It'll be interesting to see how free agency plays out for the Oilers. Assuming they are willing to spend to (within ~1 mil) the cap, this probably gives them 2 or 3 mil more to spend than they may have thought half way through the season. Then again, who knows what that extra money will net them, as all the other teams spending to the cap will have that extra money as well. Last season 16 teams were near or at 48 mil + in spending, with a 50.3 cap.

Additionally, this helps us make an educated guess (probably not exactly accurate, but close enough for our usage) about the RFA compensation levels for the 2008/9 season.

Compensation Due

$863,156 or less - None

$863,156 - $1,307,811 - 3rd round pick

$1,307,811 - $2,615,623 - 2nd round pick

$2,615,623 - $3,923,434 - 1st and 3rd round pick

$3,923,434 - $5,231,246 - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick

$5,231,246 - $6,539,061 - Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

$6,539,061 or more - Four 1st round picks

*edit* I calculated my first set of these numbers by increasing the compensation levels by the percentage cap increase. That was incorrect, as section 10.4 of the CBA explicitly says that the change in average player salary is to be used, not the change in the cap number. Therefore I revised these numbers and used the ones from NHLSCAP, which are, apparently, an estimate based on this TSN article. Sorry for the confusion, although the difference isn't all that much ($60,000 at the 4 1st level, the highest discrepency).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts on the draft weekend

A little bit late maybe, but here are my thoughts on some of what transpired this past weekend, both league wide and Oilers specific.

(1) Calgary's set of moves - not too much to say, other than I largely agree with Matt and MC79's viewpoints on the two trades. The two trades probably make them weaker, but it remains to be seen what they do with the cap savings. This trade may help them add a decent player to the 2nd line, but will that be worth the anticipated downgrade from Tanguay to Cammalleri?

(2) Jokinen to PHX - I don't really understand this one, though I guess it shows Martin is a big fan of Ballard. 2 years of Jokinen for one year of Boynton at 3 mil + 2 years of Ballard (before he is a scheduled UFA) + a late 40's draft pick? I don't understand the pressure to make that move right now. It's not possible that some team can beat that offer in a month after getting shut out of the UFA market? Or at the deadline? Or next summer?

(3) Edmonton's lack of moves - I was surprised by the inaction, but not necessarily disappointed. It certainly would have been nice to see EDM pick up a "top 3 F", but waiting to see how things go on the UFA market doesn't seem like the worst idea either. I prefer the inaction to moving Schremp, Pouliot, Torres or Stoll for (what I consider) less than their worth to the Oilers.

(4) Edmonton drafting Eberle at 22OV - I liked Eberle, and had him #19 on my top 23 ( a list that I compiled without the detail and time I ordinarily use to prepare my top 30). I had a hard time making my list after i got past EDM's pick, which likely reflects the lesser importance (IMO) of drafting now vs. the old CBA. It'll be interesting to see how Eberle develops, if he can work on his skating a little bit, what improvements he can make both before training camp and in the years to come.

I don't know anything about the other picks, but from what I read all of them seem reasonable except the last pick, which would seem to be the least likely to produce a player anyways (though maybe not)

Here was my top 23, for those interested:

1. Stamkos
2. Bogosian
3. Doughty
4. Filatov
5. Schenn
6. Boedker
7. Pietrangelo
8. Wilson
9. Bailey
10. Hodgson
11. Sbisa
12. Boychuk
13. Beach
14. Myers
15. Robak
16. Karlsson
17. Cuma
18. Carlson
19. Eberle
20. Tedenby
21. Dalpe
22. Teubert
23. Colburne

Still to come before July 1st - UFA and roster thoughts for the Oilers.

Monday, June 09, 2008



Days after learning that the CBC got the HNIC theme song negotiations so completely wrong, we learn that CTV has capitalized on the situation quickly and appropriately. reports today that "CTV Inc., together with Copyright Music & Visuals, today announced that CTV Inc. has acquired all rights to 'The Hockey Theme' in perpetuity, preserving the song's legacy and ensuring it will be heard on national television for years to come. 'The Hockey Theme' song will now live on CTV Inc. properties TSN, RDS and across Canada on CTV during coverage of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympics as outlined below."

In my opinion, this marks an incredible milestone for the company and perhaps hockey viewing as we know it in Canada. With TSN's recent announcement of a 6 year contract extension, their acquisition of this song, and everyone saying all of the perfect things to tug at the easily inflamed Canadian heartstring juxtaposed with Bob Cole on life support coming in about 6 seconds late on each goal scored during the clinching game of the Stanley Cup Finals and CBC apparently dropping the ball entirely, one has to think that today marks a momentum shift in Canadian hockey viewing.

When I read, "The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it. We know we will be in hockey forever, so there's no doubt this acquisition will create value for us," (as quoted on and compare it to the CBC who apparently "forgot" their deadline for renegotiating their contract extension, I can't understand how one station is getting things so right at the same time as one doesn't seem to have a fucking clue.

And since I don't believe that people who do stupid things are always inherently stupid, I begin to wonder how/why this happened. Are the CBC really that ignorant of how their former HNIC theme song is perceived by Canadians? Or are they really so cheap as to not want to pay $500 per use? Finally, how in the hell do they seem to have so little in the way of a plan for HNIC moving forward?

And on the other side of the fence, kudos to CTV for saying all of the right things whether they believe them or not. Kudos to them for jumping on a rare opportunity to commit something of a hockey night coup. And finally, if they somehow orchestrated the deal in any way (through say, a pay-out to the mothercorp or a bribing of the old lady) then kudos to them for having the gumption to do so.

Yes, I used the word "gumption" today. Hurray for everyone.