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And it died......Post-mortem part 1

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04-04-2004, 08:43 PM
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LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
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And it died......Post-mortem part 1

Well well, here we are at the end of another season, sadly even more disappointing than most of those immediately previous because I think we all knew of the potential, if the team could only have finished where it had the chance to. Who knows what happens if that roster of guys finishes 5th, 6th, even 7th.......... And yes I'm implying what it sounds like I am.

I figure in the style of my game reports, I should go player by player, see what I can gather about who we have on this team and why they should/shouldn't be here and such, I'll just tackle the Goalies and Defencemen today so that these things don't get too long and there can be slightly more concentrated discussion if people want to, so here we go:

>>>>>>>>>>>>
The Goalies
>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ty Conklin (39GP-17W-14L-4T 2.42GAA .912SV%)
-He was finally ready, and finally got his shot. Ty took a really long time to get into the NHL and stick, but this year he accomplished that. He is a very solid goaltender now, and very much ready to take on the role of #1a in a tandem system. He'll probably never be an absolute star, or even a fairly great goalie. But he is capable of becoming a very good one, and has the tools to continue progressing. He is a better goaltender than the $4 mil/year guy we shipped out of town, and he will continue to be. You can tell he's a guy that cares so much about winning as well, and has the right attitude to play for an excellent team. Hopefully he gets the chance to prove what he's made of on the grand stage in the near future.

Jussi Markkanen (27GP-10W14L 3T 2.38GAA .918SV%)
-And his stats were even better for us, Especially considering the team he was playing for before we acquired him, Jussi had a really nice season. It was a shame to see him go last year and a shame he couldn't be around all year. Jussi is a very solid and consistent goaltender as well, he rarely makes large mistakes, and keeps the puck out of the net at clutch times especially, just like Ty. He again may never be a traditional starter on an excellent team, but he is certainly good enough to remain here in the role he has right now, competing with Ty for every single game.

Goaltending Situation: We are set up very well. Although I agree with Mizral more than alot around here, this is one case where I believe he is completely wrong. The goalies we have can do the job more than well enough, and allow for our team to be organized in a more flexible fashion while still winning just as much. A big key here is salary, as long as it is exploited to add to the other areas of our team, it's our best strategy to ice the best team possible. Ty and Jussi should be back next year, barring of course some excellent steal of a deal for a superstar goalie.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Defencemen
>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Eric Brewer (7G 18A 25PTS -6+/- 67PIM 24:38ATOI)
-He continues to be an enigma. This guy has all the tools to be one of the best young defencemen in the NHL, yet continues to stumble, especially with inconsistency and decision-making in his game. There's something wrong with Eric Brewer that is holding him back and I wish I knew what it was. There were limited periods this year where he showed the player he could be, but alot more where he showed why he may never become that guy. Some forget that he has already been in the NHL for 400 games and has had plenty of time to get his act together. Brew was certainly overplayed this year and suffered from that, but there can only be so many excuses made for him at this point. He should be a workhorse rock on the point by now. He has the skill to be a reliable and consistent d-man, but doesn't seem to be able to put it together here. One of the best ways to see this clearly is how slowly and unconfidently he moves on the powerplay. I hate to say it, but if I can get a reasonable deal involving him in the offseason, I make it.

Alexei Semenov (46GP 2G 3A 5PTS 8+/- 32PIM 17:15ATOI)
-It could be said that Alex had an up and down year. He seemed to struggle to find his place, and the coaching staff didn't really seem to have much patience for him. He still showed why he is the future of our back-line, just not in as overt away as many would have liked. He was fairly solid, and had decent stats considering his situation. Not playing on a consistent or effective pairing really hurt him badly. He's always been his best when he's been with Eric Brewer, and that didn't happen much this year. Not that Alex doesn't deserve some of the blame, he showed up maybe out of shape, or maybe just not as prepared as he should've been, and didn't catch up in time to what he needed to become. He still should've played more games, and hopefully one day he's the #2 defenceman on an excellent Oilers team. He doesn't have the offence to be a #1, but he certainly has a high ceiling, and isn't looking like he'll disappoint.

Jason Smith (68GP 7G 12A 19PTS 13+/- 98PIM 21:19ATOI)
-Our captain wasn't amazing this year, but he was very strong. In an injury-shortened season, he played quite well considering. The problem that is facing him is not however his play, it's his contract and the role he fills on an excellent team. He is paid too much to be the 4th defencemen on a team capable of going places, and unfortunately that's what he is. He MIGHT be just good enough to be a #3 on such a team, but I really don't think so. His new contract will almost certainly price him out of that role for this team, and hopefully he can be moved if it's necessary for a good player at the same salary level that fills a different role, or a young player that allows for salary flexibility to fill the hole he would leave. unfortunately I vote that it's most likely that Jason goes this summer.

Cory Cross (68GP 7G 14A 21PTS 9+/- 56PIM 19:12ATOI)
-The scoring machine had a very solid season, especially considering his role. He remains the type of guy you need on a team, even if he's not that exceptional. If you can replace him with a better player at a comparable price you do, but otherwise he fits excellently. Very few times this year did the team not benefit from his use of size in defensive coverage, and downright steady play. Maybe he shouldn't have gotten a long contract, and he probably should've played a little less than he did, but Cory Cross is an important part of the team. He will probably stay next year, and there's nothin wrong with that to me.

Steve Staios (82GP 6G 22A 28PTS 17+/- 86PIM 23:01ATOI)
- Stevey wasn't Stevey at the end of the year, but that's understandable. He was drastically overplayed early on. This is a guy who is a very good #3 defencemen in a properly spaced out system, but was used as a #1 for a fairly long period this year, in a #1 balanced system of ice-time, which just plain ran him out of gas. He wasn't the same guy over the last 20 games. Such a solid player when he's used properly, and just another guy who can make the difference in a game with either a key shot or a big defensive play. We've got a keeper, he can lead us where we gotta go.

Scott Ferguson (52GP 1G 5A 6PTS -5+/- 80PIM 13:21ATOI)
-You all know what I have to say about this joke of an NHL defencemen. Hopefully he's off this team as soon as possible, as he serves no purpose other than to be on the salary sheets of the team.

Marc-Andre Bergeron (54GP 9G 17A 26PTS 13+/- 26PIM 17:37ATOI)
-As you all no doubt know, one of my faves ever since I saw him play his first few games. And it's not because of that hit so many of you talked about at the time, it's because this guy has an INSANE amount of talent on the point, and is not afraid in the least to show it off and make things happen as soon as he is given the chance. He was the best rookie defenceman statistically, and certainly made a big difference in a ton of games down the stretch. This guy gets nowhere near the credit or respect he should in terms of his game and his future potential. The loads of defensive mistakes that people were imagining would occur never came about of course, it's amazing what people 'find' when they're looking so hard for it. He's a big part of the future of the Oilers, and they'd better get him signed to a solid contract this off-season. He deserves a substantial raise and alot more respect from the coaching staff when it comes to his spot on the depth chart next fall. He can be the spark of this team if he is allowed to be. The restrained style he was made to play at the beginning of the year, when he was supposed to be concentrating on defence first, could've destroyed the confidence of many young d-men, but not this guy. He got sent down unjustly, then came back and showed why he never should've left. As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limit for him. With a good PP unit, and another excellent forward or two to feed, and re-making the connection he has with Ales Hemsky, he could put up some very sick numbers. There will be nights when he plays 22 minutes, there will be nights when he plays 16, but if used effectively, he's HUGE on this blueline.

Igor Ulanov (42GP 5G 13A 18PTS 19+/- 28PIM 19:50ATOI)
-To put into perspective what Igor did this year, if he coulda kept up his +/- over a full season, he wins that statistical category, he also woulda put up close to 40 points with under 20 minutes of icetime per night. There isn't a defenceman in the league that could compete if he coulda done it over 82 games. I'm not saying he could, but it's pretty intriguing if you think about it. Igor brings a HUGE steadying influence to our defence, and is a big part of our near-future. He should also be kept around to pass on the wisdom he possesses to the crop of excellent young defencemen we have that will take over one day. Igor possesses so many things that make him a big part of this team, and he will continue to be part of an excellent team in the future, again, as long as he is used properly. He isn't a #1 guy, he's not top 3, but he's one of the very best bottom half defencemen in the league. That is what he can do best, and he should be given every chance to do it. Shame he ever had to leave, but maybe he needed it. We get nowhere close to where we did without Igor.


Defensive Situation: Again I'd say we're in good shape here, but we need to make some moves. We have alot of the tools that make a good defensive corps, but we also need some different things. Marc-Andre Bergeron, Alexei Semenov, Steve Staios, and Igor Ulanov are huge to the future of this team. There's also no reason to ship Cory Cross anywhere unless it is somehow required. Scott Ferguson can do whatever he wants, as long as I don't have to watch him in an Oiler uni again, Jason Smith and Eric Brewer are the question marks. I personally would move both in the offseason, as they do not fit the group of defencemen we should be building. Both are however movable and valuable as assets, so it should be workable. The team needs to acquire a near-elite level, puck-movement oriented defencemen of at least #2 level, as well as a steady rock-style defencemen of the same slot. This would obviously have to be accomplished not just in straight-across deals but in the possible movement of either package trades, UFA signings, prospect moves, or some combination of all depending on the labor situation and other determining factors in the coming years. Such a crop of defencemen would set us up excellently for the following few years, providing a great balance between developing and providing examples for our prospects (which I will cover in a different thread) while at the same time providing the current squad with an effective and elite defensive core, ideally, something like this would result:

(Kubina-type),(Niinimaa-type), Igor Ulanov, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Alex Semenov, Steve Staios, Cory Cross, Doug Lynch, Jeff Woywitka. (not in order)

That's a solid core of defencemen, with more on the way, as long as those trades can be made. It's also not a horror if you decide to keep Brewer instead, as it would still be a very solid set of guys.

I think the defencemen played fairly well this year. They were very good offensively, and provided solid defence as well throughout most of the year. They are also young and well positioned for the future with some tweaking.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>

Comments and flaming are of course not only welcomed, but demanded

I know some of you are looking forward to, and many dreading, a slow process of season-analysis from the likes of me, mostly based on where we need to go from here. I'll basically do the forwards next, then the prospects, then coaching, then management, then wind it all up with a sort of 'what went wrong, keys to the season, hey remember this, if this woulda happened blah blah blah' sorta thing, maybe taking stuff from some old game reports and seeing what it looks like now, anyway, hope you guys enjoy, I'm still really 'don't wanna talk about it' with regards to the actual season results and such, so I'll stick to player analysis for the time being.


Last edited by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1: 04-04-2004 at 09:01 PM.
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04-04-2004, 08:57 PM
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I think Brewer can be that Niinimaa-type for sure, Maybe Smith and Rita and even a pick for that Kubina-type? Other than that I completely agree, get rid of Fergie (and Cross or Staois if you have faith in Semmy) and your set. One of Lynch or Woywitka could play in the League next year. Semenov is the key, Bergie is ready, when Semmy is one more guy can be shipped out.

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04-04-2004, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMHF#1
Marc-Andre Bergeron (54GP 9G 17A 26PTS 13+/- 26PIM 17:37ATOI)
-As you all no doubt know, one of my faves ever since I saw him play his first few games. And it's not because of that hit so many of you talked about at the time, it's because this guy has an INSANE amount of talent on the point, and is not afraid in the least to show it off and make things happen as soon as he is given the chance. He was the best rookie defenceman statistically, and certainly made a big difference in a ton of games down the stretch. This guy gets nowhere near the credit or respect he should in terms of his game and his future potential. The loads of defensive mistakes that people were imagining would occur never came about of course, it's amazing what people 'find' when they're looking so hard for it. He's a big part of the future of the Oilers, and they'd better get him signed to a solid contract this off-season. He deserves a substantial raise and alot more respect from the coaching staff when it comes to his spot on the depth chart next fall. He can be the spark of this team if he is allowed to be. The restrained style he was made to play at the beginning of the year, when he was supposed to be concentrating on defence first, could've destroyed the confidence of many young d-men, but not this guy. He got sent down unjustly, then came back and showed why he never should've left. As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limit for him. With a good PP unit, and another excellent forward or two to feed, and re-making the connection he has with Ales Hemsky, he could put up some very sick numbers. There will be nights when he plays 22 minutes, there will be nights when he plays 16, but if used effectively, he's HUGE on this blueline.
Sorry, but this one I didn't agree with at all.

Bergeron has gotten all kinds of credit and respect from every poster here. His past 30 odd games were far different from his first set of games.

Concentrating on defence first? He's a defenceman. He is supposed to think defence first. And his defence was never the issue. His issue was the constant turnovers, and you cannot deny that.

He was averaging 4 turnovers per game, and those were just the passes. He got sent down, rightfully so, and when he came back he had learned his lessons. The homerun pass was not option 1, 2 and 3. He was skating the puck out more often and making better, shorter passes.

He was a huge reason why this team made the charge they did down the stretch, and the Oilers sending him down for those 10 games was the best thing that happened to him all year. He adapted his game and was better because of it.

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04-04-2004, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dawgbone
Sorry, but this one I didn't agree with at all.

Bergeron has gotten all kinds of credit and respect from every poster here. His past 30 odd games were far different from his first set of games.

Concentrating on defence first? He's a defenceman. He is supposed to think defence first. And his defence was never the issue. His issue was the constant turnovers, and you cannot deny that.

He was averaging 4 turnovers per game, and those were just the passes. He got sent down, rightfully so, and when he came back he had learned his lessons. The homerun pass was not option 1, 2 and 3. He was skating the puck out more often and making better, shorter passes.

He was a huge reason why this team made the charge they did down the stretch, and the Oilers sending him down for those 10 games was the best thing that happened to him all year. He adapted his game and was better because of it.
I agree 100%. Frankly I think Hemsky needs to see some AHL to learn much like Spezza did. These guys just aren't ready to jump right into the league. Bergeron made huge strides and IMO the Toronto assignment was the reason for that. Spezza was the same. He looked decent in the NHL when he got the chance, but he matured into an excellent player much quicker by being allowed to learn while getting full ice time in the AHL. Very good handling of Bergeron and Hemsky should be done the same way.

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04-04-2004, 09:50 PM
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I agree with most of what you said. However, I don't think we're going to be able to acquire a Kubina clone and a Niinimaa clone in the off-season. Kubina is close to a number one d-man on the best team in the East.. those guys don't grow on trees. I think our best bet is to hold on to Brewer (try and get him locked up to a long deal at a similar salary) and try to hold on to Smith. If Smith looks like he's going to arbitration, we'll probably have no hope but to deal him. I'd really like to hold on to him but I feel we need a top two centerman more than we need a #3 d-man. I think Brewer made a lot of progress this season and I look for him to be a rock next year.. hopefully we'll see a Semenov-Brewer pairing for the entire season.

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04-04-2004, 09:52 PM
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generally i agree with what you ahve to say..... though i dont think that MAB was playing very well when he was sent down and that he did deserve it, though he has played fantastic after coming back..... i also think that its too early to give up on brewer, and i actually thought he took a solid step forward from last year..... i thought brewer played quite well for the majority of the season...... i would LOVE to see smith come back, as our defence is already kinda young and will undoubtably get younger with fergy leaving and lynch/woywitka coming in, you would also think that semenov will play more games next year.... but as much as id like to see smith back, i doubt it will happen as he'll prolly garner around 3 million a season, and with all the young defensive talent the oilers have i think his time may have come..... no the positive side of that, smith paired with a prospect should bring back a pretty dam good player, or allow us to jump up fairly high in the draft

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04-04-2004, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
I agree 100%. Frankly I think Hemsky needs to see some AHL to learn much like Spezza did. These guys just aren't ready to jump right into the league. Bergeron made huge strides and IMO the Toronto assignment was the reason for that. Spezza was the same. He looked decent in the NHL when he got the chance, but he matured into an excellent player much quicker by being allowed to learn while getting full ice time in the AHL. Very good handling of Bergeron and Hemsky should be done the same way.
The problem is that Spezza started out in the AHL and didn't really get to experience too much NHL success early on. Hemsky has already had 2 seasons in the NHL (basically 1.5 seasons..) and it could really damage his psyche if he is shipped down to the AHL next year. I'm hoping he's learned a bit after sitting in the pressbox for the last month of the season and he comes back next year stronger and ready to rock. While it would be nice to handle his development slowly, Hemsky is one of our few offensively gifted players and we'll probably need him in the lineup next year.

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04-05-2004, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerebral
I agree with most of what you said. However, I don't think we're going to be able to acquire a Kubina clone and a Niinimaa clone in the off-season. Kubina is close to a number one d-man on the best team in the East.. those guys don't grow on trees. I think our best bet is to hold on to Brewer (try and get him locked up to a long deal at a similar salary) and try to hold on to Smith. If Smith looks like he's going to arbitration, we'll probably have no hope but to deal him. I'd really like to hold on to him but I feel we need a top two centerman more than we need a #3 d-man. I think Brewer made a lot of progress this season and I look for him to be a rock next year.. hopefully we'll see a Semenov-Brewer pairing for the entire season.
The way I see it I guess is, we have alot of chips to play with, and you can make things happen if you use em right. The way I figure it:

Brad Isbister
Shawn Horcoff
Jani Rita
Eric Brewer
Jason Smith
Draft picks

Are our chips, and I like that setup. Horcoff's inflated stats will raise his value, Isbister still has promise for some teams as much as I'd like him as a 4th liner here, Rita for the obvious reasons, Brew and Smith for the reasons previously stated, and we have a surplus of draft picks which should be used to move up in the draft. I think we can make enough of a splash with that sort of an outline of people to deal. And maybe even throw in a bigger name if somethin really good comes up.

I also think we'll be able to sign a UFA to fill a hole or two under a new system of doing things, but that remains to be seen.

Scott Ferguson is missing here because well, I'm givin him away.

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04-05-2004, 01:18 AM
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Nice. I cant wait until you do the forwards. Ferguson has so gotta go. (remember he was forward for 1 game)

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04-05-2004, 01:20 AM
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Nice. I cant wait until you do the forwards. Ferguson has so gotta go. (remember he was forward for 1 game)
Thank you for reminding me! I mighta forgotten that one. And I have a feeling the forward analysis is gonna take alot of supreme flameage, I CAN'T WAIT!

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04-05-2004, 01:30 AM
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Bottom line, their record against NW division teams has GOT to be better next season. Winning just 7 times in 24 games just ain't gonna cut it.

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04-05-2004, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
The way I see it I guess is, we have alot of chips to play with, and you can make things happen if you use em right. The way I figure it:

Brad Isbister
Shawn Horcoff
Jani Rita
Eric Brewer
Jason Smith
Draft picks

Are our chips, and I like that setup. Horcoff's inflated stats will raise his value, Isbister still has promise for some teams as much as I'd like him as a 4th liner here, Rita for the obvious reasons, Brew and Smith for the reasons previously stated, and we have a surplus of draft picks which should be used to move up in the draft. I think we can make enough of a splash with that sort of an outline of people to deal. And maybe even throw in a bigger name if somethin really good comes up.

I also think we'll be able to sign a UFA to fill a hole or two under a new system of doing things, but that remains to be seen.

Scott Ferguson is missing here because well, I'm givin him away.
That is true, we do have a lot of trading chips in theory. However, we all know that Brewer is not likely to go anywhere unless Lowe gets absolutely floored by a proposal. Likewise, Horcoff is probably going to stay and it sounds like Lowe still thinks pretty highly of Rita. I'm also going to go out on a limb and claim that Izzy will be around next season.. he was the "principal" return in the Niinimaa deal (it looks like Torres has become that now) and Lowe essentially admitted that he was a project when he acquired him. That leaves Smith and the picks as trade bait.. Rita/Izzy might get added in but I don't think you're going to get a top calibre puck-moving d-man with those chips on the table. You never know though, Lowe knows that the powerplay has to improve next season and an offensive d-man is what we need to accomplish this.

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04-05-2004, 02:09 AM
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, Lowe knows that the powerplay has to improve next season and an offensive d-man is what we need to accomplish this.
I don't think that's the most important need though. If we could somehow grab a sniper that'd be the biggest key, I just don't see it happening, and I could name some names I'd part with to get one, but I don't think they'd be too popular here.

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04-05-2004, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
I don't think that's the most important need though. If we could somehow grab a sniper that'd be the biggest key, I just don't see it happening, and I could name some names I'd part with to get one, but I don't think they'd be too popular here.
I suppose it is debateable as to what the problem with the Oilers' powerplay is.. some will say an offensive defenseman is needed, some will say a sniper is needed and some will say a whole new philosophy is the key. Like most things in life, I think it is a combination of the three. The improvement of Bergeron towards the end of the season certainly helped out and the addition of Nedved also added an element to the PP that was missing all season. I don't think we need Modin on this team though..

If we resign Nedved, I think a lot of work on the powerplay should go towards: 1.)Isolating Nedved for a high-percentage shot from the slot 2.)Trying to get the cross-crease pass to Smyth and 3.)Getting a hard shot from the point (read: Semenov, Bergeron, Lynch?) through and having a big body in front (read: Smyth, Izzy, maybe Laraque) to screen/tip. Sadly enough, our most effective powerplay manoevre in recent memory was the backdoor pass to Carter on the circle for a one-timer. While it was entirely predictable, it worked quite frequently and notched Carter a number of goals as an Oiler.

I think our biggest problem on the PP is confidence. We need to have a group of guys out their that are used to playing together with the man advantage, not whatever line is hottest that game. With increased confidence comes quicker puck movement and eventually more goals. Look at Detroit.. they have a number of guys that are great on the powerplay and they move the puck around like demons out there. We need to assemble a couple powerplay lines in the off-season and keep them together for a while..

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04-05-2004, 02:46 AM
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I suppose it is debateable as to what the problem with the Oilers' powerplay is.. some will say an offensive defenseman is needed, some will say a sniper is needed and some will say a whole new philosophy is the key. Like most things in life, I think it is a combination of the three. The improvement of Bergeron towards the end of the season certainly helped out and the addition of Nedved also added an element to the PP that was missing all season. I don't think we need Modin on this team though..

If we resign Nedved, I think a lot of work on the powerplay should go towards: 1.)Isolating Nedved for a high-percentage shot from the slot 2.)Trying to get the cross-crease pass to Smyth and 3.)Getting a hard shot from the point (read: Semenov, Bergeron, Lynch?) through and having a big body in front (read: Smyth, Izzy, maybe Laraque) to screen/tip. Sadly enough, our most effective powerplay manoevre in recent memory was the backdoor pass to Carter on the circle for a one-timer. While it was entirely predictable, it worked quite frequently and notched Carter a number of goals as an Oiler.

I think our biggest problem on the PP is confidence. We need to have a group of guys out their that are used to playing together with the man advantage, not whatever line is hottest that game. With increased confidence comes quicker puck movement and eventually more goals. Look at Detroit.. they have a number of guys that are great on the powerplay and they move the puck around like demons out there. We need to assemble a couple powerplay lines in the off-season and keep them together for a while..
Good points, definately.

I was thinkin of a much bigger fish than a Modin, not that I wouldn't like to have him there, but the kinda trade I was thinkin of would be goin for a star basically.

I REALLY don't want that back-door pass goin to Smyth, he can't put it in the net. Hemsky, Dvorak, Nedved, Bergeron, even a guy like Reasoner or Stoll, I'd much rather have them gettin that pass. Comrie was the best at that play.

Next year, new beginnings for the PP..............

"here's the puck to Bergeron........over to Kubina back to Bergeron......fakes the shot and passes to Hemsky over to Gaborik HE SCCCOOOOORRRRREEEESSSSS!"

Hey, a guy can dream!

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04-05-2004, 02:46 AM
  #16
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The way i see the Oilers d
Brewer struggled for a lot of the year, game picked up and played huge in the latter half of the season, although hes played 400 games still young. gotta keep him

Staios was a rock all year and i agree looked tired at the end of the year, overall solid year

Smith no other d lays the body like this guy love him out there, physical force, had a lengthy injury responded well

Semenov didn't get a lot of action, big presence would be a chara type if he played physical hes got the frame gotta use it, needs confidence, still young and just needs game situation

Ulanov true warrior another guy i love out there, gritty peformer was a huge addition, seemed to mature more with the puck from his last stay in edm, huge season for igor

Bergeron great offensive d man, turns the puck over a bit buyt its gonna happen with a guy like that, needs to work on his pinchig decisions, only gonna get better, played well after his second recall

Cross bigger guy battles out there had good pt numbers, slower guy played in his limitations and was successful

Fergeson when called apon he was there, a career 6-7 guy, reliable when u need him, doesn't cost much, contract year up a rookie could take his job.

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04-05-2004, 05:25 AM
  #17
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I completely disagree with your thoughts on the goaltending. I think it is imperative for Lowe to find a young, potential #1 goaltender. Neither Conklin nor Markannen can fulfill that role. Of the two, I much prefer Juice. I'd like to keep him around as the backup. He seems to throw up a stinker once every five games or so, but that's okay for a backup. As for Conks, he has a weak glove, can be beat shortside, and gets rattled when he lets in a softie. I think he's on okay backup but he'll never, ever be a #1 in this league, and I am not comfortable going with this tandem into the next season (if there is a season). A Markannen/Conks tandem next season would be an improvement over the Salo/Conks team we had this season, but not by much. Goaltending would once again be a weakness.

As for the defense, Lowe has quite a dilemma. Because of Cross' baffling contract, I'm expecting Igor to be cut loose and possibly Jason Smith. We've already got Semenov sitting in the pressbox, and both Lynch and Woywitka look like they may be ready to make the jump next season. Bergeron's awesome finish means he's going to be back, so there's just no room for our aging vets on the backline. Semenov and one of Lynch/Woywitka should be in there next season. I'd like Ferguson to return to ride the pine so that a rookie can get minutes in the A, but I worry about MacT playing him like he did this year. A platoon of Ulanov or Cross and a rookie would work out pretty well I think instead.

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04-05-2004, 06:42 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitenoise
I completely disagree with your thoughts on the goaltending. I think it is imperative for Lowe to find a young, potential #1 goaltender. Neither Conklin nor Markannen can fulfill that role. Of the two, I much prefer Juice. I'd like to keep him around as the backup. He seems to throw up a stinker once every five games or so, but that's okay for a backup. As for Conks, he has a weak glove, can be beat shortside, and gets rattled when he lets in a softie. I think he's on okay backup but he'll never, ever be a #1 in this league, and I am not comfortable going with this tandem into the next season (if there is a season). A Markannen/Conks tandem next season would be an improvement over the Salo/Conks team we had this season, but not by much. Goaltending would once again be a weakness.

As for the defense, Lowe has quite a dilemma. Because of Cross' baffling contract, I'm expecting Igor to be cut loose and possibly Jason Smith. We've already got Semenov sitting in the pressbox, and both Lynch and Woywitka look like they may be ready to make the jump next season. Bergeron's awesome finish means he's going to be back, so there's just no room for our aging vets on the backline. Semenov and one of Lynch/Woywitka should be in there next season. I'd like Ferguson to return to ride the pine so that a rookie can get minutes in the A, but I worry about MacT playing him like he did this year. A platoon of Ulanov or Cross and a rookie would work out pretty well I think instead.

Personally I would much rather have Ulanov than Cross, and I think that Lowe could still trade Cross to a team like Florida. Not that he'd get much for him, but it would get rid of the contract.

I think that a starting six of Brewer, Smith, Ulanov, Semenov, Bergeron, and Lynch/Woywitka would be doable... although looking at it again, that is a lot of inexperience back there.

hmmm... the problem is that I think that Semenov, MAB, Lynch, and Woywitka all need to make the jump soon, but at the same time, having half your defensmen being inexperienced is not a great thing.

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04-05-2004, 09:26 AM
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil slick
Personally I would much rather have Ulanov than Cross, and I think that Lowe could still trade Cross to a team like Florida. Not that he'd get much for him, but it would get rid of the contract.
I'd take Igor any day, but Igor is a UFA and Cross still has two more seasons on his contract. I'd be very surprised if anyone would trade for Cross. I really can't think of a good reason why Lowe gave a guy no one else wanted a three year deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oil slick
hmmm... the problem is that I think that Semenov, MAB, Lynch, and Woywitka all need to make the jump soon, but at the same time, having half your defensmen being inexperienced is not a great thing.
Yes, I totally agree. If I had my way, the defense would be very green next year. Would Lynch and Woywitka benefit from another year in the A? I don't really know, but Lynch sure made a case for himself this year to make the big club and if he has a strong camp it would be hard to leave him out. Semenov and MAB have to be regulars next year though, and that leaves one of Cross or Ulanov out of the mix unless Smith ends up traded.

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04-05-2004, 09:49 AM
  #20
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Did you see the way cross played this season?

He was the most consistant defenceman on the team, he can play 12 or 22 minutes, and he is probably one of the best positional players in the league. If he had more speed and a mean streak he'd be one of the best defencemen in the NHL.

He's signed for relatively cheap, and he's had two very good seasons in a row. If I'm a team an I need a vet d-man, Cross is a pretty attractive player. He's signed long enough that you know you can get a couple of years of him, but cheap enough so that a buyout won't cost you much if you want to get rid of him.

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04-05-2004, 09:52 AM
  #21
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Yeah, I saw him play. Decent player but that's not my point. Do you want to see him there instead of Semenov or another kid? Ulanov is better than Cross and I'd rather have Igor instead, but I think it's unlikely that that's how it will turn out.

EDIT: And about his marketability: he had a pretty good season for the Rangers in pretty much the same role he has now and nobody picked him up until midway through the next season. Maybe Lowe could give him away for a low draft pick or something, but I am not counting on it.

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04-05-2004, 09:55 AM
  #22
oil slick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgbone
Did you see the way cross played this season?

He was the most consistant defenceman on the team, he can play 12 or 22 minutes, and he is probably one of the best positional players in the league. If he had more speed and a mean streak he'd be one of the best defencemen in the NHL.

He's signed for relatively cheap, and he's had two very good seasons in a row. If I'm a team an I need a vet d-man, Cross is a pretty attractive player. He's signed long enough that you know you can get a couple of years of him, but cheap enough so that a buyout won't cost you much if you want to get rid of him.
Good point... given the choice, would you choose Cross over Ulanov?

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04-05-2004, 10:08 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil slick
Good point... given the choice, would you choose Cross over Ulanov?
Not sure.

If I had to choose one? I'd probably be inclined to go with Cross. Ulanov had a great season a couple of years ago with Edmonton, then he played himself right out of the league. He was terrible with the Rags, and just as bad with Florida.

Then again, it depends on what you can get for Cross... if a team is offering up something you can use (i.e. moving up in the draft a little, or if he is a piece in a trade that addresses the Oilers need for a scoring winger), then he goes. He's both solid and replaceable.

That being said, I don't see why you can't keep them both. Another year in Toronto won't hurt Lynch or Wyowitka, and you have 4 guys rotating through 3 spots (Ulanov, Cross, Semenov, Bergeron). It depends. If one or both young guys are ready in camp, you can make decisions. I still think you offer Ulanov a contract and head into next season with the idea that he will be on the team.

If things turn out that you need to get rid of one or the other (or both), they are easy enough to get rid of. Either way, it's a good position to be in.

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04-05-2004, 02:41 PM
  #24
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Yeah it is

having two vets and being able to move one of them. I've been flip flopping on who I'd like to keep and I was really like Cross's game until the Dal debacle and then his back became wonky again.

For durability reasons PLUS he got the best out of Semi and Bergy, I'll go with Igor

Just brought BP' '04 and I'm totally into that but the defense will be an interesting topic to explore at another date. Staios-Brew-Bergy should be three of the top six. Hopefully Semi gets more rope next season. But do we keep both of the aforementioned vets or just one? Will Smith be back and will one of Lynch or Woywitka get a push? Or will Greene be inked come into camp kicking ass and force himself onto the team.

Can't wait for next season

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04-05-2004, 04:18 PM
  #25
Master Lok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
Jason Smith and Eric Brewer are the question marks. I personally would move both in the offseason, as they do not fit the group of defencemen we should be building. Both are however movable and valuable as assets, so it should be workable. The team needs to acquire a near-elite level, puck-movement oriented defencemen of at least #2 level, as well as a steady rock-style defencemen of the same slot. This would obviously have to be accomplished not just in straight-across deals but in the possible movement of either package trades, UFA signings, prospect moves, or some combination of all depending on the labor situation and other determining factors in the coming years.

(Kubina-type),(Niinimaa-type), Igor Ulanov, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Alex Semenov, Steve Staios, Cory Cross, Doug Lynch, Jeff Woywitka. (not in order)

That's a solid core of defencemen, with more on the way, as long as those trades can be made. It's also not a horror if you decide to keep Brewer instead, as it would still be a very solid set of guys.

LMHF #1, thanks for your posting and yes I do look forward (and not dread) your comments about the forwards.

I guess we'll disagree on the defensemen. A "Kubina" type and a "niiniimaa" type is not a solid core of defensemen, because WE DON'T HAVE THEM. Teams very rarely trade top two defensemen for each other, in package deals or otherwise. And Niiniimaa is not playing like Niiniimaa anymore in NYI, he's having a below average season for him.

And I see a strong defensive dman much in the lines of Foote in Eric Brewer. I like Brewer as a top two dman and he has really improved over the second half of the season. Trust me, he WILL pan out. But another puck moving dman WOULD be rather sweet. In comparison to the Devils top dmen core, I see Bergeron as Rafalski and Brewer as a poor man's Stevens but I think we need someone like a Scott Niedermeyer type.

As for Bergeron, I agree with the other posters, he was sent down JUSTLY. What game are you watching out there LMHF? Bergeron doesn't make defensive errors? Are you trying to make me laugh? How can you not see such regular giveaways? Don't get me wrong, I LIKE bergeron, but at least I see his faults for what they are.

That being said, I agree with you on Cross, Ulanov and Staios. Staios especially is not a top 3 dmen, but is very good as #4. Reduce his minutes.

Question: how about a trade of Smith (if we can't sign him) plus Philly pick for Toronto's Kaberle? (I have no idea if that is fair value or not). Maybe Izzy and Smith for Kaberle? I think Kaberle could be that smooth puck moving dman.

Next year:
Brewer - Kaberle (top two dmen. I'd rather have than Kubina - Niiniimaa anyday).
Bergeron - Ulanov (Bergie has convinced me that he's turned the corner and is cutting down on his mistakes.)
Semenov - Staios

7th : Cross (strong veteran presence).

Depending upon how they do, Bergeron - Ulanov could be 3/4 or Semenov - Staios could be 3/4.

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