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The Oiler's biggest difficiency

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Old
09-18-2014, 12:50 PM
  #1
toppep
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The Oiler's biggest difficiency

Reading through the boards, I get a sense that most people believe that the Oilers are missing two key pieces:

1. A second line center that scores 50-60 points
2. A top 4 defenseman that can play 22-25 minutes a night


Well I have some bad news. Last year, only 39 NHL centers had 50 points and over. That means with 30 teams, there are only 9 centers that would fit this description: Craig Smith, David Desharnais, Brad Ricahrds, Jeff Carter, Tyler Johnson, Nazem Kadri, Brandon Dubinski, Henrik Sedin.

Assuming "first line centers" never get traded, the top 30 scorers would be untouchable to their teams. Unless the Oilers trade for a center like the ones above, we need to find another solution.

As for defensemen, last year, the top 60 minute munchers logged 21:30 mins or more per game. Mathematically, the top 60 in minutes played would represent top pairing minutes. Ther Oilers have two defensemen that qualify for this distinction: Jeff Petry (21:35) and Justin Schultz (23:20). If the Oilers need to add another player of this ilk, here are a few that could be attainable by trade: Andrew MacDonald, Paul Martin, Andrej Sekera, Justin Faulk, Kris Russell, Francois Beauchmin, Zach Bogosian, Jan Hejda, Jared Spurgeon.

Looking at that list, these players may be too expensive to acquire or are too rich from a cap perspective. So if MacT cannot improve our team via trade, what is the one thing he can do to make the team better? Make moves to increase the effectiveness of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, etc.

THE SHUTDOWN LINE

Andy Strickland was on the radio yesterday and he said that the reason why the Blues offensive players can be offensive players is because one guy is pulling the entire team's weight defensively. David Backes starts 70% of shifts in the defensive zone. That is insane. That means that the offensive lines are starting in the opposing zone, while Backes carries the weight of the counter-attack.

There is a fallacy that all good teams play both ways. While logically, this may be true, I thinking a more realistic sentiment is: Superior teams are compartmentalized into functioning work groups with different roles.

Hall, Ebs, Nuge were drafted as offensive players. Hence, they need someone to get them there. They need a defensive group that will take the puck out of our zone, and cycle it in the opposing end - thus generating an offensive zone faceoff. From there, you would expect the kid line to do the rest.

If we take MacT's model to heart of a 3 scoring line and 1 defensive line, we would get:

Hall RNH Nuge
Perron Draisaitl Purcell
Pouliot Lander Yakupov
Joensuu Gordon Hendricks/ Gazdic

The most troubling thing going into the season is that our equivalent line to the Backes line is: Joensuu - Gordon - Hendricks/ Gazdic.

Joensuu and Gadzic are not defensive stalwarts. They are not possession players who will cycle the puck down low causing offensive zone starts. If we throw Hendricks and Joensuu against opposing top lines, we are going to lose a lot of games.

If we're going to trim the fat, we need to get rid of the Joensuus and Hendricks oof the world. We need to trade for guys like Helm, Abdelkader, Fiddler, etc. to complement Gordon. We need a counter-punching line that we can lineup against the other team's first line. We can't expect the young guys to do this just yet. We haven't hada line like this since Moreau - Marchant - Grier. We need one again.

For me, the idea scenario would be:

#1 scoring line (primary scoring)
#2 scoring line (secondary scoring)
#3 checking line (counter-attack)
#4 energy line (possession and cycle)



The Oilers can check the first box. We have a 1st line in Hall RNH Ebs.

Of our secondary scorers, these players fit the description of a second line: Perron, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Purcell. We have an odd man out because we don't need Purcell.

Only two players would fit the role of counter-attacker: Boyd Gordon and Benoit Pouliot. No one else really would fit this.

More than a #2 dman and #2 centre we need a winger that can effectively counter attack with Gordon and Pouliot. Who will it be?

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09-18-2014, 12:51 PM
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ohheyhemsky
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We should just trade for Ray Whitney.

I'm never going to let this go.

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09-18-2014, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohheyhemsky View Post
We should just trade for Ray Whitney.

I'm never going to let this go.
I get it, the original post was too long for you to read. Thanks for engaging in a conversation. I appreciate it.

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09-18-2014, 01:17 PM
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Biggest deficiency is vitamin D....northern climate and all.

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Old
09-18-2014, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toppep View Post
Reading through the boards, I get a sense that most people believe that the Oilers are missing two key pieces:

1. A second line center that scores 50-60 points
2. A top 4 defenseman that can play 22-25 minutes a night


Well I have some bad news. Last year, only 39 NHL centers had 50 points and over. That means with 30 teams, there are only 9 centers that would fit this description: Craig Smith, David Desharnais, Brad Ricahrds, Jeff Carter, Tyler Johnson, Nazem Kadri, Brandon Dubinski, Henrik Sedin.

Assuming "first line centers" never get traded, the top 30 scorers would be untouchable to their teams. Unless the Oilers trade for a center like the ones above, we need to find another solution.

As for defensemen, last year, the top 60 minute munchers logged 21:30 mins or more per game. Mathematically, the top 60 in minutes played would represent top pairing minutes. Ther Oilers have two defensemen that qualify for this distinction: Jeff Petry (21:35) and Justin Schultz (23:20). If the Oilers need to add another player of this ilk, here are a few that could be attainable by trade: Andrew MacDonald, Paul Martin, Andrej Sekera, Justin Faulk, Kris Russell, Francois Beauchmin, Zach Bogosian, Jan Hejda, Jared Spurgeon.

Looking at that list, these players may be too expensive to acquire or are too rich from a cap perspective. So if MacT cannot improve our team via trade, what is the one thing he can do to make the team better? Make moves to increase the effectiveness of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, etc.

THE SHUTDOWN LINE

Andy Strickland was on the radio yesterday and he said that the reason why the Blues offensive players can be offensive players is because one guy is pulling the entire team's weight defensively. David Backes starts 70% of shifts in the defensive zone. That is insane. That means that the offensive lines are starting in the opposing zone, while Backes carries the weight of the counter-attack.

There is a fallacy that all good teams play both ways. While logically, this may be true, I thinking a more realistic sentiment is: Superior teams are compartmentalized into functioning work groups with different roles.

Hall, Ebs, Nuge were drafted as offensive players. Hence, they need someone to get them there. They need a defensive group that will take the puck out of our zone, and cycle it in the opposing end - thus generating an offensive zone faceoff. From there, you would expect the kid line to do the rest.

If we take MacT's model to heart of a 3 scoring line and 1 defensive line, we would get:

Hall RNH Nuge
Perron Draisaitl Purcell
Pouliot Lander Yakupov
Joensuu Gordon Hendricks/ Gazdic

The most troubling thing going into the season is that our equivalent line to the Backes line is: Joensuu - Gordon - Hendricks/ Gazdic.

Joensuu and Gadzic are not defensive stalwarts. They are not possession players who will cycle the puck down low causing offensive zone starts. If we throw Hendricks and Joensuu against opposing top lines, we are going to lose a lot of games.

If we're going to trim the fat, we need to get rid of the Joensuus and Hendricks oof the world. We need to trade for guys like Helm, Abdelkader, Fiddler, etc. to complement Gordon. We need a counter-punching line that we can lineup against the other team's first line. We can't expect the young guys to do this just yet. We haven't hada line like this since Moreau - Marchant - Grier. We need one again.

For me, the idea scenario would be:

#1 scoring line (primary scoring)
#2 scoring line (secondary scoring)
#3 checking line (counter-attack)
#4 energy line (possession and cycle)



The Oilers can check the first box. We have a 1st line in Hall RNH Ebs.

Of our secondary scorers, these players fit the description of a second line: Perron, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Purcell. We have an odd man out because we don't need Purcell.

Only two players would fit the role of counter-attacker: Boyd Gordon and Benoit Pouliot. No one else really would fit this.

More than a #2 dman and #2 centre we need a winger that can effectively counter attack with Gordon and Pouliot. Who will it be?
Why not hendricks gordon perron ?

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Old
09-18-2014, 01:58 PM
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Biggest deficiency is vitamin D....northern climate and all.
I see what you did there.

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09-18-2014, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toppep View Post
I get it, the original post was too long for you to read. Thanks for engaging in a conversation. I appreciate it.
A little touchy, are we? Relax man.

Most of what you said is regurgitated from this entire, and many past off-seasons. It's nothing new or inventive, but if you want feedback, good job?

You've offered solutions without the means of getting there.

General thesis: "We need this."

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09-18-2014, 04:06 PM
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The number in the win column at the end of the year.

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09-18-2014, 04:10 PM
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I would say second line center, but really we can't know this yet. Even at the end of pre-season we won't really know but at this point the team is one big question mark.

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09-18-2014, 04:11 PM
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I'm tired of all this #2 centre talk. Is it ideal to have Arcobello or Drasaitl do it? Nope. Can they get the job done? Impossible to say with Leon, but Arcobello likely can.

Our biggest two holes are on the top blueline pair. We have no #1 or #2 defensemen right now. We are ahead of where we were last year, but we still need more help on the blueline than anywhere. And I would say that a legitimate starting goalie is more of a priority than a 2C as well, although I do hope we have one in either Scrivens or Fasth.

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09-18-2014, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManofSteel55 View Post
I'm tired of all this #2 centre talk. Is it ideal to have Arcobello or Drasaitl do it? Nope. Can they get the job done? Impossible to say with Leon, but Arcobello likely can.

Our biggest two holes are on the top blueline pair. We have no #1 or #2 defensemen right now. We are ahead of where we were last year, but we still need more help on the blueline than anywhere. And I would say that a legitimate starting goalie is more of a priority than a 2C as well, although I do hope we have one in either Scrivens or Fasth.
I like Arcobello but I'm just not sold on RNH-Arco as a one-two punch down the middle. There are successful teams who don't have that skilled center and big center combo but in the Pacific division that's who succeeds. We might be fine, the rules change all the time after all, but as it stands we don't have a guy who can line up against Kopitar, Thornton and Getzlaf and still keep up with our skilled forwards and produce points.

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Old
09-18-2014, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManofSteel55 View Post
I'm tired of all this #2 centre talk. Is it ideal to have Arcobello or Drasaitl do it? Nope. Can they get the job done? Impossible to say with Leon, but Arcobello likely can.

Our biggest two holes are on the top blueline pair. We have no #1 or #2 defensemen right now. We are ahead of where we were last year, but we still need more help on the blueline than anywhere. And I would say that a legitimate starting goalie is more of a priority than a 2C as well, although I do hope we have one in either Scrivens or Fasth.
Yep.. well summarized. The Oilers have a lot of potential holes throughout the lineup... whether they can be filled with what's on the roster remains to be seen.

One area we don't seem to talk a lot about is in net... probably because we are all relieved to have ANYTHING better than Dubnyk/Labarbera back there now.

I think the Fasth/Scrivens tandem is potentially probably closer to "average" than good/solid goaltending but that would be good enough if the forwards are above average and the D is average.

What the team needs is to not have weak links... because it's the weakest link that kills you no matter how strong in other areas.

I don't think the D as a collective is up to average quality yet so that's the weakness and what will likely do the Oilers in yet again unless they play above their heads.

We really are depending a LOT on the new additions and the kids to play up to their ceilings... if they fall short the team is staying in the gutter but we all know that already.

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09-18-2014, 08:08 PM
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Which one (between this forum and the Oilers' Facebook wall, the confusion on how and where to use apostrophes literally keeps me up at night)?

Anyway, holes? The same ones that we've had since Tambellini started.

Scoring line centre.
Top pairing d-man.

At least most of the litany of other issues have been (theoretically) addressed now though. Fayne and Petry against top opposition might not be the end of the world though. But damn that hole at centre alongside the "throw him in there, what's the worst that could happen?" philosophy this team continuously employs? Frustrating as hell.

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09-18-2014, 08:23 PM
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Steve BachIntyre
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well the last time the oilers had star goalies we not only made the post season but made some noise. Im gonna say a star goalie is our biggest deficiency. Rolie..cujo..ranford..fuhr..moog.. too much focus on the roster and coaching..

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09-18-2014, 08:31 PM
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Old
09-18-2014, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve BachIntyre View Post
well the last time the oilers had star goalies we not only made the post season but made some noise. Im gonna say a star goalie is our biggest deficiency. Rolie..cujo..ranford..fuhr..moog.. too much focus on the roster and coaching..
I know most won't agree with you... but I somewhat do agree.

It's an area where 1 single player can literally play 60 minutes per game for 60-70 games a season and be a difference maker in almost every game he plays.

Obviously I don't think that's the only problem the Oilers have had but if they had an elite goalie back there like a Price or Rask... they would instantly have no worries in that area for years to come.

Problem is there are very few Price/Rask type goalies out there... most goalies are closer to average/good most seasons and the most elite ones don't become available as teams know how important they are to their teams.

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09-18-2014, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve BachIntyre View Post
well the last time the oilers had star goalies we not only made the post season but made some noise. Im gonna say a star goalie is our biggest deficiency. Rolie..cujo..ranford..fuhr..moog.. too much focus on the roster and coaching..
I think Scrivens can be a star in the making. Roli was a similar type of late bloomer. I think Fasth is better than the average back up too, he's a 1A/B type.

The ideal player to add to this team (and I hate to say it) is basically 2005-06 Chris Pronger on the back end ... a stud no.1 d-man would dramatically alter this squad over night.

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09-18-2014, 09:00 PM
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Looking at Price... he has a 91.7% career save pct... same as Ben Scrivens currently has... goes to show how even perceived "elite" goaltenders can be all over the place from year to year as well.

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09-18-2014, 09:47 PM
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At the end of the day we need a top pairing dman and a 2nd line center. Ideally a couple other spots are upgraded but those are the important ones.

You are using the Blues as a model but I think a more apt comparison based on our roster would be Chicago. The "shutdown line" is the Hall-RNH-Ebs line, they will be playing the top competition with a zone start push (toews). Gordon's line will be getting defensive zone starts almost exclusively (shaw/kruger), against lower levels of competition. What we are missing is a line that can get a zone start push (afforded through Gordon's line always being in the d zone), against relatively easier competition (afforded through Hall's line going up against the other top line), and put up loads of offence. We don't have that right now. Chicago does that with Patrick Kane. Pittsburgh does it with Malkin.

Chicago also uses Hjalmarsson-Leddy against top comp while Seabrook Keith get weaker comp and it allows them to generate more offence (and play more minutes). Arizona deploys Yandle even more aggressively than this, giving him high O-zone starts, no PK time, and bottom pairing competition. These types of deployments are what we could do for Schultz, or whoever...if we had a top pairing dman like OEL or Keith (as it related to these examples).

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09-18-2014, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toppep View Post
I get it, the original post was too long for you to read. Thanks for engaging in a conversation. I appreciate it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohheyhemsky View Post
A little touchy, are we? Relax man.

Most of what you said is regurgitated from this entire, and many past off-seasons. It's nothing new or inventive, but if you want feedback, good job?

You've offered solutions without the means of getting there.

General thesis: "We need this."
ding ding ding!

this has been discussed all summer on this board and for hours everyday on Oilers Lunch, Gregor, Struds, ect ect.

*yawn*

I thought HFOil had a rule about even mentioning that name that shall not be named.....let alone some new member usi g it for his username

__________________
Just because the Flames and Nucks gave up on Hull and Neely way too early doesnt mean the Oilers have to give up on Yakupov
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09-18-2014, 10:02 PM
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Just for the hell of it... I looked up the career save % of every goaltender that played in the NHL last season (and has played at least 10 career NHL games)...

Here's the current career save% of every qualifying goalie from last season:


1 Cam Talbot 94.1
2 Martin Jones 93.4
3 Alex Stalock 93.1
4 Tuukka Rask 92.8
4 Anton Khudobin 92.8
6 Chad Johnson 92.6
6 Petr Mrazek 92.6
8 Cory Schneider 92.5
9 Philipp Grubauer 92.4
10 Frederik Andersen 92.3
11 Ben Bishop 92
11 Henrik Lundqvist 92
11 Tim Thomas 92
14 Roberto Luongo 91.9
14 Braden Holtby 91.9
14 Sergei Bobrovsky 91.9
17 Jonathan Bernier 91.8
17 Jaroslav Halak 91.8
17 Josh Harding 91.8
17 Robin Lehner 91.8
17 Pekka Rinne 91.8
22 Carey Price 91.7
22 Semyon Varlamov 91.7
22 Ben Scrivens 91.7
22 Jimmy Howard 91.7
26 Antti Niemi 91.6
26 Jonas Hiller 91.6
26 Niklas Backstrom 91.6
29 Viktor Fasth 91.5
29 Kari Lehtonen 91.5
29 Ryan Miller 91.5
29 Jonathan Quick 91.5
29 Thomas Greiss 91.5
29 Darcy Kuemper 91.5
29 Craig Anderson 91.5
36 Corey Crawford 91.4
36 Mike Smith 91.4
36 James Reimer 91.4
39 Jean-Sebastien Giguere 91.3
39 Jhonas Enroth 91.3
39 Ilya Bryzgalov 91.3
42 Eddie Lack 91.2
42 Jeff Zatkoff 91.2
42 Matt Hackett 91.2
42 Evgeni Nabokov 91.2
42 Martin Brodeur 91.2
47 Michal Neuvirth 91.1
47 Brian Elliott 91.1
49 Marc-Andre Fleury 91
49 Al Montoya 91
49 Cam Ward 91
49 Martin Biron 91
53 Carter Hutton 90.9
53 Devan Dubnyk 90.9
55 Ray Emery 90.8
56 Steve Mason 90.7
56 Jason LaBarbera 90.7
56 Nikolai Khabibulin 90.7
59 Ondrej Pavelec 90.6
59 Scott Clemmensen 90.6
61 Dan Ellis 90.5
62 Justin Peters 90.4
62 Anders Lindback 90.4
64 Richard Bachman 90.3
64 Peter Budaj 90.3
66 Dustin Tokarski 90.2
66 Karri Ramo 90.2
66 Curtis McElhinney 90.2
66 Marek Mazanec 90.2
66 Joey MacDonald 90.2
71 Jonas Gustavsson 90
71 Kevin Poulin 90
73 Anders Nilsson 89.8
74 Antti Raanta 89.7
75 Jacob Markstrom 89.6
76 Reto Berra 89.3
77 Mike McKenna 89.1
78 Nathan Lawson 88.9


The Oilers have a #22 and #29 ranked goalie in terms of career save % (out of 78 from last season)... which puts both Oiler goalies potentially in the top half of the leagues goalies.

Of course it's a reasonably small sample size for both Scrivens and Fasth but they are both experienced goalies in terms of age... they should be in their prime years as far as goalies go so they hopefully will deliver at least average goaltending for the Oilers if they put up numbers similar to what they have so far.

The median career save percentage appears to be about 91.3% and both goalies are slightly above that which means we might be able to expect average goaltending... hopefully.

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09-18-2014, 11:59 PM
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Just some thoughts from an Avs fan who's now forced to root for you guys to put together because of draisaitl.

So I'm just curious how much my opinions differ from you guys. I wanna start with the three things I'd like to see the team do to start to convert all of that potential. The most immediate, though I don't think the most important, need is someone to hold the fort for Drai who can go onto be an excellent third line c or second line winger once the young German surpasses him. This is pretty obvious and doesn't require an expensive high end solution, just someone who can do a solid job and show Leo how to use that big body to defend in the NHL. Ideal solution: Hanzal or Vermette

The next need is also pretty obvious and IMO more important than that c in the long term, namely the right side of your d. I like the addition of Faulk quite a bit, but Petry and Schultz aren't too inspiring and I don't see someone you want on your top pairing from the bunch. On the left I'm more optimistic, nikitin was another quietly solid pick up, nurse has a ton of talent and both Marincin and Klefblom look like they could have long futures as top 4 LHD. This I believe will take an expensive solution to bring someone in with the talent to become a top pairing guy, and the youth to grow into that role with this core. Now teams don't give those up often so you'll need to keep an eye on some teams who have a guy who could grow into the job but who has been surpassed by an even more promising and younger player, I'm thinking of Bogosian and Gudbranson in particular, but that's the general sort of situation I'd be looking at. Though a Big Buff or Myers may be the best available if the prices on those first two get to high.

And thirdly, I think the forward core needs a shake up. There's a lot of talent but not enough guys that are really tough to play against, you know, top 6ers with sandpaper to their games and that to me is about as important to resolve as the RHD. Hall and RNH are two brilliant creators, a duo like that doesn't need a third dynamo alongside them. They need a tough top 6er who'll make space for them and hold them accountable against the puck, on the forecheck, backcheck and in their own zone. Someone to really set the tone in those areas for that line and so your team. Returning again to the jets is the perfect example of what I'm talking about in Ladd. He's everything Ryan smyth was way too past it to be. If he replaced Eberle next to hall and RNH that line would no longer just be a dangerous first line but one that's difficult to deal with and able to impose itself in different ways. Plus playing next to Ladd would bring those qualities out of hall and RNH more. Similarly on the second line when draisaitl is ready to own that job you'll have a great partner for him in yak or Eberle, but Perron as the third man is again too much of the same when you don't need a third creator on that line.

As an additional point I think that trading Yakubov at this point would be asinine, his value is too low and he's still such a spectacular talent who's trying to improve, if only Eakins could help him. Which is why if you're going to use one of the big 5 in a trade it should be Eberle. I know he's hall and Rnh's BFF, but he also has a lot of value and is expendable if you can find that better fitting gritty third wheel.

This is why I think that the oilers should be looking to use Eberle, Perron, Purcell, one of marincin or Klefblom and picks outside of this year's first to bring in someone like Ladd to compliment and lead that supremely gifted duo on the first line, someone like Vermette who can hold together the second line before moving to the wing effectively, and one of Bogo/Guds/Myers/Buff. I feel like with those assets in play those kinds of targets could be attainable.

Looking a little down the road that would leave you with a really good team with a good coach.

Hall-RNH-Ladd

Let that trio play together until the end of the decade and teams will hate you for it.

Vermette - Draisaitl - Yak

A scoring line with the ability to be deadly but another trio who can become a real pain in the ass for teams to deal with til Vermette needs replacing.

Some iteration of Yakimov, Khaira and Arcobello should round out the top 9 nicely.

Nurse - Guds/Bogo/Buff/Myers

Marincin/Klef - Fayne

Nikitin - Schultz/Petry

Would be a really nice looking defensive corps in a few years that wouldn't be helpless in the interim.

Scrivens

I'm buying, with what should eventually be a really nice defense and tough to deal with forward core scrivens should be more than up to the task.

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Old
09-19-2014, 12:03 AM
  #23
Replacement
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Eakins/Lowe/MacT

If I had to pick one its the bolded.

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09-19-2014, 12:05 AM
  #24
The Nuge
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So in order to get better, we need a shutdown line. And we'll do that by getting rid of our 2nd best forward for that role?... Hendricks is a good option for a shutdown line. How would getting rid of him make us better?

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09-19-2014, 12:08 AM
  #25
Playa Hejda
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Has anyone said management? I'd like to pick management. Management.

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