As reported per TSN, Rob Blake has resigned in San Jose. This still leaves the Souray to LA rumours in the balance, but three things must be considered:
a) does Souray want to leave Edmonton? b) would Souray waive his NMC to go to LA? c) does Edmonton even want to move Souray?
Ty Conklin Should Sign in Boston
I believe I heard somewhere that Boston will get the next outdoor game. Manny Fernandez is on his way out of town so... backup Conklin? He made 750K last season and should probably command around 1.2 million or 2 million max - half of what Fernandez made last season.
With the Oilers picking up Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Anton Lander, here's a look at Björn Svensson, another Timrå hockey player with WHL and SEL experience, and he's the older (half?) brother of Magnus.
Those numbers aren't too bad and they compare favourably to one Milan Kytnar (though Svensson is older), who signed an entry-level contract with the Oilers this past summer. With the current problem of Linus Omark going to the KHL to join his best friend and "attached at the hip" teammate Johan Harju, I think it would be benefitial to sign this overrage undrafted European player for two reasons:
Tambellini and Pendergast have talked about having more experienced offensive players on the Falcons roster, and Björn has lots of that. They've talked a bit about getting guys like Jason Krog. If the Björn is anything like Milan Kytnar or even his younger brother Magnus, he will bring a level of compete to the farm team that good development systems need in order to succeed. Plus, he may earn a call up a la Tim Sestito.
When Magnus is done with Timrå IK it may ease his transition to the Falcons, in the situation that he doesn't make the Oilers straight out of training camp in 2010-11.
The Oilers are serious about bringing over great talents and making them comfortable. Signing Björn may show Omark, and others (Hrabal?), that the Oilers really mean business about weening incoming talents and prospects.
You may ask, why does making a bunch of talented prospects comfortable in the system even matter? The Oilers shouldn't build their prospect base around Paajarvi-Svensson and Omark, you say.
However, I don't think it's about that AT ALL. The Detroit Red Wings have actually had worse drafting success overall than most teams. What's their secret?
How do you think the Red Wings convinced guys like Ville Leino, Jiri Hudler, and Jonathan Ericsson to work their way up through the AHL?
PLAYER RETENTION STRATEGIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You see, there are players like the Sedins and then there are Red Wings lifers, such as Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen. Don't forget one Steve Yzerman as well.
Next year's Salary cap max is 56.8 million and the floor is 48 million.
The floor could be high for some teams. cough* Phoenix* cough* However this gives the Oilers a 1.8M breather (from the 55M predicted) considering they have maybe 6-7M overpaid in current assets. Also, the cap could possibly go down next year as this season may be more affected by the recession. So should the Oilers go out and get another inflated contract or do they grind it out and have the space for both a Gagner and Cogliano extension?
The Oilers will probably try to find cheap role players to fill holes this season by more than just the UFA route. One such alternative is trading for RFA's or making offer sheets. Though the latter approach is more risky considering the compensation involved (see Penner) and less likely to be successful (see Backes), one can always acquire them and resign them afterwards (see Lupul).
I was going over this season's RFA list and found the following RFA's of interest:
Erik Christensen, C/LW 2008-09 Salary: $750,000
Kari Lehtonen, G 2008-09 Salary: $3,000,000
Colby Armstrong, RW 2008-09 Salary: $1,200,000
Matt Hunwick, D *1 2008-09 Salary: $775,000
Martin St. Pierre, C *2 2008-09 Salary: $500,000
Drew Stafford, RW *3 2008-09 Salary: $984,000
Cam Barker, D 2008-09 Salary: $984,200
Ben Eager, LW 2008-09 Salary: $650,000
Kris Versteeg, RW 2008-09 Salary: $490,000
Olle-Kristian Tollefsen, D *4 2008-09 Salary: $750,000
Jason Bacashihua, G 2008-09 Salary: $708,092
Kyle Cumiskey, D 2008-09 Salary: $475,000
Mark Fistric, D 2008-09 Salary: $650,000
Jiri Hudler, F *5 2008-09 Salary: $1,150,000
Ville Leino, LW 2008-09 Salary: $875,000
Steve Eminger, D 2008-09 Salary: $1,200,000
David Booth, LW 2008-09 Salary: $675,000
Dan Fritsche, C 2008-09 Salary: $875,000
Benoit Pouliot, C 2008-09 Salary: $850,000
Josh Harding, G 2008-09 Salary: $750,000
Christopher Higgins, C 2008-09 Salary: $1,900,000
Tomas Plekanec, C/LW 2008-09 Salary: $1,800,000
Kyle Chipchura, C/RW *6 2008-09 Salary: $860,000
Matt D'Agostini, RW 2008-09 Salary: $508,000
Travis Zajac, C/RW 2008-09 Salary: $984,200
Blake Comeau, RW *7 2008-09 Salary: $735,000
Sergei Ogorodnikov, C *8 2008-09 Salary: $600,000
Brandon Dubinsky, C 2008-09 Salary: $635,000
Scottie Upshall, LW 2008-09 Salary: $1,250,000
Enver Lisin, RW *9 2008-09 Salary: $850,000
Marcel Goc, C 2008-09 Salary: $775,000
Thomas Greiss, G 2008-09 Salary: $725,000
Tomas Plihal, LW *10 2008-09 Salary: $500,000
Jeff Woywitka, D *11 2008-09 Salary: $725,000
Roman Polak, D *12 2008-09 Salary: $475,000
Matt Lashoff, D *13 2008-09 Salary: $685,000
Jannick Hansen, RW 2008-09 Salary: $500,000
Eric Fehr, RW *14 2008-09 Salary: $735,000
Matt Hunwick - a player that was rumoured to Edmonton at the recent trade deadline
Martin St. Pierre - Guy Flaming talks about this player as a potential pickup as a seasoned veteran offensive player for the farm in Springfield
Drew Stafford - thickoil loves this guy. Great player, bound to get a raise this off season.
Olle-Kristian Tollefsen - big guy does it all: block shots, fight, play hard
Jiri Hudler - this guy was almost an Oiler when Frank Musil recommended him to the Edmonton scouting staff; Detroit snapped him up first
Kyle Chipchura - my favourite on this list; team captain of his WJC team and team captain of the Hamilton Bulldogs who won the Calder Cup in 2007
Blake Comeau - he was the linemate of Tyler Spurgeon and Troy Bodie for the "Network Line," and he would make a great Springfield addition
Sergei Ogorodnikov - there has been talk that S.O. was having adjusting to the North American game in terms of an offensive game but you can't deny the leadership factor that e brings, and he could be a solid farm player in the mold of a Kytnar or Pisani (and a cheap replacement for that bum O'Marra)
Enver Lisin - another speedy skilled forward in the mold of Ville Leino and Jani Rita: the catch is this guy doesn't want to play in the AHL and that's really where he belongs at this point
Tomas Plihal - this checking forward has decent hands and is a cheap plugger
Jeff Woywitka - journeyman defenseman who is no stranger to Edmonton
Roman Polak - some think this guy is ready to play a top-4 role as a shut-down D-man opposite a good-to-medium offensively skilled D-man
Matt Lashoff - another D-man who was rumoured to Edmonton at the last trade deadline
Eric Fehr - the Oilers wanted to draft this guy but Washington got him; the Oilers have a history of acquiring guys they missed out on drafting (Nilsson, Pitkanen, etc.) and I wouldn't be surprised if they did it again with Fehr because this is one good hockey player; more on Eric Fehr here
If I had to pick one, just one RFA out of the entire list, it'd have to be Drew Stafford. The only problem is I doubt that Buffalo lets this guy get away and so realistically speaking, I think a guy like Chipchura, Polak, or Fehr would benefit the Oilers.
On the goaltending front, Lehtonen and Bacashihua seem to be the only goalies that have any NHL experience worth mentoining, though both have been known to be injury-prone.
The Challenge: Forge a competitive NHL team with 55 million or less
I was thinking back to Lowetide's blog post on cap bargain players and that got me thinking about how the Oilers could potentially still compete as a team though they will very likely be picking a very high priced player this off-season.
Let's be honest with ourselves: Katz failed to sign Hossa last year and with the loss of Reasoner and Glencross, I'm sure he won't let the next big ticket get away. It's almost guaranteed that Katz will make sure one of Heatley, Gaborik, or Hossa will be Tambellini's next successful acquisition via trade or free agent signing. Even if it's not one of those three, something big will happen. He's opened the books to the coaches when he signed Quinn and Renney. Here come the player pay cheques too!
But Oilers admin, Oilers fan, and the Oilogosphere alike are well aware of the cheap contracts the Oilers had during the o5-06 cup run and how they are necessary to have more talent than is proportional to the salary being paid. It is interesting that despite the way the last two seasons ended (just out of the playoffs but on different terms) it would seem that the window of opportunity just opened up again.
This is not the first Armchair GM/Potential Scenario kind of shindig that I've thrown together in the last few weeks but the main focus for this scenario is the acquisition of cheap role players and bonafide NHL talent at reasonable prices.
The Lineup (Summary)
LW Heatley C Horcoff RW Hemsky LW Cogliano C Pavelski RW Gagner LW Moreau C UFA Center RW Pisani LW Jacques C Brodziak RW Stortini F MacIntyre F Reddox
D Visnovsky D Grebeshkov D Ehrhoff D Smith D Gorges D Peckham D Zanon D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen
G Lehtonen G Harding G Perugini
Salary: 52.457 million + ????
Forwards - 29.757 million + ????
LW Heatley $7.5/7.0 C Horcoff $5.5 RW Hemsky $4.1
LW Cogliano $1.133 C Pavelski $1.637 RW Gagner $1.625
LW Moreau $2.0 C Fiddler/Yelle EST $1.0 RW Pisani $2.5
LW Jacques $0.525 C Brodziak EST $1.0 RW Stortini $0.7
F MacIntyre $0.537 F Reddox ???? F Chipchura ???? F Spurgeon ???? F Stone ???? F Kytnar ????
Though I would like to see Gratton in an Oiler uniform for faceoff purposes alone I also consider the fact that the Oilers passed on him when he was on waivers. So realistically, Vernon Fiddler, Stephane Yelle or Mike Zigomanis are better options. I also wouldn't rule out the chances of one of the farmhands surprising at TC 09-10 considering the Tyler Spurgeon faceoff winning checking center is just the type of player the Oilers are looking for, and would cost less than a Fiddler, Yelle, or Zigomanis, though the latter options would have more veteran experience in the position.
And btw, I would love to see either Stone or Spurgeon in Oiler uniforms this upcoming season. Here's to their showing up to the TC party.
Defense - 17.2 million + ????
D Visnovsky $5.6 D Grebeshkov $3.2
D Ehrhoff$3.3 D Smith $2.6
D Gorges $1.1 D Peckham $0.6
D Zanon EST $0.8 D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen ????
One thing stands out the most to me: Theo Peckham is ready for full time work and I believe he can do the job that Smid or Staios does, and perhaps eventually, do it better.
In this scenario, a Jay Bouwmeester signing doesn't happen on account of too much salary to dump. If Heatley can be acquired without taking back defensive salary, then perhaps a move here and a move there could accomondate the large salary J-Bo is bound to be asking for. The catch: the Oilers can't have 3 big ticket D-men. At least not in my imaginary scenarios where I get to call the shots (LOL!).
Goaltending - 5.5 million + ????
G Lehtonen EST 3.0 G Harding EST 2.5
Combined with Harding, Lehtonen would make a great 1A/1B combination.
G Perugini (I think he warrants this position on the depth chart)
Total Salary - 52.457 million + ???? Verdict: Challenge can be met
(EDM) Tom Gilbert + Dustin Penner + prospect for (OTT) Dany Heatley + Jason Smith + low draft pick (5th or lower)
(EDM) Marc-Antoine Pouliot + Steve Staios + Ladislav Smid for (MTL) Kyle Chipchura + Josh Gorges + prospect
(EDM) Patrick O'Sullivan for (MIN) Josh Harding
(EDM) Jeff DesLauriers for (CLB) Olle-Kristian Tollefsen
(EDM) Robert Nilsson + draft picks or prospects for (ATL) Kari Lehtonen
Trade #1 - Why does Ottawa accept this trade?
Ottawa is in a corner when it comes to the Heatley trade demands and if they deal a top 6 LW they will need a top 6 LW in return. Seeing as they would be accepting way too much salary, the Oilers would need to pick up some salary, most likely Smith, in return.
There are a lot of teams out there that need scoring, but I have no doubt that Edmonton and Vancouver are the most desperate right now. The Oilers have better assets to give up.
Trade #2 - Why does San Jose accept this trade?
Firstly, if I was San Jose, I would want to keep Joe Pavelski. However, the loss of Rob Blake means a need for a big D-man who can play both the PP and the PK. Pavelski is due for a pay raise soon and that means one of Marleau or Cheechoo would have to be traded and perhaps San Jose is willing to part with Pavelski instead, with the added incentive of some skilled prospects (Schremp? Omark?) and a high draft pick.
Sheldon Souray is a slight upgrade on Christian Ehrhoff, who is significantly more expensive than his counterparts Vlasic and Murray. This may mean Ehrhoff is expendable to San Jose.
Trade #3 - Why does Montreal accept this trade?
We all know that Bob Gainey has pretty much nobody on contract into next season. He has a whackload of prospects and RFAs to resign and perhaps he is willing to part with former WJC star and Team Canada captain Kyle Chipchura. Pouliot is on a pretty fair contract and he's got size and speed.
Also, looking at Montreal's D-core one first notices the lack of veteran leadership with the exception of the hardened Hamrlik and the marksmen Markov. The re-acquisition of Jason Smith leaves Steve Staios expendable. Josh Gorges at $1.0 M is not bad for a third pairing offensive defenseman. Sure is cheaper than Marc-Andre Bergeron at $1.6 M.
First off, I would love to keep Smid. But I have heard rumours of his not wanting to play in Edmonton, let alone on a third pairing. Smid is coming into his own and would probably form part of Montreal's new second pairing (LOL!) of Staios-Smid. Sure beats playing Ryan O'Byrne every night for 25 minutes, I'll tell you that much. And Edmonton gets a decent prospect in return for Smid. Win-win.
Trade #4 - Why does Minnesota accept this trade?
Minnesota loves Patrick O'Sullivan. Edmonton loves Josh Harding. I'm sure we can work things out in terms of the specifics but this seems to me to be a trade made in heaven.
The teams out east that need goaltending (Philadelphia, Tampa Bay) are not looking like favourable outlets for Harding. I don't think Minnesota will mind trading within the division, since both players involved have played very limited time for their respective teams.
O'Sullivan would easily be in the top 6 forward bracket for Minnesota.
Trade #5 - Why does Columbus accept this trade?
Well, there's always the Scott Howson factor.
Steve Mason is on a cheap contract. I'm also sure that Howson is interested in acquiring a veteran backup for the Calder trophy winner Mason, but he would save a lot of money by acquiring cheap backup DesLauriers as opposed to more expensive options such as Khabibulin or Roloson (who would also be applied to the Howson factor). Mason proved this season that he's ready for the starting job.
Olle-Kristian Tollefsen is a pending RFA and this would take one more thing off of Howson's mind. He's a big strong defenseman of the Hal Gill model but perhaps with better passing. He would be a cheap Ladislav Smid replacement (though his skating does not compare) and an upgrade on Jason Strudwick.
Trade #6 - Why does Atlanta accept this trade?
Simply put, Atlanta has not offensive depth. They emptied the vaults for the Keith Tkachuk episode and it hurt them bad.
Ondrej Pavelec may not necessarily be ready for the big show but I'm sure that if the Oilers offered Robert Nilsson it would be great starting point for discussing a potential trade for Kari Lehtonen.
It is also possible that the Oilers keep DesLauriers and trade Cogliano. The Oilers are wary of trading Cogliano, as per every source made available thus far on the internet, but if the right return is available, don't think Tambellini won't make the move.
Shout out to Boys on the Bus, who has a pretty good thing going even though they just started out. Welcome to the Oilogosphere.
With all that math said and done, here is a similar lineup.
A Similar Lineup
LW Heatley C Horcoff RW Hemsky LW Antropov* C Pavelski RW Gagner LW Moreau C UFA Center RW Pisani LW Jacques C Brodziak RW Stortini F Hudler F MacIntyre F Helm
D Visnovsky D Grebeshkov D Kronwall D Smith D Gorges D Peckham D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen D Chorney
G Gustavsson** G Harding G Perugini
Salary: Around 54 million, depending on Gustavsson (this scenario has no Greg Zanon signing)
* Antropov plays both wings ** Gustavsson may have no NHL experience but he's an international sensation I believe he would make a great tandem with Harding
(EDM) Tom Gilbert + Dustin Penner + prospect for (OTT) Dany Heatley + Jason Smith + low draft pick (5th or lower)
(EDM) Marc-Antoine Pouliot + Steve Staios + Ladislav Smid for (MTL) Kyle Chipchura + Josh Gorges + prospect
(EDM) Patrick O'Sullivan for (MIN) Josh Harding
(EDM) Jeff DesLauriers for (CLB) Olle-Kristian Tollefsen
(EDM) Robert Nilsson + draft picks or prospects for (ATL) Kari Lehtonen
(EDM) Christian Ehrhoff + Andrew Cogliano + Robert Nilsson for Niklas Kronwall + Jiri Hudler + Darren Helm + low draft picks
Trade #7 - Why does Detroit accept this trade?
One can dream... yeah I know this would put the Red Wings over the cap. This is because Kronwall makes less than Ehrhoff and Nilsson makes way more than Helm. Perhaps the Oilers could swallow some salary for the Red Wings, who knows. Oh yeah, there's also that business about Kronwall being a more complete defenseman than Ehrhoff.
However, Cogliano played college hockey in Michigan and would probably be a known player to the Red Wings local scouts. Cogliano is arguably just as good as most of the Red Wings young players (Hudler, Helm) and perhaps better than some. Nilsson is a pure salary dump but I'm sure the Red Wings will love his skill.
Hudler is a pending RFA. Edmonton can take that RFA off their hands considering all the other contracts Detroit has handed out and is yet to hand out this off season. They aren't going to resign Mikael Samuelsson... but do they have enough to resign Hudler after opening the books for Franzen?
Hudler doesn't fit into this Edmonton lineup right off the bat but he could yield a return if someone tries to sign him to an offer sheet. If not, we could flip him for more assets later on in the off season or regular season.
This is David Rundblad taking a slap shot from the point.
More on him later.
Who I want (at 10th overall):
Besides the obvious players who won't be available at the 10th spot (Tavares, Hedman, Kane), here are the players I think realistically will be available and should be Oilers property come time to draft.
When it comes to this year's draft I think it's time for Tambellini to try to draft something that is as close to a low-risk pick as possible: that pretty much means he has to pick a player he knows will be an NHL competitor. Here's the list of players whose bios and descriptions I've read and come across as the best potentially available at 10th overall.
DMITRY KULIKOV, D, Drummondville (QMJHL) SCOTT GLENNIE, RW, Brandon (WHL) STEFAN ELLIOT, D, Saskatoon (WHL) RYAN ELLIS, D, Windsor (OHL) JACOB Josefson, C, Djurgården (Sweden) DAVID RUNDBLAD, D, Skelleftea (Sweden) TIM ERIXON, D, Skelleftea (Sweden)
Kulikov's description reminds me a bit of Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings or Zach Bogosian of the Atlanta Thrashers. Strong, skilled, and takes the hit to make the play as well as a great outlet pass. Hopefully he can be our next Boris Mironov - and then some.
As for Glennie, it's been beat to death how he's the prototype strong Western Canadian hockey brainchild and I think he has the makings of a pretty good top 6 forward. He's got the skills and smarts to be a Paul Stastny type though who knows how high the ceiling actually is for him.
When it comes to Ryan Ellis, myself an others (including Dean Millard) are unconvinced that he warrants a 10th overall selection, but he certainly puts some of the other NHL prospects to shame in terms of his pure skill, smarts, and point shot alone. Not that Ellis projects to be a bad NHL player by any merit, mind you. His comparables, Letang, Rafalski, Russell, are all good defenseman. But is he the best player at 10th? He certainly is a 1st round pick in this year's draft, though - because that is the consensus and that's why we have the CSS. A bigger version of Ryan Ellis would be Stefan Elliot.
As for the rest of the D-men I've listed, I think you can never draft too many smart hockey players (especially smart defensemen) and each of the last 4 players are likened and have specifically noted that they pattern their games after the likes of Zetterberg, Lidström, and Crosby. Though patterning your game after someone doesn't necessarily mean anything, the scouting reports show that at least these 4 players have had some success at picking up those skills. And that is why I like Elliot, Rundbald, and Erixon: they sound more ready to pick up a NHL style of game and already have a puck possesion mentality. On another note, Rundblad and Elliot are noted as having big point shots.
Who I don't want (at 10th overall):
When it comes to these players, I still think they are great prospects but don't believe they warrant a 10th overall selection. I believe these players to be middle first (15th overall) to early 2nd round (40th overall) type of players. These are still really skilled, but aren't necessarily the type of players the Oilers need right now.
OLIVER Ekman Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden-2) ZACH KASSIAN, RW, Peterborough (OHL) NAZEM KADRI, C, London (OHL)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a great hockey player in his own right and has been compared to Lidström as well. But it doesn't say anywhere about his determination to improve as a hockey player the way it does for Erixon or Josefson. Also, Ekman-Larsson plays in a lower tier and won't be ready for NHL hockey (let alone full time NHL minutes) for a long time. Most NHL D-men are long term projects but I expect Ekman-Larsson to be a extended project in himself. He has the skills - but can he adjust to North American hockey? Will he play in the AHL?
I still love Zach Kassian and think he will be a great NHL player, but I'm on the fence about whether he'll become a Travis Zajac type or a Brad Isbister type.
As for Nazem Kadri, I think that Rob Schremp is a good comparable and had/has better upside than Kadri. Kadri has more size but does he have more pluck than Schremp? Kadri has a reputation of not using his team mates nor presenting any form of backcheck or forecheck. Certainly, this is just a reputation.
It has come to my attention that the Oilers are interested in signing Nik Antropov as a Dustin Penner replacement. This has certain implications:
Nik Antropov is estimated to make less than Dustin Penner's 4.250 million
This would spell the reunification of Pat Quinn and Antropov
Antropov is a RW, Penner is a LW; this means one of O'Sullivan or Nilsson will likely keep their job, unless Cogliano is capable of switching wings; thus far Cogliano has played C/RW
This may be confirmation that Penner may be in play for Dany Heatley
If Antropov is signed, Gaborik is likely not an option (because Antropov is UFA, but Penner/Heatley are both signed to contracts and must be acquired/dumped via trade)
Would Antropov actually be an improvement? The same knocks on Dustin Penner (desire, pluck, consistency) are commonly cited for Antropov as well. However, Antropov is coming out of a hockey hotbed that is actually more critical of their players than Edmonton is and one has to wonder if Antropov is actually as bad as a lot of fans make him out to be. He was one of New York's better players after the deadline. That doesn't say much about Scott Gomez or Chris Drury, I'll tell you that much.
The one thing that Antropov has you can't teach and that's size. He's got a ton of skill that he doesn't use often and I wonder if he's an upgrade on another Oiler castoff: Ales Kotalik?!!!!
I think the Oilers would also save a ton of money by resigning Kotalik but would we be a better team for it?
Here's what the Oilers forward lineup would look like in such a circumstance:
There would be plenty of salary to dump but lots left over to sign/acquire a goaltender. This lineup would have plenty of size and skill to go around, but a lot of question marks in the consistency dept. (see Kotalik, Antropov).
Considering a potential Heatley acquisition, the picture gets more twisted:
Brodziak could potentially move up and fill the 3rd line center role but it would be a better idea to get a seasoned veteran to play that role. Perhaps Malholtra, Gratton, or Fiddler. How much would such UFA Centers command on the open market?
Such a lineup above would be highly skilled but a bit strapped for cash.
I'm all for acquiring Heatley but also recognize that filling out the rest of the top 6 with cheap but effective contracts will be a very tough and trying task for Tambellini.
Due to the cap going down to 55, and the highly rumored chances of the Oilers getting Jay Bouwmeester and/or Dany Heatley. I've been wondering if it's plausible at all to get under our cap. Since the forecasters have predicted a 55M ceiling, that's what I'm going to target.
Deal 1: Penner+Gilbert/Souray+10th for Dany Heatley
Although some may scoff at Penner heading the other way, Murray did bring him up in Anaheim and has that connection. Ottawa is also in a situation, that they will most likely get some for of cap dump back. Even if the Oilers don't do the deal for Heatley, I see Ottawa getting a Top 6 forward with mediocore to bad contract, a younger offensive high potential d-man, and a combination of A+prospects/draft picks.
Deal 2: Gilbert/Souray for Jay Bouwmeesters rights.
Sign Jay Bouwmeester for 10 years/65M (6.5 Cap hit)
Florida most likely does this instantly. It may not be the best trade from the Oilers perspective, but it allows us to get negotiating rights for a player that actually wants to play here.
So far I've moved, out 4.25+4+5.4=13.65 and brought in 6.5+7.5=14 which is only a 0.35 cap increase.
Next we resign Grebeshkov for 3 years/10M for a 3.33 hit. (Rumored to be a 3 email@example.com deal atm)
We resign, Smid to a 3 year/5M for a 1.67 hit We resign Brodziak to a 3 year/5M for a 1.67 hit Sign Zanon to a 3 year/6M for a 2 hit. Sign Betts to a 2 year/2.5M fora 1.25 hit. Offer Nilsson+Staois elsewheres for picks/prospects OS Harding for a 3.25 hit.
For a total hit of 54.058 according to my excel spreadsheet. The best part is that Pisani and Moreaus contracts are up soon and most likely won't resign at the inflated prices they were at. This would give us more cap room for the Gagner extension. Our bottom 2 on D could also be questionable, and if people prefer Staois, you could move O'Sullivan and keep Nilsson around in order to keep Staois.
Antropov - 3-3.5 million - let's say 3.2 million Malholtra - 1.5-3 million - let's say 2.1 million Grebeshkov - 3.0-3.5 million - let's say 3.2 million Niittymaki - 1.2-2.5 million - let's say 1.7 million
Brodziak - 1.0 M Reddox - 0.7 M Smid - 1.3 M Strudwick - 0.5 M
Total Salary: 56.670 million * **
* Heatley has an estimated cap hit of 7.0 M with his remaining salary and remaining contract term, not including the 4 M signing bonus due July 1st.
** NHL Numbers is estimating the cap to go down to around 55 million next season. I will continue to assume that floating in around 56 is O.K.
He scored 24-34-59 in 80 GP with 717 faceoffs won and 557 faceoffs lost, for a FO% of 56.3. More on Joe later.
For each of the listed players, the first number is the current cap hit of the player as calculated by entire contract divided by length of term by the team that signed them and/or at the time of acquisition. The second number is the remaining contract to be paid over the remaining term starting in the 2009-10 season.
Feel free to chip in for/against my proposals but do NOT take any of them seriously. I'm just trying to shoot the shit (pardon my French) for this upcoming off season of major change.
For reference: Daniel/Henrik Sedin - 6.083 (VAN) 6.083 link Joe Pavelski - 1.637 (SJS) / 1.725**
* He has a 4 million signing bonus due July 1. ** Joe Pavelski is not actually on the block. He is here for reference only. I would love to acquire him for the Oilers, though.
Dany Heatley, LW 82 GP, 39-33-72, 88 PIM
Marco Sturm, LW 19 GP, 7-6-13, 8 PIM
Alexander Frolov, LW 77 GP, 32-27-59, 30 PIM
Wojtek Wolski, LW 78 GP, 14-28-42, 28 PIM
Oilers Organizational Needs
Defensive Depth @ Cheaper Rates
Firstly, I want to say I was surprised that Heatley would cost us less than previously thought, though the discount is only 500k per year, if the signing bonus can be avoided.
Secondly, I was surprised to find that signing one of the Sedins would be cheaper than signing Heatley. That being said, you have to sign both the Sedins if you're gonna sign them at all.
Thirdly, I put size before scoring on the team chart because Edmonton scored a lot of goals this season but couldn't keep them out of the net. This is also why goaltending is higher up the list.
Other potential FA signings on the market, such as Marian Gaborik, will also be sniffing about in the 5.5 - 7.5 M / year range. This is probably where Marian Hossa would fall as well, because even with the season he just had, I think the Red Wings set the precedent for what a player like Hossa is worth. I don't think the Oilers would still offer him 8 M+ / year as they did last summer.
Scenario 1: Heatley/Bouwmeester come to Edmonton Scenario 2: Sedins come to Edmonton Scenario 3: Oilers remain as status quo as possible, and add role players as opposed to star players
"The coach needs to have a captain that understands that his message needs to be carried to the players. The captain has to be responsible to that fact. We don't need just one leader - we need all sorts of leaders [...] he has to carry messages that are from among the players that need to get to the head coach."
Not that it's a big deal or anything, but he refers to the "Captain" as some sort of abstract person or idea. Ethan Moreau is the Oilers' current captain, but never in his interview does Pat Quinn mention Ethan Moreau's name once. Does this indicate that Quinn and Renney will be picking their own guy?
And if it is (as often indicated) that Quinn has no idea about anyone on this team... then why is he commenting? You can't really comment on something you know nothing about.
Defense Born February 24 1991 -- Port Chester, New York Height 6.00 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots L
45 Games Played 2-5-7 12 PIM
The son of former NHL checking forward Jan Erixon, Tim was born in the United States but came to fame through the hockey program of his motherland, Sweden. For some reason or another, Tim was loaned out to the Malmo Redhawks from his Elitserien team Skelleftea HC.
What I paid the post attention to when they were describing him was his dual ability to play both offense and defense reliably. Though he is primarily touted for his puck rushing ability, the fact that so many scouts speak highly of his defensive reliability is probably a good indication of how readily his skills would translate to a North American style of defense.
Though Oliver Ekman-Larsson gets most of the favourable comparisons to Niklas Lidström, I think the reality is that Tim Erixon is probably a better comparison. When it comes to Ekman-Larsson, nobody speaks about his defensive smarts, and this is pure conjecture, but Erixon may be the more mature, more NHL-ready of the two Swedish defenseman.
So I was always under the impression that Edmonton was called the "City of Champions" because of all the sporting history involved in this town. This was reinforced multiple times in my childhood by all sorts of people: teachers, friends, random people... but I just found out today that this is not true. Courtesy thickoil:
1) Pittsburgh was the first city known as the "City of Champions" when the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers each won multiple championships in the 1970s.
2) In fact, the “City of Champions” name was coined by former mayor Laurence Decore after Black Friday. It has nothing to do with River City’s sports teams. It is meant to refer to the fact that Edmonton, after coming together as a community in response to the tornado, was a city of champions (i.e., all Edmontonians are champions).
Very recently, the sports fans in Pittsburgh have taken to calling themselves by a name that Edmontonians are very familiar with - the City of Champions. But Edmonton has been using that moniker for a long, long time now.
I don't know whether to feel cheated or feel disappointed. The last Edmonton Stanley Cup was back in 90 and Pittsburgh fans count NFL titles whereas Edmonton fans count Grey Cups.
Here's what Pittsburgh has achieved:
3 Stanley Cups
6 Lombardi Trophies
Great NCAA tradition
Here's what Edmonton has achieved:
5 Stanley Cups
13 Grey Cups
Great CIS tradition
So the questions are, who is the real "City of Champions," and can there be two "City of Champions" simultaneously?
Now, not that Ethan Moreau is a bad captain: but the last time it seemed that the Oilers had captains that had a commanding presence was when we had Doug Weight and Jason Smith. Though one led by contributing offensively the other led by snuffing out the opposition's offense. One would dance past the opposition on his way into the scoring areas and one would demolish his opponents when they entered the scoring areas.
The number one thing in common?
When they stopped to talk - everyone listened.
Whether it was a media misquote or Moreau mismanaging his own words, Moreau has been involved with a few mental gaffaws when it comes to interviews. Sure, nobody is perfect and people in the spotlight aren't either. But sometimes it is better to say nothing than the wrong thing. What I want to know is which is the actual problem: is it because Moreau is not shown enough respect as a captain when he talks... or whether he doesn't command enough respect to be called a team captain in the first place? What do you think?
And speaking of Jason Smith... who is in line to be his replacement on this team? Ladislav Smid ... or Theo Peckham? Could both develop accordingly? What if the Smid trade rumours are true?
Dany Heatley - a skilled, world-class talent winger who wants out of Ottawa. He has represented Canada on many fronts and has been near the top of the NHL scoring lists every year except this past year.
Edmonton Oilers - a hockey team in need of a world-class talent winger since Ryan Smyth left town. No offense to Dustin Penner (who is a very good hockey player, btw), but he's no Smyth and he's definitely not a Heatley. There are arguments both for and against acquiring Heatley, and I am strongly in favour of acquiring him. Here is what some hockey bloggers from around the Oilogosphere have been saying, and I will respond to them at the end.
Can you win anything of value with 5 players making 28.1M:
More to the point, can you win anything of value with those 5 players taking up that much of the cap?
If an NHL team is going to win consistently, it's got to develop an ethic where it refuses to overpay for players. The ultimate team player in the NHL is a fellow like Zetterberg who takes as much as a few million less per year to stay with the hometown club. The Oilers needs to build around that kind of star player.
Heatley's contract overpays him, so he's not that player.
To borrow an expression, this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. What's the point of moving a cheap first-line RW for an expensive first-line LW? We can argue about relative value, but Hemsky's contract means a lot in that discussion and the simple fact of the matter is that if the roster is going to be lopsided after a deal, the Oilers might as well continue rebuilding at a slower pace.
Lowetide and Staples both agree that Dany Heatley is overpaid
Staples believes the Oilers should focus on finding the ultimate team player, and not focus on the elite talent that Heatley represents; he contends the Oilers need guys who will take discounts to play on winning teams
Jonathan Willis neither commits to whether Heatley is a good or bad pickup, only saying that the Oilers cannot afford to move Hemsky in any deal for the Senators winger
I would probably agree that Dany Heatley is overpaid, if it were not for the fact that the very same Edmonton Oilers hockey club that was trying to acquire Marian Hossa for 8+ million and Jaromir Jagr for 6.5+ million is the one interested in landing Dany Heatley.
Consider that it is pretty obvious that one of the top-3 (Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert) will be dealt by the end of the off-season, along with the unlikely circumstance that Grebeshkov is dealt instead. With Grebs in line for a raise, either Gilbert (who has the highest dollar value) will be moved or Souray (who will have to waive his NMC) will have to be moved, because it is unlikely that Visnovsky will be moved considering the whole debacle last summer about whether the Oilers can acquire guys who want to stay in the city. Of course there is the issue about moving Souray (who came to Edmonton because he was coming home to play hockey) but that is rather secondary when there are salary cap issues at hand. With the inevitability that one D-man will be moved, I think that the Oilers' salary structure would look more like this:
Heatley 7.5 M
Visnovsky 5.6 M
Horcoff 5.5 M
Souray 5.4 M *
Penner 4.3 M
Hemsky 4.1 M
Gilbert 4.0 M **
Grebs 3.0 M ***
Salary Cap = 56.7 M 8 Players = 39.4 M (without trades) Cap Room = 17.3 M for 15 players on the active roster (and not including salary for players not on the active roster!!!) (More info on roster types here.)
* & ** one or both will be traded *** projected
The average NHL salary is 1.9 M according to this source. The Oilers spent around 53 M last year and 1.9 M * 23 players would be 43.7 M. If there is an average salary of 4.9 M for those 8 players listed above, in order to reach the league average for player salaries for the rest of the 23 M, the Oilers could only use up an extra 4.3 M, which is clearly not going to work out. If you divide the 17.3 M cap space by the average 1.9 M salary per player, the Oilers will not even fill the 23 player roster even by spending to the NHL salary cap ceiling (17.3/1.9 = aboout 9 players; 8 + 9 = 17 players!). So ultimately, one or more of the group of 8 will definitely be traded this summer. Either way though, acquiring Heatley could have the negative effect of limiting who the Oilers can bring up from Springfield in case of injury, especially if the Oilers intend to use more of their 50 contracts on AHL veterans to spiff up the competitiveness of their farm team (AHL vets undoubtedly command slightly more than younger AHL players; AHL average is about 55K but their full contract kicks in after being recalled - 450K minimum).
Consider also that Mats Sundin made 8.6 million last year and both Wade Redden and Ed Jovanovski have cap hits of 6.5 million per season. By comparison, is Heatley, or Sundin/Redden/Jovanovski more valuable at their unit price? I understand that Redden and Jovo are D-men, but seriously - are they?
Yeah, there's all sorts of "character issues" with Dany Heatley, apparently. Some critics have compared him to Chris Pronger with his trade request out of Ottawa. But this beef is different - this is with Cory Clouston and not with the City of Ottawa. With Pronger, he had a beef with the City of Edmonton itself. But how about Marian Hossa - who left his team after Game 7 last year to sign with the Detroit Red Wings - the team that beat him? Pittsburgh fans still hate him for that and boo him every time he touches the puck. Willis wrote a very similar piece on Alexei Yashin here. Character and the lack thereof is in the eye of the beholder.
Before a "team player" can identify a city for which the winning precedent or winning tradition is primary, it must be an established truth that the city can provide that type of winning atmosphere. For that to occur, players have to sign on to stay in the city at a discount of what they are worth in order to establish that precedent. Edmonton, beginning after the Oilers cup run, handed out fat contracts to Pisani and Moreau, but refused to pay Ryan Smyth 5.75 million when he was being offered 6.3 elsewhere. In hindsight, was Nilsson + O'Marra + Plante as useful as Ryan Smyth alone? Acquiring Heatley is not a counter-testament to acquiring "team players" such as Henrik Zetterberg, rather, it is the first step towards getting full dollar value by removing other contracts that were foolishly signed in the post-Pronger haste.
The Oilers have plenty of young talent and not all of them can possibly reach their offensive potential. If that were the case, there would be no need to ever break up the Nilsson-Gagner-Cogliano line. But we know the reality is that a lineup with smallish skill forwards such as Nilsson, Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Potulny, Brule, Eberle, etc. will not be strong enough in all areas of the game of hockey to win championships. Thus, it is also inevitable that the Oilers will deal this excess young talent who will inevitably, among them, not all reach their offensive potential as would have been promised on their draft day. Considering Gagner is all but earmarked to be the future of the franchise, it is time to evaluate who else can and will be an effective role player on this new Oilers team post-Tambellini. Either way, the Oilers are dealing from a position of strength and they are not losing anything by acquiring Heatley (considering they don't overpay to get him). Willis tries to assess fair value for Heatley here.
All in all, I believe all the arrows point in the direction of acquiring Heatley as a major positive. Salary can and will be moved and the new Oilers dynamic will feature some of the same faces but as Steve Tambellini's speech had indicated, it will also feature a lot of new ones. Where better to start than a marquee, NHL elite talent like Heatley? He is right up there with the Kovalchuks, Ovechkins, and Hossas in terms of offensive capability - and when's the last time the Oilers had the chance to dress one of those kind of players?
"A Canadian team I'm sure will have interest is the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to search for a top three forward," TSN Insider Darren Dreger said.
Dany Heatley wants to move to the Western Conference and the Edmonton Oilers have been looking for a 1st line LW since Ryan Smyth left town. Heatley was born in Germany and raised in Calgary, so he's no stranger to Edmonton or the Battle of Alberta - which are both bonuses and incentives to trying to acquire this player.
The price would be steep for both teams, as Edmonton would have to give up a lot and at the same time pick up his massive contract. Conversely, Ottawa would have to take back some major salary in order to make this deal plausible.
Yet more and more, the Oilers first triple-H line looks ready to be formed.
Many positives could result from such a trade:
Dustin Penner (who IS a good hockey player, imo) will be given lesser minutes on the second line and perhaps even enjoy an offensive renaissance
Hemsky, who has been complaining about not having the right linemates for a long time, will finally have a finisher. If it doesn't work with Heatley the way it "didn't work" with Smyth, Sykora, and Kotalik, then the problem may lie elsewhere ...
The Ottawa Senators need help on the blueline and the Oilers would be dealing from a position of strength
I can see Tambellini unloading all of Moreau, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Cogliano despite the strengths and reputation of players such as Moreau and Cogliano as captain and speedy phenom. From what I see, Moreau's contribution to the team as a gritty forward and bull-in-a-china-shop is negligible after all the bad penalties and poor defensive decisions he makes are added up together. Cogliano has some major skills and world class speed but it is obvious that this is Sam Gagner's team moving forward.
I have huge faith in some of the farmhands on this team despite the poor season that Springfield had. In particular, I like Ryan Stone and Tyler Spurgeon. MA Pouliot seems like an obvious player dump to a lot of people but I believe he will have a useful role on a Pat Quinn team. I believe that Ryan Stone has more upside than even Curtis Glencross. Yeah, I went there.
Once again, I wouldn't mind moving Brodziak to C/RW to play a more offensive role or aka the "Shawn Horcoff role" alongside Sam Gagner and whoever the new UFA/RFA pickup would be.
Also, I like Tom Gilbert a lot, but at his contract value and what he brings to the team, he is the most attractive trade bait the Oilers have this smmer.
As for Smid, it has been reported that he asked for a trade but you never know what can happen if there is major change in the organization this summer.