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Trade Deadline Decisions for Kevin Lowe

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Old
02-12-2004, 05:22 PM
  #126
Digger12
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Originally Posted by oilswell
(all the stuff Oilswell said)


I think we just saw the difference between a very intelligent person (see above) and someone playing the role of a very intelligent person.

I'll bet you kick ass at 'Clue'.

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Old
02-12-2004, 06:00 PM
  #127
Lowetide
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Originally Posted by oilswell
I'm not sure about this. I really want to see the team win, but over the summer I thought a LOT about the Oilers' chances of becoming a contender and all realistic chances revolve around building through the draft. As a fan, I'm prepared to watch the team struggle this season if it looks like the team is setting up to win down the road. In fact, the worst case scenario would be to give up guys for picks only to give those picks away for middle-tier 26+ year old talent. I think the relevant saying is "a job done half-assed is not a job done at all". So, for instance, I was hoping the Oilers could go hard after Ryan Miller since Buffalo wanted to win at the beginning of this year. Maybe offer Comrie and Smith or whatnot. Not to go after Kiprusoff or similar. That's another reason why I questioned gettting Isbister as part of the Niinimaa trade. If you go this route, every single pick counts.

Again, I'm not sure about this. I am not the most knowledgeable hockey person on the planet. I happen to believe a reasonable scenario exists wherein it MAY be preferrable to keep the 2nd rounder. I don't particularly think that means I'm clinically retarded.
If they ever close this site, I'll be depressed for months, and posts like this are the reason. Excellent post, very well thought out and you make a compelling argument.

The main item that has been sticking in my craw for a couple of weeks now is Lowe's saying one thing and doing another (talking about heart and soul and making a run for the playoffs is one thing, but DOING something about the injury to York and the further problems of Reasoner would fly farther).

IF that's by design and they privately have no plans to make a deal because it would compromise the future, I can at least understand it. I don't think it's fair to the coach and the current team, but everyone is being paid and no one will die from it.

But as they head out on this road trip now, the Oilers are in real trouble at center ice. Oates, Stoll, Horcoff and Bishai had fun last night, but on this trip they'll face some pretty good players at their position, and will likely come up short.

If the playoffs are truly important, and MacTavish is truly one of the best coaches in the game, give the man some help in the middle.

He needs it badly.

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Old
02-12-2004, 06:11 PM
  #128
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Originally Posted by oilswell
In ways I don't want them to be half-assed about this. If they have already chosen to pursue a rebuild through the draft (and I don't think I'd be able to change their minds if they have already decided to do so), then I, like speeds I think, don't necessarily want to give up draft picks. In fact, they might do well to just hobble through the season however well they can and dump all the non-key players for picks and young talent. Perhaps they should deal one or more core players to teams so that they can pick high in the first round? At any rate, attempts to save the season without building for the future are to be seriously questioned under this reasoning. Especially attempts likely to be futile! Considering the hole the Oilers found themselves in, the implication of futility was strong indeed.
Great post. I agree for the most part that we should be trying to devlope young talent, whether it is through the draft, or trading for prospects. I like what we've been trying to do with drafting centers until one of our prospects performs (and I feel optimistic about Poillet). I also agree with it with respect to dmen, and hopefully our offensive d-man will be developed in house. And if we can't develop one, then try to get prospects from other organizations. I also agree that we aren't playing for 2003, but for latter. I do however have two problems with this philosophy.

1)Keeping veterens. I feel good with our present situation, and I feel Smyth/Moreau/Smith/Staios can provide enough leadership and tutor the young young players, but trading away half of these players, would be very bad.

2)Goaltending. Goaltending prospects are notoriously hard to predict. We've all seen the lists of the top level starting goaltenders, and how very few begin as high draft picks. Even hot prospects in the AHL don't pan out, so I don't think its reasonable to bank the future on goaltending prospects. JDD might work, but waiting three years to see if he can perform (which I think is unlikely) doesn't make much sense. Whether we do it now, or in the summer (for those who think that we can't afford it now), we definately have to resolve it, and whether it's trading a second, some great prospect, or a 1st or second, so be it. Happily, I think there are a few goalies out there now, and maybe over the summer.

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02-12-2004, 06:58 PM
  #129
Mizral
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Originally Posted by oilswell
Thanks for responding carefully Mizral. From your posting it seems like I may have gotten under your skin but I'm not trying to do so.
Not in the least. Don't worry about it, I'm in quite good spirits

Quote:
I predicted a range of spots because I felt if things went very well they could do well and if things went poorly they could do very poorly. Things are/were going poorly and they're within the lower range of my wild guesses so technically its one of my better predictions ever (I'm not very good). I'm not sure if that means you're "much closer" than I was...I think the better argument here is that your provided a much smaller target to hit and the Oilers are hitting it dead

You had a much stronger prediction which is also very accurate, at least for the time being. You had them pegged for 10th place and that's precisely where they are right now. Obviously we'll know more about our accuracies when the season's over. Maybe things get better or worse. That said, lets agree to talk about the predictions now by making some assumptions about the future. Lets assume the Oilers stay about the same and lets say you called it. This brings up the issue of what fueled your predictions.
Well, please don't look at what I was talking about there as a 'See! See!' post. I was more illustrating the thought that not everyone thought things were so rosy going into this season. My concerns were with Goaltending, defense, and management in general (in that order).

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Enh, I don't think I was reaching for anything, I just thought it improbable that you'd predict a 10th place finish based on a team that needed a shakeup. Differences in definitions create confusion, so let me state that when I hear a team "needs a shakeup" I hear someone saying a team should be better than it is playing currently because of some sort of malaise. A shakeup in such a situation would mean moving players to jolt players awake and change locker room or on-ice dynamics. A shakeup might involve sacrificing some of the future for the present good of the team, or taking on more salary to improve the club, but in such circumstances one is both shaking and improving.

One way to predict 10th is to argue that a team by rights should be an 8th place (say) team, but they go into a deep funk where they play worse than they otherwise should. Another way to predict 10th is to argue that a team has systematic flaws which, over the course of the season, will result in them losing enough games to put them that far down the ladder.

Now, if I recall correctly (I didn't look it up, please accept my apologies if I do not remember them right), you had a list of good points (York and Moreau, for instance) and a long list of expected failings, including defense and goal. I think you also said the GM was bad at trading and signing contracts. In any case, the impression I got was that you saw a team with systematic flaws that would ensure they'd lose more than they'd win on a regular basis.

Now you might very well have predicted that, like Vancouver did two seasons ago, the team might underperform for a long stretch because of a funk that needed a shakeup by the GM. Something like: "this team should finish 8th but they'll lose a couple and it will snowball and the GM won't do anything to fix it until they're out of the playoffs". I don't know if you did this or not and I said so in my last post. My argument, which I still say is not reaching, was based on the possibly mistaken belief that you thought the team was of the calibre of a 10th place team. Teams that should be in 10th place and are mired in a massive slump quickly jump to 29th or 30th overall.

Distilling the argument it comes down to:
10th = they suck,
need shakeup = are underperforming,
they suck AND need shakeup = basement,
not in basement implies something wrong with assumptions
Clarification (something I'm not very good at in the first place, but here goes):

I picked the Oilers to hit 10th at the beginning of the season. At this time, I felt the Oilers already were shaken up, and outside of a goaltender and a couple top 4 defensemen, the Oilers were fine in terms of their psyche. I thought, with a goaltender alone, the Oilers become a 6th - 8th place team.

It was not until around early January when this team, I felt, needed a big shakeup. Something like moving a core player for some other 'now' assets (and I don't mean a holding-out Mike Comrie).

While 10th does suck, I did not think the Oilers were at all basement dwellars at any point of this season (even now). This is a team that with a goaltender OUGHT to be in 6th to 8th. In terms of forwards and defense, I still like the Oilers over the Preds, Flames, and Sharks.

However, the Oilers (until last night at least) were acting like a team that wanted to lose games. This is why I felt a shakeup was needed (and may or may not be still needed, we'll have to see next couple of games).

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I don't find it likely, but I find it conceivable, especially since he had a few good games when he got back. I thought Belfour was washed up but he turned it around. Even though I think it unlikely for Salo I haven't ruled it out. In truth, it was his streak of good games that got me to rethink it, but I suppose this is where we differ again.
I thought Belfour was washed up too, but it's a bit of a different situation. Salo is a goaltender that thrives on confidence. He hasn't been confident in years, and I reckoned that the Oilers D wouldn't exactly inspire him with confidence either.

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I'm not disputing anything in that other than the suggestion that I'm missing the point. Sutter did an awesome job for Calgary to get Kiprusoff. Anybody who claims it carried no risk, though, (and I'm not necessarily saying this to you Mizral, just a statement) is only fooling themselves.
I would classify the trade as very 'low risk'. Every trade has risks.

Quote:
Honestly: I don't know. I said this, in fact. Sorry to have to repeat it. Mostly I'd much rather have Kiprusoff but I'm a complicated enough individual that I don't have to pick one side of an argument to believe in to the exclusion of other possibilities. What if I said I'd like to have Kiprusoff but then a 2nd rounder instead might also be good?

I'll have to check myself into an asylum later because I'm too busy right now.

Its a fool's game to ask "would you rather have your $2 or rather have bought this winning lottery ticket?" Instead, you have to ask what your willingness to accept risk is and then weigh that against the odds of winning. Any decent investment counciler will say the same thing. Trades are risks and picks are risks. So when I ended off my last reply, I was really asking about risk and value of a 2nd rounder and how it relates to the Oilers.
Well, my comment there was more of a hyperbole than anything

However, 2nd round picks, in terms of value, are solid value, but do not tend to turn into wonderful players more than half of the time. Particularly on the Oilers, a team that has had a plethora of 2nd round picks in the last few years and desperatly need a competant netminder, it ought to be a slam dunk decision for most of us. When I asked if you'd rather have Kiprusoff for a 2nd, I am saying, 'Would you want to have a young, #1 netminder just entering his prime for a 2nd round pick?'. Not 'Would you want a CHANCE at having a young, #1 netminder just entering his prime for a 2nd round pick'. I apologize if you misconstrued my line of thought there, I didn't post it very well to begin with.

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First, lets look at Kiprusoff. Although you say he's young, Kiprusoff isn't THAT young and he wasn't a sure thing when he was acquired. Or even now, for that matter. He'll be 28 at the start of next season, one year younger than Markkanen, has played about the same number of games and has similar save percentages (arguably worse in previous years). From the NHLPA site, the numbers as of today (and Kiprusoff has been very good this year, mind you) are:
Code:
PLAYER    GP  W  L T W%   GAA   S%
KIPRUSOFF 63 25 24 5 .463 2.44 0.909
MARKKANEN 56 21 20 6 .447 2.39 0.914
I could see how the Oilers might not have wanted Kiprusoff if they didn't want Markkanen. In fact, when the Leetch compensation comes in they might have in fact gotten a 2nd rounder for Markkanen. You could argue the Oilers brass have already decided they want the 2nd round pick and not the goalie.

Now it looks to me like Kiprusoff may be better. I'm not prepared to argue for or against nor am I really competant to do so.
Of course you are competant to do so - any hockey fan is competant enough to argue, or have an opinion on a goaltender.

First off, a goaltenders prime is around the ages of 27 - 29 to about 35 - 37. For the most part at least. 28 for a goaltender is actually quite young. Goaltenders are different animals, and it's not fair to hold them to the same standards of skaters. VERY very few goaltenders in this league are much of anything before they turn 27. Kiprusoff is just another good example of that.

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The reasons underlying my uncertainty about what Lowe should be doing revolve around my desire to see the Oilers win and win in Edmonton. I am now much less easily convinced there are good reasons to make moves that take away from the future. A team like the Red Wings can pick up the basic pieces no problem. They can even grab free agent stars for the most part. This plain fact should impact a team's operating strategy and drafting strategy. The Wings have no pressing need to draft 3rd liners and backup goalies because they're easily acquired, so they can go ahead and try for home run swings much more than other clubs do, some of which need to be conservative, settling for less risky players with lower potential payouts. They can therefore more regularly pick smaller or lesser scouted players with high talent levels and ceilings. The fact that they've regularly done so is a testament to their scouting, to be sure, but the track record might be less stellar if they had been more risk averse at the draft table.
The Red Wings have luxeries that no other teams in this league sans a small handful have. I'm not sure what you're getting at here, though, as to how it pertains to the subject at hand.

[QUOTE]
IMO the Oilers have already set on a path towards competing in the future rather than now. I think its pretty obvious to many people. Their goal appears to be to build through the draft so that they may be highly competitive starting probably around 2007. Their hope rests on keeping their talent instead of watching them leave, like they've done for so many good players the last little while. If they pursue this goal vigorously we will see other teams addressing needs by trading picks and prospects all while Lowe sits and does nothing. A conspiracy theorist might even posit that the owners have given the GM a mandate to play fiddle while Rome burns down around him.

In ways I don't want them to be half-assed about this. If they have already chosen to pursue a rebuild through the draft (and I don't think I'd be able to change their minds if they have already decided to do so), then I, like speeds I think, don't necessarily want to give up draft picks. In fact, they might do well to just hobble through the season however well they can and dump all the non-key players for picks and young talent. Perhaps they should deal one or more core players to teams so that they can pick high in the first round? At any rate, attempts to save the season without building for the future are to be seriously questioned under this reasoning. Especially attempts likely to be futile! Considering the hole the Oilers found themselves in, the implication of futility was strong indeed.
[/QUOTE

Okay, I have a lot of things to say here, so I'll try to be as breif as possible:

The first thing I'd like to address is the 2007 number you gave me. If that's the date when you want the Oilers to be highly competative, I'd say you have pretty low standards for a General Manager (or you don't think too highly of Kevin Lowe). Lowe has been GM since 2000, and is on his 4th year as manager of the Oilers. Most rebuilding teams have '5 year plans'. A few do it in even less. Tampa Bay, for instance, truely began their rebuilding in the 1998 season with the Vincent Lecavalier/Brad Richards draft picks, and Rick Dudley manning the helm shortly thereafter. There were 3 different GM's in the mix (Esposito I think, Dudley, now Feaster), and the Bolts went from 1998 to 2003 as a rebuilding team, and in 2003 in particular, really came out as a full fledged playoff team and has been competing well in the East starting around last year. I should also note, the Bolts payroll was around that of the Oilers last year, not sure on this year though, I suspect it's similar.

That's 5 years of a rebuild. If you want to take an example of my 'Nucks, Burke came in in '98, and it was not until the midway point of the 2002 season that the Canucks truely started to make noise in the league. That's a little under 5.

Kevin Lowe, by 2007, will be 7 years into his tenure. That's just not good enough in my books. I was expecting more by now, in fact. By my count, rebuilding teams were supposed to get better year after year, but not the case with Lowe's Oilers. They are worse than last year, and worse than the year before that (they did improve in year 2 mind you). I think, oilswell, that you have questions as to weather this is reasonable as well, as do other Oiler fans. Perhaps people have become complacent with Lowe, or maybe it hasn't truely set in. Maybe if the Oilers have another poor season next year, he will truely be scrutonized by the fans. Whatever it is, though, Lowe must have the best PR guys in the world, because it seems no matter what goes on with the Oilers, Lowe is absolved of any guilt, and is heaped praise on by the bowlful.

Another thing I'd like to address is rebuilding teams. What is better: For young kids to be surrounded by other young kids and work their way up in the organization, or young kids to be on a winning team, and learn how to win, learn to play close games that mean something, maybe even learn how to play in the playoffs? To me, they are one and the same; equal in every respect. Players can learn by losing, but they sure learn a lot better when winning. A young goaltender that can improve the Oilers chances of winning won't just be nice for the team, but it will improve every young player on the roster. Winning DOES matter to these kids. Kids who play in losing atmospheres do become losers often - I really believe this. There are exceptions, but one wonders, in particular ... how would Vincent Lecavalier have been on the Colorado Avalanche? Would Manny Malhotra have been better on the Wings?

Winning isn't just important for the standings and the fans, but it creates a better learning enviroment for the young players. Winning breeds a lot of things. Losing breeds doubt in just about everything and everyone.

And as for moving a player for a goaltender - I'm all for that too. I really don't care what is moved for a goaltender. Nothing should be off limits depending on what you're getting back in a goalie. For instance, I would not be against moving Ryan Smyth if it meant bringing back a guy like DiPietro (aint happening, but just an example).

Quote:
I'm not sure about this. I really want to see the team win, but over the summer I thought a LOT about the Oilers' chances of becoming a contender and all realistic chances revolve around building through the draft. As a fan, I'm prepared to watch the team struggle this season if it looks like the team is setting up to win down the road. In fact, the worst case scenario would be to give up guys for picks only to give those picks away for middle-tier 26+ year old talent. I think the relevant saying is "a job done half-assed is not a job done at all". So, for instance, I was hoping the Oilers could go hard after Ryan Miller since Buffalo wanted to win at the beginning of this year. Maybe offer Comrie and Smith or whatnot. Not to go after Kiprusoff or similar. That's another reason why I questioned gettting Isbister as part of the Niinimaa trade. If you go this route, every single pick counts.

Again, I'm not sure about this. I am not the most knowledgeable hockey person on the planet. I happen to believe a reasonable scenario exists wherein it MAY be preferrable to keep the 2nd rounder. I don't particularly think that means I'm clinically retarded.
At the same time, then, you should be in favour of Comrie being moved for picks. In fact, why not ice the real AHL lineup, and move all the assets for picks? While this is of course ludicrious, I'm trying to illustrate that simply by ammasing young players does not give a team a great future. There is more to simply having the players. You've got to have a good place for them to be creative as players, and play in an enviroment that pushes them to be the best players they can be, preferably with great coaching, tough competition, and a winning attitude. I do not believe the mantra, 'Every single pick counts'. Yes, they are important, but they are not the be all and end all of creating a good young team.

Building through the draft is one thing, but banking on it completely as well has not been proven successful either.

Something I've said a few times, but I believe it ought to be questioned. Are you so sure that, with the youth the Oilers have, they are going to be such a great team down the road? I think some serious questions can be asked about the whole of the youth program Kevin Lowe has started out. Don't get me wrong, there are some CLEAR winners of the bunch. Stoll comes to mind. But there is a disturbing lack of top-end skill in terms of youngsters. If you compare a lot of these kids to what they are going to be, then compare them with, say, the 2002 Oilers, is it really all that better of a team? Especially when you factor in possible burnouts, you really wonder sometimes.

That said, I think this next draft will be the rub for Kevin Lowe and me. Right now, I'm not completely anti-Lowe, and I wouldn't fire him just yet, but I'm not enamoured with him at the same time. If he goes for another project, however, I'm done with him. The Oilers need to pick up a top notch prospect AT ANY POSITION. Sans Hemsky, they really don't have any young guys who you could call future 1st liners or #1 defensemen. Deslauriers is a possible #1 goalie, but again, he's so far away, there's no use projecting him just yet.

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Old
02-13-2004, 12:59 AM
  #130
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Originally Posted by Mizral
Not in the least. Don't worry about it, I'm in quite good spirits
Awesome. That's the way to be in these discussions IMO. Good post. This is fun!

Quote:
I picked the Oilers to hit 10th at the beginning of the season. At this time, I felt the Oilers already were shaken up, and outside of a goaltender and a couple top 4 defensemen, the Oilers were fine in terms of their psyche. I thought, with a goaltender alone, the Oilers become a 6th - 8th place team. .... While 10th does suck, I did not think the Oilers were at all basement dwellars at any point of this season (even now). This is a team that with a goaltender OUGHT to be in 6th to 8th.
This is good clarification. If we clear away all the other talk, might I suggest that you're equating "shakeup" with "get a good goaltender". Presumably any other shakeup wouldn't really have cut it?

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However, the Oilers (until last night at least) were acting like a team that wanted to lose games. This is why I felt a shakeup was needed (and may or may not be still needed, we'll have to see next couple of games).
Its a good point. Call me an owly malcontent, but to me they seem to do this every year; they'd be shaken a lot if you were the GM! If I were a seasons ticket holder this year, I might even want you to take over for a minute and make an Oiler martini James Bond would drink.

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However, 2nd round picks, in terms of value, are solid value, but do not tend to turn into wonderful players more than half of the time.
Hmm, probably less often. ?

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When I asked if you'd rather have Kiprusoff for a 2nd, I am saying, 'Would you want to have a young, #1 netminder just entering his prime for a 2nd round pick?'. Not 'Would you want a CHANCE at having a young, #1 netminder just entering his prime for a 2nd round pick'.
Yes, and its the same as asking "would you rather have that toonie or this million dollar winning lottery ticket?" Its a non-starter line of argument. Of course everyone would take the million dollars but it doesn't work that way. You pay your $1 and get a chance at the millions. And the lotteries rake in billions from otherwise rational people who reason to themselves "well you can't win if you don't play?". Look at the advertising.

Hmmm, can't win if you don't buy a ticket, eh? If that reasoning isn't making you run out to buy lottery tickets, then perhaps you'll agree that its pointless to use it to argue for making changes because "if they don't try something they won't ever know". You pulled out this line regarding my response to Garon. I'm not saying there's no truth to it. Yeah, I'll never win the New York Powerball if I never play it. So what? Even though its true I don't feel compelled to play it every week. I'm just trying to point the argument down what I think is a more fruitful path.

My opinion is that people are too frequently caught into the seductive lottery reasoning mentioned above. At the outset, one should be careful to stick to talking about risk and rewards and the level of risk one should be willing to take on. I've been trying to steer discussion that direction.

Quote:
Of course you are competant to do so - any hockey fan is competant enough to argue, or have an opinion on a goaltender.
I'm competent to have an opinion. I don't consider myself competant to accurately judge goalies, certainly not Kiprusoff. I daresay no GM would pick up a goalie solely on my sayso.

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First off, a goaltenders prime is around the ages of 27 - 29 to about 35 - 37. For the most part at least. 28 for a goaltender is actually quite young.
That's true enough, and I thought about that as I typed my reply. So Kiprusoff wouldn't be that old in '07-08, assuming they're wanting to have their long-term goalie in place starting about then. He'd be 32, almost Salo's age now. Meaning they'd get him for a run of maybe 3 years (less if he turns into a Salo). Even so, it would definitely help them to have a real goalie before Deslauriers (or whomever) comes around, if he ever does.

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The Red Wings have luxeries that no other teams in this league sans a small handful have. I'm not sure what you're getting at here, though, as to how it pertains to the subject at hand.
Sorry about that. My post was a little rambly and I didn't make this one come back around and connect. I'll try to do that now. In part, it was setting up the fact that the Oilers are in a position where they're going to rely on the draft for almost everything, and the Wings are a study in contrast.

However the more important issue is the ability to go for home run swings at the draft table. Say a some guy Jimmy is the GM of the Oilers and has set himself up to bet the team's future heavily on the draft. He stinks out the draft the fans dry up and they close up shop. I'm suggesting that the fewer drafts Jimmy has in his hands, the more likely it is he'll stick to the less risky drafts. With a couple of extra drafts in similar spots, Jimmy might reach for, say, a softer but talented defenseman, or a goalie that isn't rated so high as the current pick but may be gone the next round. If this is true, then the number and location of picks may make a huge difference on the players that the team gets.

Ever since I looked through the draft records of the teams a while ago (posting lost in the Great HF Boards Accidental Clearing of 2003), I've been trying to figure out a way to greatly improve one's ability to draft great players -- apart from drafting in the top 5. Its a critical question for any team that can't buy their stars and doesn't want to go for several years earning top picks by the sheer crappiness of their team. The Oilers may be just such a team. On one hand you can improve your chances by just getting more picks. However I noted how in GuyF's interviews and elsewhere that the teams generally go by BPA, then by needs, and then by longshots. Its a risk managment strategy and I can't think of a better one for a team like the Oilers with a pick in each round.

However once you start increasing the number of picks available, it occurred to me that keeping the same strategy may be an inferior. Instead, you probably would alter your risk/potential equation. One possible change in the split would be to use duplicate picks to split risk and potential evenly. That is, if you're picking, say, 19th and 21st, you don't pick two guys who have risk factors of 3 and payoff potentials of 8. Lets denote such a guy a (3,8). Instead, maybe you pick a guy who is a (2,7) and another who is a (5,9). The first guy is a shade less dazzling but you're very confident he's going to make the show, and the second guy could be a star but maybe he's short or you're unsure of his motivation level. Come to think of it, supposedly this is precisely what the Oilers did when they chose Bonsignore and Smyth. Hmm.

Another point I never got around to making was that it seems to be easier to move up in the draft with picks than with players. Especially with uncertainty about the next CBA. We saw that last year. If Lowe has designs on moving up in the draft while still making a large number of picks, he may feel like he needs to stockpile them.


Quote:
The first thing I'd like to address is the 2007 number you gave me. If that's the date when you want the Oilers to be highly competative,
Not correct. Its a number I speculated that the Oilers might be aiming for. I WANT the Oilers to be highly competitive as of 1979. They did a good job for a while.....

Quote:
I'd say you have pretty low standards for a General Manager (or you don't think too highly of Kevin Lowe). Lowe has been GM since 2000, and is on his 4th year as manager of the Oilers. Most rebuilding teams have '5 year plans'. A few do it in even less.
The Oilers would have needed a 4 year plan to dismantle the team and make it to the new CBA and a 5 year plan for building it back up. At least, that's my conjecture about how the Oilers have been playing this since Lowe was hired.

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Kevin Lowe, by 2007, will be 7 years into his tenure.
The first 3 of which IMO were clearly not full rebuild years. For whatever reasons. Could be because he's a bad GM, could be because the owners or fans wouldn't tolerate dumping a playoff team en masse.

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That's just not good enough in my books. I was expecting more by now, in fact. By my count, rebuilding teams were supposed to get better year after year, but not the case with Lowe's Oilers.
Yep. Rebuiding ones are. If the Oilers have been rebuilding from 2000 then definitely this is a case against Lowe. Regardless of whether you think they should have been rebuilding all this time, do you look back on the trades since 2000 and think: "hey, that's a team in rebuild mode"? If no, you may want to adjust the countdown timer you've set up for Lowe.

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I think, oilswell, that you have questions as to weather this is reasonable as well, as do other Oiler fans.
I do.

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Maybe if the Oilers have another poor season next year, he will truely be scrutonized by the fans. Whatever it is, though, Lowe must have the best PR guys in the world, because it seems no matter what goes on with the Oilers, Lowe is absolved of any guilt, and is heaped praise on by the bowlful.
The time is coming when his cards, if he's holding any, will finally be laid bare. The ultimate test would be if at the trading deadline the team is a few points out of it and he trades away all the non-key vets. If they aren't fully on this plan then Lowe has a lot of questions to answer in my book. I might not be as hard on him as you are, though, since he didn't have prime picks like Tampa (and, hello, Sedins) the Canucks had, nor do I believe he had the same luxury of letting his salaries grow like Vancouver has.

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Another thing I'd like to address is rebuilding teams. What is better: For young kids to be surrounded by other young kids and work their way up in the organization, or young kids to be on a winning team, and learn how to win, learn to play close games that mean something, maybe even learn how to play in the playoffs?
I dunno. Ask Tampa, maybe? Or Ottawa? You're not on the "Messier was great for Vancouver" bandwagon, are you?

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Winning isn't just important for the standings and the fans, but it creates a better learning enviroment for the young players. Winning breeds a lot of things. Losing breeds doubt in just about everything and everyone.
I don't have an answer for what to do. I've opposed the harsh rebuild plan that speeds has mentioned for years now. And I'm not happy with watching the team being slowly dismantled.

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And as for moving a player for a goaltender - I'm all for that too.
I am too. In some ways I hope they'll move a D man or two for a really good goalie because the Oilers seem much more able to develop defenders than any other player, but particularly goalies. Too bad Milbury bought all our defense already because, like you, Dipietro, I think Dipietro might be a good one.

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I really don't care what is moved for a goaltender. Nothing should be off limits depending on what you're getting back in a goalie.
Definitely.

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At the same time, then, you should be in favour of Comrie being moved for picks.
Yup. And he got a 1st rounder in addition to a prospect.

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I do not believe the mantra, 'Every single pick counts'. Yes, they are important, but they are not the be all and end all of creating a good young team.
See, I want to agree with you again. The "every pick counts" was what the line of reasoning extended to.

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Building through the draft is one thing, but banking on it completely as well has not been proven successful either.
Do you happen to have a list of all the teams that have gone from garbage to contender in the last 15 years without relying on either a bunch of money or a bunch of great picks, usually really high picks? My guess is it isn't a long list. Its one of the reasons I worry that Lowe's not doing enough to dismantle the current team fast enough. If he's even trying to dismantle it. Hey, I still manage to want them to win every damn game, but I know the importance of high draft picks for successful contender building. That's just the kind of contradiction I have no trouble living with!

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Something I've said a few times, but I believe it ought to be questioned. Are you so sure that, with the youth the Oilers have, they are going to be such a great team down the road?
They don't have a Nash or Kovalchuk or even a Zherdev. Without one or preferrably two of these, personally I fear the exercise may be futile. A Brodeur would be enormously helpful.

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I think this next draft will be the rub for Kevin Lowe and me....The Oilers need to pick up a top notch prospect AT ANY POSITION.
Obviously its critical. He might need to move up into the top three. I don't know if he'll be able to do that with the goodies he has to offer. Its definitely worrisome. Assuming we take his word at face value for now, nobody was willing to give up a reasonable pick for Comrie and various other junk last year. I'm thinking Smith and even Smyth will be nearly valueless at the draft table. I'm hoping he can put maybe something like Smith+ and a 2nd and the Philly 1st together and make a top-three picking team bite. Maybe "every pick counts" isn't something to hang your team strategy on, but considering how picks now seem to be considered the only legal tender at the draft table, the saying may ring pretty true on draft day.

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Old
02-13-2004, 12:28 PM
  #131
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These responses are getting massive, so I'll try to stick to some key talking points rather than go over the entire thing. I will say this, we are on the same page for 90% of this discussion, Oilswell.

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Originally Posted by oilswell
Hmmm, can't win if you don't buy a ticket, eh? If that reasoning isn't making you run out to buy lottery tickets, then perhaps you'll agree that its pointless to use it to argue for making changes because "if they don't try something they won't ever know". You pulled out this line regarding my response to Garon. I'm not saying there's no truth to it. Yeah, I'll never win the New York Powerball if I never play it. So what? Even though its true I don't feel compelled to play it every week. I'm just trying to point the argument down what I think is a more fruitful path.

My opinion is that people are too frequently caught into the seductive lottery reasoning mentioned above. At the outset, one should be careful to stick to talking about risk and rewards and the level of risk one should be willing to take on. I've been trying to steer discussion that direction.
You're absolutely correct. A great example of this is those fans wishing the Oilers would tank the season in hopes they finish bottom 5 with a shot at Ovechkin. While there is a shot, the chances are sublimely small. Heck, even if your in last place, the odds are not completely stacked in your favour. Banking on top picks are no way to rebuild a franchise. Better to rely on adept scouting and a stout farm system.

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I'm competent to have an opinion. I don't consider myself competant to accurately judge goalies, certainly not Kiprusoff. I daresay no GM would pick up a goalie solely on my sayso.
One thing, if anything, I've learned on internet messageboards is that having an opinion is a far less dangerous thing to have here than in the 'real world' (and I'm not talking about the television show ). However, don't be afraid to be wrong, that's my mantra. Have an opinion, but if you're wrong down the road, it's not he end of the world. Obviously this isn't so good if your a GM, mind you.

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That's true enough, and I thought about that as I typed my reply. So Kiprusoff wouldn't be that old in '07-08, assuming they're wanting to have their long-term goalie in place starting about then. He'd be 32, almost Salo's age now. Meaning they'd get him for a run of maybe 3 years (less if he turns into a Salo). Even so, it would definitely help them to have a real goalie before Deslauriers (or whomever) comes around, if he ever does.
Exactly. Look at when the Bolts picked up Khabibulin. They were, more or less, still mired in their rebuild and opened their wallets (for the first and only time really) and picked him up. At the time, people were wondering why, as they weren't all that competative. Now, Khabibulin is still well within his prime (and still has 3 years left in my books), and is a key reason as to why the Bolts are doing as well as they are.

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Sorry about that. My post was a little rambly and I didn't make this one come back around and connect. I'll try to do that now. In part, it was setting up the fact that the Oilers are in a position where they're going to rely on the draft for almost everything, and the Wings are a study in contrast.

However the more important issue is the ability to go for home run swings at the draft table. Say a some guy Jimmy is the GM of the Oilers and has set himself up to bet the team's future heavily on the draft. He stinks out the draft the fans dry up and they close up shop. I'm suggesting that the fewer drafts Jimmy has in his hands, the more likely it is he'll stick to the less risky drafts. With a couple of extra drafts in similar spots, Jimmy might reach for, say, a softer but talented defenseman, or a goalie that isn't rated so high as the current pick but may be gone the next round. If this is true, then the number and location of picks may make a huge difference on the players that the team gets.
You're right, the Wings to have leeway which allows them to 'pick dangerously' at times. However, in the later rounds, guys like Zetterberg don't apply to this rule. Maybe in the 1st round or two (Jiri Hudler for instance would apply), but in round 6, I think it's safe to say GM's are just picking their favorites of whatever is available. There is little strategy past round 3 or 4, simply relying on strong scouting, which the Wings have.

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Ever since I looked through the draft records of the teams a while ago (posting lost in the Great HF Boards Accidental Clearing of 2003), I've been trying to figure out a way to greatly improve one's ability to draft great players -- apart from drafting in the top 5. Its a critical question for any team that can't buy their stars and doesn't want to go for several years earning top picks by the sheer crappiness of their team. The Oilers may be just such a team. On one hand you can improve your chances by just getting more picks. However I noted how in GuyF's interviews and elsewhere that the teams generally go by BPA, then by needs, and then by longshots. Its a risk managment strategy and I can't think of a better one for a team like the Oilers with a pick in each round.

However once you start increasing the number of picks available, it occurred to me that keeping the same strategy may be an inferior. Instead, you probably would alter your risk/potential equation. One possible change in the split would be to use duplicate picks to split risk and potential evenly. That is, if you're picking, say, 19th and 21st, you don't pick two guys who have risk factors of 3 and payoff potentials of 8. Lets denote such a guy a (3,8). Instead, maybe you pick a guy who is a (2,7) and another who is a (5,9). The first guy is a shade less dazzling but you're very confident he's going to make the show, and the second guy could be a star but maybe he's short or you're unsure of his motivation level. Come to think of it, supposedly this is precisely what the Oilers did when they chose Bonsignore and Smyth. Hmm.

Another point I never got around to making was that it seems to be easier to move up in the draft with picks than with players. Especially with uncertainty about the next CBA. We saw that last year. If Lowe has designs on moving up in the draft while still making a large number of picks, he may feel like he needs to stockpile them.
For sure, more picks are a boon, but again, do they create a better team?

It works in theory, looking back on old drafts. You think, 'Geez, if we had more 2nd round picks in 1994, we might have gotten Drury & or Hejduk!'. Well, yes, in theory this is true. However, it's still the Avs who picked those guys. They wouldn't have picked them had their scouts not seem something in either of them.

I go back again to scouting, which is the be all and end all of the drafting table. More picks is a boon, but again, scouting is where the key lies. Without good scouting, you can have 100 picks in a draft and you might not do as well as a team with 10, that has sharp scouts around the world. This is something that I think Oilers fans have questioned all through the 90's, and some still do to this day.

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The Oilers would have needed a 4 year plan to dismantle the team and make it to the new CBA and a 5 year plan for building it back up. At least, that's my conjecture about how the Oilers have been playing this since Lowe was hired.
How do you prepare for a new CBA? Dump off expensive players and go with young talent. How do you rebuild? Dump off expensive players and go with young talent. Planning for the CBA and rebuilding should have been mutually exclusive ideals. It has been for other teams, such as San Jose and the Florida Panthers. Either of these teams are deep into their respective rebuilds.

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The first 3 of which IMO were clearly not full rebuild years. For whatever reasons. Could be because he's a bad GM, could be because the owners or fans wouldn't tolerate dumping a playoff team en masse.
The first three are absolutely rebuilds in my eyes. He dumped off vets and acquired younger players. Every year the team has gotten younger. That's not a rebuild to you? Open your eyes, my friend. Lowe might not use the dreaded 'R-word', but the Oilers are well into a rebuild right now. In fact, it's Year 3 of one. The Weight trade started it all.

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Yep. Rebuiding ones are. If the Oilers have been rebuilding from 2000 then definitely this is a case against Lowe. Regardless of whether you think they should have been rebuilding all this time, do you look back on the trades since 2000 and think: "hey, that's a team in rebuild mode"? If no, you may want to adjust the countdown timer you've set up for Lowe.
The Weight trade was absolutely a rebuilding move. As was the Hamrlik trade. As was last year's trade deadline in general.

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The time is coming when his cards, if he's holding any, will finally be laid bare. The ultimate test would be if at the trading deadline the team is a few points out of it and he trades away all the non-key vets. If they aren't fully on this plan then Lowe has a lot of questions to answer in my book. I might not be as hard on him as you are, though, since he didn't have prime picks like Tampa (and, hello, Sedins) the Canucks had, nor do I believe he had the same luxury of letting his salaries grow like Vancouver has.

I dunno. Ask Tampa, maybe? Or Ottawa? You're not on the "Messier was great for Vancouver" bandwagon, are you?

I am too. In some ways I hope they'll move a D man or two for a really good goalie because the Oilers seem much more able to develop defenders than any other player, but particularly goalies. Too bad Milbury bought all our defense already because, like you, Dipietro, I think Dipietro might be a good one.

Do you happen to have a list of all the teams that have gone from garbage to contender in the last 15 years without relying on either a bunch of money or a bunch of great picks, usually really high picks? My guess is it isn't a long list. Its one of the reasons I worry that Lowe's not doing enough to dismantle the current team fast enough. If he's even trying to dismantle it. Hey, I still manage to want them to win every damn game, but I know the importance of high draft picks for successful contender building. That's just the kind of contradiction I have no trouble living with!

They don't have a Nash or Kovalchuk or even a Zherdev. Without one or preferrably two of these, personally I fear the exercise may be futile. A Brodeur would be enormously helpful.
A list of teams without high picks doing a rebuild:

Vancouver Canucks are a great example. I know, you're pointing to the Sedin's and Bryan Allen. But let's face it, these guys are not the key elements, the core players of the Vancouver squad. The Canucks team's core is of 6 players: Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund, Ed Jovanovski, and Dan Cloutier. All of those guys sans Ohlund, whom was a mid-round pick, were acquired via trades.

How about the Montreal Canadiens? Their core is Saku Koivu, Richard Zednik, Sheldon Souray, Andrei Markov, and Jose Theodore. Zednik, Souray, and Theodore were all acquired in trades, whereas Koivu and Markov were both not even close to being top picks. They have Mike Komisarek whom I believe was a 7th overall pick, but he is not a member of their core yet. They also have Andrei Kastsitsyn whom was 10th overall last year I think, but again, not a member of the core yet.

How about the Flames? Core I'm sure we'd all agree revolves around Jarome Iginla whom was traded for (Joey Nieuwendyk went the other way). Also in their 'core' is Craig Conroy (traded for Stillman), Steven Reinprecht & Rhett Warrener (traded for Chris Drury and that other dude), Robyn Regehr (traded for Theo Fleury). Other guys in their 'outer core' you could even say are Toni Lydman (4th round pick), and Jordan Leopold (traded for Giguere). So for the Flames, their entire core was gotten via trade outside of Toni Lydman by my count. Oh, forgot Kipprusoff is probobly in there now, so add that in via trade.

How about the Phoenix Coyotes? Shane Doan was a 7th round pick in '94, but Smyth was picked #6 overall in '94, so the Oilers I don't think have an arguement here that they don't have any top picks if you're counting Doan. Daymond Langkow was acquired via trade from Philly (I think that was the Handzus trade). Comrie acquired from Philly too recently. Nagy was acquired from the Blues in the Keith Tkachuk trade. Paul Mara acquired from the Bolts for Khabibulin I think. Ossi Vaananen was picked in the 2nd round, and their goaltender Boucher was acquired from Philly too (Lots of Philly guys, eh?). Heck, even all of the Yote prospects are mid-round picks or later. Yet this is a team that is probobly on the fastest track to the top of the Western conference, a team that I think many think is going to be one of the better teams in the West in a few short years.

So I've given you 4 teams, but I'm going to go for 5, just 'cause I like even numbers

The Buffalo Sabres, whom are in the midst of a rebuild like the Yotes. Their core players are: Miro Satan (acquired from the Oilers), Chris Drury (from the Flames), Daniel Briere (from the Yotes), Alexei Zhitnik (from the Kings), Dmitri Kalinen (mid-round pick), and Martin Biron (another mid-rounder). Mika Noronen was another mid-round pick, Ryan Miller was a 5th round pick. Heck, look at their secondary players: Pyatt acquired via trade, Afinogenov was a later round pick, Tallinder was a 2nd rounder, Hecht was picked up from the Oilers, Dumont from the Blackhawks, Kotalik was a mid-round pick. In fact, nothing on this team short of Tomas Vanek was a top pick, and Vanek hasn't even cracked the lineup yet. The Sabres aren't all that successful yet, and may or may not be a team on the rise mind you.

These are 5 examples of teams from all over the rebuilding spectrum (Buffalo at the beginning part of the rebuild, Montreal, Flames, Yotes about halfway, Vancouver finished rebuilding in around 2002/2003). All of these teams didn't need top picks to rebuild. The highest pick in this mess not acquired via trade was Shane Doan, and like I said, he is no higher of a pick than Ryan Smyth around that time period. So if you want to say Doan is a high pick, you've pretty well gotta say Smyth is one too.

5 teams isn't a very small list if you ask me, especially since 4 of those teams are currently rebuilding. At any given moment, about 10 teams are in the rebuilding phane, maybe 12. So I've given you around a third or more of the rebuilding teams in the league that don't need top picks to be successful. These teams rely on sharp scouting of both other NHL teams and of the junior ranks around the world to acquire talent, and all but Buffalo so far have been very successful.

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Obviously its critical. He might need to move up into the top three. I don't know if he'll be able to do that with the goodies he has to offer. Its definitely worrisome. Assuming we take his word at face value for now, nobody was willing to give up a reasonable pick for Comrie and various other junk last year. I'm thinking Smith and even Smyth will be nearly valueless at the draft table. I'm hoping he can put maybe something like Smith+ and a 2nd and the Philly 1st together and make a top-three picking team bite. Maybe "every pick counts" isn't something to hang your team strategy on, but considering how picks now seem to be considered the only legal tender at the draft table, the saying may ring pretty true on draft day.
As I noted, it's not CRITICAL to get a top pick. However, your best bet at finding a team that might trade one is look at teams that had bad years but are expected to rebound. Of the bottom feeding teams that probobly will trade their picks, I think your best bet is going to lie in Anaheim.

So much for 'keeping it breif'

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02-13-2004, 01:45 PM
  #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizral
The first three are absolutely rebuilds in my eyes. He dumped off vets and acquired younger players. Every year the team has gotten younger. That's not a rebuild to you? Open your eyes, my friend. Lowe might not use the dreaded 'R-word', but the Oilers are well into a rebuild right now. In fact, it's Year 3 of one. The Weight trade started it all.

Vancouver Canucks are a great example. I know, you're pointing to the Sedin's and Bryan Allen. But let's face it, these guys are not the key elements, the core players of the Vancouver squad. The Canucks team's core is of 6 players: Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund, Ed Jovanovski, and Dan Cloutier. All of those guys sans Ohlund, whom was a mid-round pick, were acquired via trades.

As I noted, it's not CRITICAL to get a top pick. However, your best bet at finding a team that might trade one is look at teams that had bad years but are expected to rebound. Of the bottom feeding teams that probobly will trade their picks, I think your best bet is going to lie in Anaheim.
Great post Mizral! (how often have I ever said that?
You have given me some long term hope for the Oilers. I don't believe that the Edmonton fanbase would ever allow for the Oilers to crap out the season so badly that they would get a top 5 pick. Let's examine the Oilers then.

Who are the core players on the Oil?

Currently: York, Smith, Smyth, Brewer, Semenov, Hemsky, Torres.

Realistically, Smith, and Smyth will have to make a longterm commitment to the Oilers to stay. Otherwise, in York we have a 1st/2nd LW/C. As much as I like York, I still see him as a very strong 2nd line centre and not a first line centreman in the likes of Lecavalier or Yzerman. maybe if his linemates were very very strong players (i.e. Lindros/Fleury), he would be in the Brendan Morrison line (Naslund/Bertuzzi)? Hemsky is the 1st line RW. Brewer is the top two dman. Semenov is a top 4 dman, possibly top two (i.e. Chara?) Torres, York and Brewer were picked up via trade. Hemsky and Semenov via draft (and not a top 10 draft pick at that!)

What we're lacking: Goalie. top Centreman. Ouch. Those are key positions. JDD is still too far away. Conklin is looking like a backup possibly 1B potential. Salo is done.

I see a lot of potential in Isbister. I've liked what I've seen from the big man and I see a role on the team for him. As much as I liked Niiniimaa, that was a good trade to pick up a powerforrward and Torres.

Reasoner is a good 3rd line centre. Possible 2nd line in the future? Might be a reach.

I don't know what to think of Stoll. He was pegged to be a third line centre along the lines of a young Craig MacT. But now, I'm hearing people compare him to a 2nd line centre with strong leadership capabilities along the lines of a young Trevor Linden. Question: Does he have the hands?

Future: (post CBA - 2 years later)

Isbister - York - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Dvorak
Moreau/Smyth - Reasoner - Salmalainen/Rita
Chimera - Horcoff - Laraques

Brewer - Semenov
Staios - Woywitka
Lynch - Greene
Bergeron

OUT: Smith, Salo, Cross, Ulanov, Ferguson, Pisani - I see Smith as the biggest value.

3 years later: Maybe Niniimaki or Pouliot will be ready then. JDD is still a ? even three years from now.

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02-13-2004, 02:50 PM
  #133
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Great discussion

Mizral the only point I really disagree with is that Weight was traded to rebuild. No Weight and Guerin were traded because of financial reasons.

The Oilers are forced to to being a small market team to rebuild constantly and any discussion about the Oilers trading and drafting is not complete IMO without mentioning that.

So while I agree that they are "rebuild" trades, I would argue that these trades were forced upon Lowe and thus clouds the issues even further.

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Old
02-13-2004, 03:32 PM
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaz44
Mizral the only point I really disagree with is that Weight was traded to rebuild. No Weight and Guerin were traded because of financial reasons.

The Oilers are forced to to being a small market team to rebuild constantly and any discussion about the Oilers trading and drafting is not complete IMO without mentioning that.

So while I agree that they are "rebuild" trades, I would argue that these trades were forced upon Lowe and thus clouds the issues even further.
Perhaps. But then again, I think if the Oilers had a top 4 in the West team, were cup contenders, filling the building every night (they are near sellouts most nights anyways, I realize that), and the buzz in the town was as massive as it is here in Vancouver during the playoffs (and I've been in Edmonton during playoff time, the town goes bats*** crazy!), the Oilers would have no problems supporting a $35 - $40 million dollar payroll.

While Weight and Guerin were both financial moves, I believe they were rebuilding moves at the same time. Remember, when Lowe came in he wanted to make the team 'his team', and Weight and Guerin for members of Sather's squads. He made a half-hearted attempt to retain weight, but made no attempt to retain Guerin as far as I know. Either way, both guys were moved, and while I believe it was financial, at the same time, Lowe made a rebuilding move.

Even if it wasn't Lowe's intent to rebuild, at that moment, the Oilers were rebuilding. It's the same as the Canucks when they moved Bure. That was probobly the move everyone points to as the rebuilding of the Canucks. For the Yotes it was the Tkachuk trade. For the Sabres, probobly the Peca trade, etc.. - for the Oilers, it'll be the Weight/Guerin/Hamrlik deals that will be looked back upon as the beginning of rebuilding effort. Surely, since then, Lowe has made every move towards getting cheaper and younger, which is the mark of a rebuilding franchise.

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02-13-2004, 03:53 PM
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neogeo69
Great post Mizral! (how often have I ever said that?
You have given me some long term hope for the Oilers. I don't believe that the Edmonton fanbase would ever allow for the Oilers to crap out the season so badly that they would get a top 5 pick. Let's examine the Oilers then.

Who are the core players on the Oil?

Currently: York, Smith, Smyth, Brewer, Semenov, Hemsky, Torres.

Realistically, Smith, and Smyth will have to make a longterm commitment to the Oilers to stay. Otherwise, in York we have a 1st/2nd LW/C. As much as I like York, I still see him as a very strong 2nd line centre and not a first line centreman in the likes of Lecavalier or Yzerman. maybe if his linemates were very very strong players (i.e. Lindros/Fleury), he would be in the Brendan Morrison line (Naslund/Bertuzzi)? Hemsky is the 1st line RW. Brewer is the top two dman. Semenov is a top 4 dman, possibly top two (i.e. Chara?) Torres, York and Brewer were picked up via trade. Hemsky and Semenov via draft (and not a top 10 draft pick at that!)

What we're lacking: Goalie. top Centreman. Ouch. Those are key positions. JDD is still too far away. Conklin is looking like a backup possibly 1B potential. Salo is done.

I see a lot of potential in Isbister. I've liked what I've seen from the big man and I see a role on the team for him. As much as I liked Niiniimaa, that was a good trade to pick up a powerforrward and Torres.

Reasoner is a good 3rd line centre. Possible 2nd line in the future? Might be a reach.

I don't know what to think of Stoll. He was pegged to be a third line centre along the lines of a young Craig MacT. But now, I'm hearing people compare him to a 2nd line centre with strong leadership capabilities along the lines of a young Trevor Linden. Question: Does he have the hands?

Future: (post CBA - 2 years later)

Isbister - York - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Dvorak
Moreau/Smyth - Reasoner - Salmalainen/Rita
Chimera - Horcoff - Laraques

Brewer - Semenov
Staios - Woywitka
Lynch - Greene
Bergeron

OUT: Smith, Salo, Cross, Ulanov, Ferguson, Pisani - I see Smith as the biggest value.

3 years later: Maybe Niniimaki or Pouliot will be ready then. JDD is still a ? even three years from now.
I'd go as far to say that the needs are a bit more. Here's how I see things:

York - Lowercase #1, uppercase #2 centreman. You can live with him as the #1 centre. Trust me, many teams in the west have worse.

Stoll - Uppercase #3. I do not think that Stoll has the offensive gumption to be a 2nd line centre, but he's got TERRIFIC #3 skills. Reminds me of a present-day Linden in a way, in terms of how he'll be down the road. A key part of the future Oilers group.

Reasoner - #3 centreman. I really don't see Reasoner's time in Edmonton being much longer. Stoll will push him out eventually. He may have to play the 2nd line centre role next year, but that's way above his abilities.

Horcoff - #4 centre. Really don't see him as being any better than that.

Bishai - #4 centre. Maybe a #3, I'd like to see him play more.

So at centre, I've got:

York
****
Stoll
Horcoff/Bishai

As an ideal setup.

At Wing:

Hemsky - 1st/2nd line winger. Not sure, but he's certainly got potential to be a 1st line winger, without a doubt.

Torres - 2nd line winger. Some may think he's capable of 1st, but I have my questions about Torres still. I wonder, in particular, if he'll be able to grow on this goal output all that much. He seems like he might be a Brendan Morrow type though, which is VERY good.

Dvorak - 2nd line winger. Pretty standard fair 2nd line guy.

Isbister - 3rd line winger. And that's only if he gets his defensive act together. He's far, far too streaky in my mind to be a top 6 guy, and he doesn't give 100% nearly enough nights. Hopefully he can be another Scott Thornton, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Smyth - 1st line left winger, idealy. He might slip to a 2nd line winger over the years, he seems to take a real toll injury-wise.

Moreau - 3rd line winger. Much better than Izzy. Gives his all, fights hard, works hard, skates hard. He's actually got underrated goal scoring ability to. I'd love to have this guy on any team I like.

Rita - 3rd line winger, idealy. Again, this is 50/50. He might be out of the league in a few months for all we know.

Salmelainnen - 3rd/4th line winger. I actually like him more than Rita, as I think he's more of a surefire NHL'er, albiet not with huge potential. I see him as something like a Jason Blake with less talent. Still, a useful player.

Fernando Pisani - 3rd/4th line winger. Same with Salmelainnen.

Laraques - 4th line winger. Crusher to usher, Georges, crusher to usher.

Chimera - I want to see Chimera become a 2nd line left winger, I think he can be it. But it's looking dimmer by the day. I'll say 4th line winger for now, but he does have that extra gear..

If I had to pick and choose lines from these guys, it'd be:

Smyth/York/Hemsky
Torres/****/Dvorak
Moreau/Stoll/Pisani
Salmelainnen/Horcoff/Laraques

I'd toe punt Isbister, Reasoner, Chimera, and Rita out the door, and if I could, Laraques too and get a cheaper fighter off waivers. As for the 2nd line centre, I have no idea what to do there. There is no 2nd line centre on the Oilers really. Anyhow, that forward lineup is playoff worthy, even this year. I have not many issues with the forwards except Hemsky isn't quite ready for 1st line duty, no 2nd line centre, and I think Laraques is terrible. For now, I'd put Reasoner in the 2nd line spot, move Hemsky and Dvorak up and down as I please, and trade Laraques ASAP.

On defense:

Brewer - #2 defensemen. Some say a #1, but I do not see the offense any longer.

Smith - #3 defensemen. Might slip over the years and become a #4, but for now, a #3.

Staios - #4 defenseman. A really good one too.

Ulanov - #6 defenseman. I'm still not sold on him over the full year. He has to proove more to me.

Semenov - I think Semenov has the potential to be a #4 defenseman. For now he's a #5.

Lynch - He's no sure thing, that's for sure, but he could be a nice bottom pairing man.

Woywitka - I'd say he's a sure thing. Top 4 man down the road. Favorite Oilers prospect.

Bergeron - #6 PP specialist pretty much. I like him, but idealy, you'd want someone bigger.

So here, you've got:

#1 Defensemen - None
#2 - Brewer
#3 - Smith
#4 - Staios
#5 - Semenov
#6 - Ulanov

And that's for now. Maybe next year, Woytika could be a #5/6, and Bergeron will get more minutes as a #5/6 man too. I have a feeling Lynch won't be ready next year.

So then if you imagine Smith, Staios, and Ulanov will be gone in 3 years (not for sure mind you), 3 years down the road I'd say something more like this is what you'll see:

#1 - None
#2 - Brewer
#3 - Woywitka
#4 - Semenov
#5 - None
#6 - Lynch/Bergeron/Greene, whomever of the 3 makes it, hopefully still have Staios kicking around for the #4/5 spot to make things nice and deep.

Either way, you've got a #1 D-man missing, and that defense while idealy okay, still isn't playoff satisfactory in my eyes. You're going to need to bump guys like Semenov into the bottom pairing to truely move up.

Finally in goal, since I see neither of Salo nor Conklin the future, in a way, I look at the Oilers as having ZERO goaltenders. Deslauriers would be nice, but he's still so far away, it's hard to project him.

----------

So my issues with the future lie in the following:

#1 - Lack of goaltender depth, and young goaltenders already in the system sans Conklin whom doesn't seem to have much upside, if any at all.

#2 - Lack of top line talent. Outside of Hemsky and York, nothing seems to fill me with glee. God forbid Hemsky only becomes a 2nd liner, the Oilers offense would be in shambles if that happened. I'm banking on Lowe fixing this at the draft.

#3 - Lack of #1 defensemen talent, lack of overall top-end defensemen. So far as I see it, you've got Brewer and Woywitka in terms of good future defensemen (I'm talking top 3), and Woywitka may or may not get there. Just not good enough considering teams around the Oilers like the Flames have 3 or 4 guys in their system whom are young and could be top 3 guys, if they aren't already.

That's pretty well it. I am especially worried about goal and defense.

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02-13-2004, 04:48 PM
  #136
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Originally Posted by Mizral
I'd go as far to say that the needs are a bit more. Here's how I see things:

York - Lowercase #1, uppercase #2 centreman. You can live with him as the #1 centre. Trust me, many teams in the west have worse.

Stoll - Uppercase #3. I do not think that Stoll has the offensive gumption to be a 2nd line centre, but he's got TERRIFIC #3 skills. Reminds me of a present-day Linden in a way, in terms of how he'll be down the road. A key part of the future Oilers group.

Reasoner - #3 centreman. I really don't see Reasoner's time in Edmonton being much longer. Stoll will push him out eventually. He may have to play the 2nd line centre role next year, but that's way above his abilities.

Horcoff - #4 centre. Really don't see him as being any better than that.

Bishai - #4 centre. Maybe a #3, I'd like to see him play more.

So at centre, I've got:

York
****
Stoll
Horcoff/Bishai

As an ideal setup.

At Wing:

Hemsky - 1st/2nd line winger. Not sure, but he's certainly got potential to be a 1st line winger, without a doubt.

Torres - 2nd line winger. Some may think he's capable of 1st, but I have my questions about Torres still. I wonder, in particular, if he'll be able to grow on this goal output all that much. He seems like he might be a Brendan Morrow type though, which is VERY good.

Dvorak - 2nd line winger. Pretty standard fair 2nd line guy.

Isbister - 3rd line winger. And that's only if he gets his defensive act together. He's far, far too streaky in my mind to be a top 6 guy, and he doesn't give 100% nearly enough nights. Hopefully he can be another Scott Thornton, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Smyth - 1st line left winger, idealy. He might slip to a 2nd line winger over the years, he seems to take a real toll injury-wise.

Moreau - 3rd line winger. Much better than Izzy. Gives his all, fights hard, works hard, skates hard. He's actually got underrated goal scoring ability to. I'd love to have this guy on any team I like.

Rita - 3rd line winger, idealy. Again, this is 50/50. He might be out of the league in a few months for all we know.

Salmelainnen - 3rd/4th line winger. I actually like him more than Rita, as I think he's more of a surefire NHL'er, albiet not with huge potential. I see him as something like a Jason Blake with less talent. Still, a useful player.

Fernando Pisani - 3rd/4th line winger. Same with Salmelainnen.

Laraques - 4th line winger. Crusher to usher, Georges, crusher to usher.

Chimera - I want to see Chimera become a 2nd line left winger, I think he can be it. But it's looking dimmer by the day. I'll say 4th line winger for now, but he does have that extra gear..

If I had to pick and choose lines from these guys, it'd be:

Smyth/York/Hemsky
Torres/****/Dvorak
Moreau/Stoll/Pisani
Salmelainnen/Horcoff/Laraques

I'd toe punt Isbister, Reasoner, Chimera, and Rita out the door, and if I could, Laraques too and get a cheaper fighter off waivers. As for the 2nd line centre, I have no idea what to do there. There is no 2nd line centre on the Oilers really. Anyhow, that forward lineup is playoff worthy, even this year. I have not many issues with the forwards except Hemsky isn't quite ready for 1st line duty, no 2nd line centre, and I think Laraques is terrible. For now, I'd put Reasoner in the 2nd line spot, move Hemsky and Dvorak up and down as I please, and trade Laraques ASAP.

On defense:

Brewer - #2 defensemen. Some say a #1, but I do not see the offense any longer.

Smith - #3 defensemen. Might slip over the years and become a #4, but for now, a #3.

Staios - #4 defenseman. A really good one too.

Ulanov - #6 defenseman. I'm still not sold on him over the full year. He has to proove more to me.

Semenov - I think Semenov has the potential to be a #4 defenseman. For now he's a #5.

Lynch - He's no sure thing, that's for sure, but he could be a nice bottom pairing man.

Woywitka - I'd say he's a sure thing. Top 4 man down the road. Favorite Oilers prospect.

Bergeron - #6 PP specialist pretty much. I like him, but idealy, you'd want someone bigger.

So here, you've got:

#1 Defensemen - None
#2 - Brewer
#3 - Smith
#4 - Staios
#5 - Semenov
#6 - Ulanov

And that's for now. Maybe next year, Woytika could be a #5/6, and Bergeron will get more minutes as a #5/6 man too. I have a feeling Lynch won't be ready next year.

So then if you imagine Smith, Staios, and Ulanov will be gone in 3 years (not for sure mind you), 3 years down the road I'd say something more like this is what you'll see:

#1 - None
#2 - Brewer
#3 - Woywitka
#4 - Semenov
#5 - None
#6 - Lynch/Bergeron/Greene, whomever of the 3 makes it, hopefully still have Staios kicking around for the #4/5 spot to make things nice and deep.

Either way, you've got a #1 D-man missing, and that defense while idealy okay, still isn't playoff satisfactory in my eyes. You're going to need to bump guys like Semenov into the bottom pairing to truely move up.

Finally in goal, since I see neither of Salo nor Conklin the future, in a way, I look at the Oilers as having ZERO goaltenders. Deslauriers would be nice, but he's still so far away, it's hard to project him.

----------

So my issues with the future lie in the following:

#1 - Lack of goaltender depth, and young goaltenders already in the system sans Conklin whom doesn't seem to have much upside, if any at all.

#2 - Lack of top line talent. Outside of Hemsky and York, nothing seems to fill me with glee. God forbid Hemsky only becomes a 2nd liner, the Oilers offense would be in shambles if that happened. I'm banking on Lowe fixing this at the draft.

#3 - Lack of #1 defensemen talent, lack of overall top-end defensemen. So far as I see it, you've got Brewer and Woywitka in terms of good future defensemen (I'm talking top 3), and Woywitka may or may not get there. Just not good enough considering teams around the Oilers like the Flames have 3 or 4 guys in their system whom are young and could be top 3 guys, if they aren't already.

That's pretty well it. I am especially worried about goal and defense.
Wow, thats actually a pretty fair and good review of things. Although I think you underestimate Reasoner's overall impact on this team. And....I still believe (although Im sure Oiler management doesnt share my view) that Rita can be a player in this league.

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02-13-2004, 06:07 PM
  #137
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Wow Mizral. I think we actually think alike on these matters. I agree with your assessment on Brewer, York, Torres etc.

I'm still not sure on Stoll, the question is: does he have the hands to be a #2. he certainly has everything else to be #3. Reasoner will probably be put into the #2 centre role until one of our draft picks (Pouliot or Ninnimaki) pans out.

The only thing we disagree on is Isbister. But if Izzy does turn out to be only a #3 winger, then he's making way too much ($2 million) for that role.

Overall, a great post!

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02-13-2004, 07:04 PM
  #138
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Solid work Mizral. I'd probably disagree with your assessment of Semenov and Lynch, and Linden scored a crapload early on but the comp to Stoll is a bullseye.

Also, I think JDD has an excellent shot at the show, and I noticed you didn't mention him.

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02-14-2004, 05:34 AM
  #139
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I disagree with his assessment on Semenov & Woywitka. Otherwise, I'll grudginly say thats not bad and it sounds like Mizralble actually knows whats he talking about this time. Of course he could have just looked at the "Prospect Stats Again" thread and added whatever.

EDIT: Personally I think Mizralble relies way too much on "what if's?" and "shoulda, coulda, woulda's" to prove his theory that Lowe is a bad GM and thats not a cornerstone for a very convincing argument. Who knew at the time when Kiprusoff was signed that he would carry the Flamers all by himself? Certainly not me, I thought it was a good move though. Who knew at the time when Salo was signed (now Mizralble I'm going to say this very slowly since you seem oblivious to this fact, but when Salo was signed to his contract, he was a top 10 goalie in the league) that he was going to end his career in the league by playing like Playoff Cloutier?

Personally, I don't like the direction this team is heading in. I feel the future Oilers will be average at best just like the last 7 seasons. Nothing special, maybe win a playoff round or two every so often, but I don't know if we have the type of player that will put us over the top, you know?

Is this a result of Lowe? Of course; but remember he's working hard just to keep us afloat. The Oilers sell 99% of the seats last season and get huge support from the fans even now, but still lost $202,000. There are a few glaring signings that maybe he shouldn't have done, like Salo fo one, but no one knew back then that Salo would be this bad now, paying Laraque $1.9 mil and refusing to sign Comrie for $1.7 (although from what I understand 89 couldn't take the heat from Lowe and the fans and I guess I can understand why; Oilers fans are have some of the most knowledgeable fans in the league and that can really intimidate players). I'll also agree that despite faceoffs signing Oates was a desperate move that was a mistake. It's funny how we pegged him to get 40-50 points this season.

I don't think Lowe has been doing a terrible god-awful job as Mizralble constantly suggests whenever he "graces" us with his presence around here. I think Lowe is honestly looking out for the best interests of a small-market Oilers franchise and he doesn't have much to work with. Despite the weakness at centre, I think we have an awesome top 6; and when the RPM line gets reunited it's a very underrated checking/shutdown line, and imo it's mostly a result of coaching that these guys can't play cohesively. They should be able to play way better; and it could be the absence of a #1 center, but I don't think it can solely blamed on that. Signing MacT to a longer contract instead of looking for a better coach was another of Lowe's mistakes.

As for comparing the present Oilers to the 2002 Canucks; thats just total garbage. None of the current Oilers even come close to the skill level of Naslund and Bert. The Canucks made some moves that put them over the top. I wish the Oilers had that luxury unfortunately we don't so cut the crap.


Last edited by Oilers Hockey: 02-14-2004 at 06:05 AM.
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02-14-2004, 08:48 AM
  #140
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Originally Posted by Mizral
Perhaps. But then again, I think if the Oilers had a top 4 in the West team, were cup contenders, filling the building every night (they are near sellouts most nights anyways, I realize that), and the buzz in the town was as massive as it is here in Vancouver during the playoffs (and I've been in Edmonton during playoff time, the town goes bats*** crazy!), the Oilers would have no problems supporting a $35 - $40 million dollar payroll.

.
Mizral, are you even a little bit aware of the Oiler's economic situation? The oilers DO sell out every night. Unlike Vancouver, they do create a buzz in their town and yet they can't support a 40 mill payroll.

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02-14-2004, 11:07 AM
  #141
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Mizral, are you even a little bit aware of the Oiler's economic situation? The oilers DO sell out every night. Unlike Vancouver, they do create a buzz in their town and yet they can't support a 40 mill payroll.
One can't know for sure if they could or couldn't support a 40 mil payroll, because they don't have ticket prices high enough to give themselves a chance. That might well be a good thing.

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02-14-2004, 11:12 AM
  #142
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Originally Posted by Mr Sakich
Mizral, are you even a little bit aware of the Oiler's economic situation? The oilers DO sell out every night. Unlike Vancouver, they do create a buzz in their town and yet they can't support a 40 mill payroll.
Obviously Mizralble has never been to let alone seen an Oiler playoff game. This city's atmosphere is uncomparable. "IF" Edmonton had a buzz like Vancouver? My God, any time the Oilers make the playoffs, and we're talking as a lower seed, the building is described as the loudest and most rambunctious atmosphere anyones ever seen!

Mizralble also forgets that Vancouver is able to sell out all the time because of the almighty corporate presence. Edmonton doesn't rely on that so much, the seats being filled in our building are real working-class hockey fans.

Raise prices? They're high enough and I can barely afford to go to games as it is!

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02-14-2004, 12:42 PM
  #143
Mizral
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Sakich
Mizral, are you even a little bit aware of the Oiler's economic situation? The oilers DO sell out every night. Unlike Vancouver, they do create a buzz in their town and yet they can't support a 40 mill payroll.
How do you know they can't support a $40 million dollar team?

Truely, unless you are Mr. Levvit, or work for upper management in the Oilers, or own them, you have little more than a vague idea of what the Oilers can and can not afford.

However, it seems that the Oilers are having no trouble affording 4 year contracts to goons at $1.4 million, ~$4 million dollar contracts to it's top winger & supposedly a top goaltender. Team sells out most nights (albiet on a small arena by today's standards), and they've got a nice TV deal with Rogers SportsNet, CBC, and TSN picking up a few games (which by the way doesn't find it's way into the announced revenues of NHL teams).

The Oilers are not a rich team, but they are not the poorest either. With wiser spending, we could easily assume that even with the same payroll, the Oilers could be much better..

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02-14-2004, 01:19 PM
  #144
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The Oilers are not a rich team, but they are not the poorest either. With wiser spending, we could easily assume that even with the same payroll, the Oilers could be much better..
Well, that much I'll agree with.

But as for bumping the Oilers payroll by several million dollars with the hope that doing so will pay off in playoff revenue and added attendence, that's the kind of thinking that has created the NHL's financial crisis to start with.

Let's say the average playoff home game generates $1 million US in revenue. And for the sake of argument, let's say the average playoff series gives 3 home games. So what's the expected payoff in playoff revenue for any given team?

non-playoff team:__14 * $0________ 0
1st-round loser:_____8 * $3 million__ 24 million
2nd-round loser:____4 * $6 million___ 24 million
semifinals loser:____2 * $9 million___ 18 million
Finalist:___________2 * $12 million__ 24 million
________________________________ total jackpot $90 million
_________________divided by 30 chances = $3 million.

So overall, if you imagined that any team had an equal chance of reaching the finals or finishing dead last, the expected payoff in playoff revenue at the start of the year for any team should be 3 million. Could be more, could be less, but we're gambling and the expected payoff for the NHL payoff lottery is $3 million. What does this mean? This means that if you exceed your budget by over $3 million in hopes of recouping it in playoff revenue, odds are that you will lose money on that gamble-- according to the raw numbers at least.

Of course, money well spent would theoretically give you more than equal odds of winning (but your opponents think they are spending their money well too). And of course, for some teams the playoff revenue per home game is considerably more than for other teams. But the point of this exercise is just to show that there's a finite pot of playoff revenue out there. And gambling on increasing your share of it only makes sense to a limited point. Last year's Leafs/Flyers series is the perfect example... two teams jacked their payroll in anticipation of going deep into the playoffs and one of them was gone in the first round. It just seems like the owners aren't good at math.

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02-14-2004, 01:24 PM
  #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizral
The Oilers are not a rich team, but they are not the poorest either. With wiser spending, we could easily assume that even with the same payroll, the Oilers could be much better..
Since 2000, the Oilers have enjoyed a large and fairly rich crop of players from their system/drafting. Comrie, Semenov, Horcoff, Markkanen, Hemsky, Conklin and on it goes.

If the Oilers had been drafting/procuring players in 1991 like they are now, there's little doubt they'd be farther along in the cycle no matter the salary level.

It's not just the draft, either. The Oilers fought and won a battle over Conklin, and have also signed Bergeron, Bishai and some other since Lowe arrived.

As for the wiser spending, the Salo signing is one that I don't really question, he was worth that when they signed him. The Brewer signing is certainly a quesiton mark, as was the bonus laden Comrie contract which (without knowing all the facts) seems like the most likely cause of the rift between Edmonton and Comrie. ALL of the 3/4 line signings can be questioned, although I would certainly argue that some (Moreau, for instance) have been good investments.

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02-14-2004, 02:36 PM
  #146
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How do you know they can't support a $40 million dollar team?

Truely, unless you are Mr. Levvit, or work for upper management in the Oilers, or own them, you have little more than a vague idea of what the Oilers can and can not afford.


actually, yes we do know how much they make. they are widely held by local investors and there are no secrets to their bottom line.

However, it seems that the Oilers are having no trouble affording 4 year contracts to goons at $1.4 million, ~$4 million dollar contracts to it's top winger & supposedly a top goaltender. Team sells out most nights (albiet on a small arena by today's standards), and they've got a nice TV deal with Rogers SportsNet, CBC, and TSN picking up a few games (which by the way doesn't find it's way into the announced revenues of NHL teams).

actually, Laraque laraque signed a 3 year deal which was at 20% below the league avaerage and well below the average of the top 5 enforcers in the league. Smyth's contract is 3.5 mill, not 4 and is very comparable to guys who are similar age and production. Lowe also avoided arbitration which could have cost the team huge. Smyth is an Olympian and an all-star so he was never going to come cheap. At the time that Lowe signed Salo, Tommy was coming off a good year and prompty led the oilers to the 2nd best gaa in the league. It was a brilliant signing. Nobody (except internet experts with 20/20 hindsight) could have predicted Tommy would suck the next two years. Smart move by Lowe to get teamoptions though.

The Oilers are not a rich team, but they are not the poorest either. With wiser spending, we could easily assume that even with the same payroll, the Oilers could be much better

could that same statement be made about every team in every sports league?

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02-14-2004, 03:16 PM
  #147
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Well, that much I'll agree with.

But as for bumping the Oilers payroll by several million dollars with the hope that doing so will pay off in playoff revenue and added attendence, that's the kind of thinking that has created the NHL's financial crisis to start with.
OGE,

Nice post, but I wasn't saying that either. What I am saying is that if the Oilers improve and become a better team, I should expect the payroll will go up. And I think the team can afford to move up to the $35 - $40 million area, so long as the team is playing very well.

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02-14-2004, 03:18 PM
  #148
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Sakich - Smyth has bonuses in his contract too.

As for Laraques, defending that contract is a pretty tough task, I don't think you'll have many people on your side on that one.

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02-14-2004, 04:11 PM
  #149
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OGE,

Nice post, but I wasn't saying that either. What I am saying is that if the Oilers improve and become a better team, I should expect the payroll will go up. And I think the team can afford to move up to the $35 - $40 million area, so long as the team is playing very well.
Given the uncertainties of the Canadian dollar and team performance, I think setting a budget and sticking with it is the only policy that makes sense for the Oilers (and other Canadian teams, for that matter.) There's very little room to raise additional money by increasing attendance- the team plays to about 97% capacity on the season. And following up a poor season and labour dispute won't be a good time to ask the fans for higher ticket-prices, either. I doubt anybody who buys tickets regularly will think highly of the suggestion.

There's no argument that some of the Oilers' payroll has been poorly spent this season-- Salo, Laraque, and Oates have all underperformed, relative to the $6.8 million the Oilers have/will pay them this season. The good news is that $5.5 million of that can be reallocated for next season, and hopefully invested better. We'll have to see.

I want to see the ownership group get their debts repaid to put the franchise in reasonably secure financial situation... I would like to see some kind of revenue-sharing & luxury tax combination in the new CBA that'll hopefully give the Oilers more to spend. I'd like to see the Oilers enter the post-lockout era by spending some of that new money plus the money that becomes available after this season on bringing in some players that'll renew fan confidence. I just want them to do it while respecting the realities of their revenue situation. That's all forward looking, and that's just me.

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02-17-2004, 01:33 AM
  #150
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Nice stuff. Trying to briefly comment here since we've had our says and the argument seems to have disappeared.

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Originally Posted by Mizral
How do you prepare for a new CBA? Dump off expensive players and go with young talent. How do you rebuild? Dump off expensive players and go with young talent.
We're working under different definitions. That's my fault. Before I had mentioned "speeds-style" rebuild, and I was still meaning that. I guess you can rebuild by moving a key piece every year or two and making a minor deal or two every year. To me that's tinkering, however, or maintenance. An auto mechanic would say the same thing. A rebuild is when you take the damn thing apart...the core parts, not the alternator one year and the brake system the next...and reconstruct from the scorched Earth. This invariably means building through the draft and ensuring you can do so by having a crappy enough team to get the choice picks. What piece did Pittsburgh pick up last year? The most important? What will they be getting next draft? And possibly the next?

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Planning for the CBA and rebuilding should have been mutually exclusive ideals. It has been for other teams, such as San Jose and the Florida Panthers. Either of these teams are deep into their respective rebuilds.
Just curious. Who do you think makes this decision and, assuming Lowe is making this alone, what reason do you use to justify why he's still employed?

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Vancouver Canucks are a great example. ... Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi...
Its a good example, but I'm not sure exactly how good an example they are for your point. If you take Naslund and Bertuzzi, who are almost certainly the top two players in that list of 6, they really took several years to get going, and then when they got good Burke was able to expand the payroll to keep them. How certain are you that this gives a strong enough match to Lowe's situation to be useful comparison points to make your argument?

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How about the Montreal Canadiens?
Their core is Theodore and Souray and these are another example of a great player and a sleeper pickup. I know its impossible to argue with results, but a surely you don't call a lotter winner brilliant for knowing the right numbers in the draw? Somewhere in the middle between these two ends is a rational way of comparing the Canadiens and the Oilers. I'm not saying I have the answers, I'm just saying I don't know how to compare the Canadiens rightly. Without Theodore, they were looking an awful lot like a disaster all over.

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How about the Flames?
Complicated history for easy comparison, and IMO the jury is out as to whether the result or route is what the Oilers needed to do.

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How about the Phoenix Coyotes?...Yet this is a team that is probobly on the fastest track to the top of the Western conference, a team that I think many think is going to be one of the better teams in the West in a few short years.
Remains to be seen.

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These are 5 examples of teams from all over the rebuilding spectrum (Buffalo at the beginning part of the rebuild, Montreal, Flames, Yotes about halfway, Vancouver finished rebuilding in around 2002/2003).
Excellent analysis. Doesn't convince me that the Oilers are at the end of their rebuild, especially given the age of the principle players involved, but a fun addition!

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At any given moment, about 10 teams are in the rebuilding phane, maybe 12.
Definition difference again. The comparable teams I was thinking of included Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. But then only Pittsburgh is really rebuilding. Maybe San Jose can be added. You can *almost* say every team is rebuilding according to your definition.

Lets call what you're talking about "retooling". I don't see Lowe's moves as speeds-style rebuilding and I'd guess you don't either. Perhaps if Lowe had stuck to here-and-now retooling he would have done better in the present. And if Lowe had just done a total rebuild for 5 years in advance then he would have done better. Sometimes picks or young guys for players (eg Hecht). Sometimes players in return (eg Weight). Doing half and half, I fear, was expensive to both now and the future, as speeds predicted it would be. I guess we'll see what the trade deadline brings, but if Lowe was aiming for a slow reduction in present capability for building the future, then I still say you should consider restarting your time clock on Lowe because the "hold on until the CBA" delayed the true upswing rebuild time.

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As I noted, it's not CRITICAL to get a top pick.
I wonder what percentage of successful reconstructions don't involve a top pick and/or several years of < 15 drafting. If its 50% or less I wonder if its a wise risk to not go for it?

Hey, Naslund, Bertuzzi, and Souray give me hope. I just think you need at least 1 or preferably 2 bona fide superstars and several honest-to-goodness stars (guys that usually get voted onto the allstar team). The superstars just are never around after the first few picks. They're so obvious that even crappy drafting teams rarely get it wrong. And they're so rarely ever traded. In the few cases they are, the situations are called debacles (eg Naslund), although perhaps often only retrospectively rather than at the time.

You could say Lowe's method is standard operating procedure for the Oilers. They rarely ever get stars in exchange for their stars. They leave via free agency (Joseph) or the Oilers hold on too long and get stuck in crummy situations (Weight, Comrie?).

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