Edm - Phx
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09-10-2011, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Waterloo Ontario
Originally Posted by
Smyth is old but he's still an excellent player, and Doan isn't much younger. Smyth was a big part of Kopitar's breakthrough in 2009-10, and I don't think it's a stretch to say he might have a couple good years left. I think Hartikainen might be an excellent fit, and Gagner and Hemsky finally got it figured out when put together last year. Gagner is a playmaker first, but he has a good knack around the net too. If he ever reaches his potential he'll pot 25 goals a year. I think he's a somewhat balanced player offensively.
I don't think Gagner has been passed by Paajarvi as an offensive weapon. I think there is a good chance Paajarvi is more of a Jere Lehitenen type, good offense but much more of a 2-way player. I think Gagner would match up fine with all of Hemsky, Smyth, Hartikainen, Hall, and Paajarvi. Hamilton and Pitlick are too far away right now to project as 2nd liners, but i don't think either would be a bad match. Hopkins may get more minutes with Hall and Eberle, but we all know centers tend to be shuffled throughout lines. Worrying about who he'll play with in the future is getting too far ahead, IMO. Fair enough?
Smyth has been showing his age of late. (I liked the trade though). Doan is not much younger, but has proved quite a bit more durable. That said, I don't think the Coyotes and Oilers are in the same place at all. Edmonton will be looking at 2013-2014 as a reasonable target for being a solid playoff contender. They may make it earlier but will probably not be much of a factor. Phoenix needs to think much more abut the hereand now. Though really I am looking at the deal more from its impact on the Oilers. Phoenix fans can more fairly comment on their end.
Normally I would agree that looking too many years in advance is perhaps inappropriate. But I think this is exactly what the Oilers must do given where they are in their rebuild. I agree that Paajarvi is most likely not going to be primarily an offensive guy. But I think that in terms of where he sits in the grand scheme of things he has passed Gagner in terms of his place on the general pecking order. I also think that he is likely a top six forward but I don't think he matches well with Gagner. Nor do I think Hall and Gagner fit. Both players will make their living off of their speed and from the transition game.
I agree that Hartikainen could fit Gagner's game, but does this mean you move Hartikainen up or Gagner down to a third line role. I am not adverse to using a bigger less skilled guy on the second line but I would not do it just to make Gagner's life easier.
With respect to their forwards I think the key decisions are Hemsky and Gagner. Gagner is very young but at the end of this year he will need a new contract and will only be two years from UFA. If he is still a 'tweener thats not an ideal position from the teams perspective. And as I said if they do sign Hemsky I think that makes Gagner at best the sixth man up front.
I honestly do not see the type of breakout from Gagner that some are hoping for. I do expect he could eventually be a 55-60 point second line center, with significant flaws in his game. I think he can learn to be decent defensively, but I do not understand why he seems to be so weak, given that he is really not that small. I also don't see him as much of a goal scorer. Particularly if his powerplay time is limited, which it will certainly be if RNH takes off. This is why I think that Turris could be a better fit. I think he is much more of a shooter, and I think that is something the Oilers are missing in the middle.
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